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.”

Friday, October 31, 2008

Halloween evening

I've been missing in action, I know. If I had breath of lillies and teeth of pearls I might blame it on langour, but as it is, I must confess to slug butt exhaustion. Darn but I'm just not snapping back as fast as I would like. And extra hour of sleep this weekend will be soooo welcome!

The neighbors are really into this holiday. The ghoulish arch has illuminated red eyes.

And all the flying ghosts light up as well. Tombstones in the yard and skeletons along the walk. Bats hanging from the eaves. Way scarey!

We have jack-o-lanterns.

Only jack-o-lanterns

But they're cool enough for the little kids, and the little kids are the ones I most enjoy.

Holiday greetings

funny pictures of cats with captions
more animals

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Hunting the wily pumpkins

It was a one in a million day for the valley - late October with sunshine, and we had pumpkins to hunt down, so we packed our wallets and headed out to the country, to a quiet farming community where nothing big ever happens. The place is called, - if you can believe it- Boring. We passed the Boring Farmer's Market, which is held at the Boring Grange, took a right at the Boring Highschool, and foud our way to Liepold's Farm.

The giant conocopia only hints at the glories ahead.

This, is a hay bale. When I was a kid, hay bales were about three feet long and 2 feet by 2 feet wide and deep, and a strong 8th grade boy could throw one up onto the hay truck. No one in the world could lift one of these. It's about four feet tall and about four feet in diameter and could feed a single cow for a month.

And they have some giant pumpkins. That's me, behind this four hundred pound beauty! Does this pumpkin make me look fat?

Pumpkins to the right of us - This big one is about 350 pounds - at 27 cents a pound that works out to - a heckuva lot more than I had budgeted for jack-o-lanterns!

Pumpkins to the left of us!

Pumpkins already on their way to scarey faces with other families.

We chose these three. Aren't they a nice range of gordian beauties? Ben and Pepper, however, didn't trust these alien invaders. They spent about two hours peeking around corners distrustfully, assessing the situation and waiting for these new beings to make a move.

Still not moving, but still not trustworthy. I'm still thinking about patterns, so the pumpkins will live in the window for a day or two. Once they're cut, they go outside where it's cooler so they don't decompose before the big night - which is predicted to be cold and rainy. We'll put out three jack-o-lanterns. The neighbors have illuminated ghosts hanging from the tree and gravestones in the yard and bats with led eyes flying above the door . . . A few blocks away, the Davis family has set up a graveyard with about twenty different headstones, a couple of assorted macabre ghouls, a crypt with a dozen hooded and ominous beings surrounding it, and an antique glass-sided herse in the driveway. The street will be closed and the local high-school dance team will be performing "Thriller" on Halloween. On the way out to the farm, we passed a home that had inflatable ghosts, inflatable giant spiders, an five-foot inflatable globe filled with wildly flying bats, and about 4 inflatable pumpkins that are bigger than most trick-or-treaters. We are such pikers when it comes to holiday decorating! What are you doing for the 31st?

Friday, October 24, 2008

LOL Cats - I luvs m

more animals

Thursday, October 23, 2008

my favorite knit

Bells in Australia posted a picture of her favorite knit and suggested we do the same. Good idea!

This is the cable sweater I designed and knit for Master Knitter's Certificate. It's got some clever details to it. I had to put in bobbles, but I hate bobbles, so I put in fourteenm bobbles - seven on each sleeve in the warrior princess armbands. The sweater is knit from bottom front, over the shoulders, and down to the bottom back. The collar is knit in garter stitch as part of the shoulder fronts. The sleeves are picked up along the sides of the front/back piece and knit down to the cuffs.

I had to reverse the cables when I went over the back,so the side seams make a pretty horseshoe. Clever me!

I always try to put XO cables in every cable sweater I make because I love to give hugs and kisses. It was fun to set the three of them on a half drop so they tuck together nicely. And I put in the garter stitch ladders next to the cables to help me keep track of my rows. It's so easy to count garter stitch.

I named this sweater, "Little Nell." It was so virginally vanilla. But it was so much fun to knit that I did it over in color.

I call this one, "Intarsia, Warrior Knitter!"

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

a favorite rant

A few days ago, LG sent an e-mail to a number of her friends asking if she had loaned a certain book to them. My response?

Not me. Thanks for thinking of me, though. It sounds like a classy, high-tone book. I usually prefer the ones with lots of pictures and words like Whamm! and Pow! And Evil Minions. You just can’t get evil minions any more. Not really evil. Emotionally disturbed minions, socially maladjusted minions, and minions with poor self esteem, sure those are all a dime a dozen. And you get what you pay for, too. With such minions, their loyalty is iffy at best and they will obey you only so long as you are actually watching them. In the old days, your evil minions were loyal to death and gave unquestioning obedience. And they walked twelve miles to school every day, uphill, in the snow! The minions these days won’t lift a finger without a union contract, and then half the time they’re out on strike in solidarity with the boilerfitters’ union or the steam makers' union or the fishmonger’s daughters’ union (who are in contract negotiations with the musician's union over who is entitled to sing "Alive, alive O") . . .You know, I seem to be getting cranky here and I’ve lost my way somehow. Maybe it’s time for me to go to bed. Good night, sweet friend!

(Rant edited for political correctness. There is no pansy-assed fairies' union because, actually, there are no fairies. Sorry, Tinkerbell, you're a figment.)

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Still draggin'

Used to be, when I got done being sick, I was all better. Used to be I was younger, too. I rested for days last week, and got enough energy to run errands yesterday. And then I came home and fell asleep. Barely woke up this morning. Gronch. The tank is dry again, and I still have to go to work. And thank GOD I don't have kids!!!

Some days, it just feels like I'm driving through the fog. I can see about fifty feet ahead of myself and I've gotta keep pushing forward into the gray unknown.

Nothing is certain in life. You never really know what's out there. the economy might tank, crap will happen (it does sometimes.) But ya know, ya just gotta keep on keepin' on.

And then, when you least expect it, there's a sunrise on a yellow tree. And keepin' on is so very worth it!

Hang in, dears. There are lots of sunrises, and many yellow trees out there. And even when the tank is dry, you can still go a mile or so on what's left in the fuel line.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Sunday sky

One of the silver linings to feeling crappy is when you start to feel ok, it feels fantastic!! I woke up with energy today. Wahooo! DH let me spend the better part of Saturday collapsed on the sofa, doing my world famous impression of a dead possum. I COULD have been a brave soldier and dragged myself through housework and maybe a trip to a local pumpkin patch, but why? Why be a good soldier when I'm not even at war? I cleaned the litter box, triggered my mechanical servants (dishwasher and clothes washer)let DH bring me hot beverages during his breaks in killing demon cows and cockroaches from hell (I think the game is called Diablo) and melted into a lump under my quilt. the kitties were happy. I woke once to find three of them on me and one more sharing the sofa. And because I took pity on myself and spent the last day napping, today, oh my gosh, I feel Marvelous! Not up to wrassling tigers, by any means, but fully functionally human.

DH and I have been looking for a retail outlet for a flavored water that he likes. The only place we could get it was at the gym, and I hate paying more than $2 for a small bottle of water. You know what really burns my shorts? A brush fire about three feet high! But back to the flavored water, today we set out on the hunt, going from store to store. Safeways doesn't have it nor does Albertsons nor Nature's nor Trader Joes' nor QVC. At last, we drove to a young and growing neighborhood that DH and I each lived in at different decades. When I lived there, it was an aging, rundown, edging toward slum neighborhood (and affordable!) Now, it is heavily gentrified, and full of upwardly mobile young things, hip, cheeky shops, a dog boutique for the love of Mike, and alternative medical practicioners on every block. The old theatre, that in my day was a strip joint, has been turned into a fun and whimsical brew-pub. The corner bar (we called it the animal shelter) that never seemed to close has been torn down and replaced with a bright chreerful coffee shop and bakery. The second hand store is now a re-sale shop. )Same merchandise, same dust, same creepy dark corners where you don't want to touch anything, but the cash register is computerized now.)

And in the Fred Meyer grocery store, we found DH's flavored water - 4 bottles for $5. I felt such exultation! I felt as if we had been out on a trek and finally, after cunning stalking and daring attack, we had brought down a mamouth! Food for the tribe. We will eat like kings!! Hooray for us! We should be greeted with dancing and song when we return home. The children should squeal with glee when they see us, and run shouting the joyful news to the rest of our clan!

OK, so only one of the cats even woke up when we got home, and her remark was, "Oh, were you gone?" But then,cats don't drink flavored water. I felt great, GREAT sense of accomplishment.

I'm going to be out and about a lot tomorrow. Two cats to vet for rabies shots, then to Weight Watchers, then to meet a friend for lunch, then to Medical teams to drop off our unused supplies, and a pound of little yellow baby bonnets. A pound of acrylic makes more than a dozen baby toppers! Very hard to photograph, but I'll give it another try tonight.

Hope it was a good weekend for you. It's been good for me.

Friday, October 17, 2008

foggyfoggy do

This was one of those misty mornings. You could see about a block before the clouds closed in, so I left home a bit early and drove a little more slowly than usual. About halfway down the freeway a bright yellow hummer appeared behind me and began following much too close. It's not as if the freeway was crowded. The lane to the left was mostly empty. He could have passed at any time. I figure that either his car wanted to mount and mate with mine, or it was frightened by the spooky weather and just wanted to stay close for comfort. It must have been very sad when I pulled off the freeway and headed to work. Driving down by the slough was very romantic, with the veils of fog wreathing the treetops and the landscape imitating Japanese landscape scrolls. By the time I got out at noon, the sun was shining brightly and we had a nice warm afternoon. Well, 65 degrees in October is warm to us.

I'm so glad it was warm, because, when I got home, I took out the garbage and locked myself outside. I sat in my car and napped for a couple of hours till DH got home. It was really quite pleasant.

I don't have to go to work till Tuesday, so I can continue healing up. Yesterday, I worked a 7 hour day, which added to the two hours of commute, left me whupped. DH watched me nodding off over dinner and sent me to bed at 6:30. And I slept until 5AM. Between the infection and the antibiotics, I am just de-perked. I am pep-less. I have about enough energy to run an ant's motorcycle around the inside of a
cheerio for one circuit. I don't feel sick or in pain (except in the palm of my hand where the bite is still stiff and swollen.)But man am I ever pooped!

Now I have to find the battery charger so I can get photos of a dozen yellow baby bonnets on line.

As for the medical supplies, Tamara was quite right - medical missions are happy to take supplies. Medical Teams International is going to accept all our supplies. Linda was right also. It's illegal to give prescription medicines to people for whom they have not been prescribed. Putting them into a baggie with some water is a great idea. Or better yet, maybe with some vinegar or dish soap. Make them impossible to use.

Have a swell weekend, friends!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

make a liar of me

So I commented on Alwen's blog Lost arts studio) about how autumn in the valley is grey and rainy. In the winter it's grey and rainy and colder, and in the spring it's grey and rainy, warmenr, and greener. We never get sunny autumn days. SO what do we get today?
Looks like sun to me. Not the glorious New England crisp brightness, but the hot bright thing has cut through the overcast enough for a few photos. Since I made it in to work, I took photos on campus.
I love vine maples. Guaranteed red.
Self-portrait of Roxie in the rhododendrons.

So I don't believe in werewolves or any of that stuff, but ever since that cat bite, I've wanted to sleep 20 hours a day, and I feel a need to be stroked. Weirdest of all, now that we have a full moon, I have this weierd compulsion to lick my feet. . .

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Psychedelic Psock Puppet

I finally finished up those wild socks. And they are so - so - tie dyed, cosmic, electric cool-aid acid trip far out that I had to - well - I taped eyes on one of them and DH made an aging Deadhead of it. Man, you know the three most popular words in the 60s? They're, peace, love, and ear. "Ear?" Yeah - (suuuuuuuck) 'ere.

McArthur Park and flowers in your hair and strawberry fields forever. Let me take you down . . .

Of course, they make very nice tubesocks, too.

Monday, October 13, 2008

off the needle

I went to see my primary care physician today and she said I was ok to quit getting the IV antibiotics and start taking these humongous oral antibiotics tablets. Two pills a day instead of a fourty five minute session with cold liquid dripping into my veins every six hours. Gee, which would I rather do? It is SO nice to get that nail out of my elbow. And these days, they use a flexible plastic needle, so it was much less difficult than things used to be. I am so grateful to be alive here and now!!

I made it in today for a GED test at the local jail,spaced out and left my cell phone at the office, went to the doc, then came home and fell asleep on the recliner. I woke up under a blanket of three cats, all saying, "Lie still. You're warm and cushy. Your snores sound like purring. You need to rest and get healthy so you can continue to feed us. Lie still. Sleep. Sleeeeep." So I did. I'm still relatively pepless. It's early to bed for me.

So, what can I do with the antibiotics that were mis-prescribed? I know you don't flush them. I can't give them to anyone they're not prescribed for. Could I donate them to a free clinic or something? With the home IV infusion kit, we got dozens of pre-drawn syringes with saline or heparin. Still hermetically sealed in their sterile packages. And surgical tubing. Surely someone can put this stuff to use, and I KNOW I can't just dump it in the trash. Suggestions?

The cat that bit me has continued to hang around the back porch. He's healthy and rational and not even apologetic. As Kyle explained, "The cat was cocked and locked and you hit the trigger. It wasn't anyone's fault." But Pepper hates that cat. She crouches at the window with her ears back and her little stub of a tail clamped down tight, glaring and hating with all her considerable will. Not that it makes any difference. The neighbor cat ignores her.

As for knitting, I am back to baby bonnets. I have clipped and seperated the sock tube and discovered that picking up the stitches is a lot harder than I remembered. I'm going to try tomorrow, using smaller needles and good light. Photos to come.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Thank God for modern Medicine!

The streaks are fading, the swelling is going down, my armpit no longer aches, and my temperature is almost normal. The cat that bit me got his rabies shots a little over a year ago, so there's no point in running out an biting people. I may even make it in to work tomorrow. Heck, I may even get the spike out of my elbow tomorrow if the Doctor likes the look of my infection. Hard to imagine anyone liking the looks of any infection, but doctors are a different breed altogether.

Today I have slept in, napped, snoozed and watched "Top Hat" "Me and My Gal" and most of "Silk Stockings." Those old musicals are such an escapist treat. I yearn for the lovely gowns that Ginger Rogers sweeps around in. I get such a rush from watching the virile Gene Kelly. And Fred Astaire is so exquisitely elegant! The plots are happy fluff. I LIKE being fluffy. I'm going to be a LOLcat in my next life. Sleeping, snoozing, napping today is just good practice.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Isn't that a pretty table?

The glass buffet plates with their pretty little cups are all sparkly, sparkly. The baskets are ready to receive warm scones, the andwich tier is ready for honey shortbread and chocolate shortbread and cheezy bites. The Teapots are ready for that hot, strong elixer of life, and all the various honies are set out with dainty little demitasse spoons for every-flavor sampling. And yet, there is something looming over it all . . .

I woke up this morning with a fever of 101 and red streaks running from the cat-bite on my palm, all the way up to my armpit. "This probably isn't a good thing." I thought to myself. So at 8AM I trundled myself down to the hospital and since urgent care doesn't open till ten, and I had the party planned for ten, I checked in to emergency. Everyone who looked at my hand said, "O my god! You were so right to come down here!" By 9, I still hadn't even seen a nurse, so I called two wonderful friends, AL and MJ, and asked them to tell the knitters that I wouldn't be able to host the party after all.

When the doctor finally got to me she took one look at my hand and said wil great approval, This is a classic cat bite! I've never seen such a perfect example of a cat bite! How long ago did it happen? Eighteen hours I bet.(she was right) I have got to get my resident to look at this!" Then she took her pen and traced around the red streaks so we could keep trak of whether they were rising or ebbing, and she had me hooked up to IV antibiotics. Oh, and she looked at the antibiotics that they had given me at Urgent Care the night before and she said, "These don't work. Why did they give you this for a cat bite?" I dunno.

Now I am home,t's after one, I look at the table all ready to party, and I feel sad. But thank God for modern medicine, the fever is down and the swelling is abating. I get to keep my arm. I'm not likely to die of blood poisoning. A home nurse will be here this afternoon to teach me how to give myself more IV antibiotics (I have a saline lock plugged into my elbow right now)and I will contunue getting antibiotics every six hours untill all the uglies are gone.

The only thing is, getting IVs leavesme so cold! I think I will make sure I have a big cup of hot sweet pepermint tea right there for the next infusion.

Meanwhile, I have Fred Astair movies on recordings, and I intend to sit quietly and devote all my energies to healing. Thank you all so, so much for you kind wishes. I'm getting better just as fast as I can.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Would you buy this book?

Here's the cover for novel number three. Does it look appealing?

The neighbor's pit bull keeps getting into our yard. Today, she was after their cat, dodging around between our heat pump and the two camp chairs set out on the patio. So I went out, enticed the dog to go back into her own yard by throwing a windfall apple for her to chase, blocked her under-the-fence hole, and went to see how the kitty was doing. He looked up and me and meowed. I reached down my hand to pat him. He reached up his soft little paws, grabbed my hand, and bit the hell out of me. I shouted, he let go, the blood flowed freely from four neat punctures. I went inside, ran hot water over it, rubbed on soap, rinsed off the soap, held it under the running water, stretching and flexing the hand while grimacing and muttering "Ow, ow, ow," as if that would do some sort of good. then I rubbed on triple antibiotic ointment, put on a bandaid, and continued setting up for knitting tomorrow. When DH got home, I told him about it and asked his advice. I wanted to go shoot the dog, because the cat bit me, and I was aware that this was not a fully rational impulse. As a second option, I wanted to call animal control and have them pick up the dog. DH, as ever, was the voice of sanity. He suggested I call the doctor and get my injury looked at. Oh. Deal with the damage, then think about revenge. God he's smart! So I took myself off to the hospital, got a tetnus shot, got a 10 day load of antibiotics, and was told to find out if the cat's shots were up to date. Well, not quite, as it turns out. So we will watch him and make sure he doesn't act rabid. There's always the chance he could catch it from me. though. Meanwhile, I'm making a list of people I want to bite.

I've been listening to the All Classical radio station on my work commute, and today, they played Luciano Pavorotti singing "Return to Sorento." No idea what he's singing about, but oh my gosh I could have just rubbed that glorious music all over my body! Oh baby, oh baby! Right there, yess! Not quite the right set up for several hours with the women in the jail, but it certainly beats "Busta Cappin Urass" rapping his peans to destruction and hatred.

Yesterday, after 8 hours with the male inmates, I was surfing the crest of the trafic wave, headed home, and guess what came over the airwaves? Guess what I needed to hear. Guess what I love. Ride of the Valkyeries! I rolled down the windows, turned the volume up loud enough to make your ears bleed, and flew through the cold rain and wind with my hair whipping around my face, and a fierce joy blazing from my eyes.

You can pick up on your computer and listen to their wonderful, wonderful music in streaming audio. Some mornings they play recordings of terribly familiar music played on uncommon instruments. Flight of the Bumblebee played on the tuba. The minute waltz played on the banjo. I just love those!!

They even tell jokes. There were two hosts carrying the ball during a pledge drive and they had just played a delightful performance by a gifted clarinettist. One of the hosts remarked how nice it was, but actually, he prefers bassoon to clarinet. Of course, the other asked why. Answer,"Because a bassoon burns longer."

The silence was thick enough to spread. And then the second host said,"You're a guitarist, aren't you?" with the tone of voice that says, "Guitarists! You can teach them to read music, but you just can't trust them to behave decently in public."

So I am almost all ready for knitting. Tomorrow I will clean the litterboxes, wash my hands, and bake a big batch of honey-butter biscuits so the house will smell lovely, and the biscuits will be warm when people arrive. The butter will melt in, and all the flavors of honey will sink into the flakey layers. I have cheesy mini muffins, with and without ham, and honey shortbread, and chocolate shortbread and a big bowl of honeydew melon balls. And tea. And maybe even coffee if I can find it in the freezer and brew it up. And there are at least twelve people coming. OH BOY!!

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

my favorite timeof day

I love mornings. Sunrise is the best. The day is a shiny gift with the ribbons all tied and the paper perfect. It's full of delightful wonderful potential. It could hold any splendid thing. Once you pull off the pretty bow, rip away the bright paper, and tear into the box, you might find that all you have is an amazing ever-expanding unending pile of moose poop. But as long as the day has not really begun, as long as the box stays closed, it could hold any splendid thing. For me, the glass is not completely empty. It is ready to be filled with ambrosia, the elixer of joy, the nectar of the Gods, the milk of human kindness. After all, with all the shit around, there's got to be a pony in here somewhere!

So why don't you join me for lunch on one of the last decent days of the year. It's nippy, but we can sit in the sunny spots and cuddle into our new winter coats and watch the pond settling down to sleep for the winter. Leaves are dropping and blowing across the sun like slivers of stained-glass windows, and the geese are beginning to skein up for the flight south. If you sniff, can you smell it? That wet, brown October fragrance is in the air, and mid-day shadows are stretching out , laying down to rest. The box of the year's present is emptying out, and it's time to start picking up our toys and putting them away. Autumn is such a sad time of year. I'm so glad it still has seriouely potentiated mornings!

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Good morning!!

Today I had time to get up slow, have a proper leisurely breakfast with a newspaper, and spend a little time checking the e-mail before getting dressed and heading out to work. And look - there's daylight by eight AM! Ain't it purty?

But during the quick trip, there was some knitting accomplished. This is the sock yarn I got at the LA County Fair. I thought I might make a scarf, or maybe some gloves, perhaps a hat, but then I got a wild hair and thought, "Why not use this sock yarn to make a pair of socks?"
Well, for starters, I didn't know how far it would go. Sooooo, I decided to knit a long tube using up ALL the yarn, Measure and mark the middle of the tube,grab a contrasting color to knit a toe at the end of this long tube, then clip one stitch where I marked the middle, unravel a row, and put a contrasting toe on the newly freed live end. Voila! Two tube socks with contrast toes and no waste specialty yarn. If I feel really compulsive, I can even add in afterthought heels.

As I knitted on this, (cast on in the airport waiting for our first flight. Knitted while flying and while riding in the car to and from) I discovered that by loosening my tension, the stripes slanted to the right. When I tightened my tension, the stripes slanted left. I had so much fun driving the stripes back and forth that the knitting just flew. Soo, if you don't like the way your yarn is pooling, tighten or loosen your tension accordingly. Eureka!

Work was nice and calm for me. Unfortunately, there's a respiratory thing going around, and two staff members called in sick, so the boss and her second in command were stuck with the whole magilla for the rest of the afternoon. I had made other plans and couldn't stay to help, darn it. Maybe tomorrow. That means less time to prep for knitting, though. Think people will notice if I don't get the laundry folded and put away? I'm hoping that if there's enough to eat, people will forgive a lot.

Monday, October 06, 2008

quick trip

Saturday morning, at fower ay em, we rolled out. got dressed, told the cats not to let the raccoons to party with them while we were gone this time, and headed off to the airport. Beaverton Bakery has an outlet where we were able to pick up GOOD FOOD before we passed, like two olive pits through an intestine, through the labrynthine lines for security. I'm getting good at security screening. I can peel off of clothes the top two layers like husking an ear of corn. Zip, strip, and through the arch. If they want me to take off anything more, I demand music. And finally, when the sky looks like this we take wing for Los Angeles. What? Weren't we just here? Well, yeah, but this is a special occasion.

My brother-in-law is a scout master and his son, along with six of his fellow scouts, has completed his Eagle Scout project. I've never been to a Eagle Scout banquet before and I found it to be interesting and heart-warming. And it gives me hope for the future to see these staunch young men doing something so wholesome.

You will see a number of mature gentlemen up on stage with those seven lads. I took a picture when all the Eagle Scouts in the place took the oath together. See the gentleman on the left side of the picture? He has been an Eagle Scout for sixty years. The tallest lad up there is my nephew. Handsome runs in DH's family.

There is a section of the ceremony where the new Eagle Scouts give a pin to someone who has been a mentor to them and helped them through their various projects. Of the seven lads, five of them gave the pin to my brother-in-law. He's so darn good with these kids. They also shared favorite memories, many of which had to do with the survival training campout in the winter and how good it was when the scoutmaster built a fire so they could get warm again. One or two also referred to the time a skunk got in one of the tents and the scout master had to get it out..

Do you notice those award sashes? Every one of those lads has more than 40 merit badges. They needed only 25 to get to Eagle Scout level. They have badges in environmental sciences and camping, hiking, first aid, water skills,community services, astronomy, electronics, you name it. I was impressed. Good job, guys!!

My BIL has quite a number of awards himself. Not too long ago he was presented with the silver beaver award. I told him it sounded like a gift certificate for an old prostitute, but it's actually quite a prestigious award for someone who has worked his butt off on behalf of scouting.

So, after getting up at 4, traveling all day, and enjoying an award ceremony till 9 PM, and an hour's drive back to our hotel, I crashed and burned. Well, the Tylenol PM I took may have had something to do with that. Why the pain meds? Oh, I was clumsy again. Rushing out of the airport, trying to keep up with DH who knows where he's going and steps right out to get there, I caught the toe of my shoe in the cuff of my other pant's leg. Really, it wasn't too bad a fall, except for the part where my rib and the edge of the curb came abruptly together. It knocked the wind out of me, but before I even realized what had happened, I was being scooped out of the gutter by about seven kindly gentlemen of various ages and all with beautiful brown eyes. I remember the care and concern in those brown eyes better than any other part of the incident. DH had to come back and find me, and I think it sort of embarassed him that he wasn't on hand to do the scooping himself, but geeze, he was busy leading our wagon train. It's not his fault when I stumble under the wheels.

I still hurt when I do something ambitious - like sneezing, or breathing, or bending over to put on my socks. No bruises on the skin, so I'm probably just being a big baby. But extra strength Tylenol has become my best friend.

The day after the awards banquet(we slept in of course) we visited the site of one of DH's early jobs - Knotts' Berry Farm. This is kind of like Disneyland with fried chicken. DH and most of his family worked at Knotts' at one time or another. His sister still works the Halloween Haunt as a makeup artist, turning nice young actresses and actors into zombie firemen and demented dolls among other monsters. She took us backstage and showed us where she does her magic, and introduced us to her co-workers. They apply the paint and plastic every Friday and Saturday from 3PM till 2AM and Sundays till 8:30 starting the last wekend of September, and going till the weekend after Halloween. There is no ammount of money in the world that would make me work those hours on top of a regular job. But they enjoy it. It's like giving an artist a blank canvas and a clean brush, and saying, "Have fun."

DH told me stories about his work as a night security guard. The first night, they gave him his route and his flashlight, and sent the downy-cheeked youth into the dark, then proceeded to scare the bejeezus out of him repeatedly. No wonder he's so unflappable now. After you have passed the old west horse drawn herse, and someone suddenly sits up in the coffin and screams at you, what else is there to make you soil your skivvies? And then, at 4 in the morning, the farm trucks arrive with crates of live chickens which are butchered on site. And you re-consider your carnivorous habits. There used to be live horses and mules at the park, and one of DH's cousins got a job cleaning up after the equines. Rather thoughlessly, he left a wheelbarrow full of shat on the train tracks. No injuries, but quite an impressive spatter when the train came through. The wheelbarrow did not survive.

We shared dinner with the Eagle Scout and his family. I folded early, and left them all comfortably ensconced in the hotel lobby in front of the fire, enjoying one another's company. more Tylenol PM.

Monday morning arrived at 4AM because we had another 7AM flight. When we got home, we heard a frantic rustle as the raccoons dashed out the back door and the kitties tried to hide the signs of the bacchanal. And now we're home, home, home! Tomorrow, I get to sleep in till five!! Woohoo!

Friday, October 03, 2008

last rose of summer

Above the 45th paralell, in October, with a thick cloud cover, six thirty A.M. is about as dark as the inside of a cow. Streetlights glare, oncoming headlights dazzle, and the rain sparkles like a million tiny cubic zirconiums in a pawn shop window. I don't mind the hour - but I do mind this drive in the darkness. Daylight savings time is a cruel trick perpetrated on decent working folk by high-falutin' Washington insiders who have never seen a sunrise without a night of debauchery behind it. Honest to Dog, have you even heard a farmer say, "Gee, I think it would be a swell idea to get up an hour earlier in the summer to save energy."? NO, because when he gets up that hour earlier, he has t turn on all the lights in the barn because it's still DARK!! And it's not as if the cows are wearing wristwatches and will contentedly adjust their milking schedules to accomodate the powers that be in Congress. Then, as if that weren't annoying enough, they have decided, in their infinite wisdom and don't-give-a-damn-what-you-peasants-want power, to extend the torture by another month. And why shouldn't they start a month earlier next year? Next thing you know, we'll be saving daylight all year long. After that they'll start - what to call it? A Daylight Emergency Bail-Out Program. They'll make the dark hours ninety minutes long and the daylight hours fourty five minutes long so you can accomplish more at work and really enjoy those hours of leisure. And Roxie will become a luddite and start throwing wooden shoes at the politicians. Care to join me in some sabbot-tage?

In spite of the dark and the rain, there were no traffic troubles on my stretch of freeeway, and I blew a raspberry at those two snails as I sruised past them at sixty five miles an hour. Rather startled the guy in the Dodge Caravan, but I gave him a bright smile and cupped my hand to my head to indicate I was on the phone, and he nodded and smiled back. I never get out the phone while I'm driving, but since I talk to the air, argue with the voices in my head, and dance to the radio while sitting down, I prefer that people who observe me think I'm actually plugged into a normal form of communication. Questioning my spirit guides at freeway speeds doesn't count as normal.

By 7 AM I had reached the college, and rosey-fingered Dawn was beginning to yawn, stretch, shower and pop in her contact lenses. By 7:15, there's enough light to enjoy the drive from college to jail. I can gaze across the mighty Columbia River and enjoy the view of the steaming paper plant in Camas Washington, and the way the housing developments have covered the hillside and ridgelines like eczema on an elbow. It's too darn bad that I can remember when this was all farm and forest out here in the hinterlands. Now, there are tickytacky apartments lining the edges of broccolli fields, and stately old farm houses surrounded by industrial parks. We humans have infested the place like termites in damp siding.

The jail is planted in a low and swampy place between two arms of a slough. I just love that word - slough. It's pronounced like stew, and that's what it makes me think of. Bits and pieces and leftovers with water added, then left alone to simmer a while. The sloughs are full of healthy and interesting wildlife. Unfortunatesly the inmates never get to enjoy any of it. If the jail built an outdoor exercise yard with bars all around and over it like the bear cage at the zoo, the inmates could get out and see the sky, and the beavers and possums and great blue herons would probably come and look at them. Maybe bring the kiddies. The herons might even toss 'em a fish. And the inmates would mooch sullenly around the enclosure, and refuse to interact with the critter spectators, just like the lions and tigers and bears. Oh my.

I did, in fact, manage to take in cookies to bribe the guards, and they were tickled to receive them. "You know how to make us happy!" one remarked. "Well," I replied, "This ain't my first rodeo. I know who's gonna save my backside if things get ugly, and it's not anyone in administration." All the guards laughed.

Next week, when I start baking for the knitting soiree, I'm going to make some extras to take in to the guards. Bribery is something that needs to be continued.

Seven more weeks to go.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

moving on, moving through

Summer is really, really over. I left for work in the dark today. Back to the big jail in East county to administer GED tests. I left at 6:30, figuring it would take half an hour to get out to the college and pick up the tests. It should have taken no more than half an hour, but it rained this morning. Whenever it rains after a long dry spell, all the oil and road scum floats out of the cracks in the asphalt and renders the surface slicker than snake shit. There was an accident which reduced freeway speed to a crawl. A full stop would have been preferrable because then I could at least knit. But no, I was trapped in the early darkness amidst the 18 wheelers and the SUVs, edging along between eight and a giddy twelve miles an hour. A couple of snails galloped past me in the fog lane, making insensitive remarks and waving their eyestalks in a mocking fashion. When at last I eased up to the site of the accident, long since dealt with and tidied away, it was like getting that first glop of catsup out of the bottle. Things flowed perfectly freely from then on.

Luckily, the fellow in charge of the programs at the jail, with whom I had to meet, was running late as well. No harm, no foul. But my day did not improve. This jail has been laid out with intent to confuse and disorient, and boy does it work on me. I was lost all day long. There are cameras supervising all the halls, and several times a heavenly voice would speak from above me to say, "Where do you want to be?" I would tell them, speaking to a point rather up and to the left for some reason, and they would determine that I was too helpless to be left alone any longer. "Stay there, and we will send an officer to guide you." This is especially humiliating because usually I have an excellent sense of direction and almost never get lost. Also, one of the nightmares that will bring me sitting bolt upright in bed with cold sweat squirting from every pore is the one where I am lost and late and alone amongst strangers.

So today was a learning experience. I have been lost and late and alone among strangers, and they sent kindly guides to lead me. Thank God!!

I will go back tomorrow. I don't know if I will ever learn to find my way around in there. I doubt they will let me unroll a ball of string so I can follow it back out. Nor are they likely to let me strew a trail of breadcrumbs. If only I could have a map . . . But if I can't take my car keys, I'm darn sure they won't let me have a map.

I'm home and safe and thinking perhaps I should bake some cookies. Gotta stay on the good side of the guards, or they'll leave me to wander forever.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

A finished object and more photos phrom the phest

Here is B. in the sweater I knitted for her. Nice raglan sleeve cardigan with pockets and . . .
a little detail. Very simple cable along the edge but it really MAKES the sweater, don't you agree? In exchange, she will paint a watercolor portrait of the five fur-faced folks in our house. cool deal!

and here's a little more eye-candy from the fest. Nifty vest. Excellent design for the yarn they used.
And more pretty, pretty rovings.
Here is Tammy in her new sweater, looking perfectly dressed for a lovely September day.
And here are some other folks, looking - - ah - - dressed - - with comfort and unique style. We all do our part to keep Portland Weird.