July 15th, 2010

What a magnificent day!  Low seventies and the cool, strong breeze is blowing away the humidity and mosquitoes.  The wind chimes are tinkling and clacking – a perfect sunny September day!   Back to school!!

I’ve posted that to facebook but not everyone does facebook.  About 6 months of todays would please me no end.  Still working desk-wise, but the ambiance created by the view and breeze at the open window at my side is priceless.

Is everyone else totally tired of BP news?  Git ‘er done….Let Anderson Cooper be in charge and direct the whole thing…..and maybe throw in George Steinbrenner.  Aw – nuts.  He just died.  Or Dick Cheney – but he’s probably too ill now. Bill Clinton?  Too busy.  Well, try the Jesse – Ventura, that is.  He might make a difference.  Or sheriff Arpaio.  Now THERE”S a thought!

The National League finally won an All-Star Game, after 14 years.  And a Cub had a big defensive play to help that win in the ninth!  Proud to be a Chicagoan! ……………..hey.  Set that to music!

Finishing the gazpacho we had with our weekend guest.  This is a new recipe, and not as good as our regular one – too much bread, not brothy enough.  Back to the recipe box next time.  Chili for supper, from the freezer.  We’re trying to really get into Redo, Reuse, Recover, Rework, Review…….and all like that!  Knitting from stash……and that’s a real pleasure.  I’ve always done green stuff, I guess.  Actually I did much more in Chicago, years ago.  Must get back to some of those habits.

Living now almost 30 miles from civilization in any direction does call out the pioneer in us.  So many people are closet consumers – not that we consume closets (!) but we seem to use up so much more than we conserve.  It’s fun to see where even a simple thing like rinsing out a cup and putting it in the drainer instead of the dishwasher can make a difference.  I’ve got a file of tips like that – spread salt or baking soda for ants, mild shampoo for gentle hand-washing of hand knits, lavender to keep moths out of wool – and on and on.  I think I started it in the Sixties, which was another time when money was pretty scarce.  Probably I was Heloise before she was!

How I wish my mother had started this quilt years before she actually did!  It would be a marvelous king-size by now, even if she’s been gone for 20+years.  It’s called the Cathedral Window pattern, and it was partially finished then.  That is, the half she had worked was partially finished.  Making the other half is way, way beyond my aspirations!  But I was able to finally find someone who could finish the first half, and now I can display it.  Not sure exactly how yet.  The entire thing is hand-stitched, and each square is individually made.  No backing or further quilting is necessary.  It’s truly a difficult labor of love, and I’m really honored to own it.  Hopefully one of my offspring will want to have it someday!

The pink and green piece in the upper left is from the material my mother used for making one of my dad’s clown suits for parades and children’s hospitals, etc., so many years ago.  She made dozens of suits, for the hundreds of visits the Shrine clowns made to hospitals and schools.  Other little splashes bring back more memories….the way a fine quilt should, no?

About ready for the 3rd – and final – Steig Larsson book.  I need a bit of that crazy gal’s exploits to punch up the days.  Almost done with the Barbara Vine (a/k/a Ruth Rendell) book, “The Blood Doctor”.  Very strange book for Vine/Rendell.  Almost seems like someone else wrote it.  Not much summer reading going on this year – too many other things to do!   :-)

Soon time for a new Indian Studies course – Native American Philosophy.  The cost of the gasoline to take me into town every day for classes is going to prohibit the language course.  Maybe I can find an online course.  Or perhaps I’ll locate a first-year language workbook, and I can study at home.  Usually I can find such inexpensive used books on but haven’t located this one yet.

Trivia……I have an American friend in Paris who lives in a large Algerian area in the city.  She has a lovely Canadian maple leaf pin that she wears on occasion when she goes shopping about the neighborhood – as when the Americans defeated Algeria in soccer recently.  Clever gal!

Don’t think that there are no crocodiles because the water is calm.

– – – Malayan proverb


A Moment Away…..

July 6th, 2010

Yep, July.  I don’t remember it being this humid when I first traveled in the north woods years ago.  Ish.  Isn’t it October yet??

Not a lot of knitting going on – a bit too futzy at the moment.  Quiet days of trying to stay cool and attacking lots of desk tasks.  Organizing magazines and projects.  Avoiding TV reruns, but enjoying the few series that do a summer season. “Lie to Me” – – “In Plain Sight” – – “Miami Medical”.  Reading – Barbara Vine’s (a/k/a Ruth Rendell) “The Blood Doctor”.  A bit dry, but I can feel the psychological conflict and horrific secrets looming in the future pages.  The title refers to haemophilia.

Anybody pick up the code on the US map for their own use?  The site now has maps for Europe and India.  I think the creator is Indian…..East Indian, that is.

Craving salads and shrimp and cold pasta things.  Wish the Gulf would suddenly be clean again.  I’d like to have Anderson Cooper as a friend.  Seems really sincere and solid.  And Rick Sanchez, too.  I guess that’s because I like to rouse rabbles………..

Lots of graduations for us in May and June.  Happy and proud of all the education going on!

What a traveler!

June 11th, 2010

visited 43 states (86%)
Create your own visited map of The United States

This is really neat – I didn’t realize I’d done this much traveling!  Surely I’ve been to those few states that are left!  Sure about AL and HI, but haven’t I been to AL and SC and VA and DE and MD?  I’ve been in the Baltimore airport for a few hours — does that count?  Don’t think so….go to this site and do your own map.  They have a world one, too, but mine won’t be as impressive as BCW’s would be.  Someone has too much spare time here!  But I wish I’d done it!   :-)

June is way too short

June 9th, 2010

Although I usually dread the stress and tension around Christmas, I will be so-o-o-o happy when the end of the year comes this year.  That will be ostensibly the end of my yarn diet.  I am getting so overwhelmed by the new yarn temptations I am encountering.  It’s like having a warm plate of your favorite food passed slowly beneath your nose, the aroma sending you into some sort of tailspin.  The silks and linens and soys and bamboos and milks and gorgeous hand-dyed and spun alpacas and wools and………it’s so hard to be good!   I now delete any email that I even suspect will showcase a new yarn – that’s after already canceling any online lists or subscriptions to yarn companies and hand-dyers and spinners.  I’ll have to knit like mad, night and day, and whatever falls between them.  I’ll never make the slightest dent in my stash!  I am arranging to barter and trade some items from the stash, though.  That seems reasonable.  I don’t even dare touch any yarn in any LYS that I happen to visit – it’s almost too much torture to tolerate.  Come January!  Wouldn’t it be nice to see the stash visibly reduced by then ?

Someone once asked the president of an insurance company if he’d read all the books in his library.  He replied, “Have you spent all the money in your savings account?”  I think that can apply to yarn, too.  After all, it’s not like it goes bad if you store it….

Saturday next is annual Knit – and Crochet – in Public day, all over the world.  I plan to join DH at the local Farmers’ Market in the morning, to sit and wiggle my sticks in a most productive way.  He will be manning the Master Gardener’s booth.  Never mind that rain and thunderstorms are predicted.  There’s a roof on the booth!!

New sock KAL has arrived – a Mother’s Day gift, so I didn’t buy the yarn.  I’m dying to get to it, because it has a few new techniques for me.  Always more to learn.  This one is a cable and ribbon design, and part of the cost of the kit is a contribution to Breast Cancer research….I did choose pink, because it’s such a beautifully-realized dye by the spinner, although there were lots of other colors available.  I made some socks a few years ago for someone in a similar design and also in pink – and also with a contribution for Breast cancer.  Hope she took them when she left.

Heard that the Alice Starmore book “Tudor Roses”, with patterns for several astonishing Fair Isle sweaters, is now going for $300 to $500 on eBay.  That’s one I’ll never see!!  :-)  It’s the book that birthed another really pleasant read, “Sweater Quest”.  Knitters are truly crazy, as well as talented and warm and giving and creative…….

A few graduation parties in the Cities and a few birthdays close by.  That means some good eating at favorite restaurants.  Can you say Olive Garden?  Culver’s?  Vietnamese?

Summer is easing in, and the greenery is getting lush, as usual.  Lovely warm days, enough rain, lots of flowers, although the lilacs made but a brief appearance because of early May frost.  Tulips and iris and tall poppies and almost-peonies and lilies are abounding.  Every year there are more, and the MG carefully spreads them around for next year.  Most things make it through the winter.  We even have had green onions from last year!  But asparagus – not so much.  Time for reading in the pavilion ….taking a short scooter ride for the mail…. watching the hummingbirds in their incredible activity…..

Mosquitoes are hanging back.  I can almost picture them – gathering in huge legions, preparing for the first attack……..marshaling their strongest warriors to create that total impression of annihilation.  But I never want to see those terrible tent caterpillars again – they were here about 10 years ago, and I think I even prefer the mosquitoes to them, if you can believe it.  At least spray tries to protect you from mosquitoes.  The tent things drop out of the sky, from the trees, like a herd – wrong noun, I know – of locusts.  Aaack.

Reading Stieg Larsson’s 2nd mystery – the 3rd arrived the other day and I’ll be on that one shortly.  I learned about him months ago, and thought I was the only fan.  Imagine my surprise to see his books on best-seller lists!  Usually that’s enough to keep me away from a book.  But poof – the reading public had just found him, too.  It’s too bad he died before creating a massive oeuvre like some of the other Scandinavians.  It’s developed into quite a genre.

Slowly learning bits of Ojibwe from friends, as we converse on facebook.  DH and I went to a large powwow a few weeks ago, and really enjoyed it.  We were allowed to sit in the seniors’ booth, which was lovely, because it gave wonderful shade from the hot sun.  We also were served the meal, while everyone else had to line up at the kitchen building – all hundreds of them.  A drum friend said there were 32 drum groups performing, at various times.  It’s such an amazing display of all the dancers, too, in their costumes and jingle dresses and feathers and so much decoration.  The dancing goes on and on, with contests and special displays, always to the beat of the drum.  A whole different world.

I’m in the business of college transcripts these days.  Carefully requesting one from each of the many schools I’ve attended, from high school (which is no longer in existence – what a surprise!) to the most recent university.  It would be a miracle if all those tumbling credits would add up to a small degree of some sort.  And it would be nice.

“I pray every day that I won’t get comfortable in my old age” – Daniel Barenboim at 67.


Rhubarb and Lilacs

May 19th, 2010

Oh, how lovely are the lilacs, are the lilacs….oh, that’s another song, isn’t it?  But today, bright, sunny and cool, and the lilacs are opening, bud by bud…….I can verify that because I just buried my face in them!   :-)  Daffodils are about finished, as are the tulips.  Come on, lilies and iris!!

Did anyone miss Betty White on SNL a week or so ago?  Outstanding!

For those of you who are book-hungry there’s a nice current coupon for Better World Books.  Just insert “THANKS844” at the coupon line and receive 15% off when you buy 2 or more books.  Not sure when it expires – in a few weeks, I’d think.  And don’t forget – most of the books are $3.87 postpaid.  I’ve about written off ALibris and Amazon, even for textbooks … pricing the Anishinaabe workbook for next fall.

Here’s the finished first of a tricky pair of socks – it was a KAL last winter, with over 600 other knitters, on a favorite yarn site.  This pattern is called Girls’ Night Out, or Dancing Girls.  Can you see them?  Oddly, only the first sock is finished.  SSS taking over, but soon it will be on the needles.  There’s another KAL starting at any time here – a gorgeous pattern that will partially benefit the SGK Breast Cancer fund. Not released at this very (1 p.m. CST) moment, but it begins 5/25, per Wendy’s schedule, so she’s under the gun!

Last week I watched again – on a no-commercial channel, thank goodness – my all-time favorite movie…..”Lion in Winter” – lost count of the times.  Took 2 or 3 viewings in the theaters years ago before I understood every one of the snide, British comments.  Yes, that’s Peter O’Toole and the great Katherine Hepburn.  And imagine – a young Anthony Hopkins, too!

Fresh rhubarb from Sherry the other day.  Haven’t figured out yet why she has rhubarb and we don’t.  She DOES live about 17 miles south of us, though.  Now we have sauce and a luscious pie!  DS tasted the pie yesterday after hamburgers at the local cafe, and pronounced it too tart for him.  Fantastic!  More for me!!  8^)  Oh, my – I’m suddenly hungry!  It’s snack time!  (The baker assures me that no real sugar was destroyed creating this product……) 

We’d hired DS for the day in his handyman guise.  He works pretty cheaply, although he kept telling us that since he’s been “edumacated” (= degree received last week) his rate would be going up!!  I have a UFO for him with an H-D logo that’s creeping out of the knitting basket….which I’m ignoring for the present.  Well, it’s all wool, and it’s summer now…..(whine).

Oh, that is so-o-o-o-o-o-o-o Good!  Have to give that baker a longer contract – – – – – 

You know you knit too much when you know you would take knitting with you in an ambulance.   –   Stephanie Pearl McPhee


Sumer is a-cumin in……

May 16th, 2010

Yes, it might seem like it.  Fishing opener yesterday, and the nicest in years.  In fact the whole weekend has been simply picture-perfect.  Of course not a thing I like to do.  But I just hope everyone catches tons of walleyes so I have some good eatin!

Special graduation last week, as Mike moves on up…….

from this in 1970,

to this on Wednesday. AA-AS…….

Seems like only yesterday…….What a great journey for this guy.  And now on to bigger and better days, with lots of love from all of us.

When you follow your bliss, doors will open where you would not have thought there would be doors; and where there wouldn’t be a door for anyone else.    ……..Joseph Campbell

Where are my Snowshoes?

May 7th, 2010

Oh boy.  A few things are pretty evident.  I’m not called the Maven for nothing.

1. Haven’t posted for a couple of months.

2. Yes, it’s 7 May and we may get up to 4 inches of snow by the morning..

3. Spring came and went without a whimper.  I could swear the tulips were ready to bloom.

4. The lovely hyacinths and daffodils and violets are tucking themselves back into the ground.

5. There’s a lake out there, under the total whiteout.

6. The pontoon is taking on snow……

7. Tomorrow is DS’s graduation party – outdoors, in a park.

8. I wore cutoffs and sandals to school already, a few weeks ago.

9. School is over until fall, for me.  Then maybe Indian Philosophy.

10. Aced exams, so exempt from the final.

11. Still lots of UFOs in my knitting baskets.  But making progress….

12. Reading UK & Scandinavian police procedurals as much as possible.

13. In particular – Larsson, Indridason, Edwardson, Airth……try ’em!

14. Uncle Sam is tapping his toes at me….

15. Road trips for birthdays and graduations.

16. Thanksgiving and Christmas will be on us before we know it.

17. Bombs in Times Square, robots to stop the oil creeping up on the Gulf Coast, ash clouds from Iceland to Europe, floods in Nashville……sounds like somebody’s silly science fiction story.

18. It’s really true that if someone makes something for you to wear, you think of that person each time you touch it.  I have a bright and lacy crocheted cinnamon scarf that puts warm caring thoughts around me when I wear it.

19. Is anyone NOT entranced by Howard Hanson’s 2nd Symphony?

20. Who really wins the little lotteries, anyway?

21. Is Betty White really 88?

22. Had one of those frozen gyro kits for supper last night – sure didn’t taste like the real thing.  I have lovely memories of so many little snack delis tucked under apartment buildings in Thessaloniki a few years ago.  I bet it doesn’t snow THERE in May.

23. All I want to do is take a long nap.  Finally have a cozy sofa big enough for it.  Promise to write sooner.  Really.

“The cure for boredom is curiosity; there is no cure for curiosity” – Ellen Parr



March 12th, 2010

The other afternoon I had a phone call that absolutely made my day.

A well-spoken young man was calling students from my college to entice them to join the Army.  He was calling from a town about 30 miles away.  After I got up from ROTFL, I mentioned to him that I really couldn’t believe the call.  He responded that somehow I didn’t sound like a youthful teen – I seemed a little more intelligent and mature.  I asked him where he’d been 50 or 60 years ago when I might have wanted to “join the Army, see the world!”  Or is that the Navy?

Anyway, I shared my son’s military tales while stationed in Europe as a Desert Storm vet (20 years ago, if you recall), my grandson’s age and the existence of the Lovely Lilly.  The young man said he’d been stationed in Germany too and visited EuroDisney with his wife and kids.  He’d go back to Germany in a minute, he said.  We had some great laughter about my senior (and how!) citizen status.  I told him he’d made my day and would soon appear in my blog!

My son later asked if he could enlist me…….

Coincidence?  The next day, after my unexpected morning on the x-ray tables rather than my scheduled work day at the antique store in the same town, DH and I visited his favorite Chinese buffet there.  From our table I observed a pair of well-dressed (in camo) and perfectly conducted young men, who were also carefully filling plates with delicious lunch items.  I looked at one of them, excused myself and asked if he was a recruiter.  He said “yes, ma’am”, probably figuring I had a relative he could call.  I then said, in my sort-of outside voice — “and where have you been for the past 50 to 60 years?”  He looked over, his eyes widened, and he said – “that was YOU?  You don’t look nearly as old as you said you were!”  What a kick!  But still too old for boot camp, unfortunately.  It would probably do me a lot of good, if I would live through it!!  (Don’t ask son’s opinion….)  We had a sweet little bit of laughter again and a brief visit.  Coincidence?

Some have asked if DD is back in Paris, and feeling better after the events of one crazy year ago.  Well, viz……(the first little face is Nak, DD’s favorite in Cambodia, and whom I think I really should adopt) and again……She’s getting around town quite nicely, aided by the Metro and autobus and her own 2 healthy legs.  Good to see!

A favorite shop of mine is having a re-opening party tomorrow there in the Marais……ah, time to win the lottery……can you say first class tickets?  Oh my.

Speaking of money and such….working on taxes……..the ides of April threaten……for lots of clients.  And our own as well.  Also watching the rising water everywhere in this state.  Thank goodness our own home is atop a small hill, almost 100 feet up and back from the lake.  Why, oh why do people build on flood plains and steep hillsides and shifting sands??!!

Listened a few weeks ago to 12 discs comprising “Bury my Heart at Wounded Knee”.  This was quite a sobering, often sad, experience.  It deals with the past 180 years or so, not just the events at Wounded Knee in the recent times.  We could only take an hour or so at a time in the car as I/we traveled to and from various places.  As Dr. Prof at school often says, with apologies to Paul Harvey – “Now you’re learning the REST of the story”.  And it’s depressing.  Why was all this and other Indian history kept out of our social studies books all these years?  Isn’t the Native American viewpoint worth hearing, at least?  Can’t non-native Americans be trusted to develop an opinion of their own?  And now this guy in Texas on the school board is about to oversee the changes to elementary history books (for 10 years?) to include questionable material from the conservative right??   Who IS in charge here, anyway??

Soon I will have a photo of the finished (OMG, at last!) FIRST sock of the Dancing Girls, a/k/a Girls Night Out, from the Knitters Brewing Company.  After doing the last 15 rows of the toe decrease, and about to tie off the LAST STITCH OF THE KITCHENER, I discovered an irretrievable error in the earlier kitchener stitches.  Frogged what turned out to be 20 rows and re-did most of the rows. Now the little bugger is waiting quietly, but I’m sure chuckling maniacally inside, for me to finish the last 3 rows and then KITCHENER again.  Decided to do the last rows in the same contrasting color used earlier in the sock, on the cuff and heel.  Will I regret that??

X-ray tables, you ask?  Well, another time….oh, well, since you asked.  A night ago I had a tumble in the house.  Since I had a dr. appointment the next day anyway, I had her check out the bruised and battered areas of my body.  X-rays were to make sure I would still be ambulatory.  And I will.  Nuf said.  Left shoulder still wants to go places other than the rest of the body, but that’s thanks to many, many luggage overheads in my past working life.  Angiogram upcoming, tho.

When I grow up I want to be a foreign correspondent…….just call me Nancy Amanpour – – – or something…….

“To be able to fill leisure intelligently is the last product of civilization…” – Arnold Toynbee


March? Surely not……..

March 2nd, 2010

Sure is.  Now I know why someone says “I’m too busy to blog….).  Happens to me all the time, I guess.

So warm and sunny today that I could be lulled into hauling out the cutoffs and shorts and sandals…….well, not quite.  And now I hear from the weatherman I sleep with that there’s a whole bunch of snow coming here next week.  Spring Break week.  Used to go somewhere warm then.  Well, that will probably be the living room and fireplace for me!   :-)  That’s no problem…….lots of knitting to work on………..

The Olympics are over, and there were some really great moments, weren’t there?  The Canadian gold on the last day was so disappointing, but who better to win if we couldn’t than our good northern neighbors?  Yesterday the Yarn Harlot wrote a really nice post about how Canadians feel and are celebrating, citing the US in a positive way, and it’s really a good thing to have them as neighbors.  Just think – We could be next to Mexico or something……………..:^/  –   just sayin’.

Saw a very sobering film in Indian Studies yesterday – award-winning “Lost Sparrow“, a true story about the awful death of two young Crow brothers in upstate NY a few decades ago.  There is so much that the white nation in the US has never known about.  This is just one of so many sorrowful stories that don’t make the news or history books.  Anything about little boys just reduces me to a puddle of tears.

DH is off the crutches and cane and back in business again.  Hurry, Spring!  I want some 2010 flower pictures for this place!

Working to finish up the Mystery KAL sock, Girls Night Out, on ravelry, from Knitters Brewing Company.  I’m a few weeks behind, but I’ll make it soon!  Dancing Girls....These are the dancing girls, showing the heel which will be visible when I’m in Birkenstocks!   I’m close to finishing the toe on #1.  I have become a slow knitter, and it’s tax season, too, of course.  Half a dozen clients have checked in already.  Not to mention working at the antique mall and selling on eBay, and of course, Native American immersion!

I’m going to design some socks soon, and hopefully sell the pattern.

What, me rest?         Remember – –

Nine-tenths of the miseries and vices of mankind proceed from idleness.- Thomas Carlyle

One Little Blog………….

January 18th, 2010

It’s almost incredible to see that on one little blog, the Yarn Harlot’s plea for donations to Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders) for assistance to Haiti has generated almost a quarter million dollars since Wednesday – 5 or 6 days – and there are still thousands of emails to tally.  What an act of love from the knitters in her global reach.  All because the Harlot raised the Knit Signal –

Knitters to Action!

And Brangelina gave $1,000,000 to MSF over the weekend.  Wonder if she knits.