Sunday, February 28, 2010

Watch This Space

There's a new post coming soon. Pictures and everything. I had Olympic spinning to finish, I'm sure you understand.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Getting there

It's been just about a year since the saga of my home purchase began. I put the purchase offer in, and it was accepted with just a little back-and-forth, on February 22, 2009. At first, things went incredibly smoothly. Then, as regular readers know, everything went to hell and continued that downward descent for several months. It was a great relief to finally move into Herself on July 16...until I immediately began having issues with the upstairs bathroom. And so hell continued for two more months.

It's been five months since the bathroom was finished, and many people have asked if I'm settling in. Frankly, the honest answer has been no. My stuff is on the walls, my furniture is in place, the kitchen cabinets are organized to my taste. I'm paying the mortgage, the taxes, the outrageous gas bills, and have shoveled my own sidewalk a couple of times. But it hasn't really felt like home.

This is a little disconcerting.

Having just saddled myself with a good thirty years (hopefully less) of large-scale debt, not feeling comfortable in between the walls and therefore finding a new place is not exactly an option. Not like finding a new apartment, at least. So it seems rather important to get to the bottom of this general discomfort. Part of it has been feeling like I'm tiptoeing around, waiting for the next Big Repair to jump out of a corner and bite me in the ass. This is unlikely to happen, given that there are many new things in the house (i.e., roof, windows, furnace), and heaven knows the plumbing is in GREAT shape now. Part of it has been the financial aspect, but it's really OK when I take a deep breath and look at it. So why still, doesn't this feel like home?

Notice the color, please. Or lack thereof. That's my bedroom window over the summer, right after I finished those curtains. The WHOLE HOUSE is the "color" of those walls. Well, except the kitchen, because I painted in there as fast as I could, before the stove and stuff came. But the entire house is contractor vanilla, both trim and walls, and the carpet is beige. (And cheap, I might add. Cheap crap. Big surprise.)

My last apartment was white. White walls, white trim, white curtains, whitewhitewhite. But it was an apartment, meant to be a way-station, so I didn't mind. I had my stuff up all over the place, and it was fine.

Well, this isn't a way-station. This is HOME. But it just looks like a larger apartment. "My stuff" isn't enough to overpower the apartment-like blandness of the walls. Desperate times call for desperate measures.

The picture with my bed in it is the truest to the color, "Polaris Blue." I wish I could get a good shot of the curtains against the wall. I'll try later. Those are prayer flags on the top dresser drawer, with Lung-ta, the Windhorse, on them. (When it feels like the ground is disappearing beneath you, ask for the strength of the Windhorse to support you and keep you steady.) The quilt is Amish/Mennonite.

"My place" is MY PLACE when it is colorful. I think I'm getting there.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Gems from the music room, part five.

Second grader: You look like a kiss!!!
Me: ?????????
Second grader: Your hair. (brings hands up to my face, and gestures at how my hair falls) Your hair makes you look like a Hershey kiss.

This is a good thing, right? I'd much rather be a kiss than say, a rutabaga. Although, if he hadn't gestured at the shape of my haircut, I would have wondered if he was referring to the brown-wrapped-in-silver effect of the color.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Updated Update

1. Knitting on the Road is still available, too.


I fully realize that some of you are less than enthusiastic about additional snow. We haven't had nearly enough, so please pardon my excitement. I would like to know, however, why it is that I rarely can get back to sleep on snow-day mornings? It's 6:19 and I'm as awake as I ever am. Moreso, even. At least I don't have to fling myself into the shower anytime soon.

Hmmmm, there's four ounces of Black Bunny Fibers Shetland waiting to be spun, and a Peaks Island Hood waiting for more inches, and I keep mentioning the haul from the customer appreciation sale...I think it's going to be a good day.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Yard Sale Update and A Request

The yarn is still available, and the only books that remain are Meg Swansen's Knitting and Debbie Bliss' Quick Baby Knits. I've covered about 2/3 of the customer appreciation sale purchases, which I think is pretty cool. Two items are being swapped for spinning fiber instead, which is great because I haven't had a bite on the Epstein book in three attempts to sell it. And like I said before, these are books that have seen almost no use since I acquired them. That's just silly.

Now, the request: wear your pajamas inside out, sleep with a spoon under your pillow, flush ice cubes down the loo. Please do whatever it takes to get me a snow day tomorrow. The weather forecast has toyed with us all day. It's a storm watch! No, it's a warning! No, it's a winter weather advisory! It'll be messy in the morning! The worst is coming in the afternoon! All I know is that the kids have been absolute noodges for the last two days and it's only going to get worse as Valentine's Day approaches. A day to gird our loins before the red and white onslaught would be a blessing. Besides, then I can take pictures and post about the sale.

Parents, you are excused from this exercise if your kids have already been home on snow days any time in the last two weeks.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Indoor Yard Sale!

Unloading these will help make up for yesterday's 40% off customer appreciation sale at Finger Lakes Fibers. I rarely get up early for a retail experience, but there's something about rolling out of bed at 5:30 to drive to Watkins Glen in order to be at the shop at 6:00, because the 40% off is only good until 7:00. I arrived at 6:05 and was by far NOT the first one there. For a lovely hour, I was among my people. Kind of like mini-Rhinebeck without the lamb pot pie. More about the actual purchases in another post. Until then...I've posted the books to Ravelry too, but not the yarn (yet...I might still, but I really hate taking pictures). I'll keep things updated if/as they sell.

Knitting Beyond the Edge by Nicky Epstein. $15.00

Meg Swansen's Knitting by Meg Swansen. $65.00*

Norah Gaughan Vol. 3 by Norah Gaughan. $10.00

Quick Baby Knits by Debbie Bliss. $10.00

Designing Knitwear by Deborah Newton. $15.00

Knitting on the Road by Nancy Bush. $12.00

Sublime Stitching Craft Pad by Jenny Hart. (embroidery transers...wha???) $6.00

They're all in very good shape except the baby book. That one has some pencil marks and the cover looks like it's been opened and closed. It's really the only one that's had much use. I used Knitting on the Road once, and I like the look at. Nothing wrong with them. I don't want to cable when I'm already using five DPNs. I made what I wanted from Norah's book. I'm not getting into fashion sweater designing. I don't do stranded colorwork. Books are meant to be used, not left on a shelf to be admired.

I also have a copy of the winter 2010 Burda Verena Knitting magazine ("Europe's top knit magazine"). I picked it up on a whim, and it's interesting. More comparable to Vogue than IK, with designs that I think are more wearable than Vogue's. This issue has some stuff for kids too. I'll toss it in the mail for freefreefree to the first commenter who wants it.

*It's out of print. I also have Gossamer Webs, Ethnic Socks and Stockings, and Alice Starmore's Aran Knitting if you're into OOP. I've heard that Dover is reprinting Aran Knitting sometime this year. If that's true...well, so much for my retirement plan.

Two intact 50-gram skeins, plus two separate balls that equal 60 grams (according to my digital kitchen scale) of Berroco Inca Gold. Color 6423, lot 135, which is a deep plummy purple. WEBS calls it "Granite.". The two separate balls are because I like to work both sleeves at the same time, which means busting into two separate skeins. WEBS wants $8.00 apiece; I'll let it go for $20 for the lot.

Four intact 100-gram skeins, plus two separate balls that equal 106 grams of Cascade Pastaza. Color 075, lot 6793. It is indeed a closeout, and this particular color looks like it's sold out. I'd call it a dark shade of dusky rose, but heathery with a very subtle bit of dark green running through it. I got it for $4.79 each; how about $15 for this lot?

PayPal is easiest. but if you don't do it, drop me a line and we'll work out an alternative. I'll pay to ship the books media mail and the yarn whatever's cheapest. (Sorry. Although, it's so light, first-class is probably as cheap as anything else.)

Friday, February 5, 2010

The answer is...

...St. Blaise is the patron saint of both wool-combers and throats because of his specialty in miracles, and how he was martyred:

The miracles St. Blaise is credited with performing all have to do with the healing of afflictions of the throat (choking on fish bones in particular). Why he chose the healing of afflictions of the throat as his category of healing, I don't know. I suppose in the days before the Heimlich maneuver it was a very useful thing indeed, as well pre-antibiotic strep throat issues. Everyone's got their talent, and St. Blaise's was throats.

As for wool-combers...St. Blaise was martyred by being hacked to death with iron combs in 316, a favorite instrument of torture of the time. He was also beheaded for good measure. Apparently those combs resemble traditional wool combs, and thus St. Blaise was adopted by professional wool combers as their patron saint, and eventually he became a symbol of the wool trade in general. Although I was raised thinking St. Blaise's Day was February 2, some sources say it's February 3.

If you've ever used "modern" wool combs, I think you would agree that things haven't changed much. As a tool of self-defense, as long as I could keep my grip on my double-row combs, I could inflict serious damage on someone with minimal effort if need be. Raking your arm with carders is no fun; puncturing yourself with wool combs is a tetanus shot at the very least and considerable blood loss if you hit your thigh (which is a possibility, given the swinging motion used during combing). And there are combs with several more rows of teeth. Armed with those and a blending hackle, who would mess with you? (Assuming anyone would get close enough to the weirdo swinging pointy metal objects with a gleam in her eye....)

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

St. Brigid's Day

At the risk of being a copycat of myself, I shall post the poem I posted last year. Why not? It's my favorite.

the lesson of the moth
by Don Marquis, in "archy and mehitabel," 1927

i was talking to a moth
the other evening
he was trying to break into
an electric light bulb
and fry himself on the wires

why do you fellows
pull this stunt i asked him
because it is the conventional
thing for moths or why
if that had been an uncovered
candle instead of an electric
light bulb you would
now be a small unsightly cinder
have you no sense

plenty of it he answered
but at times we get tired
of using it
we get bored with the routine
and crave beauty
and excitement
fire is beautiful
and we know that if we get
too close it will kill us
but what does that matter
it is better to be happy
for a moment
and be burned up with beauty
than to live a long time
and be bored all the while
so we wad all our life up
into one little roll
and then we shoot the roll
that is what life is for
it is better to be a part of beauty
for one instant and then cease to
exist than to exist forever
and never be a part of beauty
our attitude toward life
is come easy go easy
we are like human beings
used to be before they became
too civilized to enjoy themselves

and before i could argue him
out of his philosophy
he went and immolated himself
on a patent cigar lighter
i do not agree with him
myself i would rather have
half the happiness and twice
the longevity

but at the same time i wish
there was something i wanted
as badly as he wanted to fry himself


P.S. It's also St. Blaise's Day. He's the patron saint of wool-combers and throats (and probably more...those Catholic saints were such over-achievers!). The question is: do you know why he is the patron saint of two apparently unrelated things? Answer tomorrow...