Wednesday, May 25, 2005


Today, as we came home from the dome site just at dusk, the kids suddenly started yelling as they piled out of the truck. "Mom! Dad! Fireflies!" Yes, we had our First Firefly Sighting of the Year. Ali ran into the kitchen & grabbed an empty mayonnaise jar, so they could briefly capture the First Lightning Bug of 2005 and admire its luminous glory for a few minutes, before letting it go on about its important bug business. Summer is officially here.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Strawberry Fields Forever

Just to give me an excuse to continue the Beatles-title theme, I have to brag a little bit about our strawberry patch in the backyard. When we bought the house, we were told that it had stood empty since midwinter or so; the previous owner, an elderly widow, had been moved to a nursing home by her kids, where she promptly died. Weeds had pretty much taken over the backyard.

There's a patch about 10 x 10 or so next to the tool shed that had gone wild with strawberries. No rows or anything, just a huge tangle of runners interspersed with weeds, which I pull when I think about it. I haven't done anything else to it at all, but I have been getting a huge bowl of berries out of this patch every two to three days since late April, and it shows no sign of slowing down. We are just about bathing in strawberries and cream.

Yesterday, Mike took the weedwhacker to the dense weedy growth encroaching on the shed. He didn't tell me he was going to do this, or I would have picked the berries along the side before he did so. Instead, he made weedwhacker daquiris. He'd be going along and SPLOOSH, SPLAT, he'd hit another clump of berries & send red pulp flying like something out of a slasher movie. It was gross & funny at the same time.

Off to finish a strawberry tart. :-)

Here comes the Sun

A few posts back, I lamented my lack of summery knitting as I refused to face another row of wool-mohair scarfiness. (That scarf will make me crazy. This is my third attempt with the yarn. Hell, I've decided, is frogging mohair over & over.)

Well! All is not lost. Digging in the bottom on the stash bin for something completely unrelated, I fortuitously happened upon 2 bags of Schachenmayr Micro Big Shine, a drapey microfiber plied with a shimmery viscose twist, in a pretty, summery shade called lindgrun, which I think translates to "leaf green" or something like that. I had originally intended it for something that I liked less & less as I thought about it, so I threw it in the bin to wait until inspiration struck. Now it looked like a lifesaver. Down went the mohair; I immediately cast on a modified Soleil. (The modifications are due to my plus-size status; I am doing 22 repeats of the lace, and will skip the waist shaping, since I don't have much of a waist anymore. But anyway.)

Here's the bottom edge of Soleil, most of the way through the third lace repeat. It is being modeled by a very cooperative chair back, who complains less than my daughter. It's hard to see it very clearly at this stage, it's kind of scrunchy on the needles just yet, but I'm very happy to have a project just now that doesn't have a speck of wool in it.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Red Sweaters

As a quickie side-project (or when I just need a break from a more lengthy knitting project), I've been working on these mini sweaters for the Red Sweater project, which only take an hour or two to knit. I've finished six of them, and have a seventh on the needles. Being strongly anti-war, I find great satisfaction in knitting a small but powerful symbol of a life lost in needless conflict.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Independence/Blue Springs Sit 'n Knit

I went to the knitting Meetup today in Blue Springs, organized by Jen. It seems to be the closest one to me, despite it being an hour's drive away. There were about seven other women there, didn't get all their names, but they're all very nice & friendly, of course. Would you expect anything else from knitters? A couple of baby blankets & several socks were being worked on. (Of course I forgot the digital camera!)

It's a long way to drive weekly, but I'm hoping to make this one every other week or so. Maybe next time I'll actually bring the camera.

Friday, May 13, 2005

More sox

Fiesta feet!
Here's my latest pair of socks, a pattern of my own design made with Elann's Sock It To Me! Colori in the colorway "Cancun Fiesta". Wool socks just in time for summer... hmmm, maybe I should plan a little better.

My mini-review: SITM is a fine sock yarn to work with, it doesn't have the tendency of some other sock yarns to twist & split. I've knit with it a lot. It's 75% superwash wool, 25% polyamide, so I wash them in the washing machine, regular cycle, in one of those little lingerie bags & just lay them flat to dry, and haven't had any problems with shrinking or felting. The colors are much more vibrant in person. I'm blaming the muddiness of the image on the oldness of the digital camera... well, that & huz dropped it the other day, the camera's case is held together with duct tape now. But anyway.

I'll fess up! The sock on my right foot has actually been done for four months or so... I wore it as a singleton for a couple weeks after my foot surgery in February, when I only needed one sock because one foot was in a soft cast. It's been washed a few times. The yarn softens up beautifully with washing & blooms just a tiny bit.

My pattern, sadly, sucked. I was trying a couple things out & they didn't totally work, but they didn't totally not work, either, so I didn't frog. (I did a very deep short-row pocket instead of a heel flap, and I finished the toes with a 3-needle bindoff instead of grafting. I probably won't do either of those things on a sock again.) The cheeriness of the colors is such that I can ignore the minor sucky things about the sock & just wear them anyway. So there :-)

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Summer is a-cumen in

Laudly sing cucu, and all that. The season has snuck in early in our corner of the Midwest, and we have had temperatures in the 90s this week & humidity to match. Hopefully the thunderstorm rolling in tonight will cool things off a bit.

Of course, everything on the needles right now is either wool or some itchy hairy blend... why didn't I pick up some nice cool cotton somewhere along the line for a nice summer project? Didn't plan that one too well :-(

Oh, I take back what I said about blowouts in the NBA playoffs. Watching the Pacers come from behind tonight to take the world champ Pistons to school in the fourth quarter, in Detroit, was a beautiful thing to see. I've hated the Pistons since the 80s, in the way that Dodgers fans hate the Yankees: atavistically & without reservation. Back then it was the days of Bill Laimbeer & the Motor City Bad Boys -- he of the flying elbows & foul mouth & continual whining to the officials. Now it's Big "Buy A Comb" Ben & Rasheed & a different cast of characters, but the dislike is still there. Maybe I can root for the Pacers just a little bit, after all.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

What's with the blowouts?

OK, I confess that I am only following the NBA finals in a somewhat haphazard way since my beloved Lakers aren't in it this year. But I tuned in to the two quarterfinal Game Sevens on Saturday, and the two semis tonight. Every Single Freakin One was a blowout. What is up with that? Blowouts are boring & show a lack of parity in the league if they happen a lot. I hope it was a fluke & the playoffs get more interesting.

And, I know it's fashionable to be a Laker-hater everywhere except Los Angeles... you know, they're-Ego-Central-and-serves-em-right-to-lose-Shaq, and all that. But, I can't help it, I grew up in L.A. during the Showtime era: the holy basketball trinity of Magic, Kareem, and Big Game James; and Riles' guarantee. And my dad has been a Lakers fan since the days of Elgin Baylor & Jerry West & Jack Kent Cooke's shrewd horsetrading for Wilt the Stilt, holding one or the other of his daughters on his lap while listening to the game on the radio, stuttering out yet another Lakers-Celts playoff game. It's in my blood. I can't root for the Pacers, even if they are the closest team to me geographically. I'll be a Chiefs fan, but that's as far as I can go.

Friday, May 06, 2005

Mother of the Year

Today I was honored as Mother of the Year in a very special edition of Time Magazine published in a very limited edition at Martin Warren Elementary School.

Mother of the Year

Note that I am wearing my lovely blue Clapotis scarf that I finished about a dozen posts back. Also my ever-present yarn & needles are pictured on the table to the right.

Happy Mother's Day to all my readers who are a mother, or have a mother, or know a mother! xxx

The Wisdom of H.

Yesterday, my son brought home a paper for Mother's Day where the teacher had the kids finish off some well-known proverbs. Some of his are funny!


If my mom were here today this is what I think she'd say......

Better to be safe than... school

Never underestimate the power of... Mom

Don't bite the hand that... you have

Where there's smoke there's... sigerets [sic]

A penny saved is... lucky

If you lie down with dogs, you'll... get kissed

Love all, trust... all

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

I got a job!

Yay, I have now re-entered the ranks of the employed! It's actually mostly clerical work for a judge here in town. Right across from the courthouse, actually. He's got some pretty heavy confidentiality requirements, so I probably won't be able to tell any good stories -- but nonetheless, it'll be a good thing to have an income again.

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Chirp! Chirp! Chirp!

And a wonderful time was had by all at our 20th reunion! We had a couple of very nice evenings, one the all-class dinner on Friday night & one the class of '85 dinner on Saturday. There were picnics, symposia, classes to audit, department receptions (I even got to talk to my first art history professor, one of the few faculty members remaining from my days there; it was he who got me interested in my eventual major of art in the first place), glee club concerts, and many repetitions of the alma mater -- of which I could not sing a note, since I had lost my voice on Thursday evening & was as hoarse as any crow, but I dutifully arose & mouthed the words & got all choked up anyway.

But by far the biggest success of the weekend was the treasure hunt hosted by classmate Dave Blum '85, better known to corporate America as Dr. Clue. He created an immensely enjoyable puzzle-tour of the entire campus that had us roaming around, looking for placques & artwork & other collegiate ephemera, all to answer the six questions within the 90-minute time limit. (A clue might be something like a series of trivia questions where, when aswered correctly, the initial letters spell out the name of a location -- "West of Smiley dorm" -- and the second part of the clue would instruct you to look for the nickname of a certain class, who of course had a placque at that site dedicated to a member of that class, or something. I am using slightly disguised examples so as not to give away Dave's distinctive clue style.) Every person I know who participated in the hunt swore it was the most fun they had had in years. If you ever get a chance to go to a Dr. Clue corporate team-building event, don't hesitate. He's the best at what he does.