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.”

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

How did it get to be Tuesday already?

DH and I rolled out of bed at 5 AM yesterday, and trucked on down to the gym. I put in half an hour at 3.9mph, then used the lat-pulldown machine at 45 lbs for 15 reps twice. Yeah, I sound like I know what I'm talking about, don't I? Since I'm lactose intolerant and post menopausal, I take vitamin supplements and try to do exercise that strengthens the bones in my hips and back.

Oh, what fun! A young man on a Harley just throbbed past the window. There's a lot of romance to a good motorcycle. And a slim-hipped young man with long hair blowing from under his helmet. All too often, the Harley riders I see are over fifty and over the load limit, bald under the hlemet, and very jowly under that gray beard. Harleys are expensive. You need to be financially well established to own one. And they may be wonderful, charming, intelligent, funny guys, but they're not, sigh, romantic!

Anyhow, yesterday was a 10-5 day for me, so I had lots of time to exercise, clean up, eat breakfast, and still get to work on time. My last test of the day finished early, and to fill in the final 1/2 hour, I hand delivered the untaken tests to the various department secretaries. Or rather, I tried to. By 4:30, none of the secretaries were in. Ah - summer hours on a community college campus! Luckily, their doors had a conveniently large gap underneath them, so I just shoved things under the doors and sauntered on. It was a marvelous walk - a stroll actually, all over campus wandering hither and yon in the glorious warm summer air. Ah, sigh! I like warm air, and I spend most of my life in the AC. I really ought to do something about that. It's not like I live in Phoenix or Sacramento or something.

On the knitting front, I got out my hat needles and commenced on stocking caps. Good for winter gifting. The first one, though, I'm gonna keep. DJ gives me her left-overs, and she buys wonderful expensive yarns. I have white Baby Cashmerino held with blue Kid Silk Haze and there's just enough to make a soft, glorious beautiful cap for meeeee. Photos tomorrow.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Estate sailing

Arrrgh! I remembered the money, the water, the sun block, the cell phone, but I forgot the camera! Sooo, I'll have to use my words to paint the pictures. Starting with the YSAP session (yard Sale Advance Planning)Shall we take your car or our car? Both! Park one at one end of the sale, all ride to the other end of the sale, park the other, work our way over . . . RW suggests that we park them seperately but more centrally and spiral around in torpedo swarm logarithim . . . DH and RW are making marks on a napkin. We picked up maps and settled on the park one car here - See, lots of sales in this area. Park the other car here - lots more sales nearby. Then work our way from here to there and collapse.

It was sunny and glorious, temperatures in the upper 70s, and lots of big shady trees along all the streets. DH didn't want me to take the rolling suitcase because he figured it would get too beat up, so we took knapsacks. And the first place I stopped, I found a queen-sized pink duvet cover with matching pillowcase for $1.50. Holy crow that's a lot of fabric! I stuffed it in my knapsack and carried on. It kept getting heavier and heavier as the day went along. And it started drawing in friends. A fifty cent cotton shower curtain. A set of rose print curtains for a dollar.

Then we found the mother load. 6 yards of kelly green, 6 yards of navy blue with tiny white dots, and a plethora of one and two yard pieces for a total of $20. Swear to dog, I SCORED!! Of course, there was far too much fabric to fit in the backpack. So I unfolded the 6yd green piece, and DH swagged it under my right arm and over my left shoulder and tied it into a nifty sling into which I began to stuff the overflow. AND, he insisted at that point, on taking the backpack. Hero that he is! We drank the water, ate the banana, and carried on.

One young lad, maybe 14, set up an electric keyboard and speakers and set out a big jar with a sign, "Send this kid to College." I could almost recognize some of the things he was playing, and several of the notes were right. He would have gotten more money if the sign had read, "Give this kid music lessons." DH and RW both stuck $ in the jar.

We covered miles, wandering from this side of the street to that, this yard to that, having such a LOT of fun! Every couple of blocks, some youngster had set up a lemonade stand or a coolaid dispenser. An enterprising dad had set up a snowcone maker, and his daughter was selling popcorn. I found a couple of dear young ladies- maybe 8 or 9, being very businesslike in matching pink t-shirts and white shorts with a locking cash box and everything, selling home-made cookies for 25cents each - a great deal! So I bought four and ate two and got half sick from the sugar rush - chocolate, chocolate chip with butterscotch chips and M&Ms, and peanuts and fruit loops. I think they just threw everything in the kitchen into the cookie dough. They actually tasted kinda good, but it was five hours since breakfast and by that time, rat jerkey would have tasted good if you coated it with chocolate. I wound up giving away the remaing 2 cookies to a college aged guy. Just walked up to him and said, "Would you like a cookie little boy?" He was taller than me, looked down, laughed, said "Thank you," and ate them.

DH bought me some teacups! And everything is better with a kitty. We met many friendly kitties on our outing. Some sat comfortably holding court and accepting the strokes and admiration of their public. Some sat quietly under bushes, watching the passing scene with great interest. One hung around the hot-dog barbecue, demanding his share.I wouldn't be surprised if he was mugging toddlers for their bottles, too. He was a husky boy!

Dogs were everywhere! One lady had a white cockapoo all brushed out and fluffed up - he looked like an ankle-high sheep on a leash. A weimerauner was strolling around as suave and debonaire as Fred Astair, with his water and treats in a pack on his back. Oh, he was a handsome gentleman! His owner was just a non-descript guy in shorts and t-shirt, but the dog was high class! We saw a Great Dane with the nicest manners disdaining the insults of a rude little terrier who yapped and threatened and lunged at the end of his leash till the owner picked him up and wrapped a hand around his muzzle. The Dane continued his stroll with haughty dignity and the lady on the other end of his leash brushed back a strand of her long silver hair, then patted her big companion on the shoulder. They exchanged a look of love. GOOD dog!

One group of four adults had six wagons - you know, the red ones with the raised sides? Two women each towing a single wagon with kids onboard, two guys each towing a wagon with a second wagon tied behind. The cargo wagons were loaded with games and toys and clothes. and kid furniture stuff. The passenger wagons were also loaded - to the point that kids were nesting in the midst of piles of new-used clothing like so many mice. They had circled the wagons in a quiet, shady place and were eating sandwiches - except for the baby who was sprawled over a giant stuffed dog and sleeping soundly.

We paused at one sale and discovered,to our great delight,a rolling suitcase for two dollars. DH didn't mind beating up a $2 suitcase, so we bought it and stuffed all the swag into it and heaved great sighs of relief. And now we have a rollie bag for next year! I already know that I can stuff it too heavy to lift.

MJ and RW found a cherry chest of drawers for $25. She is going to store her fabrics in it. It was, however, 3/4 of an inch too big to fit into their Prius. So we loaded it into the Ford Explorer, and called it a day! We shared lunch as Sweet Tomatoes restaurant, carted the chest of drawers to RW amd MJ's house, helped them carry it upstairs, and left them. We had been on the go from 8 AM till 3:40 and I had had all the fun I could stand!

Sale time!

This is the weekend for the Eastmoreland Neighborhood Garage Sale. Eastmoreland is an upscale neighborhood near Reed College. These are people who re-do their decor every five years or so. People who take up hobbies, have the funds to invest in really good supplies, then lose interest. People who can afford nice things, then get tired of them and want to reploace them with more nice things. People who have killer prices on their garage sale items. There will be about 140 houses selling things. I am looking for fabrics and yarns, (of course)and tea cups. I will tow a rolling suitcase to carry my swag. I have allotted myself one hundred dollars and no, absolutely no, flat out NO MORE! In fact, I am going to break it into $20s and hide them here and there about my person to give me more time to consider my purchases. My inner magpie is throwing a highland fling of glee.

I will wear comfy sneakers. First and foremost, you must take care of your feet. I have had episodes when my feet gave out while I still had money to spend. Tragic! I will stick three bottles of water and a banana in the rollie. Kids will have lemonade and cookie stands all along the way and will make you pay through the nose! A buck for a single chocolate chip cookie? Hey, they're little kids, and the cookie (after a morning of walking and shopping) looks so yummy! Even if I know that mom bought 2 dozen of the cookies for $5 at the bakery, I am still willing to pay a buck apiece when I get hungry enough.

The weather is going to be sunny and warm. I will wear a sun hat, a long-sleeved shirt, and my cargo pants. And maybe my vest. My photojournalist vest. The one with 27 pockets. It has so many pockets that it has a map of the left side pockets printed inside the right-side front, and a map of the right side pockets printed inside the left side front.

I will take my camera. There will be people with kids in wagons. There will be people with kids in strollers. There will be people with dogs of all sizes. There will be people on bicycles hauling trailers. There will be photo opportunities. There always are.

We are going with RW and MJ. We will get maps listing the various items for sale and make tactical strikes, sweeping through the neighborhood like Atilla and the Huns. (Remember, First you pillage. THEN you burn!) If I have any money left, I might go back on Sunday and haggle. "This is lovely! What will you do with it if you can't get this price? Would you consider letting it go for ....? ON the last day of a sale, it usually works. People are sick of the whole boiling and can't stand the idea of packing things away again. I once got a magnificent sideboard for $100 because we had the truck and could take it away right then. They were happy to be done with it, and I keep my good tablecloths in it now.

Wish me luck. I'll show my treaures in tomorrow's post.

Friday, June 26, 2009

And knitting at work

Day lillies make me so happy. They come, they go, and they enjoy every minute of the trip. (hey, this is my blog, and I can get anthropomorphic about flowers if I want to. Of COURSE they enjoy themselves!)

Knitting at work needs to be quite simple so I can keep my eyes up and moving. I made a nice simple scarf. stretch out your yarn as long as you want your scarf to be. Triple it. do a long tail cast on. Seed stitch, two rows of color A, two rows of color B. You are knitting along the length of the scarf. Repeat till you run out of one color. Finish the row with the other color. bind off. Photograph with a nice kitty. Everything is better with kitties.

I used some left-over Woolease in mulberry and pale pink. It goes into the donation basket.

Thursday, June 25, 2009


It's important to exercise those little grey cell, you know. Our friend and fellow knitter - Jejune, AKA Denise Sutherland - has written a wonderful workout book for the brain.

Word searches for dummies! Is this too cool for school or what? She gives you hints on how to work the puzzles, tips on techniques, and gradually makes them harder, just like a physical trainer at the gym. And just when you might start getting bored with one routine, she varies the workout. I had no idea there were so many kinds of word searches! Finally, she tops it all off by telling you how to build your own wordsearch puzzles. Can you imagine making personalized word searches for your friends and family? What an awesome present! And the price is right too. The only significant investment is your time and thought. In today's economy, what a grand idea for a gift! Especially for folks who have everything and don't need another knick-knack or u-dust'em to clutter the house. Make grandma a puzzle with the names of all her grandkids and the cities they live in. Make Aunt Marge a puzzle with the names of all the places she has gone to dry out. Hmmm- maybe not. Give your favorite fashionista a puzzle with designer labels. Or the names of America's next top model. I 'm getting out my graph paper, my pencil and a honking big eraser right now!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

This is a knitting blog after all

Here's a cozy little thermal layer to put on under a blazer when I work at the jail. All I need now is eight little buttons. That off-center closing has a sort of Korean flavor to it. I was just looking for something to keep my chest covered.

And I need a few more pairs of mittens. This pair is a good start. I now have fantasies of simultaneously knitting a pair of mittens and a matching hat on a 40" circular needle. Not all of my fantasies are capable of being realized, but this one has potential.

DH is all better, and off to the gym. I begged off. I don' wanna! (she whines in a practiced nasal voice that makes you want to squeeze your ears like fists to shut the noise out.)

Instead, I am going to put my feet up for ten minutes, savor my tea, enjoy the early morning light on the lawn. Then I gotta get dressed and head to work. I treasure a few minutes of intensive leisure!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Frist Monday of summer'09

Dh was up and at'em at five AM, so we betook ourselves to the gym. I said, "Now don't overdo." Then I could have smacked myself in the forehead. Talk about a sure way to encourage him to prove how fit he really is. I need to learn to keep my stupid mouth closed. He is now flopped on the sofa, feeling rather pale and queasy.

I got in 30 min on the treadmill at 3.8mph. OK, so it was really 28.5 minutes. I started the morning with a cup of applesauce and drank two bottles of water while exercising. Then a nice owl of oatmeal when I got home, so I should be set for the day. Of course, I DO have to change into work clothes and put on some makeup before I head for work in 2 hours. Think I could squeeze in a nap?

I'm knitting and I have the loom set up. Dave Daniels has initiated a weaver's exchange. Weave at least two yards of cotton fabric and send it to your partner who will then use one yard to make something for you. (You get to keep the other yard.)The constructor can use additional fabrics, buckles, buttons, whatever! I want to use up some linen warp on the loom, then warp up with cotton. I'll do photos for the process if you want. Or check back in my blog and find the series on, "The old pro weaves."

Nothing exciting, nothing profound. Life is good, the sun is shining, and my i-pod earbuds work in the entertainment equipment at the gym. May you have a swell day!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

First day of summer, '09

It's seasonably cool and wet for the fisrt day of summer. Webfoot Racer had a solstice party at her house last night, giving me a chance to make the pasta salad and attend. DH stayed home and nursed his stinkin' cold. He's much better today, though still not feeling perky. At least he's not missing time off from work for this. And when I make pig noises at him, he just gives me a long-suffering look, so I don't think he has swine flu. Thank God!!

Webfoot Racer used to be a stock car racer. She is now a landscaper and a kick-ass writer. Her parties are superbly well planned. She had set up awnings against the persistent mizzle, and multiple fire-baskets to ward off the chill. She had also provided goodie bags for the little kids to keep them occupied so they wouldn't bug the grownups. There were bubble wands andstick-on tattoos and glow-wands and stuff. The kids, however, were having much more fun playing with the fires. I came across an abandoned package of tattoos and went for it. Pretty soon, most of the adult women had a stick-on tattoo somewhere unobtrusive. A butterfly on the hip or a celtic knot on the nape of the neck or a flying scarab on the shoulder. The guys were easier to persuade. I gave one fellow a flaming eyeball in the center of his forehead and another guy had a bulldog on his neck behind his left ear. I slept in my tattoo. Pretty edgy, don'tcha think? I gotta get some of these stick-ons! This is just wayyyy too much fun!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

this is how we build . . .

A pasta salad.

Start the day before. The various ingredients need to take a little time to get acquainted and mix up their flavors.

Caution: there is no way to build a small pasta salad. Get out your biggest bowl - or maybe your turkey roaster. I kid you not. The secret of my pasta salad is threefold. Stint not on the price of the ingredients. Used LOTs of marinated artichoke hearts. Remember, "Behind every delicious little morsel is another delicious little morsel.

1. Dump a bag of Italian Style frozen vegetables in a collander.

2. Cook up some dry pasta - maccaroni or rotini is good. Spaghetti is just too messy to eat in this salad. Bow ties (farfelle?) are too fragile.

3.Add a big package of tortellini (or ravioli or some other stuffed pasta.

4. While you are waiting for the water to boil, open and drain a can of garbanzo beans, a can of red beans, a can of green beans

5.And a can of olives. Sample a few olives.

6. Open but do NOT drain a can of Italian style tomatoes.

7. Take a nice salami . . .

cut it in half-inch slices then quarter each slice. This makes a piece big enough to pick out if you don't like salami, and big enough to taste if you do.

When the pasta is just barely al dente, drain it over the frozen veggies, then dump everything: pastas, veggies, beans, olives tomatoes and salami into your big bowl (or the turkey roaster)

8. Add a honking big jar of marinated artichoke hearts. Dump them in, marinade and all.

9. Top with a bottle of Newman's Own Italian dressing. The money you spend on it still goes to the charity he set up and the flavor is just right! TRust me. OK, if you can't find Newman's Own in Australia, use a good quality Italian dressing with lots of olive oil.

10. Turn gently, mixing things together and getting that wonderful oil and vinegar concoction over everything. Cover and store in the refrigerator - at least a few hours. Overnight is better. Whenever you think of it, go and give it another gentle turn, bringing the stuff on the bottom up to the top, and maybe snatching a marinated artichoke heart while you're at it.

When it's party time. stick in two big serving spoons, fill your plate first, then stand back.

If you feel like it, add sliced cherry tomatoes, slices of yellow summer squash, slices of zucchini, or slices of mild onions. Or extra broccolli or whatever seems good to you.

Friday, June 19, 2009


The getting up at five and going to the gym is good for us. Really, it is. But DH has come down with a disgusting summer cold and has decided that wisdom dictates more time in bed and less physical expenditures today. So I get to loll in my desk chair, watch the neighborhood stroll by, wave at whoever looks in the window, and catch up with blogs. I'm sorry DH is sick, but I am not sorry to miss sweating on the treadmill - be it NEVER so good for me!

Things are blooming gladly in the garden. Roses . . .

Lillies (calla)

Lillies (day)

Lillies (oriental and Fragrant!)

And our little dogwood is a teathered cloud of beauty.

Yesterday, I got ready to sew the long seam all around the quilt, and LG asked, "What can I do to help?" The only thing I could think of was to say, "Tell me a story." And right then and there, she made up a magnificent story about the beautiful Princess Roxanna and the comtest promulgated by the Emperpr of "Over There" to find the wisest princess in the lands. LG acted out all the parts and had me nearly weeping with laughter. In order to win the prize, the princess had to guess what it was. Princess Blonde said it must be to be admired by all the young men. Princess Dominitia said, it was to have all men fear her and tremble at her wish. Princess Giddy just wanted a entire new wardrobe. Princess Roxanna said, "I can't think of anything else I need in life to maked me happy, so I guess I don't need to compete for a prize." And the courrier said, "You GOT it!" and everyone lived happily ever after.

Every personality in my inner committee is enthralled with the story and they have asked me to formally thank LG for the regal gift. Thank you, LG!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Another terror is created.

LG has been reading about the fast and dirty quilts MJ and I have been making, and came over today to whack together one of her own. Not that there was much fast and dirty to it. She had already pieced ninety nine beautiful squares. Being the eager idiot I am, I neglected to take a picture of the basic squares. But this is how they look slapped together at half-random (we were careful about the alignment, but not too fussy about which square went where.)

We had two sewing machines, and the sewing was going so well that the pressing sort of fell by the wayside. Oh well. (Roxie fluttering her eyelashes in an innocent fashion.)

And in spite of Roxie proving not once but twice that she is unable to count to nine, and LG very kindly taking apart one bass-ackward seam that Roxie had slammed together at speed, and both taking an hour for a sumptuous lunch, we still got the borders on, the back pieced, and the whole sandwich sewn and turned before two in the afternoon.

For the borders, I introduced LG to the joys of ripping your strips. Much more fun than cutting and ever so much faster. We had a ripping good time, and are now both tearers extraordinaire!

It's so much fun to sew with someone else. And working with someone else's palatte is just a delight. Also, I love to spread the gospel of "Don't worry about doing it right. Let's just get it DONE!"

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


So, according to the new plan, DH and I got up at 5 AM and went to the gym. I walked on the treadmill at 3.7 mph for 30 min. Then we showered and came home, I put on my makeup, and went to work. I have been nearly falling asleep all day! Evidently, one bottle of water was not enough - I've been dehydrated. And I missed my morning tea, too. I am SUCH a pantywaist! I want to eat before I work out. DH thinks I should work out first, then eat. Which is better?

I ask, because you have come up with such brilliant solutions to the pink-dyed black and white tablecloth. Overdye it with red? Yes! Buy pink and black china to go with the cloth? Excellent, sideways solution! And of course, it means that I MUST make a new black and white cloth. The dye-grabber sheet might have worked if I hadn't run the thing through the dryer first. But rather than being a cause for sorrow, I now see the pinking of the cloth as a grand new opportunity!

Saturday is the solstice; the longest day of the year. It would be lovely if our cloudcover would break long enough to see where the sun rises and sets, but I don't see why it should happen this year since it hasn't in the past fifteen. Today is in the lower 70s, cloudy, and humid. It feels rather tropical to me. I want to loll under a palm tree with a rum punch and drowsy husband. I'm very good at lolling! He is more of the "We might be missing something!" type. Yep. We might be missing a nice lazy loll in the shade. Siddown, Darling.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Summer vacation

Dh was notified yesterday that he is on a three-week layoff. Work is really slow, and it was a choce between DH, or a 23 year-old fellow who is supporting his mother and sister. Dh told the boss that the young fellow needed the work more, and volunteered to take the time off. Is my husband a prince, or what? His goal for the layoff? To loose 10 pounds. He's at the gym already. Oh, gronch! Looks like I'm gonna start hitting the gym as well. I Hate to sweat! (Think happy endorphins, Roxie. Think happy, happy endorphins!)

Remember this lovely black and white tablecloth? It got washed with DH's burgundy bathrobe. Black and pink is cool, right? It's been through with bleach and it's still black and pink. Very. Sigh. I can't bear to photograph it yet. whimper.

Off to work. I'm parking at the far end of the far lot so I get about a ten-minute walk in to work. Untill it starts getting dark at 5, this will be one way to get a little more exercise. And during the summer, it is pure pleasure! May your day be pure pleasure as well!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Also on the weekend

Saturday afternoon the postman delivered a big squooshy brown paper parcel containing - tah dah! - yarn! Yarn which I had not ordered or expected. It was a gift from Lyssa of Fearandloathinginlosangeles. The card said, "I found this when I was cleaning out my studio and well. . . me and knitting, we don't see each other much these days. It seems like it should appeal to your magpie, you 16 year-old, and whoever it was that likes pink."

What my inadequate photographic skills fail to show is the green glitters in this sophisticated grey and brown CherryTreeHill bounty. Lyssa has it pegged. My inner magpie is doing happy dances with the inner 16year-old and the inner 3-year old. Thank you, Lyssa! Thank you, thank you. And the magpie says "Kwark, kwark!"

On Sunday, we made a dash to the farmers' market for more strawberries. The season for Hood berries is short and you have to grab them and feast while you can. They don't keep at all. You could make freezer jam, maybe but that doesn't preserve the melting tenderness of the berry or the burst of fresh perfection when you bite into them. Meanwhile, look at the baby squashes! DH grabbed two bunches of little carrots while my back was turned. They taste more carroty than those little orange nubbins you can buy pre-peeled and bite-sized in bags in the store. I do LOVE the farmers' market.

This fellow could almost ride home on his pet. That was the biggest great Dane I have ever seen.

Back to work and looking forward to a lazy slow summer term. Finals are all over and in the testing center, livin' is easy. We hope. At least untill the placement test madness ramps up in late August.

In the Willamette valley, summer doesn't really start until after July 7, and it lasts through the first week of October. Then the rain starts again. I am SO looking forward to summer!! Gad I'm a lazy broad!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Party time two

Yes, the strawberries really are that red. And we ate almost a full flat (but there are some left for me!) And we laughed and discussed medical problems and spirituality and travels and the New York City transit system. The table was never perfectly complete because people were still bringing goodies as they arrived, so by the time all the treats were here, half of them had been eaten. Beth brought a spice cake and LG brought pastries and TW brought curried shrimp and cucumber sandwiches (with the crusts cut off) and chocolate cookies. I was going to have shortcakes for the strawberries, but they stayed in the oven too long and became fit only to stone the crows. But the angeglfood cake went over a treat, as did the plain yougurt. So we did not go hungry.

And now DH and I are going to hit the hot tub at the gym. May your Saturday be wonderful!

party time!

The Pink Peace rose is blooming. It is rife with blackspot, yet every year it produces these exquisite blossoms anyway. Peace will not be denied.

I just got two more confirmations via e-mail. I gotta run to the store and buy more strawberries. Oh bliss, oh joy!! And set more places at the table. And slice the turkey ham for the Triscuit hammiches. And gather me rosebuds whilest I may, old time is now a-flying, and that sweet rose which blooms in May, by autumn will be dying. (Paraphrase of Richard Lovelace, "Advice to Young Girls." Basically he says, "Get it on while you're fresh and pretty, because pretty soon, no one will want you." The romantic poets were chauvinist pigs.)

Party photos to follow.

Friday, June 12, 2009


My dear boss turned me loose yesterday after my session at the jail. I offered to stay to help with the finals madness, but things were fairly quiet, and I already have too many hours for the week, so she said, "Much as we would love you to grace us with your calming presence, I think we'll let you go." Wahoo! I have time to bake, clean house and I even got the table set already!
This is a tablecloth I sewed a few years ago. I just had a yen to do black and white. When I was 18, Mother insisted I pick a china pattern, so I chose a simple black and white design by Noritake. Striking, and easy to accessorize.

Yes, everything IS better with a kitty. Wait untill you see it with bowls heaped with strawberries, and red rosepetals scattered on the cloth.

A while back I did the craft meme where I offered to send a hand-crafted item to anyone who commented on that post. One of the commentors was KnitTech for whom I made a mohair willy warmer to give to her beloved husband. In return, she very generously sent me a row counter bracelet. I tend to avoid patterns that require rows to be counted, but this is so pretty that it may seduce me in. MAybe a simple lace . . . I always design a section of garter stitch in any cable patterns to make row counting easy.

And knitting has been going on. This is a mohair boucle and wool vest that keeps me cozy at the jail. Just a simple rectangle with shoulder seams and afterthought armholes. Really, I ought to knit something that requires a few of my Master Knitter skills once in a while. Not right away, though. I need mitties for next winter.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

You guys made me cry

I wasn't hinting for goodies. Really! But you just showered me. You made me all sniffly and heart-warmed. What wonderful, wonderful friends I have! Roses to you!

Knitting at my house this Saturday. Y'all come, OK? It's finals week and I'll be pressed to get the place swept and the table set (the theme is "black and white and red all over")so I'll be buying cookies and maybe some frozen savories, but I think I can get Hood berries, so the house will be full of the smell of baking shortcake when you get here!

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

And I'm still smiling

When I give the instructions for the GED tests, I try to make it as interesting and entertaining as possible. Usually, the candidates sit there like oysters in the shell, and I never know if I'm getting through or not. One young lady, home-schooled of course, was alert and alive and paying attention for every test. She laughed at my jokes and smiled when she saw me. She was a treat to deal with. Yesterday she took her last test, and as she left she handed me a little envelope. She wrote me a thnk-you note! She took the time and went to the effort to write me a lovely, sweet little note. Just a few words, and it just MADE my day! Such a simple way to give so much pleasure. I think I'll write a few thank-you notes today. Is there anyone you would like to delight? It doesn't have to be a comprehensive list of all the virtues a person has. It could be, "Thank you for making the coffe in the morning. It makes my day so much easier."

And thanks to all of you for being there and giving me a reason to post. I do love my blog buddies!

Monday, June 08, 2009

not a week to vegetate

(Took the camera to the grocery store. lots of fun colors and textures there)
It's finals week. I have to leave home a bit early and stay at work a bit longer and posting will be brief and at speed if at all. But it's nice to get a bit more $$ in the bank.

DH spoiled me this weekend. He bought me an I-pod. Now I need to borrow a fifteen-year-old to train me in its use. I did manage to upload all the Lime and Violet podcasts for starters. I had no idea they were so long! Now I need to learn how to delete as I listen to them so there'll be room for music. And I'll have to figure which music I want. Mason Williams and Jimmy Buffet and Ralph Vaugh Williams for sure. What's your fave?

Saturday, June 06, 2009


Picture this: 5:30 on a rainy cool Saturday in May, with a light breeze shaking drips off the shady maples that overhang the street, and all the flowers fresh-faced from their showers. The air smells like Eden, and a man and his dog could walk for miles. So the bearded gentleman with his big yellow mongrel on a leash both feel (and rightly so) that they own the morning. He's strolling, and the dog is sniffing, and as they come past our house, he must feel my eyes on him, because he glances up. I'm sitting in my office, Lights on in the darkish morning, laptop in place, bathrobe and hair in disarray, cup of tea in hand. We make eye contact. I grin and wave. He looks astonished to find another human being alive in this brave new world. He breaks stride, trying to think if he knows me, gives an uncertain smile and a little half-wave. Then he connects the idea of my lawn with his large dog and suddenly drags the beast across the street lest it should befoul my frontage. And they hustle out of my line of sight.

later, a small woman with two large dogs on leash walks by, makes eye-contact. I smile & wave. She waves back. There are two plastic bags in her hand. She has already picked up after her pets.

A young woman with three dogs walks by. She has leopard print galoshes & a leopard print hooded poncho. The big shepherd-cross dog is wearing a collar and a leash and a cocky, self-assured gait. The smaller, spaniel-sized dog is wearing collar, leash, and a loepard-print coat to match the owner's poncho and boots. This dog is embarassed to death and hopes his friends don't see him. The little fluffy dog is wearing leopard print with pride and insousiance, and has a human on the leash to add to his consequence. Ms Leopard print looks neither to left nor to right as the dogs tow her along the street.

The biker from a few blocks away passes with his white wolf-hybid. I smile and wave, and he waves back. Dogs are great at making introductions, and this dog gets his person out at least three times a day.

The man with the three-legged doberman jogs past. The dog just loves to run and hates to pause even to say hello. Sort of a canine Lance Armstrong.

The 90 year-old woman with her fat little pug creeps past. She can't see as far as the front of the house, so I don't bother waving. She walks three miles a day, every day. Her body is failing, but her spirit is indomitable. Her pug sometimes sits down and pants for a while before he will agree to walk any further, and she waits patiently while he gets his breath back.

I am a cat person, but there is definitely something to be said for a dog that needs to be walked. I've watched cats taking a walk, and unless they are headed home to the food bowl, they meander. They have their own paths and destinations all pre-determined and would bitterly resent my company. Dogs are so happy to have you along that they will go anywhere you like. I have a vision of trying to walk any of my cats on a leash. First put on the harness. The cat lies like a lump of dough and practices complete passive-resistance. Maybe Pepper, making the connection between leash and outdoors, would consent to walk out. The next picture would be of her darting under a bush and twining the leash inextricably around the twiggery so that there is no recourse but to release her from it. And awayyyy she goes! Picture Roxie, standing under a maple tree, looking up with leash in hand, trying to make a sound like a can of tunafish.

Friday, June 05, 2009

On the way home from work

This is a shortcut to the parking lot I have to use when I return from the jail. By 10:AM, the parking lot nearest to the office is full and so I get a little more exercise in my day. By 2PM I'm headed home, and on a sunny, summery day, a walk in the woods is just the ticket! You have to pretend really hard that you can't hear the auto shop work going on, and you have to pause in just the right place not to see buildings and parking lots, but as it stands right here, isn't this a path into fantasy?

Thursday, I was SUCH a good girl. I cleaned the computer room for two hours and worked hard enough to raise a good sweat. I did the ironing and folded laundry, put out the recycling and scoured litterboxes and even cleaned the living-room carpet (except for the dust-bunny sanctuary under the sofa and the endtables. The kitties are entitled to their pets.) In the afternoon, as I was knitting and fast-forwarding through America's Next Top Model recordings (I am fascinated by the photo shoots. Now I look at ads in a whole different way.) an extraordinary string of thunderstorms swept up the valley. About the time they got to us, a migraine began to fracture my vision, and I realized my hands and feet were like ice. I went to bed in the dark with a hot water bottle and five asprins, and managed to avoid the throwing up part. Today, I am pain-free, but sluggish and dopey. I think the pressure changes and electricity sparked this one. Either that, or it was the chlorine fumes from the bleach I used on the litterboxes. Anyhow, neither event is likely to happen again for months, so I should be good to go from here on in. And I think I'll spend the day in my jammies, since my head really is too thick to get out and about with.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

introducing a few characters

My mind gets rather crowded sometimes. There's the inner child in all her ages (the 3-year-old adores pink glitter. The 16-yeaqr-old thinks grey is sooooo sophisticated. Sometimes I wear grey with pink glitter accessories.)
There the tapeworm that screams, "Starvation!!" at the sight of every cookie, biscuit or cupcake. The inner crone casts disparaging glances at young women in "skinny" jeans and cleavege-displaying t-shirts. ("Rome fell," she wants to scold, "and those proud tatas will fall too, Sweetie. Develop your MIND for god's sake!") The inner magpie wants to pick things up, and the Zen nun wants to let them go. Sometimes the nun goes through the house and clears out the pretty rocks, leaves, feathers, candy wrappers, bits of string and whatnots that the magpie has collected. The magpie doesn't care. She doesn't want to HAVE, only to pick up.

So the nun encourages me to sew like a pieceworker and whip out comforters to put that conglomeration of yardage to use.I get great joy from doing it, and all the parts of my mind are happy while it goes on. Then I go to the fabric store to buy some batting, and the magpie goes NUTS! Fat quarters are just like potato chips to her. They are irresistable, and she can never stop at just one. Of course you have to pass the racks and racks of fat quarters on the way to the batting and sometimes I try to scuttle by with my head averted, muttering, "Don't look. Don't look." Those are the days that the beads trip me up. I don't do beading. I buy beads, and don't use them. At least I use the fat quarters. It starts so innocently. My eye falls on a wonderful caramel-colored print. Right shade, right scale, right everything. It's the perfect piece to go with that brown and the terracotta chunks at home. And if I add this mossy green for accent . . . ooo, and look, a bundle of gold and mustard and yellow - why I can always use those colors. And they're on sale! I'll save enough on this bundle (of fabrics that I don't need and have no plan for) that I can buy this wonderful whimsical glittery pink stuff (the magpie and the 3-year-old often work hand in claw.)

So I fear entering the fabric stores. I could go to Goodwill and buy a nice used blanket for the thermal layer in a comforter, but everytime I go in there, the magpie picks up a new blazer or a cup and saucer or a new summer shirt. Where is that zen nun when I need her? Probably sitting cross-legged under a tree meditating on the color of the wind in Septober. Is there a 12 step program out there for magpies anonymous? I need some holp with this. You can't just go cold turkey on a magoie, even if you ARE feeling a little too chicken to look at the credit-card bill.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

It's all my fault.

We have had halcyon days for a week. Warm, but not too warm. Sunny and green and fresh and flowery. Sunday I went out and watered all my flowers because it hadn't rained on them for DAYS! I mixed fertilizer in the water and hand carried it all over the front and back yard and gave all my blooming friends a nice big tasty drink.

And the next day, it rained like a cow pissing on a flat rock. (The only thing I could have done worse would have been to wash my car. It needs it, but I'm afraid of bringing on the deluge. I'll save that for mid-August.) At the college, all the kids were in their tanktops and flip-flops. They looked like a bunch of wet kittens. They would scamper from class to class with books held overhead, splashing through puddles and throwing splatters of mud up the backs of their legs. They would huddle in packs in the doorways and stare at the wetness in innocent dismay. "It's RAINing!" In college, you learn many things that have nothing to do with classes. For example, check the weather forecast before you dress for the day.

Today is humid and warm, and threatening more rain. And look what I found on the table when I got home.

DH went out between showers and cut me a bouquet so I could enjoy them in the house rather than let the elements beat them up. Surely I am among the most fortunate of women!

Monday, June 01, 2009


Rose asked if there is a recipe for potpourri. Not really. Pick the petals in the afternoon when the dew is gone, and spread them in a basket to dry. I seperate colors because some dry prettier than others, and if I have a really good year, I can use some of them for packing material when I ship my Christmas gifts.

Store them in an air-tight container when they are utterly dry. Otherwise you will get a nasty mildewy thing going on and have to throw it all away.

I add lavender, and if the fragrance is too blah, a couple drops of scented oils. Cloves and cinnamon bits are nice, as are dried orange and lemon peels. And now that we have a rosemary bush, that might go in as well. Potpourri turns trash i nto treasure. Create a container and give goodness to all your ladyfriends. (how about sachets for the lingerie drawers? Or plait a basket of fragrance to stir up whenever you pass?)

I sewed another quilt top. Now to find a back and a batt. Then, photos. I can see that I HAVE to set up the loom or this sewing thing will consume me. It's self-preservation, right?