Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Ready to Roll

Comfy shoes? Check! Clean underwear? Check! Itinerary? Check! Airplane knitting? Check! I think I'm ready to roll.

Come tomorrow morning I'm off to Maryland to see sister Annie Pazoo, and friend Gayle, and sheep and lots of yarn, and maybe bump into some Ravelers at Maryland Sheep and Wool. Excited? Just a little.

I remembered to throw my camera into the tote. Now to remember to take pictures amidst all the fun.

See ya next week!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Violets Are Not (!) Shy

Have I said this before? Well it's worth repeating. Violets are aggressive little thugs who will take over a flower bed the second your back is turned.

They have thick, knobby, rhizomes that spread just beneath the surface, connected to strong, deep gripping roots. They are hard to pry out. The rhizomes snap off easily, so that just when you have a clump almost levered out, "pop!"- it breaks leaving chunks of roots behind. And any bits left will just pick up and go to town, all the happier for a good thinning.

After a a struggle of an hour or so I cleared out a spot approximately one foot square. When I came back a week or so later, what did I find?

Wall to wall carpeting of violet seedlings.

Rush Job

If I were a more conscientious Woman's Club member, say one who actually read her state newsletter, I would have realized months ago that there was a call out for afghan blocks to be assembled at the state convention in May. As it is, I didn't realize this until it was mentioned at the district meeting on Monday. Still, I felt that our local club should be represented in some way, so I got busy yesterday.

Two 7 x 9 " Warm up America sections will go in the mail today.


Yesterday I went to a district Woman's Club meeting. I knew it was going to be held in Janesville, but since I was hitching a ride with our club President I hadn't paid any attention to exactly where. So it was a wonderful surprise to discover that we were headed to the Rotary Botanical Gardens. This place has been on my "I really should get there some day" list for quite a while. Now I need to bump it up to "get back soon" status. The day was cold, rainy and windy, and we only had a short break from the meeting for exploration, but my brief foray outside showed that the place is just lovely. And the program that the horticultural director gave our group included slides of the garden in various seasons - also lovely. Hmmm, wonder what the weather will be like this weekend?

Monday, April 20, 2009

New Arrivals

The crocus have had their brief moment of glory and expired, and a cold rain last night beat down the daffodils pretty badly, but a quick tour around the yard show promise of things to come.

The Bleeding Heart is starting is starting to unfurl its leaves - not much to look at now, but should be blooming by the first of June.

Most of the hollyhocks survived the winter.

That little bright green patch at the lower left is Feverfew. I usually lose last year's plants, but new seedlings like this come up in random spots.
And my one surviving Delphinium looks robust - good thing, because seeds I planted in a flat over two weeks ago haven't shown any sign of emerging. Haven't given up on them totally, but starting to have my doubts.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

I Haz Plane Tikets

Yes, I'm a little iffy about flying, but we had credit card "points" that were dropping off the account for lack of use, so I booked a trip.

I'm going to see my great sis Annie and her family (Yay!), and Gayle my pal from way back (Yippee!), and the trip has been strategically planned for the end of this month to take in the Maryland Sheep and Wool festival (Woot!). Might just squeak in a yarn crawl and a stop off to pay my respects to Scott and Zelda, too.

Good times coming.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The Good Parts of This Past Weekend

And there were some, because life is mixed.

Late Saturday afternoon (about 10 seconds before Mr S was about to strip down and take a good long bath), there was a knock at the front door. It took me a couple of seconds to recognize one of Mr S's former students , from his first year of teaching. We hadn't seen C since a wedding last summer, where we had met his new wife. Now they were both here with their absolutely adorable new son. It was nice to catch up, and to have the baby in the house.

On Easter we had a family dinner at Mom's, and it felt good to be in the company of family. We caught up on the activities of my niece and nephew, who are growing up fast.

Just want to say "thanks" for the condolences, by email and comments. The loss of a little cat is pretty small stuff compared to the many sorrows of the world. All the same, I miss him, and the kindness is appreciated.

Monday, April 13, 2009

We lost our good cat Baxter today. The sniffles that started slowly last November were, it turned out, caused by a tumor above his hard palate. He did pretty well through the winter, and even last week he enjoyed a stroll in the yard when it was sunny, and a good lap when it was not. But his decline came very quickly, and by this morning it was clear that another day of life would not be a kindness to him.

Mr S buried him near a clump of daffodils that will be blooming soon, and set his garden St Francis near by.

Baruch hata adonai.
Blessed Be.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

The Scrap Shawl So Far

This is the shawl I started while working the polls. It's your basic "start with 5 stitches. On every RS row inc 1 st at each end and 1 st each side of the center stitch" I throw in an extra increase at the side edges every so often, to lengthen the sides a bit.

There are a few goofs at the beginning, because pride goeth before a fall for anyone who thinks she doesn't really need to mark the center stitch. And the "side" edges (which will actually form the top of the shawl) are a bit messy, what with carrying unused colors but sometimes forgetting to twist them over long stretches).

But it's good mindless knitting, especially now that the rows are getting pretty darn long; and it will either turn out nice enough to give away or will make a warm enough "wear around the house" shawl when next winter comes.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

birkat hachamah,

Today I learned the birkat hachamah: "Blessed are You, LORD, our God, Ruler of the Universe who makes the works of Creation."

These words are used every 28 years to bless the sun when it returns, according to orthodox tradition, to the position in the sky that it held at the moment of creation.

According to Wikipedia: "The same blessing is recited upon experiencing various natural phenomena, including lightning, comets, and meteor showers; as well as upon witnessing wondrous natural topography, such as great mountains, rivers and vast wilderness."

It strikes me that if we spent more time in pronouncing such blessings upon the world around us (whether in the name of Adonai or the universe itself), we would begin to take more care of that world. You can't truly bless something without being truly mindful of it.

Baruch hata Adonai.......

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Another day at the polls

In about half and hour, I'll be taking off to work at the polls again. This election should see a little more action than the last one. The races for Village Board and School Board positions are all uncontested, but a state supreme court justice and the state superintendent of schools are also on the ballot.

I will take knitting, of course. I've thrown odds and ends of worsted weight into my bag, and will start in on a triangle shawl - nothing fancy (can't do lace and talk at the same time).

I finally finished writing up the pattern for the Aegean vest.

Some lovely folks from the Ravelry Free Pattern Testers group gave it a spin, and gave me some helpful feedback. (Hi Elizabeth, Alice, Erin & Kimberly - you all are the best!)

So the pattern is available through Ravelry right now, and I'll get a page set up for it here soon.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Yahoo, Fondue

Yesterday, the Dearest Daughter came down from Madison and the three of us went to New Glarus for lunch. When I worked in New Glarus every day, I got pretty sick of the extreme cute Swissyness (especially the part where the bank made us wear dirndels during the summer festival season). But it's actually a really fun place to visit from time to time.

We had fondue at the Glarner Stube. The Stube is one place where the Gemutlicheit feels real (it's been there about forever), and the food is always good. After lunch we stopped at the bakery for a loaf of their crusty bread, then went across the street to The Bargain Nook. This is a thrift store that carries a lot of Lands' End seconds and returns. Daughter picked up a down jacket for $16 (marked down from $26). Mr S bought a pair of work pants for $1 (it was "all pants for a dollar" sale day). And I got The Shoes That Everyone Hates, or at least the Lands' End version thereof.

All in all, a very satisfying afternoon.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Some people follow soap operas,

some watch "reality" TV. Me, I've been following Alaska politics. I probably should just keep a close an eye on my own state. I don't doubt that in it's own way it has some drama and plenty of absurdities. Maybe I just haven't found the right Wisconsin blogs to follow. But it's hard to think WI could beat AK for sheer entertainment value these days.

Stevens convicted - Stevens conviction thrown out - Stevens and the Gov want the new Senator (elected before the conviction) to resign for a "do-over". Wha?

Volcano erupting - mudflows could threaten oil tanks - will Exxon empty those tanks in time?

Governor and State Legislature at loggerheads over appointment process - who will sue whom, and when?

Anonymous blogger outed by State Legislator. First Dude's half sister arrested for burglary. Governor's almost son-in-law spills all on Tyra.

I tell you, it's something new everyday. I have almost abandoned knitting blogs for The Mudflats, Andrew Halcro, and Celtic Diva with an occasional stop at the online edition of the Anchorage Daily News.

Seriously, you couldn't make this stuff up.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Loose Ends

I'm happy to report that the crocus and iris have made it through the snow and subsequent cold nights just fine. It's been too chilly and damp to spend much time in the yard, but I make a quick tour every day just to say hello to them.

Yesterday I planted some delphinium seeds (in a flat). I've had varying results with starting my own seed in the past, so keep your fingers crossed for me (and them).

I sort of ran out of steam on the "get rid of 50 things" project, but going out to the garage to look for potting soil made me realize that is an area that needs some work.

I haven't abandoned the "Aegean Vest" project. Some folks from the Ravelry Free Pattern Testers group have been working on it, and providing helpful feedback on the first draft. Hope to have the final version ready by next week.

A sign of the times? My spam folder used to be full of offers for cheap meds, natural male enhancement, and conversations with lonely housewives. Now it's overflowing with invitations to sell my gold, avoid foreclosure and earn $1000K. Fortunately, for now at least, I don't need the latter any more than the former. Not that I wouldn't like $1000K, mind you, just not enough to open a spam email.