Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Blizzard pix 2010

I vowed I would not take pictures of snow again, even though it was a pretty big storm -- approximately twenty inches fell on us, with high winds and drifting, very dramatic overnight -- but oh well, I'm weak, and I couldn't resist a picture of the roof across the street, sculpted by snow into shapes like waves on a beach

and of the patio, where you see a large cake of snow sitting on the table, and that dark line in the background is the top of the fence.

The patio is pretty much filled to the brim with snow, since we seem to be in the path of all the wind eddies, which is why my plants blow over in the summer.

However, three neighbors came to my rescue yesterday and did most of the digging to get my car out in case we needed a quick exit (or an entrance for emergency ambulance help, actually) and today another one showed up to take my keys and move the car for me to let the snowplows finish up cleaning the parking places. I was in the middle of giving HP breakfast when the snowguys showed up, so neighbor rescued me kindly and drove the car out of harm's way and brought it back once things were cleared.

I ventured out to the bank and the nearest food store this morning, and after skidding helplessly several times on unplowed side roads between us and the main road, decided that once this thaws a bit in the day then freezes again this evening, it's more than my neck is worth to venture out again to the gallery opening party scheduled for this evening.

I feel bad about it, being one of the begetters of the original library gallery concept in the town, and this being a significant event, but sometimes discretion wins. And there are plenty of important people going to be there.

I feel terrible when I make decisions like this. Hm. Maybe I could work on that in the New Year.

One vow I will keep though: I won't talk about the year that's nearly finished, unlike all the broadcast media and newspapers and everyone! several reasons: half the time I can't actually remember much of it, at least not interesting bits, and it's too dull to write, let alone to read.

So you are spared, at least in this space. Some people can write amusingly and movingly and grippingly about the Year That Was, so I will read them and enjoy, and refrain from doing it here, heh.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Snowmania giveaway and new furniture

Take a look at the group pix of wooden handpainted pinback pins. I have a dozen ready to give as a little New Year's gifts to thank faithful blogistas and commenters here and in Art, the Beautiful Metaphor.

They can be worn on lapels or hatbands, a couple of have a hole or two drilled in them, design feature in fact, but I wouldn't object to the new owner's using that to adapt to a pendant or other clever idea.

Here's a closer view

Anyway, if I don't already know your snailmail address, please email me with it at lxxadams@yahoo.com and let me know you'd like one. A pin, that is. Please let me choose which one, in case the one you chose was gone already and all the recriminations that entails. Oh, no, I'm thinking of Dollivers now..

Speaking of whom, they have a New Year present: a little red enameled chair, rescued from the dumpster area right before the snow started, which two of them are modeling here, as they sit watching the snow fall

and wondering if Boud has remembered to get the snow shovel out and her gloves and boots ready..a lot of snow is forecast over the next day, high winds, drifts, you name it. It did hold off politely until I got back to the house with new firewood and lighters, a kind touch, I thought.

And the Ds. also wanted to be seen in their conservatory, under the Boston fern, pinkie fingers raised, in search of their afternoon tea.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas from us all

The Dollivers, with the pillows of Joy, Peace and No (in fact Noel, but a Dolliver likes it better this way), and the creche, with wise men in the multitude, and all the attendant pets and Ds own dolls, wish you all a Merry Christmas, Good New Year and all you wish for.

If that includes peace and quiet, we definitely second that, too. And we remember Kwanzaa, and we even remember Festivus, the Festival for the Rest of Us, with the recital of the grievances....

The Ds demanded that HP be part of the picture, too, and helped get him together with them, then instructed him to say cheese or else, and here's a picture of HP looking cheerful, which is pretty amazing, since we had one of those bad mornings. Much better now and after listening to carols and cheery songs on the radio, both feeling much more Christmassy than we did a couple of hours ago.

Even the toughest day can yield something good, and the Ds ensured the comic relief that put us all back together again.

And this afternoon, we plan a Christmas Even afternoon tea complete with the authentic English scones and gourmet jam, courtesy of dear Carol Q, and excellent tea, Lapsang Souchong for HP courtesy of Rhonda, and PG Tips for me, courtesy of Carol, like Rhonda, from Ravelry. Such great friends, who couldn't be happy?

Cheers, blogistas!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Oops, technology overcame me...

For those readers who might have stopped in here a while back and noticed a post about jewelry and wondered what I was up to, I had omitted to remember that I had two blogs now, and thought I was in the right one, sigh.

That post is now where it b'longs, in the Art the Beautiful Metaphor blog, where anyone may seek it out.

But if you saw it here and then came back and thought, dang, I could have sworn there was a post in here, the mean answer is: oh, you're losing it! and the true answer is: Boud is losing it!

Anyway, I deleted it in here because tweren't intended for here. Sorry, folks.

I am in good company, though, since Yahoo is working behind the scenes updating the Freecycle groups, and they put their inner workings out on everyone's screen a while back, totally incomprehensible to most of us and totally beta, not working at all. I guess someone must have said, hey, you didn't mean to send that private work to the whole world, did you? because the next day it was back as usual....

So, tain't just me. Phew.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

About Time, Too

All of Boud's clan, human, animal and fibrous, today give a shout out to a Congress that finally swept away one more barrier to civil rights, and passed the repeal of the infamous Don't Ask, Don't Tell. That was a compromise between not allowing gay people to serve at all in the military, and between allowing them to serve without compromising their own integrity by hiding their identity. An unhappy compromise, too.

So now, one more step in the right direction, toward a simple civil right, not to conceal your self while putting your life on the line for the rest of us.

Dear friends who are gay, and out, or gay and not out, or gay and I respect your privacy about the matter, we celebrate this step and look forward to more of them.

And we can all join in and say, well, about time, too!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Great Conjunctions

Last day of autumn yesterday, and my reading and the planets for once were in conjunction. Like this: I have been into three books at once, as usual, Joyce Maynard memoir, a John Bayles (was husband of Iris Murdoch) memoir and a Karen Armstrong examination of the Buddha's life, what we know of it.

Very different sounding, but amazingly coincidental in that they all take a careful view of a life and the life of the mind and the spirit, not what I had realized when I lighted on them, but I will take credit for this.

Maynard is a tortured soul, brilliant writer and literary scholar in many ways, but with amazingly little ability to analyze her own emotions, and even less ability to use emotional intelligence. She had a brief but life changing relationship with J.D.Salinger, when she was still only in her teens, and a lot of this book analyzes this in retrospect trying to make sense of her bewitchment by him, and some heartbreaking realizations she makes. Almost too painful to read at times, but engrossing nonetheless, though I did have to skim some parts that felt like voyeurism, she is now in mid life starting to get a thing or two.

Then there's John Bayles, an intellectual and a keenly introspective person, who has an enormous life of the imagination, which he has conjured up all his life, very self analytical in a way that does not flatter himself, and able to find adventures in his own mind even in the midst of caring for Murdoch throughout her Alzheimer's journey. He does not give his own emotions a lot of daylight, but the grit shows through anyway.

He has a way of finding sparks of joy and interest in the smallest event, in the course of a life that is one of the hardest of caregiving work, definitely should be required reading for any grownup. Or for anyone who wants to see a true learner at work.

And Karen Armstrong, whose struggles with her health have been documented elsewhere, and who has risen above them to the point of rarely giving them house room, is a rarity among theologians -- someone who can write for laypeople to read, and whose honesty shines through, never forgetting that there are principles to remember throughout her writing. She has a balance of emotional and intellectual intelligence that is instructive to observe.

Then if this weren't enough for a person to be learning from, I found out almost accidentally that there was an eclipse of the moon last night, as the season went from fall to winter.

I was up at 3 a.m. and decided a cup of tea would be good, also maybe the morning paper had arrived, and I looked out to the street, and there above the roof opposite was the moon in the last stage of the eclipse. Whereupon I hauled self and camera out to the front step, realizing a bit late that bitter weather and a wind was a really bad time to be out in pajamas, but oh well, and did my best to get a picture to share.

It's one of the few times I will ever be able to say I did better than Pasadena on this, since they had pouring rain, zero visibility, and their wonderful telescope was sitting with the lens cap on or whatever they do when you can see anything.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

The Dollivers and Christmas plans

We decided that since Boud claims to be tired, why, why? she does nothing, we would have to take over and plan a big event for Christmas around here.

So a delegation of us hitched a ride to the libe and showed her how a Christmas tree should be

complete with a lot of presents for Dollivers all around and how Martha Stewart does Christmas food

none of this simple stuff for her, no, and fancy bells

and shells, and trees that she only needs a team to assemble.

We were only slightly nonplussed, what Boud would call a five dollar word, to find that the parcels at the libe are for little kids who have nothing much on their agenda for Christmas, so we decided, okay, Boud can send them a little something, and make a few hundred lollipops and baked goods and we hope she didn't actually notice that we swiped her new pearl bracelet which has become a great tiara for a D. And later it became a necklace for the same D, to make sure nobody took it back..the earrings are on another Dolliver, Blondie, naturally, she gets everything.

So that's us, and if Boud wants to rest her tootsies instead of undertaking all these tiny little tasks, well, we'll have to find another person to do it for us, that's all. Us do it? We don't THINK so...

Friday, December 17, 2010

Ho! Ho! yawwwwwnnnnn Ho!

This is the time of year when it's really cold, and dark early and I have a great sense of wishing I could just stay in bed till February, like a cat! so Christmas calls on energy I'm a bit short of. I do walk, be it ever so cold, because that's a Good Thing and stuns my neighbors, most of whom are from tropical climes whose walking stops dead in October.

We do celebrate Christmas, but in a muted sort of way! three festive pillows

and one ceramic creche and additions to the collage of cards on the door

where HP can see and enjoy them.

That's it for decorations. Occasional neighbor stopping in is IT for entertaining. Nice meal on Christmas Day made together with wonderful HS, is it for partying. I guess this really is muted, since HPs nurse visited today and asked us if we celebrate Christmas! so low key you can't even tell it's there..

I like Christmas done this way, though, not my fave time of year, too much enforced jollity, and it's nice to enjoy it quietly and without fanfare. And I'm fervently glad that they repealed the law that said you must attend Nutcracker or risk heavy fines.

HP gave us an inspired Christmas gift last year -- a box of cards to use this year! what a terrific idea. So I have been able to do that, with my rather short list, and enjoy doing it. And when a card arrives from someone who wasn't a sendee, I can retaliate, I mean reciprocate, right away. This is good.

I notice that I'm already thinking gardening, though, the indoor kind until I can get outside for the other kind. I did a couple of miniature transplants into my dish gardens, because I love the way a tiny shootling from a big begonia looks suddenly like a giant in the dish garden, tree-like. And a few shoots of chives are towering over the mosses. And a vanishingly tiny rootling of spearmint is establishing itself as a plant to be reckoned with among the pebbles in the mossy landscape.

I love the way the plants know instantly when the days lengthen and start to grow more, before humans can detect the difference. One of the advantages of time starting to rush ahead in older age, though, is that the winter goes just as fast. Spring's here before you know what happened.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Hippo Birdies, Sags!

Hippo Birdies TwoEwes, all the Sagittarians who follow this blog! Diane, MaryAnn, Ruth, are there others, too? and Moi. Today I enter the Terrible (Seventy) Twos, and I'm planning on celebrating the whole year, wheeeeee....

HS came over last night to leave a card to be sure I got it first thing, and he'll be over on Saturday to cook and serve us a special birthday dinner which I chose, involving chicken and cheese and crusty bread and I forget the name, but it's great, and I explained I plan to be very hungry, please make a lot!

Great electronic cards from friends how on earth do you remember the date, and...

All in all, life is good!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Bios and Christmas letters

It's the time of year when I'm thankful to have been dropped from most Christmas letter lists, probably because word got out that I really don't think much of them.

Maybe it's penmanship envy, maybe because to write a letter that is not full of oh this terrible thing happened to us in January, and we bravely soldiered on, then this terrible thing happened to us in February, and once again we soldiered on, etc. etc., is above my pay grade.

I mean, that's why God invented blogging! And then there's the other letter full of name dropping and exotic travel bragging and credential getting by offspring, save me. That's why God invented autobiography.

Anyway, I believe the Christmas letter is an artform beyond the capacity of most of the people who attempt it. And so is autobiography, but there are shining exceptions.

One is a wonderful book by Penelope Lively, one of my favorite novelists anyway, who uses a novel hook for her bio of her own family, in many generations, "A House Unlocked" the house they lived in for ages and the gardens her grandmother designed and tended. Homey items like umbrella stands and gongs and things (this was a gracious home) trigger wonderful essays on social issues and history, excellent reading. The name dropping and credential bragging is sewn neatly into the whole and works perfectly.

For gardeners among us, there's a great chapter on the history and development of the notion of gardening, with special reference to Gertrude Jekyll who created what a lot of people now think is an ancient English garden form. And Lively understands the impact of civilization on what we think of as the landscape, which is in fact a carefully engineered phenomenon, not an act of nature at all.

Big contrast with the other bio I read recently, that of Julia Child, who comes across less happily than she might have wished -- as a loud, extroverted person who has little insight into anyone else's feelings or perceptions, but who is driven by perfection in food prep and serving. Fun to read, but must have been truly awful to live with. Her nephew, the co-biographer, commented on how little introspection she showed.

The enormous amount of detail about the people, places and food are drawn from the massive correspondence between her husband and his twin brother, which both of them evidently saved, so there was a mass of raw material for J's nephew to draw on in discussion with her in order to create the book. Some great pictures taken by her gifted artist husband, mostly in France, and he was positively saintly in supporting her food adventures especially the early television days. Good for all of us, since The French Chef was one of the most entertaining and informative food show ever.

On seeing her first program she commented, well she seemed loud and talking too much and too fast and blundering about, and he sweetly responded, well, that's how you are, Julie! so I guess over the years he got his little digs in..

Anyway, both books very entertaining for different reasons, and I'd give the Lively four hatstands, and the Child book four crossed knives and forks.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

My ex-friend Flickr

So it's official. I have severed my relations with Flickr, after a long tussle and so many lies on his part, and such deceit and cruelty. I only got involved in order to post pix of knitting on the Ravelry website, which needs an intermediary other than my thumb drive, to post pix, and people there were encouraging and interested in the work.

But it went downhill from there. From distorting the shape of pix to fit its own template, to claiming that it would feed my blogs if I did all the stuff, and what with blogspot also claiming to have a special relationship that would allow me to send pix from Flickr to my blog, I was so deceived, how could you use a poor maiden so?

What with firing off pix at random all over my post, not where I'd designed them to go, and then failing to yield them at all, though I knew they were there, to Flickr test posts arriving just fine, but blogspot unable to grab them from Flickr, evidently a one way friendship there, yesterday was one long pain.

So I finally managed to get ONE picture successfully over into Art the Beautiful Metaphor, and then I went back and angrily pressed all the buttons to take AWAY my carefully fixed settings on Flickr, whereupon my blogs got well again, and all is fine.

I must admit that in the course of these adventures in high tech., I learned several new things about my thumb drive and now have much better titles on a whole bunch of my pix which had got themselves all labeled with the same name, dating back to when I was learning how to install pix on my computer and inadvertently lost all the titles....oh well, now I know how to fix them and I've been reunited with a whole lot of images that were hiding under the wrong place..tedious work renaming dozens of pictures but it's done. As long as I don't let Flickr back in the picture.

But on the principle that nothing is ever wasted, I thought I'd post a tiny pic, sorry Flickr won't help me there, of a group of comfort dolls, about six inches tall, little pocket toys, from dozens I made last year and send to ICROSS Canada for Willi to take to Africa with him next time he went with medications and equipment for AIDS clinics there. He uses the little dolls to pack fragile items instead of packing material, and gives them to happy little kids when he unpacks. The children are AIDS orphans, many of them have AIDS themselves, and the dolls are welcomed by kids as old as teenagers, as well as little guys.

Get in touch with ICROSS Canada if you're interested in helping out. Endless needs there. Then my high tech day will not have been in vain!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Conversations in yarn and in print

I just finished up this triangular scarf thingie which is really fun to make, and which will be delivered to a lucky recipient tomorrow when I get respite time to get out of the house and do it. This is a conversation in that I'm thinking about the recipient almost all the time I'm working on it, psychic communication...little in- joke there for A!

My respite student had another request for her time yesterday, the end of an intership she's been doing, and consulted with me on what to do, what to do, and I said, well, do it! we'll live, and we will see her tomorrow anyway. After she finishes her exam. She's a crackerjack student -- does the exam, leaves as soon as she's done and rarely needs more than half the time to complete it. And gets good grades, too. We love her and we're already working on getting her to continue with our respite care next semester, too.

Meanwhile, other completed projects, aside from the scarf, which was all fun, are some indicators of the power of the written word. I swear even in this day and age, by writing a letter when you can't get anything done by phone. Very easy for people to brush off a phone call, and no record of who said what and when.

So, just as after five weeks of agonizing wait for a grand jury excuse, I finally wrote a dignified letter in bold type, 14 font, very readable, not big enough to be rude, but effective, I got the excuse by return mail one day before I would have had to report.

Likewise after waiting two solid months for someone, anyone, to process the paperwork to get the legal inspection done for the heating system that was installed back in early October, I finally wrote to the township department and cc'd the installer.

Once again, the next day, email from the Twp. saying they'd sent it last week, a likely story, more like they saw they'd better get on it and did! they have to send paperwork to the installer, who then sends something to me and after I have papers in hand, I can set up the inspection. Vital legal process.

And I ordered essential medical supplies for HP more than two weeks ago, no sign of them, despite the shipper claiming they'd been shipped. So I wrote a memo of complaint to Amazon, through which I'd ordered, and gosh what a surprise, the case arrived three days later. UPS from Ohio. Which means they had in fact not shipped it until they got the complaint, because that's the typical time from there to here via UPS.

So here's the formula: bold type, font size 14, no more than two terse paragraphs with the facts and dates cc to whoever else needs to know, including in more than one case, my lawyer. Firm but kind! No Bad Bureaucrats approach. It's worked quite a few times for me.

I guess it's the new version of just in time inventory: ship before the customer gets really nasty about it! but not till they write and tell you so.

Just coming in late to inform you, dear blogistas, that as of a couple of minutes ago, this blog has had 7,777 pageviews. Now, this has to be auspicious!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Art, the Beautiful Metaphor, new blog

I have started building my art blog, named Art, the Beautiful Metaphor (note the soccer reference!) and have put my usual emailers on it. But most of us come in to the site to read, so you need to look for it at http://beautifulmetaphor.blogspot.com

If I could grasp how to make hot links in here, I would do it, but when I studied the Blogspot for Dummies version on how to do it, I realized I needed a Blogspot For Dummies for Dummies! so please copy and paste, and let me know how you like the new blog. It's barely started, so I'm open to suggestions.

Oops, editing late to explain that I now have two blogs running concurrently, five dollar word, and that the new one does not replace Field and Fen. The Dollivers would never agree to that. And they are expecting a starring role in the Beautiful Metaphor, too, sigh.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

The Dollivers on a Health Kick

The Dollivers heard that I was off to Black Forest Acres, my local herbalist hangout, where Trudy and other knowledgeable herbalists dispense wisdom and other good stuff, for some refills, and after a short but nonetheless sharp struggle to see which two got the coveted place in the carrying bag, we set off in search of rosewater and glycerin and B complex both of which I swear by.

The Ds. pointed out that if I was talking about fiber, they needed no additional fiber, being composed of it, but would be interested in a refill of candy or jewelry and in case anything like that was in the offing, they would come along.

So, amid jeers and cries of Blondie gets Everything! and Knitted Hat, yourself! we set off.

They got into a discussion with the nice lady at the counter

who is not Trudy, but is very good to discuss with, about my purchases and whether any jewelry had made its way into the bag, and on finding out it hadn't, said, oh well, may as well forget the closeup then and put her in the pic too.

And the guided tour of the place led us to the shelves of all kinds of grains and fibers and seeds and they said, let's rest here a minute among our homeys, we're exhausted with all this shopping and driving.

I pointed out that their mental health was very much improved by having a change of scenery, but they were more convinced when I reminded them it gave them bragging rights when they got home, so they were content.

My own mental health is often restored by the kind of interesting fast moving skies we had yesterday, too, great for a sense of proportion.

Speaking of mental health, I read recently in the AARP magazine, stunningly enough, since they rarely seem to say anything I care to think more about, being heavily into trying to look 40 when you're 90 and other such hopeless endeavors, where was I, oh yes, that when you are in a caregiver role, the hardest part of all is when there are no immediate tasks, just the concern that some crisis may erupt at any time. That's more exhausting than actual physical care for the person. And I fully endorse this view.

Much harder to be on the alert night and day, even when there's nothing more to do right now for the patient. Easier mentally, though not physically, to have work, which, Dolliver knows, I do! but it's worth a thought. Being a doer by nature, I always do better with requirements, even when they're endless!

So, with the mental health bit attended to by yoga and walking and meditation and the labyrinth and throwing my hands up now and then, and skin care using rosewater and glycerin, and the physical stuff attended to with great food, made from scratch and a little help from vitamins, that's us!

We are the Dollivers and we approve this post.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

The Shape of Things to Come

I've been organizing my new blog, which will be different from this one, won't replace it, but will be more of an art gallery for my work of all kinds, ranging from paintings to sculpture, to mixed media, to artists books, to handmade jewelry, and handmade beads available separately. The establishing pic in this post is a collection of the necklaces.

And interestingly the one thing that's been holding it up opening the new blog all this time is the choice of a title! blogspot requires the name of the blog before it will let you proceed to create it. Which shows what happens when the left brained try to cater to the right brained...whoever heard of having a title before you've written or created the piece? you don't know what will work until you've dived in and tried it and got responses, from yourself and others.

Oh well. But, you say, why not just have a provisional title, like a knitting provisional cast-on, which you can then slide out and insert the better title later? ah, because despite its airy promises, blogspot will not forward your mail.

Your readers get an error message if they click on the old name saying it doesn't exist any more. More than one blogista has bewailed this problem to me, having found a much better title that works and had to start from scratch rebuilding the whole architecture of the blog accordingly, and their readership. Soooooooo, I've been faffing around, taking pix of art and jewelry and cogitating over the title. Which will come soon, honest.

Anyway, the pix today will appear in there with more explanation.

It's a group of my handmade necklaces, many with beads of my own making, from paper and vegetables and other substances

some with a wax finish, some with a varnish finish, some found beads, some shells, some amber, all nice to wear, none too heavy.

I like this about these necklaces, since I hate heavy weights around my neck, but these are light enough to wear more than one without having to hold onto the furniture to get around. And I do create beads separately, available in groups.

And, in case you wondered, in art everything is for sale, unless otherwise noted. Where a piece is already in a collection, I say so, and in the case of the jewelry, one price fits all, this is sheer laziness on my part. But otherwise the descriptions will indicate size and price and all that stuff. Two dimensional art is shipped without glass, but with frame if you want, but it's easier to just have it shipped without either then you get it framed to your liking. It's practically impossible to find a hardware store that cuts glass any more,so you need a framing shop.

Most of the knitting, other than wallhangings, is created as gifts for friends who need a little present, or family, and that will be clear, too.

So I hope soon to come up with a blog title that's not a hopeless cliche nor a totally misleading title that I like but nobody else gets!

Oh, this reminds me of a great tiny event the other day. You know how sometimes you go on for ages, years even, trying to remember a given word, with no way of researching it, nobody around you who would know, and it drives you nuts? well, perhaps it's only me.

Anyway, there has been a word traipsing around in the silt at the bottom of my mind for years and years since I worked in broadcasting, and it described the statutory meetings the law required that public broadcasters held at given intervals at locations near their transmitters. And then, blessedly, someone mentioned it on the radio the other day, and my mind is at rest: Ascertainment. That's what they called the process.

It was complicated for the state network I worked in, having very few people available, and four transmitters in widely separated parts of the state, and the timing being close to identical for all of them. So sometimes I was conscripted to act above my pay grade and attend an ascertainment hearing, ready with answers for the masses of the public confidently expected to come in with questions.

Aie, save me. What with people saying why had we fired our sports commentator, and after I'd explained we'd never had one, the asker realized he thought we were a totally different, commercial, station, and people demanding to know why we didn't have programs for the Hispanic community, and I explained that we had one of the first in the country, still going strong, Hispanic producers, writers, directors, award winning, etc, but they hadn't recognized the name of the show. Then people saying why were there NO programs for older people, and we explained there were, and these were their names, etc. etc. you could set it to music after a bit.

But it taught me that cute and clever titles will lose the majority of your audience, unless you plan on being rather exclusive and posh. Also, interestingly, that for every call, or comment, or person showing at a public meeting, statisticians estimate there are at least 25 other likeminded people you don't hear from.

Anyway, I'd like people to actually find the new blog, hence the naming angst. Ah well. I'll get it. And then I'll tell you about it and invite you to wander about and enjoy.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Happy Various Festivities of the Season

Since my dentist's Christmas card, with toothbrushes sticking out of stockings, arrived yesterday, and our news carrier's annual little letter came with today's paper, complete with "thanking you and your family the best wishes" for the season, Duncan and Marigold thought they'd better get in on the first responders group with their wishes.

Since their big plans for the season involve sleeping in my bed and on the sofa till early March, we caught them early before serious hibernation sets in.

Okay, that's enough obliging Boud with posing, now I need to bathe...

Meanwhile, on other fronts, Why I Hate Patricia Walden, the Yoga Lady. Because she caught me again. I have been doing Rodney Yee's morning yoga for ages, love it, very doable for aging persons such as I, and I thought well, why not have a change, and get a tape from the libe, good thing I didn't buy it, I'd be mad if I did, which has Walden and Yee on different segments showing Yoga for Relaxation.

And the tape, ostensibly (five dollar word) for beginners, starts with her already in Child's pose seated. No indication of how she got there, no tips on how to do this safely, no allowance for those of us who have never been able to do it, even though our Downward Facing Dog and our Bridge Pose and our Tree Pose are pretty much okay. And she goes from there. Beginners? relaxation? aieee, more like the fear factor....

I have another tape of hers, evening yoga, where her grammar drives me bonkers, given that you use the tape every time and I tense up in anticipation of the next time she says take a-hold of, or now lay down, etc. And my body just isn't made like hers, I guess, at least I can't work well with her. She expects beginners to be able to criss cross their arms behind them and raise them high, just like her...Oh well. Back to Rodney.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Now it can be shown!

I designed and crocheted this scarf as a surprise present which has now arrived at its destination, so I can show you a picture without ruining DW's surprise.

Duncan, the Assistant Designer in Chief, likes this one quite a bit. For people who like the technical deets, it's double crochet throughout, in cotton ribbon yarn. This has a natural curl, so I let it curl at will when I inserted the fringes. Despite the spirited attempts of two cats to bite and generally play with the fringes as I was inserting

It came with another item which I did not remember to picture, so if her plan to get one taken wearing both materializes, that will be terrific and maybe you'll get to see them in action. The other thing is a crown, since everyone ought to wear a crown on at least once in her life.

Meanwhile back at the kitchen, now the microwave has gone on sympathy strike with the dishwasher. Won't let the door open. Fights back. I may have to knit a new one.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

But that was yesterday....

Losses, oh losses.....this is only partly tragic, since the loss in question is an appliance. This is now

and that was then.

You will note on closer scrutiny that the dw had its share of rust and duct tape and has been staggering along for um, months that way, failing to drain now and then, being dosed with hot wash and white vinegar to fix it, being taken apart and cleaned, and generally getting a higher level of tlc than it deserved.

It was in fact a bottom of the line dw, only chosen because it was literally the only one on the market which had a swing open lever that HP could operate, at that time he still being able to more or less walk, holding on, and anxious to keep on doing what he could do in the house. But the little pull out doohickeys and the button ones were impossible for him with numb hands. So I sighed and got this one.

That was late November several years ago, why appliances go out around the holiday, this is a musing for another time. But my experience of washing machines dying at New Year, and refrigerators croaking for the Fourth of July, and air conditioners going out right before a heatwave, and two dishwashers in a row conking right before the Dishes of Thanksgiving, may be a small statistical sample. But as my doctor says about statistics: if you've got it, it's a one hundred per cent incidence!

Anyway, I'm washing dishes by hand and using the dishwasher as a posh draining rack. Can't face Christmas crowds in the stores, so I'm doing homework online then I'll proceed to Mrs Gs, my fave local store, except dear old Mrs G. went to the great warehouse in the sky last year, in her late nineties, having literally sat in the family store, supervising and making all go well, for about 70 years. Her daughter in law is now in charge, and if they've kept their installers, this will be fine.

Better than last time around when I ended up at Home Depot, the only place with the dishwasher Handsome Partner could operate, and they delivered it three days late, near midnight, and flatly refused to remove the old one or install the new one, on the grounds that there was a labor dispute on! ended up getting our friend and neighbor and appliance diagnostician, Helen, to install it for us, which she did promptly, she being furious at the way HD had treated us. We did get a lot of apologies from them, but it didn't do us much good. Let's just say they're not on my shopping rounds any more.

You will note a total absence of Dollivers in this scene where actual work is threatened. They tell me they're writing their letters to Santa.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Torch bearers

No, it can't be morning yet, put the blankies back!

I came across a Greek quotation, which blessedly was translated, as I found after struggling with it for a while, and since I don't have an attribution for it, sorry, can't credit the writer, because I copied it into my little notebook along with notes to buy eggs and stamps, probably an ancient, and I don't have Greek characters on my keyboard, here's my really rough transliteration:

lampadia echontes, diadowsousin allelois

Those who have torches will pass them on to others.

The Olympic spirit in words, I guess. But metaphorically it's interesting to see all the places where we can derive useful life lessons, which I'm always in search of.

Sometimes the lessons are negative ones, not the favorites, but sometimes they're very positive, such as the care and attention shown by Marigold and Duncan during HP's recent sharp illness and the consequent rushings in and out of doctors, nurses, xray technicians and so on. They scrutinized everyone with care, making sure they didn't do anything wrong, but they ran at the sight of the giant xray machine coming in like a dinosaur.

Then, once the emergency passed, the cats resumed doing what the thinking cat does in chilly sleety late fall weather. Sleeping. Stealing drinking straws to juggle across the floor and under the sofa. Hunting one another up and down the stairs like a troop of cavalry.

And there's HS, whose equanimity when his father's dementia causes snarling and rage, which passes like a cloud passing over the sun, never taking it personally, reminds me that it's not the person fussing, it's the disorder talking, not to take it personally. It's not about me.

Not a bad motto, in fact. And there my musings end on this subject. You'll be glad to hear...

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Dollivers Thanksgiving Duck Hunt

It being Thanksgiving tomorrow in the US, the Dollivers fancied trying the sport of the season, a duck hunt.

Pausing only to overturn the clubhouse to use as a duck blind, no, I explained, the ducks are not blind, the little hiding place is, oh, never mind...they came away with quite a bag, ranging from a rubber ducky to a wooden duckling, a tufted titmouse, a state bird, the goldfinch, and another that none of us can identify, these birds, unlike the ones seen in the bird books, not coming with name tags.

They succeeded, unlike some prominent political figures we could name, in not bagging each other. Having captured all these birds, the hunting dogs, seen here lying down with the lamb, so to speak, persuaded the Ds. that these were not eating birds, but playing with birds. So they all announced they would eat our turkey, but would keep their own bag for future reference.

The duckling confirmed the wisdom of this decision by flying out of the blind, falling twice into the foliage and finally landing on a Dolliver head.

So we're all having a nice cup of tea and bragging about our prowess, all those birds captured and never a shot fired.

And wishing you all a happy Thanksgiving, and if it's not Thanksgiving where you live, happy Thursday.

The Ds are thankful for their new birds. The Bouds are thankful that after another hair raising few days of great fear and anxiety and emergency doctor visits and nursing visits and xray machines trundled into the house, all is much better and HP will live to fight another day. Touch and go there for a while.

And thankful that HS will be in attendance tomorrow and doing part of the prep too, and assisting at the feasting, and giving us his great company.

All in all, plenty to be thankful about, and we all wish you, too, plenty to be thankful about.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Orchids please! Today We Are Two

Today, November 22, is the second anniversary of the opening of this blog. It's our Blogversary! No, I will refrain from talking about long strange roads and journeys and things, just say, gosh that went fast!

And to thank you all, dear blogistas, for your wise and witty comments and encouragements and observations and general air of being there.

As the bard would say: Wheeeeeeee!!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Xena, Warrior Princess!

Good things and not so good things and great things in the last couple of days.

One excellent thing was the arrival of my share of a celebration swap emanating (posh word, note that) from Ravelry, the huge and wonderful site full of talented and friendly people.

This is from a friend in Oklahoma, thank you so much Carol, and boasts pecans, coffee, chocolate, fruit butter, from there, local items, wonderful to have. And beautiful little stitch markers, tiny artworks in themselves and the case they come in. I have to ditch my cut up drinking straws now! and English tea, for afternoon tea taking purposes. AND a wonderful headband about which more anon.

I threw vanity to the winds and took a pic of me, using the mirror to see my camera screen, disregarding the distortion that was the inevitable result, because I wanted to model the beautiful beaded headband that was part of the parcel.

One view of me cracking up laughing at the attempt

I'm easily amused

and one a better shot of the band itself,

and I hope you can see the beads. It's really an artwork, and the choices of the rest of the parcel were all Oklahome-centric and wonderful, great to share with HP. Note the chocolate map of OK!

So that was good. Then this morning frantic bellringing at the door, and my neighbor was there telling me I had a flat tire....oh-oh. Then he followed up by saying he'd searched for his own inflating device, realized it was in his truck in the city where his daughter had had it in a collision, so he ran to a neighbor and borrowed his, and had set up ready to inflate the tire before telling me I had a problem.

There is simply nothing as good as having a neighbor who sets the solution in motion before worrying you with the problem! aside from having a flat right in your own parking space, no stranding involved, we found there was a nail in the tread, and when the tire was up again, he promised to look in on HP, who can not be alone, while I nipped over to the gas station to get the tire plugged.

And the guys there asked me could I manage to wait ten minutes? please? and had the tire off, nail removed, hole plugged, tire back in less than that, chatting at me in a friendly way the whole time. Wonderful change from the olden days in gas stations....

I was only mildly jarred to see that their terracotta tiled floor was the same as the one I put down in my condo and was very proud of. Which means either I have the taste of a gas station decorator, or they have very good home decor instincts. No prize for deciding which solution I prefer.

Then, on the way home, only a five minute trip, I found myself behind a minivan with a vanity plate that read XENA WP. And I thought, yeah, that's me!!! very appropriate.

Well, I think so, anyway.

Friday, November 19, 2010

The Dollivers Knit for their Friends

The little present has arrived at its destination, so now I can show you the picture.
At least the Dollivers can. They not only claim to have designed this scarf, but insisted on modeling it in a gangshot.

It's a scarf, designed (adapted from another one I made) using the short row method. If you like the technicality of this, the Ds. explain that they knitted it to within six stitches of the end, then turned, and went on short rowing from there until within six stitches of the other end, then proceeded back again.

You start with a triangle before embarking on the short rows. End with another triangle.

This was knitted from part of the fiber share of homespun and hand dyed yarn that Heather gave me, one of the nicest presents I ever had, from Shepherd Susie's flock. This fiber share has now gone into more than one knitted FO, parts of several tapestries, and into renovation work. Talk about multi tasking.

Wonderful yarn, great to handle, and when I blocked it, having rescued it from Duncan in the middle of the night, when he seized it in the bathtub where it was drying on a frame, rolled about with it madly like it was dyed with catnip, it went very pliable and soft and just nice. I think it will wear forever, too.

So this is a Good Thing! and the recipient likes it, always a big plus, say the Dollivers. Who insisted on a second shot, just to milk it.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Aran sweater transformed

Ages ago, I received via Freecycle, on a day of 100 plus heat, a couple of beautiful, brand new handknitted Irish Aran sweaters, one a sleeveless vest, one a long sleeve. Now that the weather is cool enough to try on, I've done the alteration that made the vest into a sleeveless coat, which almost reaches my knees, warm, lovely and approved by Duncan.

What I did was cut right up the center to the V neck, leaving bobbles evenly on each side, then run basting stitches to stabilize the end loops, then turn under and hem in a way that now looks like a lapel. The thread I used to hem was the handspun from the fiber share Heather gave me. That is the gift that keeps on giving! Excellent match in quality and weight to the knitted yarn. As you see. This will soon be in use. If you want to see closer up, click on the picture, then click again on it once it shows up in its own screen.

Next I have to do similar work on the long sleeve sweater, which will not only yield a coat for me, but legwarmers from the excess sleeve I have to cut off, for HP. We'll match.

There's another item, not related to the Aran haul, though, in the mail to someone who ought to receive it maybe today, so I will refrain from showing a picture in here, not to spoil the surprise.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Dreams and other movies

Do you find that when you eye a scene with a view to a photograph, that you think, hm, that would make an intriguing book cover? in fact it supplies the raw material for a novel or a poem cycle or something. Like today's pix. Henry James would have loved this -- you remember he used to say don't tell me any more, that's enough to be working from. Actually, I can see Mary Wesley making good use of this raw material. That's okay, it's not protected.

This Moslem couple, unusually, were walking holding hands.

Then they duck across into the shrubs

and he is joined by a couple of male friends and she strides ahead.

Later in my walk I saw her rounding the park, and he was now alone and strolling, evidently waiting for her to catch up.

So my imagination ran riot, of course.

I often wonder how people dreamed before they were influenced by movies and television techniques. I used to work in the tv industry, not as a hands-on producer, but I learned production in order to know what I was asking other people to do, always a friendly management technique. And I have for many years had my vivid dreams, often nightmares, influenced by the quick cut, the dissolve, the pan, the zoom, all kinds of rapidfire modern techniques of movies and video.

Just last night, I won't bore you with the plot, but I was in a group, there were establishing shots, then a quick zoom in to the face of the speaker, then a pan around the group to take in the other responses, etc. When I woke up, which I was glad to do, since I was never going to find the proper gate for my flight to Yokohama, I cracked up laughing at the production values that found their way into my very dreams.