Sanna's Bag

“I never seem to have what I need when I need it. I’m going to make a belt-bag that’s bigger on the inside than on the outside, and just carry everything with me.”

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Who knows what dreams portend?

For about three hours last night I kept dreaming that DH and I would go somewhere and I would get lost without him. Or I would fall off a cliff. Or the car would go off a bridge. Wake and dream, wake and dream. What was all that about? Sometimes, dreams are just throwing out the garbage. Sometimes, they're my subconscious trying to tell me something.

This morning, we got up just before sunrise and drove to the mall to get some exercise. (Yes, we are among the codgers who mall-walk.) There were high cirrus clouds overhead like a drift of rose-colored lace, and the air was so perfectly September-crisp. Three circuits of the inside of the mall is just under two miles. Then out to Sully's for breakfast, and I could take on tigers all day long.

We are headed to the Home Remodeling show to shop for idea. DH has just finished mowing the lawn, I have done laundry and basic tidy-up, and now we can go play! A little exercise really gets the day to a good start.

This daddy picks up his five-year-old daughter at kindrgarten and as they're driving home she asks him, "Daddy, where does poo come from?"

Being the kind of guy who believes that every question deserves a complete answer he explains how the oatmeal they had for breakfast goes into their tummies and their bodies take out all the good parts and then push all the bad parts out into the toilet. "So that's where poo comes from." he finishes.

There is dead silence from the kiddy seat in the back for several long seconds, then the little voice asks, "What about Tigger?"

Friday, September 29, 2006

Last Friday in September

Two days have passed without another jaybird sighting in the parking lot. DH has suggested that the guy may have ridden his motorcycle from a graveyard shift job and wanted to change clothes before his early-morning class in the automotive department. Maybe his truck is fixed by now and he can change in private. But I'm still looking . . .

I checked with my boss this morning to see if she minded me knitting at the desk when things are slow. Not a problem at all!! Evidently, the head of the horticulture department is a constant knitter and takes it to all meetings, functions, etc. So KIP is well established on campus. Yayyyy!!! The mittens are done, the hat is onto the decreases and beguiles the slow spells at the front desk. I LOVE this alpaca blend! So soft and warm!

This morning I had my very first newspaper interview. (Is a telephone interview the equavalent of phone sex?) The reporter was gentle with me since it was my first time. Actually, she made it quite enjoyable. The article will come out on Wednesday in the Nugget News. It's online if you wanna check it out.

(omigawad I am just so special I could wet myself!)

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

September morn

It was so chilly this morning that I could see my breath in the air as I walked in from the far end of the parking lot. (I park at the far end force myself to get some exercise. 2. because I can always find parking 3. because I can always find my car 4. because the local smash and grab artists are too dead-butt lazy to walk that far out, so cars in the end of the lot are less likely to be vandalized.) As I was strolling along, my eye was caught by a movement to the side. I looked, and saw a man changing clothes between cars. He stepped from jeans to shorts without the buffer of underwear. I saw the full monty. I did a classic double take, unable to believe my eyes, and like an automaton, I continued walking. Yep, he really was nekkid.

I told campus security just to be on the safe side. I mean, the guy WAS mostly screened between the cars, and it WAS early in the AM and no one was around really. It's not like he was romping around campus flagging down cheerleaders or anything. But he could have stepped into a restroom or a locker room. Maybe he was too lazy to walk that far. Maybe he was in a hurry. Maybe he had just spilled a sticky carmel latte in his lap. And maybe it's that primal attraction to nature in the raw that has men whizzing into the bushes at barbeques when the wives have all gone into the house.

But if I see him exposing himself again, I'm going to yell at him. I'm going to channel my inner granny and scold him for showing his peepee. My inner granny is a fierce and righteous old broad. She'll fix him!!

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Tuesday with sunshine

According to my Celtic horoscope, I am a willow tree. Also,

"You are a dreamer, and you're into almost any kind of escapism.Restless and capricious, you love to travel to exotic places.You are easily influenced by others, as long as they don't pressure you.You tend to suffer in love until you find that one loyal, steadfast partner.An empathetic friend, you love to make others smile and laugh"

OK to whom does this NOT apply?

As a willow, I am prone to insinuating my roots into all the neighbor's pipes. Maybe willows were nicer trees to the pre-indoor-plumbing Celts. (I DO love to see what goes on next door.)

Another gorgeous day. Amy, I will do five helicopter spins dedicated just to you.

On my way back to the car yesterday, I saw a toddler scampering just as fast as his fat little feeties would take him straight toward a flight of stairs. So I stepped in front of him and stood, impeding his imminent fall. He looked up, and up, and uuuuuup! I had the sun behind me and I was almost three times as tall as he was. He had black lamb-like curls, bright black eyes with thick long lashes, perfect round brown cheeks, and a nuk / noonoo / bink / pacifier plugged securely into the socket. I smiled. He turned and ran wailing back to mama and the older brother who probably was supposed to be watching him. A co-worker had seen the byplay and laughed and I remarked, "These freshmen seem younger every year."

Monday, September 25, 2006

Another FO

The mittens are done. I usually do a thumb with a gusset, and these were just the slit and tube type, but they work just beautifully. Wool and alpacca blend, two-color stranded work. they should be WARM. And I think the flip top fingers will work OK. If they don't I know the recipient will let me know. DARN I wish I could do photos!

Julie got some nice pictures of the Flock and fiber Fest. check out her blog.

If anyone ever plans on coming to visit Oregon, the last week of September is ideal. We are looking at temperatures in the 80s, broad sunshine, fall colors, and post-Labor day prices. There are harvest festivals every weekend, and the passes are still clear so you can cruise across the whole state. (2/3s of which has less than five people per square mile. There are parts of this state that are more than 30 miles from a paved road. And it's too dry out there to grow marijuana. Nothin but Sagebrush, tumbleweed, rattlesnakes, scorpions, a few antelope, bunches of jackrabbits, and gazillions of red ants. Paradise on earth -eh?

I got a response from my media e-mails. I'm going to give an interview to my hometown newspaper on Friday. Hooray!! Wish me luck!

Sunday, September 24, 2006

After the Fest

Yesterday was just glorious! I spent most of the morning giddy with glee. It was sunny! there was enough of a nip in the air that I started out wearing my LOUD sweater, but by the time I got to the Festival site, it was just too warm, so I left it in the car. I wandered and pondered and fondled and dawdled, surrounded by like-minded people doing eactly the same. I bought a beautiful batt of Carribean blue/geen merino and romney with a touch of Firestar (sparkly acrylic) and silk. And somehow, as the lovely lady was writing up my purchase, a batt of alpacca,angora bunny, tussah silk noil, corridale and mohair in a grey and lavender blend lept into my arms snuggled itself against my bosom, and told me I was taking it home. So, with about five pounds of white roving glowering at me from the garage, I had to pick up another 9 ounces of fiber. But it was PRETTY! And it was new!

Also, our favorite waiter, George, hates to be cold and hates grey days. He wears hunter orange shirts in February, even though they don't suit him, just because he NEEDS the color. And he paid fifteen doollars for my book, even though I told him he could have it for eleven. I found 8 ounces of dk weight superwash merino that had been hand-dyed in vivid flame tones. Hat and mittens I think.

By this time, my tote bag was filling up. Then I passed the baskets from Ghanna. Elephant grass, hand woven in nice colors, big and STURDY! These baskets are designed for use. The handles are firmly secured and covered with leather. I alreaad own two of them, and am constanly amazed at how much they can carry. And of course I needed another one.

And then I went to visit the animals. I do love the shetland sheep. They are such cheerful, sociable creatures. I happened to be there when one unhooked the bungee cord holding his pen closed, and took himself out for a walk. I blocked my end of the aisle and hollared, and an owner from further down the aisle came over, and between us, we got the amiable guy back where he belonged. Evidently, a neighboring ewe had been making sheep's eyes at him, and he was simply responding to her allurements.

Since I had grabbed him and wrassled him, I couldn't touch any of the other critters without washing my hands. That's showbarn ettiquette. Idiot tourists spread more diseases than anything else in show barns. If you touch an animal, don't touch another animal till you wash your hands. So I walked past all the adorable fluffy pygora goats with hands in my pockets, and cooed at them like a doting granny. I wanted to take them on my lap and cuddle them!

I ran into people I haven't seen for years. I filled my eyes with colors and sated my fingers with textures and blew my brains loose with the plethora of patterns. Then I went home and sat on the sofa next to DH and we watched the "Scrubs-a-thon" while he continued to recuperate from his cold. And I could feel my subconscious happily tucking away all the wonderful presents I had given it, storing things for easy access when I need a warm memory or a new idea or a particular inspiration for the next story.

(Either my runny nose was a false alarm, or the Zicam has just kicked the butt of this cold. I feel wonderful!)

This blog has taken longer than it should, because I have the fibers and yarn spread out before me, and my fingers are just itching to get into them. Guess I'd better get to work!

Saturday, September 23, 2006

I refuse to catch this cold

My nose started running yesterday in spite of all the garlic and vitamin C I have been eating. (It's my own fault, I suppose. I can't forgo his hugs and kisses.) so I picked up some Zicam nasal swabs at the drugstore and am giving them a try. They are completely painless and easy to use, and this morning I have no symptoms. I'm supposed to continue swabbing my nose for today and tomorrow, just to make sure the cold stays gone. Geeze, this is almost too good to be true!

I'm up to the part of the mitten where the palm splits so the top can be pulled back to expose the fingertips for greater mobility. I have worked the overlap, and am trying to figure out how to get the cast-on part properly lined up onto the two circular needles again. Knitting both mittens at once is just a godsend for me. It keeps them symmetrical. Or at least more symetrical than they otherwise would be. Call me a cock-eyed optimist - assymetry is my friend!

DH and I might be going out for breakfast this morning, then I am off to the Flock and Fiber Fest. Wahoo! Jeans, sneakers, loud sweater, broad-brimmed hat, fanny pack. Maybe I should take a knapsack so I can carry more - or is that just asking for trouble? Oh, and camera. Mine is dead. Gotta pick up a disposable.

I'll pat an alpaca for you.

Friday, September 22, 2006

On the other hand,

And sometimes there are sunny Friday afternoons when the whole world takes off early, and no one in his or her right mind would spend one minute more than absolutely necessary inside. When air is brisk and clean and the trees are like stained glass with sun behind their colored leaves, and all the creatures of the forest are looking for someone to share their caves for the winter. The would-be students are blowing off their placement tests, and everyone else is done with all tests for the summer, and I am left watching the desk in a room full of bright emptiness. I wanna go play, too!! The boss at least has some work to do. at least, I THINK she has work to do.

But at least I DO have time for a nice, self-indulgent blog. And really, really, I've done everything I can at work. I've even taken Simple Green and scoured the keys on the keyboards. I can't even make up work anymore today.

So let us consider posture:

As a tall female child, I was repeatedly told to stand up straight. When I took piano, the teacher would tap me with her pointer if I didn't sit up straight. (I hated to practice. I never made it past the second beginner's book.) In typing class, you had to sit up straight and arch your fingers. So what is with this semi-reclining posture the youth of today assume at the computer keyboard? OK, I cop to it. I, too, wind up slumping down like overcooked spaghetti when I'm surfing the web. Why is this? Are we all just so dead-butt lazy? Or is there an ergonomic reason having to do with the mouse and the screen and stuff? I know I get a terrible case of mouse-shoulder unless I put the sucker down on my lap for extended sessions. Back in the dark ages when I worked for a computer company before the internet came into popular use if you can imagine such a pre-cretaceous epoch, I remember the programmers kicking back with their feet on their desks and their keyboards in their laps. That was when a computer was the size of a desk and could heat the whole room, and the mouse had not yet been invented.

No, come to think of it, I don't think wretched posture is unique to kids today. I remember people almost lying on the desks to write an essay, back when we wrote everything out by hand. And you can read a book at any inclination or decline. It's only when you get to be as ancient as I am that slumping and sprawling and stooping and such start to take their toll. Pinched nerves, herniated discs, baggy bellies and back aches can all be prevented by good posture. Wish I still had it.

But a glorious September day like this makes me want to hold my head up, raise my ribcage and sniff the air like a beagle scenting bunnies. If you see an old grey mare prancing through the sunshine and kicking up leaves in the gutters, that could be me.

Last year, the maintainence people had blown up a huge pile of leaves, and I threw myself down in it and made leaf angels. It does the heart good to see grounds-keepers laugh themselves silly. So what if I had leaves in my hair all day? It beats walking into work with the back of your skirt tucked into the top of your pantyhose. (Not one of my better days.) And now, the grounds keepers smile and wave when they see me. Always pleased to brighten someone's day.

Farewell Persephone

First day of autumn. Hades gets his wife back, and her mom, Demeter, swamps the world with her empty-nest syndrome. And the big blue ball keeps turning.

On days when I have to go to work, I have to start getting dressed at 7 so I can unlock the office at 8. Since I'm up from 5, that gives me two measley hours to eat breakfast, read the paper and do e-mail and blogging. I hate days when I have to go to work. I love nattering on, self-indulgently at length about any and every thing, lingering over a second cup of tea, taking time to pet the kitties when they come and park themselves on the paper. Well, I can kiss that crap goodbye for a while. I will be working 45 hours next week, since both the full-time staff will be gone. Just me and the new boss. She's good, but she's new.

And today, I'm taking GED tests to the jail, so dressing takes extra thought. No scarves or necklaces or earrings. (Don't provide handles for these folks with poor impulse control) but make sure to have layers since the heating / cooling is erratic.

So, much as I love the pay (!!!) I hate not having the time to beeble on the blog. Gotta go, dear hearts. Good day to you all!

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Flock and Fiber starts tomorrow!!

DH has a dreadful cold. He's such a hero. He never whines or demands to be waited on or anything like that. Mostly, he pulls into his shell, curls up in the bed, and focuses fiercely on getting over it. He HATES to be fussed over, bless his dear heart. I have been doing all I can to avoid catching it from him, since 1. I am NOT a stoic sufferer. (I can take care of myself, but I demand the right to complain at length and with colorful descriptions, about every symptom I suffer. )

And 2, I want to be well for the Flock and Fiber Fest. I want to wander and shop and eat kettle corn and stay out in the cold and the rain till my wool coat is soaked through. I want to buy masses of yarn and fiber that I DO NOT NEED! I want to fill my eyes with enough colors to last through the grey winter. I want to coo over the baby alpacas and scritch the jaws of the friendly Shetland sheep and run across fellow knitters unexpectedly. And if I'm coming down with flooding sinuses, a wicked sore throat and fever aches, I will NOT be able to enjoy myself. Also, I could not, in good conscience, go out and share the disease with all and sundry. I think sick people are morally obligated to stay home and quit spreading the contagion.

Yesterday, I went downtown to participate in a survey regarrding neighborhoods and health. (If there were more adult recreational facilities near you, would you exercise more? If you had access to more high-quality fresh produce, would you eat more fruits and vegetables?) I love strolling around downtown when I have time to dawdle, so I got there early, found a parking space (a remarkable stroke of luck!) and sauntered, looking into shop windows, and watching folks rushing to work. I saw a pair of Doc Maarten boots, mid calf, in pink with lace patterning. I had to laugh out loud! And the chic young shop-girls will never surrender their black mini-skirts and leather bomber jackets. The only concession they are making to the chilly autumn rain is the addition of black hose, and sometimes, a closed toe on their four-inch high heeled mules. Ahhh, youth!

Then I took my book in to The Yarn Garden to see if they would consider carrying it. (They are considering it!) and while I was there, I just had to gape and fondle and lust after ALL the yarn. I wound up rooting through the 50% off basket and grabbed some wonderfully soft stuff with which I designed a gorgeous scarf that will be half crochet and half woven and wholly sumptuous! And the idea was so cool that I had to buy this yarn that I DO NOT NEED. Soon as I finish the mittens, the silk top, and a pair of socks, I'll do the scarf. Oh. and I should start another orphan sweater, too. So many things to knit, so little time!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

I was good

Yesterday I sent out e-mails to every newspaper, TV station and radio station within reasonable driving distance, explaining why they should review my book and offering to come in for interviews. My brain feels spongy, but I got it done. And, I paid the bills, too. As a reward, I gave myself a pear and cornmeal scone.

Hmmmm. food rewards are not such a good idea. I am noticing folds inplaces I never used to have places to fold. In future, I should plan yarn rewards. That work was worth a five dollar ball of Jo Sharp, don'tcha think? And if I hit three of the local bookstores and ask what it would take to get them to carry me, THAT should be worth another skein of Cabin Cove hand-dyed silk.

Today, I am earning $20 by doing a Healthy Living survey and letting them weigh and measure me, and check my blood pressure. Should I tell them I learned bio-feedback techniques and can run the bloodpressure down just by thinking about it? Given time, I can take it down to 90 over 60. Is this a thing to be proud of? I don't think it's because my vascular system is so healthy. It's more a function of low blood volume.

While there, I will be knitting on the silk blouse. It's so easy to carry! On the other hand, size one needles don't make for fast growth in stockinette stitch..

The mittens are progressing slowly on their two circular needles. I finally quit fighting the tangles and broke off the yarns in pull-through lengths a-la kaffe Fasset. Four strands of yarn snarling out of two different balls maked a truely gordonian knot.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Gotta pull my socks up

Today I have to pull my socks up and get to work marketing the book. I have to write letters to local newspapers and say, "Hi, here's my book. Please review it and tell lots of people how wonderful it is, so they will buy it." Then I have to call the local radio and TV stations and say, "Hi. I wrote a book. I would love to let your talk-show hosts interview me about it. I'm funny and intelligent and media-genic. Really. Just give me a chance."

I would rather break nettles with my bare feet and spin them into yarn with my bare hands and knit up seven shirts for seven swans. I would rather eat a fried tarantula. Really, if I could get someone else to do a good job of flogging the book, I would be willing to clean their whole house every day for a month.

Any takers?


Sigh. Well, can't pull my socks up until I put them on. And I think better when I'm wearing a bra, so I guess I'd better get dressed and get to work. Wish me luck.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Attending the Empress

DH and I went to pay service to my mother, The Empress. It is 168 miles from our door to hers. We go from 30 feet above sea level, over the 4,0o0 ft pass, then down to three thousand feet and change. We go from the verdant, urban Willamette vallley to the desert. There is a magical passage where you transit from the forest and canyons of the pass to the flat, open basin floor. If I could have taken pictures of Saturday's sky, it would have gone from narrow, cloud-fillled strips to a vast overturned blue bowl. there is such an insensate emotional reaction to that immensity of sky. I sit up straighter, my head raises higher, my lungs open up and if I had wings, they would spread and flutter. Life in the desert is grindingly hard and harsh, but you do have room to stretch out.

Mother is living with my brother and SIL, who are true heroes and utter saints. Mother is 88 years old, and has more holes in her memory than a doily. But she still has enough of her marbles to know what is due her, and I, her only daughter, MUST come and visit regularly. She can't remember why I haven't been around lately, but she does remember that it has been a while. So we showed up with flowers and preseeents and we all went out for lunch, then ordered chinese take-out for dinner, and DH and I spent the night, then set off for the return trip. Three hours to go, three hours to return, and tomorrow she may remember that we were there. Old age certainly can be cruel.

When I left Redmond, the population was 2000, and I think that was counting the cats, dogs and sheep. Nnow, they have a highschool with a student body that size. And they are going to run out of water.

HEY! All you fertile people out there - STOP HAVING BABIES!! They will all grow up and have to live somewhere, and we are running out of room. We are running out of potable water. We are running out of gainful employment. And they, for god's sake, will have MORE babies! Can't you see where this will end? There is a limit to the land mass here. Your great grandchildren may never see real dirt. It will all be built over. Stop it, stop it, stop it!! They know what causes pregnancy now. There ARE methods of contraception available. You can't keep squeezing them out because soon we will have no place to put them!

Oh. Sorry. This irrational rant has been brought to you by the Crazy Crone Neighborhood Association.

Friday, September 15, 2006


Yesterday, I found lovely wool and alpaca blend, "Nashua," 220 yards for $8.25 (And there is no sales tax in Oregon. How do your other folks manage? Nothing costs what it says it does?) I cast on both mittens last night and have almost finished the dark purple cuffs. And I still haven't decided on what sorts of patterning to do. Faire Isle for sure, to add extra warmth. And I want to make them with fold-back ends so the finger tips can be exposed for dexterity issues. I hae three shades of purple and I am already wanting to keep it all for myself. Soft, slightly fluffy, oh so warm.

And as long as I was in the yarn store, I wandered and fondled, and savored the mid-week, early-morning calm. My eyes feasted on colors. My fingers feasted on textures. I was compulsively planning projects at top speed and completely without any possibility of ever beginning them. And then I found the sale bins. Jo Sharp yarn for $5 a ball! Damn, I have already picked up $24.75 in needful wool/alpaca, and there's all that Jo sharp, taunting me. Wool, silk and cashmere blends, flipping up their little skirts and wagging their soft little bottoms, chanting, "Nyah, nyah! you can't have me!"

I firmly reminded myself that the Flock and Fiber Festival is coming to Canby in two weeks, and I want to indulge in mystery batts from Fantasy Fiber. (And 100% alpaca from the 4H kid who raised the critter. And at the festival, you can indulge in the wonderful sport of haggling.) Telling myself that we have no money in the budget for yarn just doesn't work because then the credit card begins whistling and hooting from it's zippered pocket in the wallet. It's not really spending money if you charge it, right?

The yarn store owner will be sad to hear that I got away with only the yarn I actually came for and three balls of lavender tweed (Color: 420 Eden) Jo Sharp Silkroad. Just touching it makes me want to ditch work and rush out to buy more. I have a serious silk addiction!!

To settle my thundering heart, I sat down with the pink orphan sweater and the Xena recordings and produced another FO! I even got pictures. One of these days. I will figure how to get them on the blog. (I know, promises, promises. When this does come together, I will suddenly dump a plethora of photos, and no one will be able to remember what they were!)

It's still raining. Very fresh and cool. Would it be peculiar to carry a ball of Sillkroad around with me to cuddle today? sigh. I guess so. And it's much easier to carry the silk blouse in case a knitting opportunity arises. Odd how the latest fancy morphs into a UFO with the purchase of new yarn. The blouse is down past the armholes. It does make a great case for KIP though. I had it out at the salon while I was getting my hair cut, and looking in the mirror, realized that the reverse stockingette side was even more beautiful than the stockinette side. Wayyy cool! good thing I haven't put the beads on yet.

Tomorrow, we are crossing the passes to go visit my mother, "the Empress." I may not have a chance to blog till sunday evening. Please remind me to pack her birthday present!

Thursday, September 14, 2006

A moment of peace

I am sitting with a dear old Jack cat purring on my lap, a cup of tea at hand , rain pattering gently from a fluffy gray sky, and kind comments from friends on my blog. I close my eyes for ten breaths and savor the peace. This moment is brought to you on behalf of Amy Lane.

the on-call part-timer has today off

I don't always know when I will have time off (or when I will have time on, as the case may be) but today is free. Well, except for the daily diddly, and I want to get another thousand words in on the western,(the really sexy chapter. DH may have surprises waiting for him when he gets home.) but aside from that . . . I think I will plop my broad butt on the sofa with cats around me and finish that pink orphan sweater with green sleeves while I watch Xena and Dancing with the Stars.

And I need to go shopping for yarn! I have a request for alpaca mittens in purple (oh, twist my arm!) I really enjoy Abundant Yarn and Dyeworks in Sellwood because they have a cafe right there. Yarn Garden has a ginormous selection, but I usually suffer sensory overload before I find what I want. Luckily, there are sixteen other yarn stores in the metro area, so I have my work cut out for me.

We are expecting rain today. I will have to go sit on the porch and sniff the air when it starts. One of the joys of the smell of the first rain after a dry spell is its evanescence. If it were bottled in a room freshner, it would soon loose much of its charm. But that first scent of fresh . . ahhh!

I was raised in a stinking desert, and thunderstorms counted as major entertainment! Light, sound, smells, you could even taste it if you wanted to. The glorious feel of the air suddenly cooling, the steamy feel when the sun came back out and the humidity spiked . . . I can hardly wait for the rain. (Remind me of that in April when I start moaning about how sick I am of the stinking rain.)

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

It's the light

The temperature got up to 85 yesterday. The grass is brown, the roses are thriving, the tomatoes are red, and yet it doesn't look like summer anymore. It's the light. It comes from an autumnal angle. It comes late and leaves early. It makes me think of wool sweaters and stocking hats and mittens. I have an urge to put away the lightweight pastels and bring out the darker shades. Away with rose pink, bring out the cranberry. Away with chambray blue, bring out the navy. Fold up the pewter and bring on the charcoal. And yet, the temperature got up to 85 yesterday. In the spring, while it's still in the fifties, the light makes us go crazy and wear sandals and shorts. Life above the 45th parallel is influenced by the light.

Ok, poetry time:

Demeter’s Farewell

Afternoon light lies yellow on the hill,
and trees drag long, slow shadows behind them.
The incense of autumn smoke drifts in the air.
The grapes are gone, and Demeter is packing to leave.
Her Maenad daughters straggle home
weary, bedraggled, sunburned dry as leaves,
wrapped in bittersweet melancholy like a shawl.
Overhead, maple seeds cluster thick as furies
ready to whirl off into winter with the first fall wind.
But Summer lingers on the doorstep,
prolonging her parting,
kissing us

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Lala land

This is an entirely different experience from the last time we were here. Two weeks ago, it was family emergency, stress filled, unexpected expenses and trying to economize. This trip is family reunion, planned for months, paid for in advance, and glorious! DH knows I hate LA, so he planned something nice for me. It's called the Portofino hotel in Redondo Beach. Oh GLORY! It's all colonial blue and butter yellow and white - airy, quiet, down-filled and SOOO relaxing!

Our room has a view of the marina. There are yachts out there that cost more than our house. Sea lions meander through. I can hardly wait to see one clamber onboard somone's dinghy and refuse to move. Whatcha gonna do with a 300 pound critter taking a nap on your deck when you're ready to up anchor and sail away? Shoo it off? Yeah. Right. You say, "shoo," and it roars, "Arrr! Arrr arrr!(For sea lions, it's always Talk Like a Pirate Day) Arrr! Arrr!!" (This translates variously as, "Bite me." "F*ck off." or "It's my boat now." .) And it moves not one fraction of an inch. Maybe it farts. You get close enough to give it a shove, and you discover that the lion part of sea lion is appropriate. They have big nasty teeth and they don't mind using them. You CAN'T use any weapons because this is SouthernCalifornia, and the PETA people would have a runaway. You can't even poke it with a broom for crying out loud. And don't, whatever you do, try luring it away with fish. Seal Lions are very intelligent. It will learn that if it climbs up on your dinghy, it gets free fish. You will find sea lions on your dinghy constantly. They will bring their friends and have raucous parties. They will shove one another and fight and all pile on till your dinghy sinks beneath their weight. You will simply have to put away your dinghy when you are not actually using it. (Dave, I can hear that naughty snicker from here.)

Redondo beach is so laid back the entire community is virtually horizontal. People don't walk here - they saunter. Even the sparrows seem less fidgety. Sales clerks are relaxed. Sometimes you have to hunt them down to give them money for things. Clothing shopping is out for me,however. I am a fifty-six year old amazon, 6 ft tall and 190 pounds of mature, gravity impaired curves. The boutiques I have stepped into have sizes clear up to 10. And the clothes are cute. I have not been cute since I was six. The locals are tan, gorgeous, almost otherworldly - like Elves on bicycles, carrying surfboards. (I saw this. Swear to gosh the young woman had pointy ears. Long blonde hair floating in the breeze, surfboard under one arm, other hand on the bike's handlebars, bikini clad butt pert on the bicycle seat, and rhinestones on her toenails.)

The family reunion was out in Temecula - out in the stinking desert. There is less desert every time we go out there, though. Vineyards are taking over. And every winery has its inn and wedding site. Be it a gazebo on the back lawn, or a special chapel with floor-to-ceiling windows and airconditioning, with adjoining reception hall that will seat up to 1000, every winery is on the wedding bus. It's certainly changing the local economy.

We were the last to leave the party, and DH's sis called from further up the freeway to say that there was a multi-car pile-up blocking the I-5 freeway, and we should take another route back. The one she suggested was incredibly scenic! It took us up the hills west of lake Elsinore, on two-lane roads where they film sports car commercials with repeated hairpin turns. At the crest of the pass, we were 2,668 feet above the freeway, the lake, the urban sprawl, and the stinking desert (which looked quite lovely in the late afternoon light if you could look down on it from several thousand feet above the heat and dust and insects.)

Then we descended through the Clevland National forest. A dry, oak forest. I am used to dry pine forest, and wet pine forest, but this dry oak forest was new and fascinating to me. DH was driving a strange, twisty, narrow old road with the sun in his eyes. MIL was longing to be home. I felt rather guilty about how much I was enjoying myself. I didn't know that Southern California had scenery! I thought it was all city and freeways. And as we made our way down to San Juan Capistrano, we passed the site for the Southern California Rennaisance Faire. Omigawd,omigawd,omigawd! We couldn't stop, it was wayy too late, and I'll never get there again. But at least I saw the sign. Now I have to re-read all my Mercedes Lackey books to re-visualize the settings.

The next day (Sunday) we went to one of the smaller swapmeets. It covered acres! There was everything under the sun. My mind boggled. My senses soon were overloaded. There was new stuff and used stuff and stuff that was only slightly stolen. There was fresh produce from familiar old carrots and potatoes to cactus leaves to stuff I had never seen before and would have no idea how to prepare or consume. There were food vendors from every continent, and the smells wafting across the area were mouthwatering and appalling in turns. I heard every major language group, was run into by people of all sizes and colors, (and quite startled a nice Asian gentleman who thought I was a mannequin) fondled fabrics and furs and flimsy blouses with sequins carefully applied in the most judicious places. (And laughed myself silly when the nice lady selling them suggested I try packing my 36D's into one of her wisps of fancy.) There was junk and jewelry and brand-new toilets (?) and live birds ."You don't want to buy those," my BIL told me. "They could carry chirpies. It's a canarial disease." We walked up one aisle and down the next for three hours and still didn't cover it all. I bought 3 pairs of black nylon anklets with ruffly cuffs for $2. (Add beads. Fashion bling!) I bought a lovely old Noritake cup and saucer for $3. I found a ceramic turtle for my MIL and used the magic words, "Will you take . . ." with my patented Oregon sunshine smile to get it for half price. A resounding success if you ask me.

Then after a family birthday party, we finished the day at the Redondo Beach pier, watching the sailboats and the sealions. As the sun sank into the golden air-pollution, a school of dolphins appeared. It was so cool! I have never seen wild dolphins before! And there was a baby with them. With the late afternoon light gilding their sleek curves and arcs, it was like some nature movie without the sound-track. I was ecstatic!

We slept in the next day, then made our leisurely way to the airport and found that the 9/11 fears had kept many people away. We even got into first class for the flight back. We got home before sunset, and the crapweasles had missed the newspaper in only one place, so it was the perfect end to a perfect trip. Wish you could have been with us!

Thursday, September 07, 2006

After the Harlot

If you have never been to a talk given by Stephanie Pearl McPhee, let me give you some advice. 1. Go early. People were standing four deep in the back and peeping around the ends of bookshelves by the time the show was scheduled to start. 2. Do not drink large quantities of liquids beforehand. You WILL laugh hard enough to wet your pants. 3.If you don't take your knitting, you will wish you had. And if you don't wear something you are proud of, then you will likewise regret it. 4. If you don't know anyone who will go with you, go anyway. Total strangers will be chatting with you in about three minutes. 5. If you have contact cards with your name, e-mail and blog on them, bring them to save writing that stuff down five times so you can stay in touch with the new friends you will make.

Stephanie is charming, wry, hilarious, utterly engaging, and did I mention that she will make you laugh till you weep? And what a gracious, generous woman she is! I gave her a copy of my book and asked her to siign two copies of her books and when she heard my name, she recognized me!! And she admired my original design silk blouse! The Yarn Harlot admired MY work!


Powell's, as expected, was not prepared for the numbers or the enthusiasm of the crowd, and wound up nearly driving us out with pitchforks. Hmmmpff! Maybe next time they will get a clue. This isn't just about knitting, folks. This is about humor! This is about life itself!!

So now I stagger, slightly sleep deprived, tieing up loose ends before we fly back to LaLa land tomorrow for a long-planned family reunion. This time I will pack with forethought and make sure to get the perscription meds and a clean shirt in my totebag in case the check-through bag gets lost.

DH calls the tote bag my security blanket. I carry the knitting, a book, back-up glasses, wallet, bandaids, a tin with various nostrums like asprins, Immodium, sudafed (opens the ears before flying so they don't block and hurt) a couple of protien bars and other emergency snacks (jerky!)
paper and pens, address book, a deck of cards, a couple copies of my book (sell when you can), all the travel paperwork neatly stashed in a multiple pocket file-folder, and whatever else I think might be handy. Sunblock? Dry socks? A cardigan? A stockingcap? Yes, the totebag weighs about as much as a small child, but it has often ensured our comfort in trying times. And what price security? We will, Goddess willing, be flying back on 9/11. If an overloaded bag makes me more comfortable, then good on it!

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

A late night for this lark

The Yarn Harlot is going to be in town tonight, at the Powells' Books on Hawthorne! I don't think they have the slightest idea how many knitters will be there. I'm planning on arriving an hour early so I can at least get into the room. She is scheduled to start at 7:30. When you get up at 5, as I do, stying up till 9 is a big deal. Especially when you are a lazy old bat. (I LIKE my bed!!) Lessee -what piece of knitting will I wear?

I know it's possible to work full time and still get everything pretty much done. I've done it for years. How is it that now that I'm a part-timer, I can't get caught up on ANYTHING? I know - it's the cats' fault. Blame it on the scapegoats! Surely it can't be that I am slowing down, getting distracted, absent-minded, or spending wayyy too much time on the blog. It's all the fault of our dear little crapweasles. (Note to self: Put out four extra litter boxes next time we leave for a weekend.) I really must go hang up a cotton poly dress or two before they solidify in the dryer. Happy trails!

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

fun with kitties

You know those giant exercise balls that are so popular now? A friend uses hers as a typing chair and raves about the good effects - stronger waist, more limber back, firmer legs - so I rolled one in and sat on it. Fly kitty came to say hello to me and settled down next to the printer to supervise my work. Then I hit the print button. Fly flew off the counter with claws out for traction and hit the exercise ball. Next I knew, we were both sitting on the floor amid shards of thick rubber, staring at one another in astonishment. Then I laughed, which of course offended Fly no end, so he sat down to wash, insisting, "I meant to do that!!" Yes, my butt is sore, and it didn't do my sprained wrist a bunch of good, but the look on the poor cat's face was totally worth it.

The wrist actually is almost all better. I got in a lot of knitting yesterday which put no stress on the wrist at all. Today, it's back into harness for the first day of the fall term. Oh Joy!! Of course, I may re-injure myself, slapping the hysterical students who insist, "I HAVE to get into Calculus class. I was in pre-calc six years ago in highschool and I don't see why I can't just keep on. I don't CARE if your stupid placement test says I have the math skills to succeed in remedial arithmetic class. I HAVE to be in Calculus!!"

Let me make this clear. If you don't use it, you lose it. Math, sex, brains, muscle mass, it all needs regular exercise. This is not a rule. It is a fact of life. Like gravity, it's not just a good idea, it's the law.

I need to practice my sweater finishing skills. Time to finish the pink orphan sweater. (It has green sleeves because I ran out of pink yarn.) One and quarter sleeves and a neck to go, then proper seaming, I promise.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Weekend report

Saturday, was another day to work on the treehouse. The boys rejoiced in their power tools while the girls made unguent for the winter chapping season. When the front deck of the tree house had been completed, the boys invited us up to celebrate and passed out Mike's Hard Lime to the adults. It was hours since I had eaten, but this stuff tasted so inoffensive that I wasn't worried. Quite thirst quenching. I sat in the treehouse, enjoying the way it was gently rocking as people walked around. Then the boys had to go to town for more supplies, and I realized I needed my swimsuit in the back seat. As I climbed down the ladder, I noticed the world gently rocking as people walked around. I then had a choice of walking all around the house to get to the car, or stepping over a little 2 1/2 foot high fence. "No problem," said my inner 18 year old. "I do this all the time." And I easily swung one leg up and over. Then the 56 year old woke up, screamed, "What the frack are you doing? You'll hurt yourself!" and tried to wrest control away from the 18 year old. While they were fighting, momentum took over. I caught my toe on the top of the fence and fell - much in the manner of some large tree. DH saw me go over and came rushing up. Ohmiggawd I was embarassed! My wrist really hurt and I had seriously bruised my shin, but I scrambled up and pretended all was well. I KNOW better than this. I should have immediately iced and elevated the wrist, but instead, I was so humiliated by my fall that I tried to pretend it hadn't happened.

So later that evening, as we were getting ready for bed, DH noticed me cradling the injured member. "Let's see," he said, holding out an imperative hand. I surrendered my wounded paw to him and he gently moved my hand from side to side, then gently flexed it up. I gasped with pain. "Sprained," he diagnosed. Rub in some Tiger Balm. I'll be right back."

He returned with that sticky, stretchy ace bandage tape and deftly bound me up. He's been a Boy Scout leader and a Paratrooper, and knows all about sprains and their treatment. And he told me if I don't get better soon, we are going to the hospital for x-rays.

So I am typing with a stiff wrist and astounded at how much flexing the right wrist is required to do in daily life. Putting on a bra is an exercise in ingenuity. Brushing the teeth is a challenge. One can, however, knit with a stiff wrist, and I am now half done with the pink orphan sweater. And it's gonna need to have green sleeves. Color is good.

Enjoy labor day! And notice that I have included a link to the Oregon State Fair Kitchen Cupboard competitions. (Thank you, Tim!) They keep their fiber arts in the kitchen cupboard. Don't you? Next year, Three poems, a sweater, and something crocheted.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

after the fair

The State Fair was so much fun - as always! WEee wandered and soaked it in for about five hours till our brains were full.

This year, there was even something for DH to buy. There are special welding sticks used for welding aluminum. The booth was three deep in mature men with callused hands, all watching the demo with avid interest. The guy doing the demo was so practiced that he was able to conduct our purchase without skipping a beat. DH had the rods out and was looking them over with pleasure last night. Toys to take to work.

I bought a "popcorn" shirt. Lying on the counter, it looks just about big enough to fit a small cat. But it is deeply textured and the "popcorns" stretch right out quite easily. It makes a cute, lightweight t-shirt. Just the ticket for sticking in a suitcase since it will NOT wrinkle and is supposed to be hand-washed in cold water, then laid flat to dry. It's some kind of acetate, so not suitable for long hot days, but it's a nice clean shirt to cram in your purse and wear to dinner while the airline looks for your luggage.

We said hello to the sheepies and the bunnies. The llamas and alpacas and poultry had been shown last week, so no goofy feather-booted birds or ducks with pompadors this year. We gazed in admiration at the quilts. Queen of the show was a king-sized all white quilt that relied entirely on the exquisite hand-quilting to give it interest. Stunning! Just stunning. And how many hours of human labor went into that? There was also a foxy black and yellow strapless prom dress and matching suit-coat made entirely of duct tape! Omigawd!

So, a challenge to you. Let's get stuff entered in County and State Fairs next year. I will enter at least three poems, a sweater, and something crocheted. You can hold me to it. If I don't, may I be put in the punishment corall with all the other self-published authors with books piled before me, and people hurrying by, trying not to make eye-contact.

You can find information on how to enter things in the fair at your local library, or by golly, I bet you can even look it up on line. Start planning now! And good luck to us all

Friday, September 01, 2006

Friday skip

DH always take the Friday before Labor Day off and we go to the State Fair.

My inner three-year-old gets to gurgle over the sheepies and bunnies and piggies. My inner twelve year old gets treated to kettle-corn. My inner artist gets to admire the quilts and knitting and weaving and spinning. My wife side enjoys DH's delights as we wander the huckster's stalls, looking over wonder-mops and miracle-pliers and the Komplete Kar wash Kit (which won't do us any good, since we don't have a Kar. A car, yes, but the kit is only good for Kars.) and of course we always have to stop at the Jerky Hut. Then, we indulge in the bivalve lottery. We buy an oyster which is guaranteed to have a pearl. but is it a big, gleaming creamy pearl or maybe a glorious colored pearl or is it just some little ordinary white pearl? Then pearls ar always worth more than you pay for the oyster. They make up their money on the settings. I have a drill and a jig, pierce my own and string them myself. I have quite an eccentric necklace by now. My pride and joy and one piece of really good jewelry. And every pearl has a story! I do LOVE the State Fair!!