Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Reflections

Not really. I am a trifle opaque today, and more likely to absorb than reflect anything. Yesterday's batch of fruitcake came out very well, and when it stopped snowing I went to the Post Office to finish my gift giving and send a few people a few things.

I looked over most of this past year's entries, and I am not surprised to hear that this is the wettest year on record, and that was before it snowed today some five more inches (light and fluffy).

I need to expand my social life, and of course, Get a Job. This next one, ideally, will not involve standing too much, working with the more than normally insane, in an office of often fewer than one other person (and I'm not sure I was all there either), being forced to wear pantyhose, or selling anything I don't like. None of these necessarily apply to my former place of work, I'm just saying what would be nice. And if it turned out to be eligible for the federal definition of 'employment,'and therefore 'unemployment,' as apparently a 501 C3 religious organization is NOT, that would be nice too. My office paid unemployment insurance; it was somewhat of a shock to hear that wherever it was going, it wasn't to me.

If everyone can manage to remain as healthy in 2009 as they were in 2008, we will continue to subsidize the facial tissue industry and be doing very well.

It is not yet quite time to look over the amount of knitting I did this year, but I am at least five scarves and a sweater better off than I was last year. Here are two of them:
.

The one on the left was intended to be a nice quiet 2-color Noro Silk Garden k1,p1 scarf, and like all the ones I have made, came out more unsettled than I had in mind. I do wonder whether anyone not already a knitter is as fascinated by the color play as knitters are. The ones I have made are weird.

The one on the right is the K1P1 2 color Rowan Tapestry (sheep wool and soy silk), and it is less blue than it appears no my screen. One person suggested she found it deprssing. Even I have described it as a mix of the colors to be found in abandoned, half-drunk* day-old cups of variously cream-enhanced coffees, but it is at least tranquil. If I had more confidence of finding a wearer I might like to try the soft blues and browns; this was the soft grays and browns. I also worry how much the Rowan will pill; but it was soft and lovely to knit.

I think I will spend this evening on restarting Arwen for the New Year, though I am well along in another Noro Kureyon in browns and whites and off-white. The cats want it to be summer. I think I will have to settle for it being January. Could be much worse. I am wishing all of us improved economic outlooks and morale; refreshment from the election news in a stream of quietly encouraging political stories; good health, good friends, good times.

*'half-drunken' didn't work either. I think they were half full.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

And the bedpost was my own!

So then it was CHRISTMAS EVE. I arose and finished making plum pudding and then fruitcake (this batch made 36 muffin-sized, perfect for taking to people's houses and easy to eat) and then I wrapped. and then I had a cup of tea, and then I wrapped. And then I was going to have another cup of tea, but it was three pm and I had intended to drop fruitcakes off at the deli before it closed at four, to say nothing of arriving in Boston by about two pm. Or three. Four at the latest.

I got the last dishes washed and the last package wrapped just before three-fifteen and drove as quickly as seemed feasible. I reached the deli at ten to four, just in time to give fruitcakes and serious "Merry Christmas!" wishes as they were taking off their aprons and closing down. Then I drove to Boston, which I reached about half-past five, just as the OBD, her boyfriend, and the ex were also arriving at my parents'. All of us seemed tired.

My father makes cassoulet for Christmas Eve. There seemed to be more bacon in it than usual; delicious. (The OBD has a small meat-free dish). For dessert, we have sweet chestnut puree with whipped cream, and then we try to open presents. People seemed pleased with their gifts (I was, certainly), even though my parents received Smartwool irregulars instead of handmade socks.

The daughter and I staggered off to the ex's, where the OBD talked Toby out from under the bureau. Apparently he and my ex's cat Shenzi are both omega kitties; when they encounter one another, my ex says, they compete to see who can get away fastest. It isn't quite that bad.

Christmas Day dawned. Toby made sure we were awake at a reasonable hour (Shenzi is more decorous). My ex put the roast beast into the oven and we had tea and mince pies and fruitcake for breakfast (my ex thinks about 500 mini-muffin sized mince pies came out of the oven this year. Next year, my ex threatens, mince pies for family only. Except that people like the daughter's boyfriend's family look forward to them, and everyone at church).

My ex has a new electric mixer, one that does not spray Yorkshire pudding batter all over the kitchen. This is my Christmas Day job; I supply the plum pudding, the hard sauce, and the Yorkshire pudding. My plum pudding is based on the Fanny Farmer date steamed pudding only with no nuts and a lot more fruit and using gluten-free flour. The Yorkshire pudding gets made in three batches--one gluten free, with beef fat, one regular flour with vegetable oil, and one regular. For the second or third year I disappointed everyone by not setting the oven on fire. We set off the smoke alarm a couple of times, but nothing too exciting, and the Yorkshire pudding ALL came out well (the gluten-free does not rise as it should, but neither is it gummy or puck-shaped). The plum pudding slumped as it came out of the basin, but everyone thought it tasted better than usual. This may have been the effect of very successful hard sauce (flavored with Jameson's instead of Christian Brothers). While making the Yorkshire I had a wicked case of nostalgia and thought I would have to go cry in the bathroom, but I has been given chocolate and it pulled me through.

My parents brought a neighbor and my ex invited two friends from church and Lisa arrived ON TIME. It turned out that she and one of the friends from church had been friends several years ago when they were both involved with Harvard. We ate a lot. No one keeled over. It was a very fine holiday.

Lisa and I got back to NH about eight pm (I think) and sat in a gentle stupor. She got herself up early and we had pleasant conversation ("Have you found your power cord?") until she left in time to get to Manchester Airport. A sit was not snowing, I think she made it. I have a headcold and spent Friday not doing anything and today, Saturday, I am not much more ambitious. Finishing the second-to-last Noro scarf.

Another Christmas and everyone lived. Success!

And I still have power!

So then....
Sunday, the Sunday before Christmas, my mother called and said it was snowing an inch an hour in Boston. Not a good shopping day. In NJ, it was 35 and cloudy, eventually even sunny. The Only Beloved Daughter needed to go to the mall. It was surprisingly navigable, with parking places and everything; apparently the bad day had been the day before, when there were lines going out of the stores. We were lucky; lines were short, fast, and cheerful.

On Monday the OBD and I drove back to MA, only she had lost her wallet earlier in the month and had no driver's license. The traffic from the exit to Shoppers' World in Natick stretched back to Framingham. It was an awful warning about the hazards of consumerism. We had Toby with us, which was another reason the OBD was not taking the bus (the bus and the train will not take animals even in crates)(don't get me started). He was reasonably brave and sat on Ellie's lap or hid under her seat. My ex met us at Riverside and accepted the cat. We cut through Lexington. The snow there was really impressive; it had been plowed into 4-foot berms and was still stuck all over the trees and drifted up against the walls of buildings to about three feet in places. Snow always looks more severe in towns than it does in the country; there are fewer places to put it and it takes up a lot of space, completely fouling the ecology of parking places. And making driving slower, which was all right since I could crane my neck and exclaim.

I dropped the daughter at her boyfriend's house in Woburn, and skipped over to visit Alice in Winchester. Where we found Ellie's computer in the backseat. Since she has two papers due, we went back to Woburn though in the interval it had become Rush Hour and Rt 3 was slow...a ten-minute there-trip from Woburn became an hour-long back-again-trip to Woburn. Ellie's boyfriend's mother suggested we wait out some of the traffic by sharing their pizza, and it was delightful. Around eight pm, Alice threaded me through some back roads to avoid the Burlington Mall traffic, which was, according to Alice's iPhone, formidable. We reached my house about a quarter to ten. Paul my plow guy had come through, although it was not as much snow in NH as there had seemed to be in Lexington.

I have known Alice for it will be 20 years in September; she's 23 now and a much more interesting conversationalist than she she used to be, in fact a more complicated and gracious individual in a lot of ways. She is annoyingly gifted in the clothing-design ways, possibly something to do with being a math major and a computer science grad student. She earned the cats' eternal gratitude by shovelling off the secondary front door steps, so they can make a circle: from asking me to let them out through the kitchenette, through the plowed driveway to the proper front steps Paul shovelled out of kindness, in through the cat-enabled other front door, through the house to ask to be let out through the kitchenette... they hope somewhere the weather will be better.

Sometime in the last week or so, the dynamic has changed and Marten is gratuitously beating the daylights out of Willow. It has become any more serene.

Lisa and I had lived intensively in the kitchenette, and though all the dishes were washed the room was pretty well trashed once again. Alice and I managed to find enough space to sit and barely, to bake. This involved things like putting the food processor (for almond-meal) on the floor and upsetting the cat in front of the fire. Alice earned my eternal gratitude by chopping two pounds of dried fruit. At last, I made fruitcake, and plum pudding. At least up to the crunch time, the Psychological Moment, the point of No Return where one adds wet to dry. Then it was time to forge into Concord for lunch, a trip to the LL Bean's outlet (irregular Smartwool socks for half-price), The Elegant Ewe, and taking Alice to the bus station.

For some reason, possibly the driving the day before, I was tired. But I needed to go to the Co-op (gluten free-flours) and the utterly delightful deli (I bring wine). I have not bee to the deli latel because I know it is an easy place to spend too much money, but I like the staff and they are kind of me. I must have looked really awful because the manager was concerned and Jen behind the counter made me a small baguette and blue cheese snack. I felt life return to part of my brain. I finished my shopping and went home, where the cats explained that they are tired of winter, I usually like winter but I am not feeling as cheerful this year as I did last; I think the romance of five days by flash- and lantern-light has taken some of the edge off of my insouciance. Also, I still need a job.

it IS better now

I appear not to have mentioned that I got my power back at 2 AM on the Wednesday, Dec 17. (That would be five days of powerlessness, which, at that, was better than than the poor sods in Fitchburg, MA, and actually also better than many people in NH. NH had 95% of its power back by Christmas Eve, only to have it go out again in Manchester and some other little hamlets).

The return of the electricity was a great relief even to an indifferent hostess like me. I had promised God I would vacuum if I got the power back, and I spent three hours cleaning ONE ROOM (the kitchenette) and it still looked kind of full. But I made it to the Manchester airport without getting lost (I have learned there's "Next Right" that isn't actually the Next Right) and it is always good to have Lisa. We bought wine and went to Daniel's and stayed up too late. The next day, Wednesday, we went to Concord and shopped. Lisa wanted funny socks to send to her friends in California. We reached the shop of the Society for the Protection of NH Forests not long after four and did not leave till nearly five, wondering whether her grandmother needed a wrought-iron key rack with chickens on it or truly funny nightshirts. Then we went to the Post Office, where the line went very quickly and they believe Lisa's presents would make it CA before Christmas. We went home and stayed up too late.

On Friday, it was forecast to snow; I gave Lisa the car and she went into Concord and exercised and did work. I knitted until I finished the Rowan Tapestry Noro-style ribbed scarf. I started a Noro scarf (#4) that I hope would be sort of plausibly discreet and guy colored. I did not make fruitcake. When Lisa got home, it had begun to snow and she did not make gingerbread. We did not stay up so late because we appeared to be tired.

Saturday I drove to NJ . Lisa did, indeed, make gingerbread before we left, which smelled wonderful. It was supposed to have stopped snowing around midnight; it was still going strong when we pulled out of my driveway around noon. (See previous post.)

Sunday, December 21, 2008

from the thinterland

I am in New Jersey (291 miles, 6 hrs 26 minutes. In Google's dreams, baby). It took two hours to leave my snowy (10") driveway, get to Manchester Airport and drop Lisa, and get back to Route 93. It was not until Danbury that the traffic felt secure enough to speed up to a steady 50 mph. I didn't think the traffic were being stupid; there was slush and spray ad it was unsafe. You could tell going 40 or 45 was a good thing because there were no obvious spin outs and death-crashes. Took a long time to get anywhere, though. And I may not have made the best choices at some points, but on the other handn I was never lost either.

So I reached Piscataway in about ten hours, and it was at least a change from being home feeling anxious (I think intense snow a any deadlines at all(I don't want to miss Christmas) makes me vaguely unhappy, which is a pity because it really is pretty and as long as I have electricity I am greatly blessed). And soon we will have pizza which is better here.

The Mt. Kisco exit off 684 is a terrible place to get gas, as it turns out the gas stations are MILES off the road and has only expensive attendant-driven gas stations, but it has a KICKASS United Methodist church which this picture does not show up its weird wonderfulness, although I may have just been tired.

There is a good oldies station in New York (FM 104.3)a) but they are SO WRONG about the best Christmas Rock and Roll of All Time #3 being Paul McCartney's Wonderful Christmas Time even if it is a vicious brainworm, and b)it fades out well before I get to Piscataway.

Quiche for breakfast. I should come here more often.

Friday, December 19, 2008

for some values of normal

The power came back on at two in the morning on Wednesday!! I flushed the toilet out of sheer joie de vivre! As of eighty-thirty, the internet was still having difficulties, so I will go turn the router off and on a few times after I have drunken my freshly made hot tea and perhaps had a shower! It's italics time all over; well, over all but about 80,000 of 400,000+ households. For whom it may be after Christmas before they get their power back.

I did not mention that my parents had obtained me a little pack of four Coleman four-Double A-battery lanterns, which looked like toys or lights for pagans wishing to set up a circle in an area of high winds (four colors). They also gave me a package of 32 AA batteries. I was pleased but surprised to find they were really good and each gave as much light as my reliable Czech railway lanterns. And no chimneys to clean, no fear of inadvertently spilling kerosene and provoking a fiery disaster (Not quite as romantic and not so easy to know when one is running out of fuel, either). But I was surprised how lighthearted the lanterns made me.

So soon I will throw away a few things from the refrigerators and --

oh yeah, so far I have something over three inches of white fluffy snow with more and some freezing rain to come. Gibber. How winterwonderland for the visitor from California.

Now it's Friday. The snow (10" - 14") is not supposed to start until this afternoon, and it's supposed to be over after midnight, and Paul has promised to come plow me out so I can go to New Jersey. If it is completely Apocalyptic (Fimbulwinter) we will see if we need to send in a ringer from MA. And something else is supposed to happen on Sunday, and I am supposed to get back on Monday. I feel the weather is getting out of hand. And Christmas. Could we just take a deep breath and a few days off?




Pictures:
Some of these (there are a lot of black and white photos here, no captions) are just lovely, the trees and fences in snow and some of New York. I am not as much a fan of the chimneys, but I can see why he liked them.

Monday, December 15, 2008

So on Wednesday I went to lab, and on Thursday I went to the grocery store, and I made Largely White Stew* and bread and I had somewhat intended to make Holiday Fruitcake, rather than become... . ANYWAY. It was a chilly nasty drizzle evening and the radio warned of doom. I watched three issues of the Daily Show (loving the Internet) and just was considering going to bed when the power went off. It went on and off a couple more times (I know this because the lights connected to remotes (which are part of the ceiling fans) turned on and I got out of bed to turn them off.

But when I awoke Friday morning I had to listen to NPR on the handy bedside transistor radio and there was no tea to be had from the cold, dark, microwave. The radio said hundreds of thousands were without electricity. I was encouraged to learn that the boss of the state emergency management office was from Henniker, but they were saying it might be Tuesday before there was power again. They were having trouble reaching some of the areas because so many trees were down.

Since the lunatic who built my house provided it with an oil furnace, gas log-effect stoves at the rooms in each end (the Loom Room and the kitchenette), a woodstove, and various electric space heaters, I am not cold. During the day it is not dark, either. The woodstove is not made of wood, nor yet of iron, but is a snazzy soapstone which does not get hot enough to cook on.

When contractors have not inexplicably vanished from your life, leaving a gas stove with a working clock but no gas (and a completely paid-for but uninstalled set of half-bathroom fixtures in your guestroom), this is an inconvenience. As it is now, it meant withdrawal, so I stayed in bed as long as I could. The cats helped. Willow still hates Marten, who wishes she would play with him. I called my mom on the cell phone, I called Sarah (who has no power and no heat, either), and I was called by my daughter to whom I had texted poorly "No-power.No-tea.Very-sad]]". She wanted to make sure there was nothing sadder happening than the lack of tea (as if). I called Paul the plower and contractor who has been if erratic at least really faithful up to this kitchen renovation. He did not answer his phone. Then my phone, whose battery is nearing the end of its useful life, went dead, so I put in the car to recharge (the car will only do this is the key is in the ignition and turned one and a half clicks toward ignition). After awhile I drove down my driveway, which had limbs on it thicker than my thigh and a tree gracefully tilted across. I went back up the driveway. I knitted. I sulked. I listened to the radio. Every few minutes you could hear a crashing noise or ice sliding off a tree or the roof, or as I had all night, a sound like a gunshot followed by a crash – another tree learning that being deciduous is not enough. (Actually, a lot of it was white pine boughs. Very pretty with the icing.)

Then I put on serious clothes and went to move tree limbs. It was about 37 degrees Fahrenheit, with occasional sunlight and as beautiful as an ice storm can be, amazingly detailed frosting and lighting effects. I lopped smaller limbs off the larger limbs and parts of the skinnier trees overhanging the road (first having looked hard to make sure none of them were involved with powerlines). Most of the limbs went; the tree is still hanging there; even if you are not doing anything dumb you can still make your back unhappy about the whole logging thing. The surface of the driveway was a couple of inches deep in crushed ice and icicles that had already come off the trees. Covered in sweat and pine tar, I went to the hardware store to look at camping stoves.

The hardware store had a generator. It was full of people (and a Borzoi), all of them quite cheerful and buying out the battery section. Everyone was happy to talk about how dire it was and the roads that were impassable. I heard the words "winter wonderland" more than once. I scored a Sterno stove (cooler than most candles, but less sooty) and the last one-burner camping stove. They were out of small gas bottles, as was the grocery store, and the feed and grain was closed, so I drove to Bradford and observed the telephone poles broken off at the root. The hardware store there had a generator and small bottles of propane, and I bought two and went home. FINALLY, a cup of tea. And some stew.
At some point I washed the dishes in the sink and used up my remaining water pressure. I have buckets along the eavesline, now full of ice, so I brought in some to provide water to flush the toilets. It was very cold that night but my house was fine. The log effect stoves and the oil furnace were keeping me (and my water pipes) perfectly toasty, even though they have electric thermostats, so I was better off than most people.

On Saturday the power failures in New England led the NPR news. Out of 700,000 plus customers, more than 400,000 were out of juice, including a big piece of Manchester. I found I had left the cell phone in the car and my parents had called several times and assumed, since I wasn't answering, that I had fallen in the driveway and broken my hip. I reassured them and called a couple of other people and plugged the phone back in to the car charger. Around two I decided It would be a good idea to go into Concord and find a cybercafe. The car would not start. I assumed I had somehow drained the battery and I was not very happy.

While checking on the car to see if it might have changed its mind I saw the flock of turkeys wandering around the icy wastes. They made an almighty racket just as I was going inside, so I looked again and saw a bunch of them flying into the top of a tree. The fox was looking at them, but after a moment it gave up. It's still beautiful. My cats said no one but a fool would go outside anyway.

I called some people and Doug said he would come by the next day, which was fine, and I left an unkind remark on my still-vanished contractor's answering machine. He showed up just before dark and said his power had been out and he had not been able to charge his cell phone or receive calls. We examined my driveway I coasted the car down beyond the tree – Paul's truck couldn't get under it -- and we tried to jump the battery. The car went from having dashboard lights and making a clicking noise to a nasty crunching noise and complete darkness.

I retreated to my kitchenette. The Prairie Home Companion was broadcasting from New York. Bright lights, decadence. I finished a Noro scarf and worked on my father's socks and another scarf (Rowan Tapestry). I read Patrick O'Brien. I usually try to wait a year or two between rereading Aubrey and Maturin, but Majorca and tropical seas. Pretty nice.

It was still cold on Sunday. Doug appeared with a new battery and an interest in dancing with chainsaws, so I met him in the driveway (Marten walked me down but he said his feet were cold and he was NOT liking the chainsaw) and we switched out the old battery. It did no good. We did have fun taking the overhanging tree the rest of the way down, without breaking any bones or amputating anything or even getting frostbite. I called Triple A and asked for a tow to the Subaru dealer and Doug took me to Concord. All the ice has melted in Concord and except for a high river and a few big branches still waiting it looks like nothing has happened. Doug and Sarah C had lost power for a few hours Thursday night, but they had amazing facilities like hot water and microwaves and even television. It was very strange.

This morning, the Subaru people found that my car had blown a main fuse, way back in the wiring (we had looked at the easily accessible fuses) and although it was $90 on top of the $60+ extra towing fees it was much cheaper than a new starter motor or a new alternator, so I am back with wheels and sitting in a Panera drinking tea and electric current and wireless internet service. Although I feel like I am failing my Grownup class and I probably need to live somewhere that doesn't involve chainsaws, it's a lot better than yesterday. And it's 47 Fahrenheit, so there will be melting.




*Sauté an onion and oregano, possible thyme, possibly mint if you like mint, and some sliced potatoes until the onion is translucent or browner. Add one can rinsed white beans, one can hominy, and one can artichoke hearts. Add the juice from the artichokes and enough water to cover. Cook until the potatoes are done. If you like and have bacon, I imagine you might add bacon. Serve with or without cheese.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

migration of the community organizers

Saturday we were to take Rob (clean air) to the bus station and then Bryn (toxic awareness) and I would be free to go to Goodwill. This meant that in the morning we waited for Rob to finish packing, so Bryn finished knitting her rabbit (the one to which there is a link somewhere on this page) and then we all went into Concord. We put Bryn's luggage and some extra bits and pieces from my house into her very nice new home/apartment, high above Concord Main Street (not so new -- the building was a steel building and part of the Chicago Exposition in 1893 and came to Concord by train. What is really neat is that the bay windows in her apartment were not leaking cold air), and Rob went to finish things at the office.

Looking for recyclable sweaters for Sarah's latest venture (to which I will post the link as soon as she says I may; she is doing reclaimed all-natural fiber yarn and little interesting natural-fiber cloth packs for crafters) has given me a new appreciation for thrift stores. They stimulate the hunting and gathering instincts. Bryn doesn't need quite everything, and she will only be in Concord for a couple of years, so no pianos. We went to Goodwill and the Salvation Army and found her some RevereWare and measuring spoons and my favorite, a mint-condition stainless steel dish rack for a dollar. Not exciting, but useful, and SUCH a DEAL. I do love helping other people spend money.

Then we raced and got Rob to the bus station, and headed for the supermarket. Which involved making sure Bryn could find the local source of sushi, and then I took her and her groceries home and went home myself, and I finished my first Noro striped scarf (as seen recently on on the Yarn Harlot(and several posts following, and earlier, everywhere else, and now Sarah is also making them but she stopped after only three). It was strange-looking, but I was fond enough of it to cast on another. And yes, I have looked for enough other Noro around the house (and well, around town...) that I may have a few more in my future. Such as the one made out of Rowan Tapestry (170 Country and 178 Whirlpool, I think). If I am spared and can work a pair of socks for my father in, I may offer people a choice; is making striped scarves just for the colorplay and then inflicting them on others selfish?

Friday evening I had made a pineapple upside down cake in honor of Doug's birthday; Saturday morning I made unnecessary but tasty cream cheese/coconut frosting (so as to get the coconut into the pineapple coconut set). Then I took Bryn for a few more items at Target and went to Doug and Sarah C's. Deb D and I surprised him by providing birthday cake (a day or so late) and Doug and Sarah provided us with a warm, dry knitting venue. Unfortunately it is December and the lack of light made it harder to stay awake, despite the companionship (which did include a new woodstove... I blame the warmth).

Then it snowed fairly convincingly for an inch or so. Monday morning when I awoke my thermometer read 3 degrees Fahrenheit, brilliantly sunny. Since Sarah D is starting a new job next week, she has this week free and had asked if I might accompany her to WEBS in Northampton, MA. I could not let her to go to such a den of iniquity by herself, particularly as she had not been there before....

More scarves, maybe some socks? If the yarn is for specific projects for specific people it has no calories, right?

Saturday, November 29, 2008

life is good

Right now it is sunny and the hoarfrost is insane on the deck outside. I spent Thanksgiving with my parents in Boston, down to our original nuclear family of three (my ex was with our daughter, having visited our son).

Thanksgiving, for a number of reasons (actually, a diverse number of allergies and my mother's rock-solid conviction that cooking is not fun, even if others might demur), is a restaurant holiday. We ate at Legal Seafood (garlic shrimp to die for) and had an excellent time. We returned to their apartment and observed a marathon of CSI, which is pretty good. The day my parents and I met my longest-running friend Pat, whom I met in 8th grade back when we used stick pens to write in cuneiform on our papyrus... at Chang's, and ate more and it was good.

I try (I really do, it's one of the cognitive therapy things to do for depression) to keep aware of my gratitude for stuff most of the time. From my (screaming meemies) reaction to reading a review of Slumdog Millionaire I seem to be very grateful for my hands and eyes. Right now, I am glad not to have a mortgage (despite taxes AGAIN!!). Things could be better, sure, but they are pretty good (and can you tell I have been taking my medication?). For further reflection, let me offer you Mark Morford's superbly written honesty.

All of us are healthy and we all had food on the table and roofs over our heads, and although I did drink too much on Wednesday night I didn't feel too bad the next day.

I have two community organizers staying here. They are literate, funny, and have strong liberal opinions. They like beer. I like beer, but it makes me horribly drunk so I have had a number of bottles of interesting beer hanging around for a year or so, waiting for enough people to help me drink them. We gave several a thoughtful appraisal. While drinking Insanity and Arrogant Bastard and something with a Kodiak bear on the label I made cheesecake (a caramel-sauce-free version of this (I went crazy in the supermarket; they had gluten-free lemon snaps next to the GF gingersnaps and I just mixed them, with abandon, and it was delicious. It turns out my father is having an unexpected turn to the lemon-flavored side of the Force the same way I am and he was most appreciative. Go me!) and participated in a fine argument about the existence of God. I remarked that I was lucky the cake wasn't leavened, because I kept having to stop and perorate and wave my hands a lot in between adding ingredients and Rob had an epiphany about why his cornbread is sometimes flat

**********you can't add wet ingredients to dry--where dry includes baking powder or soda--very long before baking or the CO2 goes away*********.

You don't get as many drunken epiphanies as I'd like in these trying times. But sometimes the spark comes through.

And the cheesecake is delicious.

In the morning, Marten was hoping I would give him a splash of milk and, in a fit of either boredom of terrifying genius, he bit a mini-carton of Little Milk and got his wish. The carpet here is already 20+ years old and tinged with the arterial blood of a doomed chipmunk but it seemed ominous. What will he do next?

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

feathers in heaven

I was in the loom room yesterday at about three when there was something-glancing-off-the slider-type bonk. I expected a confused junco, but there was nothing, so I moved to the side window and saw, about four feet away, that a fox had taken Buffy. The fox didn't see me, and I think Buffy was past seeing anything after the fox's initial rush. He (perhaps she) kept stopping to spit out feathers, but he carried Buffy's limp body into the woods and I watched them go.

It was all very fast. I had just fed Buffy an hour before so I know she went feeling well taken care of. It was also early enough in the afternoon that I would not have had her in the coop even if she had still consented to go. I had known she was in a sort of "Live Free or Die" (state motto) way of life-- I was going to defy her wishes and get her into a friend's flock as soon as it snowed, but it hasn't yet-- and on the whole I think suddenly getting nailed beats freezing to death. But she was a lovely bird and I valued her friendship.

The fox was beautiful, too.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

It's cold

Before I forget: go to Coraline.com and type "sweaterxxs" into the password bar. You can find the other passwords here.


It is seriously below freezing, several days running. I think it might have waited another week or so, but I like the bright light and the chickadees and goldfinches are great. Just keep the windows and doors closed. This would be easier if Marten had less faith in me; he seems newly horrified every time he persuades me to let him out (the cat door as such is a casualty of the kitchen renovation, which is not done, no).

On the plus side of my life I have had to count not being one of my friends: her daughter is recovering rather slowly form a bout of chronic fatigue, during which her son nearly lost an arm in a metal lathe, after which he came down with pericarditis, and is now on leave from college trying not to get sick again. My friend is having a lumpectomy on Dec. 3. I believe her husband is still healthy. I am making her a brightly colored neck warmer.

This is the second in a series so far, and I continue to worry about early onset-dementia. Even when chirality is not an issue (I have spared you the details of starting Arwen. She is not going very quickly; I needed to get a yarn with no halo, and then there was unpleasant day I spent realizing that I was reading the chart wrong several different ways. But I read English left-to-right, left-to-right, and it seems to be a harder habit to break than I would have hoped) I can't count above two very reliably. So about the fifth start I marked the daylights out of it and I think it's working all right. I am happy I am sticking with it and I hope it isn't itchy.

Every time I hear about how bad the economy is I wonder, I am amazed... these were not verbs that had to have an object, one does not have to wonder _about_ anything or be amazed _at_. In fact a-maze-d seems to imply one's wits are disordered and one is staring gently into space drooling. About right.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Yes we did, and now we must

But I am not quite sure of what I should do in my position as one of the 16 million new poster children for the Crash of 2008. I seem to be having Hope.

This week has been unseasonably warm. No more talk of furnaces or wood stoves.

There was an election. I listened to streamed NPR and broadcast NHPR and window-hopped and read murder mysteries (I am very fond of Donna Andrews. Her plots are good, I like her people and her grammar is IMPECCABLE). I noticed I was still feeling stunned and worried even as I listened to McCain's very gracious concession speech. It wasn't even eleven, didn't elections last for at least a couple of days? I was somewhat relieved to find I wasn't the only one who had trouble feeling, well, anything.

Finally, Thursday, Sarah arrived, pumped out her mind that Terry Gross had referred to "President Obama," and Rob the Lodger moved his second duffle bag in. In the merriment of throwing a double mattress down the stairs (probably the biggest thing I have ever thrown down the stairs; Rob, to his credit, asked from the living room "Am I right in assuming this is the mattress you are giving me?" since lots of people keep one there and he didn't want to be pushy) and I think I finally grasped that the election was OVER, no more fear of Alaskans, and we had elected a black guy (it is so good to be pleased and surprised by one's country) who was also one of the most intelligent-sounding politicians I have ever heard (which, frankly, may have been even less likely than the color of his skin). We opened a bottle of champagne and sat in the living room with our laptops and sent funny election links to one another.

On Saturday Doug and I gave a needle-felting workshop at the Shaker Village. This meant that I spent a lot of Friday reading a murder mystery and then suddenly sprang into needle-felting workshop overdrive. It was successful. Once again we have given members of the public sharp pointy things and they have not used them on us or one another.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Thank you, Yarn Harlot

She turned on her furnace (as of yesterday). Just because it's below zero (I hope to God she is speaking, as she usually does, in metric) and snowed in Toronto. Apparently more than once. Because if she did, then I can, even though I have only seen a couple possible flakes, but friends in Canterbury and New Jersey tell me they have seen more than that, and if it's snowing in Piscataway I should be able to ice-skate here).

So I can, in theory, turn mine on without losing. I bet she didn't know she was playing this game with me. In fact, even I thought wondering when Stephanie was going to turn her furnace on was weird, but it's a consequence of my somewhat reclusive life.

Here I sit, with the internet and a cell phone, only taking the oxen into town when NH Unemployment demands; it happened to be archaeology lab day yesterday anyway. The lab is MUCH too hot if its furnace is on, as it has been for the last month. If the outside temperature dips below about 60F it's much too cold there, so one can't win. We are moving furniture, like full filing cabinets, and feeling very pleased with ourselves because we taped the drawers shut and there was no disaster.

The cats would like me to sit in the two rooms at either end of the house; these rooms have little faux-log gas fires, and one of them is the kitchenette where I sometimes bake things in the oven, as well. Turning these gas-fires on does not count, because they have pilot lights and they come on when the rooms get below 60 F. Certain cats have been known to sleep there instead on on my bed, where I pay them to be. They think because I am asleep I don't notice when they go, but I do and Marten will not be getting a nickel bag of catnip in his stocking this year (he would prefer single malt anyway). Willow says she should be allowed to stay downstairs in the warmer because she caught a cold, a very ladylike cat sneeze, when she was stuck in the porch, but she's mostly over it now.

Marten, being the very model of a gentleman cat, hardly ever makes a noise. He prefers to show up and look at me meaningfully, usually about cat food. Things with the kitchen have affected the cat door, as have the continuing ravages of Viking Raccoons (pillage. Melting eyes. Clanking of birdfeeders when decent folk are asleep. Little rubber noses. BASTARDS.). So now Marten has a fine show of sign languages indicating that A Guy Could Let the Cat Out if She Wanted To (Marten only suggests things in Minnesotan), but that is not always enough. So he is trying out a series of little polite noises spoken under his breath. It is very funny when he whispers "Roo." You can tell he feels gauche.

Buffy, the Last of Her Tribe, is still a very fine chicken. I think chickens, like goldfish, are happier in groups, but she seems very well and all of her feathers are grown back (not the case since Spike hit puberty). She has a placement through Archaeology Linda in a coop near Keene for the winter, but she seems happy running free, not being eaten yet. NH chickens have a Live Free or Die thing going she takes very seriously. Every afternoon we have Chicken Time and she sits on my lap and has a handful of sunflower seed. I will take her to Linda when it gets really cold, although Buffy says she would be fine in my kitchen. If I could litter-train her I would be fine with that.

I should say, she'd be fine in the kitchenette (with faux-log fire). Not much new in the kitchen, proper, because Paul seems to like working alternate days. The new stove is in, but not hitched to the gas, and the microwave/range hood is in, and now I have two clocks within three feet of one another and an guilty awareness that microwave clocks are energy vampires. If I ever get rich or another long-term tenant I shall replace the kitchenette fridge, because I don't think it actually seals. I should just delate myself to the ecology police. This is another reason I have been trying not to turn on the heat. I have cabinets, but Home Depot and Paul disagree on some of the sizes we have, and he needs to sort out three of them, and then we might have counters. I am wondering if we could put the shelves in and I could get some of the kitchen out of the dining room and the living room.

The other problem is that someone, probably not Doug or the contractor, has put STUFF on top of the woodstove, and some of the kitchen in the place the kindling goes, and I would have to move it to light the stove up and it's really nice in the bedroom with the blankets and a sweater or so, and ideally a cat on my feet.

Only a few more days and it will be the election. It will also be the end of Daylight Saving Time and officially Time to Think About The Holidays. NO. The election, fine, it is only like having a tooth extracted (do you want more agony or the bitter, aching socket of disappointment? Don't tell me about polls. I am madly superstitious, and as I said last time, I will only be cross by April because they aren't far enough Left), but the rest of it, no. In honor of being evil-tempered, disappointed, unemployed, kitchen-impaired, celibate, fat, and in the midst of an economic downturn of historic proportions, I am probably not knitting anyone anything for Christmas. Except me. I need a hat. And Arwen.

On the plus side, however, it appears I am getting a short-term tenant (an apolitical organizer, since it's a non-partisan group?) for the month after the election. He will be welcome if he goes through with it, but the poor dear thinks he will be in a normal adult household. It is giving Doug a reason to get his stuff out, which is good for both of us--it's like missing someone slightly and then you find another can of shaving cream; I don't know whether to be sentimental, resentful or use it to clean windows, and the file cabinets and the loom are worse. Doug has already had a couple of his bookcases unjustly seized (full of kitchen).

I should mention that I finished a scarf/muffler (twisted rib, not-really matching color-lots, still pretty) during Octoberfest, and then I came home and finished the strawberry sweater I was working on during the Winter Olympics. In fact, !!! It's hugeous and warm and I love it but I hope I have enough sense to avoid so much moss stitch in the future. I am still tying the quilt. I try to tie it faithfully when I watch Jon Stewart so Ellie will get it before she finishes grad school (she adds, sadly, that she's cold in NJ) but it's enough trouble to do very small neat ties that I slack off. I have several pairs of unfinished socks, one pair of which may be too small in the cuff (I guess I could rip them out, they're toe up....you think Adivan or something would help?).

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Mainlining Patrick O'Brien

I wish he had written more than 20 books. But I may have a Tony Hillerman festival next.

The day after I last posted, my contractor called; he had the Horrible Cold or possibly flu. He seems inclined to come back to work. Willow disappeared for 48 hours, making me think she had been chomped by a coyote. She was shut into the front glassed-in porch and very glad when I let her out. I was glad she was not part of the less-differentiated biomass, but I wish she would stop being mean to Marten.

My son, with whom I am only rarely in touch, had a fight with me, apparently because he is unhinged. This has not contributed anything good to my general mood, except for making me want to spend Christmas in a Muslim country. Or Buddhist or Hindu, I'm not fussy. Mars?

So I contributed to my NPR station in hopes of winning the 9-day trip to Greece, and made the person on the phone laugh by telling her I was more eager for the presidential campaign to be over even than the fund-raiser.

If I get the actual work (a) writing an log of the things I have been applying to for the NH Unemployment people, b) a small thing for a small nonprofit) done I will go meet one of my oldest friends today, where we will both try not to be too gloomy. She has reasons but we should probably both go on a course of therapeutic nitrous oxide.

I think I am going to try knitting Arwen, since I seem to have yarn already. The daughter's quilt is coming on (one of the few beings whom I can tell to "get tied" and have it be a friendly gesture?).

We still have some beautiful leaves, and I am actually cheerier than I sound. I think I had a mild almost asymptomatic case of that Horrible Cold, because I needed to sleep ALL THE TIME and had stupidity and a headache I only rarely noticed but it was a corker, for about ten days.

The possibility of someone wanting to rent a month here has been a great help in energizing my desires to tidy, but I keep doing deep-tidying that doesn't much show, just results in filling the car up (the recycling station/dump, mostly). I have always thought putting one's summer (or winter clothes away for the winter (or summer) was kind of lame in a too-rich-for-your-own-good way but it does get things off of the chairs (bed, floor, vacuum cleaner) in the bedroom.

And I have purple finches. Outside.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Not dead yet

The weather is still beautiful, if increasingly cold. I am unemployed. My kitchen isn't done and Paul is not answering his cell phone. I think I shall soon start parking outside his house and honking at 3 a.m.

I will be really glad when the election is over. And I don't even have a TV, my parents in Massachusetts are getting really tired of the Shaheen/Sununu (US Senate contest for New Hampshire) and I gather it's worse in-state.

My cats are well, although if you know anyone who wants a really nice, well-behaved cat who needs to be in a one-cat family, please let me know. Willow keeps attacking Marten and, wanting a quiet life myself, I am on his side. But Willow is very sweet to people.

I could be a lot more cheerful, even though I am in no danger of foreclosure or starving; even though I am not living as badly depressed a town as Springfield, Vermont, where I just went with Lisa-from-CA to visit her grandmother. It's a really pleasant mill town, specializing in precision gears. None of which are made in Springfield anymore. It seems wrong that that large a town could be so unable to provide an economy for itself, but it's a cash economy. Too cold to grow cotton, and though I have misgivings about industrialization, I don't really want to have to go back to making all my own clothes from the sheep and the hemp plant up. Gears are good to have, in many capacities; it's hard to produce them for a purely local market. It makes me want to go back to school and learn enough economics to figure out how many people it would take to have a fairly decent, independent civilization, one that includes advanced dentistry, progressive trifocals, computers, alpacas, and not too much pollution. And then I would want to break up into a bunch of those, with lots of communications with other states, and a high standard of human rights. In fact, I have read The Mars Trilogy too many times.

It is a mistake to expect a new administration will make everything all right, or even in the short term anything all right, but it sure looks like a chance for a change of boats in the middle of the Styx, at least. Between finances, what-should-I-do-when-I-grow-up-or-even-next-week? and a host of acute and chronic emotional embuggerage, a change seems like a good idea.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Raining, if not pouring

Apparently this is what's left of Tropical Storm Kyle. It could be worse; my drivway doesn't appear even to have washed out, which I though was its kneejerk response to a flood warning. I am okay with this.

Meanwhile, I no longer have to be subtle about my looking for another job, because my non-profit is seriously out of money (not a surprise) and I am getting laid off on Tuesday (or is it Wednesday? Tuesday is the last day for which I am being paid). I have feelings and even thoughts about this but I gather it is unprofessional to say much; if you desperately need details, ask off-blog.

On the one hand this doesn't help my partly realistic feelings of unsuitability and uselessness as an over-50 year old woman who owns no suits (and really doesn't want to. If Coldwater Creek separates are not dressy enough, I probably have too many other attitude problems for you to be happy with my working for you). On the other, I needed a different job for a host of reasons, not least the cost of fuel.

I am not panicking, and I can't tell if this is a good response or not. Saves energy, and remains an option for the future.

It is harder to get an electrician in the greater Concord area than you might think, but the kitchen is slowly coming along.

The trees are starting to turn -- well, they started in mid-August, but it's becoming more socially acceptable even outside the swamp maple communities. When there is sunshine it's amazingly beautiful, and kind of neat even floating in the fog. I have not yet closed all the windows, though it's getting almost frosty some nights.

Toby (now a 2 yr old orange cat) is getting along better with my daughter, who is doing remote prep for possible future parenthood by becoming better at going back to sleep and ignoring cat-dashing after midnight. He is, if anything, more obviously over-alert now that he's an entirely indoor cat -- he is only happy in her bedroom or hiding behind the furnace in the utility closet. He is bored but we can't help thinking that's probably better than terrified, as anyone would be if Willow (who has now been here almost a year) kept trying to beat one up. Marten, who is about twice Willow's size and a quarter of her fierceness, can take it but, I think he is tired of her.

And the second morning after my services will no longer be recompensed I will be showing up at lab at 8am. to go dig for the last gasp of summer, an invitation-only Octoberfest in Randolph. After that I will get more worried, if I can be sure that will be more productive.

Monday, September 15, 2008

procyon

Yesterday I sat in the loom room (far north end of house) and finished the quilt top (don't worry, there are miles to go before anyone sleeps with it) and sat happily with both cats until it was late. All of us rose to our feet (a total of ten) and then there was a thunder of little other feet running for the cat door. The raccoons had infiltrated about two hours earlier than they usually do. They have learned that the food these days may be found at the far southern end of the house (kitchenette the formerly of Doug).

I was not altogether surprised to see one of their number still eating kibble. He went and hid in the bookcase, quite well if you didn't know he was there. He would look out asking for justice and temperance and with his little squeaky toy black rubber nose (I know, long white teeth are included). I discussed the merits of not coming into my house.

Marten came in and started eating kibble. Willow came in and hated him for eating and then Saw Something in the bookshelf. The raccoon attempted to melt me with its sensitive eyes, and then shrank back farther into the bookcase. Willow turned into Terminator Cat stalking her prey. I suggested both she and Marten leave. Got Willow out into the laundry room. Got Marten out through the door outside. The raccoon pretended it didn't see any of this, but gave me to understand that broom handles were not okay. I sat down and read about Proto-Indo-Europeans, periodically banishing cats (this hurt their feelings). Eventually the raccoon paced around the room, tried several times to get out the way it had come in (the long way, through the laundry room, the kitchen, and the room outside the door full of tools), ate a little more kibble, considered upsetting the fresh kitty litter just because it could, and ambled outside.

At least they are not bears. Bears cannot get in through the cat door. I guess we have to pull up the drawbridge earlier.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Baskets of it

I do the laundry. I am happy about that, changed the sheets gratuitously. Very carefully hung a bunch out on the rack, put rack in the sun outside.

The self-contained former-garage apt. that Doug called The Fiber Kitchen had devolved into savagery. In the first place, it was essentially without counter space (like one stacks things on the stovetop, and then moves them to cook). In the second, Doug (who is still moving out) had tended to put things there and when he began moving, he put more things there and when I began renovating I put things there.
Doug took some of his things elsewhere, and after some time I realized I could put things into the mostly empty cupboards, and move the microwave/toaster/electric kettle complex into the kitchen area. This made it a lot more like a kitchen, raising my expectations.
Yesterday I moved things of Doug's into a nasty mass on one side of the room. This was precipitated by my noticing that the last (and I mean last) time the raccoons had rifled the place looking for cat food, they had tipped over the kitty litter tray. I would prefer the cats Went outside, but since I now seal the house every night to keep the raccoons out, I feel it necessary to provide something. In order for anyone larger than cats or raccoons to get to that part of the room, I had to do something. And it would be nice not to have to negotiate a treacherous course to get to the only place in the room the radio had adequate reception. And at that, somewhere to sit while the leftovers warmed up, or even to eat them, was an interesting idea.

So I moved stuff, organizing what was mine and eventually reaching the litter litter. I love my shop vac. I was handy to the laundry, and also to the rack, which I moved inside when the sky clouded up (it was supposed to rain yesterday) and back outside when the sun came back out. I improvised another counter and de-crumbed the toaster-oven. I fell through the door twice, AFTER I had made it obstacle free, and doing no good first to one ankle (it turns unexpectedly about once every three years) and then to the other (I think I just missed the step) and wondered whether I was coming down with an interesting brain disorder and limped and took arnica.

I moved the chair out of the living room and put it into the space between Doug's loom and the window and cleaned the bathroom and sat down and finished sweating just as Sarah arrived. I changed some of the clothes on the rack and did another load of laundry, and we ripped a bunch of CDs to Sarah's new computer. The we moved inside and knitted and eventually had food. Sarah left around nine and I forgot to bring the clothes rack in. The forecast is for possible rain this morning. I would say it was possible, since it has been raining steadily since midnight.

It was a good day. It's not easy being green.

I can walk all right today although my ankles are still discussing how mean I am.

Friday, September 12, 2008

I can haz laundry

Paul says the house has a curse on it. This morning his pipe cutter broke, so he went and bought new screws to hold it together in Henniker, and after he got back his propane torch broke. So he went to Concord to buy a new one and then to referee a basketball game in Manchester. He came back after dinner and got it all hitched up. Then he left and I found we had hot water but not cold, so he came back (had not got very far) and turned the cold water on and tomorrow there will be clean linen everywhere. The cats and I are enjoying being inside and not being in Galveston.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Last Thursday, the contractor said, "Do not use the water upstairs. Or, you can use the water, but the drain is not hooked up." On Friday afternoon I asked if I could use the upstairs bathroom and he said 'sure.' He said there was a 99.9% certainty I would have my washer hooked back up that night. This did not happen, nor did it on Friday or Saturday afternoon (why did he say he would come and work Saturday afternoon?).

On Monday, I left, hoping reasonably that I might be able to do laundry that night. I got to work. The nice man who wanted only to print 450 copies of a newsletter about Peace with Justice was there. The newsletter was not printing very well at the office down the hall, so I said, "Come, use ours, we'll bill the UCC."

Now the UCC and my computer are not on the same server and are in many ways separated from one another, though we do share the slowest T1 on earth. Both Lisa-of-the-UCC's and my computer's were running _very_ slowly, like ten or 15 seconds to change windows, a similar lag when typing (the letters would appear singly and with hesitation). And the computer could talk to the fancy printer, but only very slowly, so when I asked it to print 450 copies it had to spool it very slowly 450 times. Very slowly.

After about 100 copies, I noticed that the hyperlinks in the newsletter (which they had assured me was entirely black and white) were appearing in color, jacking the cost of each 4 p copy from five cents to forty. I had been trying to give Peace a chance so I had asked them before but they swore there was no color in it. Right. Periodically the copier would misfeed and need to spool all over again. I did it in smaller batches, in monochrome.

I called the former IT guy In DC who was unhelpful. I had bounce notices from addresses in Germany and other places to which I have not sent anything, so I assume we were zombie'd. Getting a new, on-the-scene IT guy can be my boss's first job when he gets back.

I did have a pleasant time with the Peace gentleman; he is from Virginia and there are few other suitable words for him. He's charming, and he gave me food and we had a good time dissing Sarah Palin.

Paul the contractor called and said that the washer was not happening on Monday. Indeed... there was a problem, because when he had said I could use the upstairs bathroom he had only meant the water and the drain had not been connected all weekend.... no matter what kind of day I had had, his was worse.

The copier, chuntering along at last, announced that it would need its technician soon, so I left a service call. They said the tech would be there Tuesday. This kind of warning usually comes about 4 days in advance, so it was with displeased surprised that I read about four minutes later that the copier wanted its technician NOW and there would be no more copies. As it was already an hour and a half after I usually leave, we left.

For whatever reason, the slowness and clumpiness of the computers was intensely wearing. I went home and tried to quilt the difficult bit (the difficult bit I am on, anyway, I am sure there are others) and then went and watched TV.

This morning the shower was cold. I resolved to ask Paul about it.

I went to work, where the bookkeeper was keeping books only the copier wasn't working. Indeed, it was not, and I asked the tech service if they were coming and they said oh, yes, before lunch, and the nice Virginian gentleman stayed until about 12:30 and I said I would call after the tech came, which of course he did not. The computer was back up to speed.

After the Virginian man left, the bookkeeper tore into me for saying anything unkind about Sarah Palin (actually, I had been wondering where TIME Magazine heard Palin had slashed the budget of a teen mothers' home in a time of prosperity, because that sounded like something they damn well ought to footnote). Despite not agreeing with Palin's stance on abortion, she said it was a GOOD thing to have someone with no experience in government, and how could I say she wasn't qualified? People with education are always saying that and it was so unfair, Judy knew lots of smart people with no education, and people with education in HER opinion were too often living in their own little world.

I said you could say that about Alaska in general, for that matter, and I didn't like SP dissing community organizers. Judy said if Obama was such a great community organizer why hadn't we heard of anything significant he had done while community organizing? And on, and on, even though I apologized to her and said I had certainly not intended to say anything hurtful since I liked her and valued her company. "Well," she said, "You should think who else is in the room before you spout off about politics." I hadn't been talking to her, but never mind. I was glad she hadn't heard me yesterday. I was also irked that she was nasty when I tried to apologize for inadvertently offending her. I said that building was a well-known liberal stronghold.

Later, when we had changed the subject, she explained how much the general economic malaise was affecting her and her boyfriend and I wanted to say "Well, whose fault is that? and you're voting for MCCAIN?" but I was afraid she would hurt me.

Paul reported that the washer needed one more part but the drains were working again. I asked about whether he had turned off the hot water. He went and checked around and reported that I had no oil, which is annoying since I am on automatic delivery.

I would like a peaceful life, with a chance of laundry.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Calm after the storm

Not that a great deal is happening, particularly in terms of my kitchen, solidly mired in the astral plane. We have almost got the washer back. Almost.

I finished one of two (the usual number) sleeves on the raspberry Moss Stitch sweater (and if you live in Central NH and can figure out Norwegian/Danish purl the fourth one down, as approvingly adopted by Too Much Wool, do let me know. It is some comfort that even such a speed demon as Cassie finds moss stitch a slow proposition. About two inches of Moss stitch and three of K2bP1 cuff to go, and then I can pull out the neck (size 6 needles) and redo it on size 4 and I think it will be finished.

I spent Friday night very pleasantly at effectively blogless Sarah's working on the Philosopher's House Socks and worrying about early-onset Alzheimer's, since I could not for the life of me follow the heel directions. It is the second sock. I had no trouble with the first one. The second one did at least four different things to avoid becoming, including a triumphant dropping stitch that took out about seven rows of heel flap.

*** I like the idea of the different socks, and I want to like Cat Bordhi (I drool in anticipation of the book she has promised with weird historic designs from the First Nations people), but the layout of New Pathways gives me hives. I get dizzy and confused from the "turn to page this, and while there, turn to page that, and did you write down the secret numbers on enough small pieces of paper? No? Turn to where you stuck it, then. Now turn back," and I am somewhat comforted that Sarah, who is a better knitter than I shall ever be, murmurs "Was she on CRACK?" Jessica, who is pregnant and suggests that her brain function is not at its very best, is leaving the book for later. These are not things that should be making Bordhi's publisher feel comfortable.

Now I have looked on Ravelry and several people had their copy of the book spiral-bound, which might help somewhat. I am wondering about looseleaf.***

But no one seems to have made the mistake I made on BOTH socks that results in the increases not being centered on the instep. The same error? um, mutation? happened on both socks, which suggests to me either that I skipped something both times or misinterpreted it the same way both times. I don't entirely feel this is my ineptitude; I wonder if the pattern testers have somehow GOT Cat Bordhi in a way that makes things seem more obvious to them than to the least of the pattern-users (that would mean me). Stockholm syndrome among the manual writers.

I hope the next Pathways books are easier to use.

And I am making the little cute scattered triangles in the quilt borders. When OBD and I were looking at the pattern, I wondered how they made the little triangles. I was horrified to see, in this really nice book (okay, it's a mostly nice book, but it has interesting, easy patterns and you don't have to like her colors) directions to stick them on with fusible interfacing a) so they will eventually peel off, looking b) God-awful as they gradually dehisce and c) being stiff and unlovable before they do so. Not that I don't hate and fear applique (why does this spellchecker let me get by without an accent aigu?), but difficulty is less abhorrent than tackiness (and in the case of defused interfacing, untackiness). So I needed to hem the little things. One can iron them. If it is not sickeningly humid (as it usually is while you wait for the hurricane) and you don't mind handling very hot pieces of 2.5" on a side I-don't-really-want-to-fold-over cotton. Don't talk to me about freezer paper.
So I went to JoAnn's and found this. It is, as you notice, ridiculously expensive, but it does what it says it will and it doesn't seem to gum up the sewing machine needle. And I made about 50 little cute triangles last night, ready to sew on today. Even if it doesn't disappear when washed (I wonder, having accidentally tasted the stuff, if it might be very concentrated soap), it won't be the strange stiffness of polyester interfacing. Which is fine in its place, but not on a sleeping thing.

The Loom Room is becoming my main hangout. There is excellent light, but on a hot evening I think the track lighting is adding to the toasty sensation. The other end of the room is less well lit and slightly cooler; I moved the OttLite out of the living room and over to the 'sewing table' (usually a place to put things so I have to clear it off when I want a flat surface). Periodically I rearrange the furniture, including the big bags of fleece. Even if I finish the socks, the other socks, and the sweater, and the other sweater, and the quilt, I will still have enough roving to make many more. Only what can you make out of yarn that is too soft to make socks out of, not enough to make a sweater out of, and too dear to make a scarf someone else won't much like out of?

My son introduced me to The MiddleMan, which you can watch for free. It reminds me of the Avengers and the Man from UNCLE, and Buffy. It's pretty good. I am enchanted that my son or anyone in his generation knows about the Avengers.

Between this and Jon Stewart (now apparently available the morning after at Comedy Central), upon whom I relied for coverage of the political conventions, I can't be snooty about not watching TV. I wish could report a quantum leap in the number of hours spent knitting, but sometimes I just sit and stare.

Regarding Hanna, it rained really a lot, with no thunder but great enthusiasm.

I yearn to do laundry in my own home.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

They have put the new windows into the kitchen, making things noticeably brighter all the way into the living room (think Warehouse of the Lost Ark, with some places to sit). They have destroyed the tiny ill-designed bathroom with the unusable shower, and made a passage from the former closet of Doug into the Engine Room, still the home of the washer and dryer (disconnected) and the old fridge (connected)(but part of the point of all this is, pardon my insane desires, to have the fridge in the actual kitchen).

The passage is so whoever lives in those two rooms will be able to go into the new bathroom without passing through the dining area. The bathroom will be carved out of the old bathroom and the engine room, and not have a shower in the first place. The dining area will lose the direct access into the bathroom, depriving the dinner guests of the sounds their hostess makes while... you understand? There is something basically NOT Gracious Living in going direct from the table to the toilet without even an illusion that one is going anywhere else.

The kitchenette in the reformed garage (the one the previous owner built for his aging father, iwhere/in which my mother claims the aging father died to avoid being made to live)is giving me something like a rock-shelter for meal preparation. I am here to tell you it is not suitable for anyone but a barely-cooking warmer-up of things. They say one should sleep once or twice a year in one's guest room to make sure the room is still pleasant; cooking in this place is making me aware that it is barely above hotel mini-bar status. It has burners and a real oven, but there is not enough counter to sustain life or chop onions and eggplant at the same time.

Though the fridge is at least in the same room as the sink and the stove. Very handy.

Doug is not anywhere near moved out, but he is not around much. It is just as well as the house is only somewhat habitable. I hide in the Loom Room and my Bedroom. The number of places I don't usually sit where I can hide from the siege suggests that this place is way too big for me. It is handy at the moment. One of my friends remarked I could probably have a couple of small families living here with me and only see them occasionally.

The cats: Toby is staying with his other mother, who is having trouble adapting to a cat who is adapted to living outside and only slinking inside when Willow* is not around (Probably in Atlantic City). We are hoping he will adapt to a diurnal lifestyle (actually, more 'crepuscular' would be when Ellie will be home). I am hoping not to have an Ellen Moment, but Toby was getting daylights beat out of him and Willow, I am afraid, enjoyed it. I had him locked up with me in the Loom Room for a couple of days, terrified he would get out and I would miss the window of opportunity to have him transported to NJ, and he was darling. Now, of course, I miss him.

Marten got sick of being attacked without provocation and now gives as good as he gets. I yell "Can't we all just get along at them?" which is not terribly effectual of anything. Sometimes they both sleep on my bed at the same time. I don't know what they make of the reconstruction.

I am not getting the most favorable idea of queen kitties. But she is very nice to me.

The Chickens: In April of '06, I think, Doug had seven. This summer neither I nor Doug was around much to close the scoop door at night on the remaining five strikeout four strikeout three, and something traumatic happened to Miss Callendar in there leaving lots of feathers, and Faith refused to go in ever again. Now he and Buffy live in the bush, apparently fairly happy (although Faith, being a rooster and a complete Baftard, is still plucking her feathers from time to time),and we wonder what will happen when the snow comes. No eggs are noted, and none were ever brooded, which makes Faith's satyriasis kind of futile.

There are still a few frogs in the backyard puddle, bless them. And bats in the sky of an evening. And something that sounds like a cuckoo in the background with the goldfinches.

I am working on the strawberry Green Mtn Spinnery sweater in the Manos pattern with Seed Stitch and cables that I was trying to finish during the Winter Olympics, and I have real hopes of finishing it. It seems to make me look long-waisted. I am about 3/4 done with both Philosopher's House Socks that I only started a couple of weeks ago, and I would like to finish them and the sweater before starting to make socks for my parents for Christmas. I did finish spinning the lovely Macintosh by Heather roving I got at the first Fiber Revival, only I bought some lovely Pomegranate by Heather roving at the second Fiber Revival so it was not a net loss of stash.

I am trying to consider seriously embroidering the tea cosy Alice asked me to make that started off a frenzy of embroidery earlier this year. Alice's birthday is September early sometime, maybe 3rd. It could happen.

The Gault shirt is still mired in mud around the water screen illustration. Documentation of which you will look for in vain.

I have a secret project that I can't talk about about but it is using almost as much energy as it is producing in cheeriness and I will let you know when it bears fruit. It is not about a guy, but on the other hand that is usually just as well and you know I won't get any diseases.

The weather is absolutely lovely. I think this makes five days this summer.

I will try to do better.




* Willow might get along well with Dolores, but I don't think she quite has Dolores's sense of style. Willow really should have been named Mehitabel.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

I am in foreign

I know I am in foreign because the air is cool and dry and there aer exotic insects singing. Why does Piscataway have New Hampshire's climate while NH has, perhaps, one of the sweatier bits of Japan?
Also, why is my daughter's apartment bigger than most people's houses?

Friday, August 08, 2008

not bad as these things go really

Kitchen creeps along, ingesting hge rolls of cash and producing plaster dust and mysteriously tarp-wrapped things in the driveway. I still have hopes for Labor Day. It is not entirely Paul-the-contractor's fault; the electrician kept standing him up, his client's mania for windows keeps intruding.

I am not coming off as very heroic, since I am doing a terrible job trying to get things put away before the room they are in is destroyed. I tend to creep away upstairs and murmur "This is not happening."

The switch on the washing machine needs fixing, as it now needs to be turned on freshly for each chunk of the cycle. I am trying to impress on Paul that we have a subsidiary fridge in Doug's kitchen and getting the washer hooked back up (he plans to detach it soon) is much more urgent. I may not eat but I do get clothes dirty. The subsidiary kitchen and bathroom have been helpful in not making me entirely bedroom-dwelling (like some species of lemur?).

It is raining every day. Often with serious consequences somewhere not all that far from here. A seven-year old drowned last night when her family's car was caught in a flash flood last night. This is not The Old West, here. I have never heard so many people complaining because they cannot get a spare, dry moment to cut their lawns.

The cats are not being very nice to one another. There are also two raccoons walking through the background, one of whom follows the other making heartrending grunting, squealing noises. Since they want to come inside and eat the cat food, I have to be careful to shut the cat door. The cats are not happy about this because it makes it harder to go hang out at the bar or the mall or wherever they go (I bet they smoke).

Today I am driving to New Jersey, to get my daughter (and drop off some possessions, or we would all be doing this by train) and take her to her boyfriend's house so his family can include her in their trip to Disney World. I don't want to be snarky about New Jersey, but I don't recall it as the Garden State from my life there in the 60's. My daughter is now working at the university where my father used to. She says it is often humid. I am trying not to say, constantly, "Well, that's New Jersey." She is loving the ethnic food in the markets.

Maybe it isn't having a monsoon there.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

I'm turning amphibian

Or maybe amphibious. Or just growing webs between my toes. It rains often. I rarely see the length of my driveway when I wake up in the morning.

I have been home from digging for just over a week, and only taken one mental health day since. My boss is in Palestine and environs, but business has actually picked up a smidge and there was enough work to actually work most of the time.

Quebec was great. It didn't rain very much, most of us found a few flakes or more (I am being brave; I found a few flakes, Dick and Heather and Matt found about 200, and George and Linda found flakes that had been used as tools. Will found part of a biface and Nathaniel got skunked. Ronan found most of a fluted point, but he is from Brittany and deserves something for coming so far. But the point was made out of either Mt. Jasper rhyolite or Jefferson rhyolite, New Hampshire either way, so we were able to share in the happiness. It is very fine to think of the PaleoIndians making the same journey we did) and the team from U.Montreal continue to make us feel very welcome and put up with people mangling their beautiful language.

I thought digging was like Boot Camp and so I would be able magically to do 30 minutes on the elliptical trainer. Indeed, I can, without any immediate ill effects, except that by 3 pm I start wondering how soon they will let me go to sleep. And my leg muscles say this was not the boot camp they attended, and my feet have decided that trendy people have heel-spur type issues. This has not been helped by the disappearance, upon my return, of one of the most comfortable shoes in the world (or they may be the Venice. They look similar. Mine are black and make my feet look like ninjas.). I have tidied the room in which the widowed mate was found repeatedly and I am baffled. The Chacos, former holders of Most Comfortable title, are apparently not being supportive and cushiony enough anymore.
It was sticky hot (high 80's F) most of the week so I tended to find myself reading The Curse of the Spellmans (this and the work to which it is sequel are very funny books) in the air-conditioned bookstore. My kitchen is making very slow progress (this is not a surprise), perhaps because my contractor is being played by his electricians. We hope for serious work this week. I am betting it will be mostly done by Labor Day.

We will not speak of the garden, which is FINE, but so are the rampant Queen Anne's Lace and Evening Primrose. Willow continues to try to add Toby to her dinner, and she and Marten had words at about four this morning. I tell myself they will be happier when we have a kitchen again (and family dinner, and do our homework and watch Laugh-In together).

I haven't been knitting or embroidering, perhaps because I lack the brain cells, or perhaps because I had to reread all of Armistead Maupin's Tales of the City so I can borrow the new one from Sarah.

And then I got my copy of the fifth Temeraire novel back from Doug (who persists in moving out, but slowly; I've told the cats but they don't believe me)and had to reread that.

And today, in between downpours, I stalked the League of NH Craftsmen Fair where strangers forced me to buy another mug...actually two, and a milk jug. Then I sat and spindled while Sarah spun on behalf of Canterbury Shaker Village. Now I am home hoping to stay awake till 9pm, which, considering how much sleep I had last night, is silly. I should feel fine till at least 9:15.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Maximum entropy

After four weeks of field school, I am home till Tuesday, when eight of us will drive up and dig in Quebec. It is possible that some of us are a little tired, although we also have pretty much our chops as much we will get them: forearms like steel, livers like shoeleather, and a sense that six a.m. is kind of late to sleep in. And ten pm.m is definitely late to stay up.

I loved it.

The bugs were much much better the second two weeks. The weather was at times hot and often humid but we were only actually rained out on the last day. We found stuff.

Right now at home I am in contractor hell: he is waiting for things to arrive and we are hoping the tarp will stay on the pile of Future Kitchen of America on the front porch. Sarah brought me four fleeces to wash, which was fun given that I was already hot and sweaty and the fleeces smell agreeably like a fiber festival. Sarah has unloosed her Inner Tidy Person and is giving the anteroom What For, after sorting out a number of things in the loom room and making the living room much less awful (the living room is full of the Present Kitchen of America).

Sarah is a saint.

Soon we will have dinner.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Sticky

I was home for the weekend, and now I am back in Randolph. At home, I awoke to solid fog beyond the deck off my bedroom on both days, and I am not sure it really cleared much. It rained most of yesterday evening and into the night. This morning it has been managing not to rain, but Coös County is under a flash flood warning, and back at home, my driveway is starting to wash out. I am sitting outside the cabin not being bitten by bugs, wondering at the cabin's ability to be stuffy even with all the windows open. It's said to be 81 F.

I did go to work yesterday,managed to clear up anything that had accumulated in about 3.5 hours, which suggests it is not very busy there this time of year. Even I find it hard to complain about a one-day work week, and they let me sleep late and listen to NHPR. I avoid such intimate contact with the real world (The NYT online is close enough) while digging but I hadn't missed anything there, either. About all that happened at home was the raccoons, maddened by our removal of the birdseed from their access, tore a hole in a large thick plastic bottle of the sort that sometimes contains bleach. In tis case it contained (note tense of verb) fish and seaweed emulsion fertilizer. While not anywhere near up there with dead moose, the smell in the anteroom is pretty awful and some kind of serious response will be called for when I get back, possibly setting fire to the carpet.

The raccoons also fought all last night while raiding the birdfeeders (you would think a daring midnight raid, they's be quiet, but no) ousdie the bedroom. The only wildlife I have seen in the Mt Washington Valley this trip was the bear and the woodchuck crossing the street in a nice residential area of Berlin on Friday morning, so I suppose being kept awake by raccoons at home fits in. The dig is going very well; we have been incredibly lucky with the weather, while a sister dig in Portsmouth has been rained out most of the days last week.


I was supposed to pack up the kitchen for the Great Leap Forward the contractor says will begin this coming week, but there were no boxes available in Concord on Saturday (well, there were, but they were too low down in the Borders dumpster to reach). The liquor stores had had a run on theirs. In the end I stole a bunch of Doug's boxes for packing to move to his GF's, (he has forgiven me) and got most of the kitchen packed up. I am wondering if the proliferation of soy-sauce bottles with about 1 2/2 tablespoons (say 20 ml)of contents left is something like what happens with wire hangers. Or maybe that's what knitting needles and ballpoint pens leave in their place when they disappear.

The dig is going very well. The more I think of it, the more a group of people getting together in a given location for a couple of weeks for a particular purpose and drinking and telling stories (and sharing the cooking, so one only cooks or cleans once a week or less) at night seems like shepherds getting like sheep. We still don't know quite what the paleo people were doing here (woodwork, among other things, and getting fresh tool-stone)but I hope they had good luck with the weather and as pleasant a time as I am having.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Packing, really, honestly

I am an hour and a half away from leaving for field school. I need to put things in the car. I am about 20 minutes from putting things in the car (wind a skein of sock yarn into a ball). It is pitilessly humid though not too hot yet.

Friday was the Only Beloved Daughter's Birthday. I went to meet her in Boston, with my my parents and her father and her boyfriend, and she made delicious chili and an even better cake. It was good, although the usual birthday discussions of the future were marred by our all having Done To Death "When are you Moving?" Sometime next week. It depends. She is fed up because too much is in flux nad the lease does all ow pets. This is a disappointment. She can't say much about her summer job doing research for the department chairman of her grad school, either. Flux. It is like limbo but with more blanket-tossing.

I spent the night at my parents', which is always pleasant. They have a back-patio container garden with many many pots of flowers. Sometimes they have a peregrine falcon living on the roof, but the chicks have flown and so has the falcon.

I went to see "King-Fu Panda" with a friend I have known for almost thirty-nine years. Since neither of us is over 25, this seems unlikely. "Kung-Fu Panda" (my friend likes pandas, I liked the clips on the NYTimes web site, we wanted to see one another) was enjoyable and I have seen many, many worse films. So the theme was stupid ("Believe in yourself and nothing is impossible."); it wasn't offensive or pernicious or suggesting I should buy anything. This movie did not make me ashamed to be a human being, and the animation and the art were really lovely. We had lunch at a Thai diner in Woburn with Daughter and Boyfriend and the company and food were lovely.

I may be the only person in the world who gets a manicure before setting off on an excavation. Digging tears up the hands. I have fragile nails and shreddy cuticles at best. Now my nails are short enough they won't break and the cuticles are as tidy as can be, and I have a very subtle glittery gloss of acrylic sparkles.

Then I came home and complained about being a 51-year-old mother of two who still has menstrual cramps. It was a great excuse to put off packing. Ithink I have run out of them... maybe I'll brush my teeth.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

and so, forth

Getting two people graduated from college (considering they did all the work) and having a fit of pique because No One Understands Me and in Particular No One In New Hampshire (other than Sarah) Has ever Heard of the Blogisphere (I am not kidding. My knit shop doesn't read anything. I think they are seriously foolish but it's a darned good LYS), and also There Is No One in My Office But Me and my work verges on the meaningless

these things can surely not contribute to a lingering feeling of doom and depression, can they?

Maybe a little.

The terribly hot weather last week nearly killed me.
My feet would like me to lose about fifty pounds. Or five. I don't think it's going to happen. The hotter it gets outside the less inclined I am to garden or anything else. And the chickens have torn up my flowerpots and done no real good to the few places I have weeded.

I suppose the fact that Doug is moving out of here and in with his lady-love might not be contributing to a feeling of well-being either. And he won't take the rooster.

On the plus side, I have had three days of the Only Beloved Daughter's cooking and company, before she moves to New Jersey, where her apartment-mate (a Craigslist find) forgot she wanted to have a cat. And some other things. Her father and I have offered to have him killed but she asked us to hold off.

Her father, whose ankle is not really all better from being sprained last fall, has sprained the other one (and will wear heels less. Being a woman is hazardous.) and is the parent-of-transport for moving the daughter to NJ. I think I may end up missing some field school to help her move.

Part of me would like to be starting a new life and graduate school, even in New Jersey and even recognizing that the OBDaughter (by graduating) has lost a huge chunk of her social life and her home, and will be now (or once in NJ) about 3 times farther from her boyfriend, and the cats she graciously loves even though she did not grow up with them (of the four, the third one died the day after she graduated, leaving only Shenzi who lives with the daughter's father. More her brother's cat, really, but awful timing), and me, although since she hates where I live this is not such a trial.

Right, PLUS SIDE: it's now unseasonably cool and lovely, and I am not anywhere near a flooding river. I have regularly visiting indigo bunting, evening and rose-breasted grosbeaks, and a bunch of more monochromatic birds whom I like anyway. The peonies have been spectacular, if kind of sucker-punched by the heat.

Field school should be fun, although it is a historically amazing year for ticks.

I am nearly done with the top of a quilt in rows of pieced triangles -- something like eighteen rows of fourteen units -- for the OBD. It is very pretty and bright-- bright, though not loud, which is interesting. More interesting is a chirality-challenged person trying to make even, straight sides to a saw-toothed object. One who is too parsimonious to just rotary-whack down through the least common sided-ness (besides, since it took awhile for the realization to come upon me that the finished item should NOT be a rhombus but more of a rectangle, the waste would be huge and the result narrow). It may be finished by the end of July but not before field school, alas.

My sewing machine is patient.

My knees are pretty good.

I am mostly somewhat packed.

It is not absolutely certain that McCain will win.

Oh, and through the graciousness of an immediate ancestor I am having Work Done on my kitchen, which will probably improve my life.It will certainly make the kitchen and dining area less annoying and much brighter. Only I feel unworthy and wonder if I ought to be begging for help paying my taxes instead. Also, I think at this point I am supposed to be supporting my parents, and not being propped up by them.

Sometimes we wonder if my anti-depressant has lost its effectiveness.

Since I am not blogging my dig, as such, if you would like to get regular (somewhat) Tales of Life in The Woods and Test-pits, please email me at channelflakeATTTgmailDOTTcom.

what the world eats

Sixteen shots of sixteen families with the food they eat for a week. It takes too long to load but it's fascinating.

http://www.time.com/time/photogallery/0,29307,1626519_1373664,00.html

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Emo kid

I am not feeling that life is full of mystery and wonder. I am feeling that whatever I do the reply is "That's interesting, but not really what we want." This is not tending to make me more optimistic or "passionate" (the human services buzzword of the year).

Specifically, today: Dick says he has received flak because "some of my comments, people think reflects badly on SCRAP as a whole." He then cited some remark I am supposed to have made about someone never emptying their own bucket, which I don't remember saying. I have really tried to be upbeat and cheery and honest.
I already do as much self-censorship and reaching out to people who don't know what archaeology is about as I can and it is boring me. So I am quitting blogging on New Hampshire Underground.

At least it rained, even if not very much, yesterday. The colorful birds continue to show up.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

here we are

Late spring, verging on summer, except that it has not been disgustingly hot or too boringly cloudy or sticky-cold-humid lately. We need rain, in fact. But given that it feels too hot at 70 F I think I am acclimatized to winter.

The tadpoles are not in sight. I hope they are hiding under the leaves and not dead. We have a single green frog, but I haven't seen the newt lately.

The shrubs over-pruned by deer are coming back. The metasequoia looks like a furry green pole, poor dear.

The violas I planted the first year here apparently found the winter too much, which is surprising; I thought they were indestructible.

The hummingbird has returned. So far I am pretty sure I have only seen one male, but he may have been seeing someone off; I couldn't tell if I saw another hummingbird of had a hallucination. Some of those hallucinations are pretty quick.

But the goldfinches and the evening grosbeaks and the rose-breasted grosbeaks are back and today we had a visit from the indigo bunting, which is pretty darn cool. This year he was in full sun instead of backlit and there was no doubt.

As to crafts, the quilt for the daughter was not far along, but that is okay because she does not like Laurel Burch and I do. Instead of giving her that quilt, I had the far greater pleasure of seeing the daughter zone out in a quilt store surrounded by fat quarters. She likes colors.

I wish I had a picture of that, but here's one of me taken by Sarah.

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Monday, May 19, 2008

Two out of two

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ANd none the worse for our adventures, which continue.