Thursday, July 31, 2008

For once, I'm not jealous of Kate Middleton -- or maybe a little less jealous. Right now, I don't need prince because I've got a kitten. This kitten also loves my cat and it is reciprocated. (Pictorial evidence below). Enter jealousy. They don't seem to love me as much as they love each other. That might be natural and understandable, but I am merely a cat accessory now, a thing they can show off to their cat friends.

The Furminator also goes by Oscar these days because it is easier to say several times fast. (Go ahead, try it. Here Furminator, Furminator, Furminator . . .see?) He likes to sneak up on Norah all the time and goad her into playing with him. It usually works. Sometimes Norah turns the tables.

Several folks have inquired about my spinning. The green-blue pound of BFL is still on the wheel. The roving came from and the dye was from Knit Picks. I have several bobbins of it that need to be plied. Then I'll get started spinning again. I hate to mention how much of a beginner I am, but starting the bobbin and getting the yarn to wind on properly takes quite a bit of concentration for me. Once that is in order, the whole spinning and plying process goes smoothly. Late one night about two weeks ago, I'd been spinning for an hour and I realized that I must ply with the last bobbin or else! Getting everything running smoothly was surprisingly difficult and frustrating, so I gave up and went to bed. The gumption to fix it is simply lacking. Sometimes I am very persistent and sometimes I just don't care. I wish I knew myself well enough to anticipate what degree of motivation was lurking around the corner.

So with motivation like that, what's a girl to do? Maybe that's why when I bumped into Connie at the Stitch n' Bitch at Twist, and she sang the praise of the Schacht Ladybug I knew that I needed one. It's so adorable. I want to dress it up and hug it and love it . . . . As much as I would love to start a huge collection of spinning wheels, I've decided to spend more time with the lovely Mazurka before I commit to another wheel. Then again, if I keep buying more bobbins and more wheels, I may never have to ply the BFL.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Loopy Lunches

I've discovered a new pleasure: knitting lunches at Twist on Wednesdays. No body else seems to be eating, but I grab a bite from Subway and munch away. Then, I finish up by knitting. The conversation is good; the knitting is relaxing. Shelly was a blur. She doesn't sit still. Not for one minute, no sirree. She wound a million skeins, checked out several customers, and was gracious and welcoming the whole time. I don't know how she does it. It is amazing.

Today Kay accompanied me. She's a former knitter, and I knew she'd appreciate the yarny goodness of the store. She hasn't been tempted by the knitting bug again, but I'm certain she will be with enough exposure to yarn. She was, however, smitten with the pottery display and might even sign up for a class. If she hasn't found her way to salvation yet, at least she will have a delightful craft.

For my part, I signed up for the crocheting class on August 7 with Tamara. I've wanted to learn how to crochet, and Tamara fills Twist with the most appealing creations. Rumor has it that crochet is just as addictive as knitting. Be still, my OCD.

Maxine and Carol were there knitting away. I'm still astonished by how these accomplished knitters will say they know nothing about knitting. They say it so quickly too. These women have been knitting for years and their knitting is beautiful. Carol was knitting a lacy, drapey shawl in a deep green color. Maxine was making the Fiddlehead mittens that are all the craze on Ravelry. I'm jealous of the gorgeous yarn and patterns, but I've got two different pairs of socks on the needles, Kitty Pi, and two sweaters on the needles. I am ready to see a finished project. Maybe the cats will help?

Monday, July 28, 2008

pi = 3.14159265

Kitty Pi is on the needles and I'm clicking away. The yarn is Patons SWS and it has a wonderful sheen to it. Self-striping yarn never ceases to amaze me. I could go on and on about it. Then I'd start babbling about self-patterning yarn which is mind-blowingly magical, but there's no call for that sort of chatter.

Saturday, July 26, 2008


Last night a thunderstorm rolled in from the north and brought rain, lightening and a cool breeze. All week it has been oppressively hot, and I've been tense about work. So I sat on the front porch, enjoyed the pounding rain and growling thunder. It washed away all of the tension of the work week.

Then I went inside to play with the cats, of course. Norah is an incredibily patient cat. I admired how she simply held down The Furminator with her paws after he flung himself at her face for the eleventy-billionth time. (The devil eyes are the fault of the photographer.) She seems to like the little fellow and has been sheparding him around the house, playing chase with him, and coaching him about how to catch the feather on the stick.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

The Furminator

The vet had a recommendation when I mentioned Norah needed a companion. She had an 8-week-old kitten who had been rescued. Someone found him in an empty house, locked inside the bathroom without food or water. He's one lucky fellow. He still needs a name, but the vet has been calling him "The Furminator" in reference to his constant activity.

He came home with me on Saturday morning and has been running and jumping and pouncing ever since then. It has taken nearly two days to catch him sitting still. And even though the photo makes him look like a half-demon kitten, his eyes are both a clear, bright blue. He might make me coo, but I'm not tellin'.

On Saturday evening, a friend took me to Faye Farms in Udall, KS, so we could see a farm that had free-range and free-roaming chickens. By golly, they had all kinds of chickens strutting around the place. They had pigs and cows and a kitten too! A bunch of little piglets were trotting around in a bunch, and then they'd circle back to see their mamas. I never guessed a bunch of pigs would be so busy.

Thursday, July 17, 2008


Sometimes I like to wander around the backyard and pretend I'm a photographer.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Happy weekends

This weekend was full of time spent with friends, good food, movies, and knitting. Sugar Bunny showed me how to use a drop spindle. She's got a gift for teaching because all of the videos and books I've used over the last few months haven't helped me make it work. She did it in 15 minutes. It's magic. Magic, I tell you.

Then, intoxicated by all of the laughing and fibery fun, I went home and dyed a big batch of superwash merino. It was meant to be a solid green, but I like variations in color. Here's a picture of it drying on the deck.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Fourth of July

A friend invited me to spend the Fourth of July at her mother's house. Her mother lives on a farm south of Mulvane and enjoyed (!) hosting a large group of her children, grandchildren, and friends. Did I mention her mother is saint and lovely woman?

The place is lovely with lots of trees and fields. Since it was a warm day, I was particularly fond of the trees. Based on the previous evening outdoors, I doused myself liberally with insect repellent in hopes of keeping the number of bug-induced welts on my body from increasing. My friends were also going through bottles of the stuff.

The first order of business was to bundle the friend's children and husband into a pickup truck and drive across a field and through the trees until we reached a clearing spot along the Arkansas River. That was the campsite. I didn't stay overnight, but I did help clear out sand burs and entertain the little ones while the parents pitched the tent. Another couple followed in a different pickup truck. They wisely decided to forgo camping in the sandy stretch near the river in favor of a wildflower meadow.

My friends were pulling stickers out so that they wouldn't be pricked through the floor of the tent. I helped for awhile, but I was wearing flip-flops, the stickers hurt, and frankly, I wasn't going to be sleeping there. The husband leaned on a patch of stickers and yelped, "Fuck." His wife said, "Language, Daddy." Then she knelt on a patch of stickers and shouted, "Oh holy mother of fuck!" And he said, "Language, Mommy." I liked to die laughing. I remember when these two called each other by their given names and didn't police language one bit. The husband wound up getting gloves and needle-nosed pliers for the sticker work.

It was sweaty, sticky work, but we were very pleased with ourselves. The dirt was also starting to stick to us and our insect-repellent covered selves. The insects seemed enamoured again so we all sprayed ourselves with the stinky stuff again. At this point, I stopped worrying about whether someone would notice I forgot my deodorant.

Then we all bundled into cars, caravaned back to town and bought fireworks. What I mean when I say "bought fireworks" is filled our cars with so many explosives it is a wonder the ATF wasn't concerned about the sweaty, dirt-streaked people who reeked of anti-bug chemicals. No one noticed a thing, and the fireworks folks happily took our money. We went off to roast hot dogs, make smores and begin to celebrate. Just for good measure, we dumped a bunch of bug repellent on ourselves. After a while it starts to smell pretty good.

My friend convinced me to try my hand at shooting a gun. It wasn't like the rifle my uncle used to teach me how to shoot clay pigeons when I was twelve. That thing hurt my shoulder when it fired. This was a little handgun, which felt almost to light and gentle to even be a gun. We shot at soda cans. I got very close to hitting a can or two, but no cans, people or animals were harmed.

Then we settled in to watch fireworks. Correction: I settled in to watch fireworks. Everyone else ran around with punks and fired the noisy things. They were beautiful, colorful, and squealed. I enjoyed the show a great deal. My favorite seven-year-old (featured in the photo above) got tired and sat next to me. I was pleasantly surprised when she climbed up in my lap and fell asleep. I used to hold her when she was little, and I thought those days were long past. It was a terrific day.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Wine, music and friends

Last week, I commented to a friend that I'd like to see a Chamber Music at the Barn concert someday. Two days later, Andi called to invite Jill, Michelle and me to go to a concert with her. She didn't even know that I wanted to go. Wish granted! I love it when life gets magical and starts delivering beautiful surprises.

Cathie Ryan, a Celtic singer, was performing. Andie, being her usual amazing self, got us an introduction to Ms. Ryan. Not only does she have a lovely stage presence, but she is a generous and down-to-earth person. And she talked about our choice of wine.

Several people stopped to ask about our choice of wine since Andie and I arrived together and toted our picnic back to the garden with us. Andie brought wine for the picnic. She carried one bottle and I carried the other. (Before any rumor starts about us and our bottles, we shared with Jill and Michelle. It was four of us and two bottles. Shush.) You'd think no one had ever seen wine before with all of the comments and snickering. Ms. Ryan was very polite about it. She admired the white Chilean but thought the red Australian would be better. She also thought that white should be the first drink in the twilight and the darker wine should be imbibed after the sunset. By the time we arrived at our table, I was convinced that others wouldn't be drinking at all. I was wrong. The wine, the beer and other beverages appeared out of picnic baskets and purses and backpacks. Our only misstep was not disguising it when we walked through the entrance. Note to self: a felted wine sleeve would be a fun, fast knit. I wonder if I could bear to felt Noro?

Michelle thoughtfully brought fresh organic carrots and celery which went well with my newly acquired, Weight Watchers habits. Jill concocted a fabulous chicken salad sandwich with grapes and walnuts. It was a sandwich and desert all in one. We sat around a table in the garden happily munching, chatting and listening to Celtic music. The fireflies twinkled. We sipped wine. Jill and I knitted. Life seemed so peaceful and quiet and right. I was filled with a tremendous sense of gratitude and at peace with my life.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Cool Front

A cool front moved through town late this afternoon. The rain poured from the sky, blew horizontally, and even a few, small bits of hail fell. The whole production was over in about forty-five minutes, but it was very dramatic. Now the outside temperature is cooler and the humidity is similar to a steamy locker room. I love air conditioning.

The sales at the department stores are very good these days, and I took advantage of the opportunity to find clothes-that-fit as opposed to the ones in my closet. The most coveted item of my search still eludes me: knit, black gauchos. If I find two more pairs of pants, I'll have one pair of pants for each day of the work week. Then I will achieve laundry nirvana. Sadly, nirvana is a not permanent state, but I plan to enjoy it while I can.

Between all of the storm watching and shopping, I'm tuckered out. It's time to curl up with a good book before bed.