Monday, June 29, 2009

That Old Rachel 15

One July when Rachel was about two and a half, we finished dinner and, instead of getting down, she asked for paper. She had found a pen and started drawing. She colored on her paper for a bit and then started coloring on her knee. I asked her to stop and she said, with many gestures, "You can't see this (waving at her knee) because I am showing you my face (circling her hand around her head)! So you can't see what I am doing on my knee. You can only see my face!"

I told her I could see both her face and her knee and I didn't want her to color on herself. She thought for a minute.

"But I am decorating myself for Christmas!"

"Do you know when Christmas is?" I asked.

And she answered, "Um...this year I think. And maybe next year."
I have been in a funk for several weeks now. If you could see the inside of my head, it would look something like this:

When I was younger I used to describe it as my brain feeling scratchy.

And I think my face has probably mostly looked like this:

I don’t know what it is exactly…a whole combination of things. Mostly, I think, I am hearing Time’s wingéd chariot just a little too loudly these days. I miss my mom, though that seems silly since she’s almost 4 years gone. When do you get used to these absences? I miss young Rachel. I mean, 21-year old Rachel has her own charms and appeals…but sometimes I really just miss the baby. I miss feeling young. I feel so damn middle-aged-verging-on-old. Perhaps I should take up sky-diving.

So…I’ve been knitting hard and reading lots of Terry Pratchett. I should have some knitting related pictures in the next couple days. Fingers crossed.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Summer...For Those Who Like It

Summer is here, school is out, let the ice cream reign!

Actually I hate summer...don't like the heat and humidity, get horribly chewed by mosquitos, don't like many outdoor activities...give me winter any time. But for those who look forward to it...I wish you a long happy summer.

This is another photo dragged out of the big ole box of photos and I have no idea who these people are. But it is rather quintessentially summer, isn't it?

Friday, June 19, 2009

Out Of Bad, Comes Good

Well, fourth time's a charm, I guess. It took me four starts to get this sock going. The first one was way too wide...that's the one I showed in a recent post. Then I cast on again in the car on the way to work but dropped a stitch and tore it all out and decided to start it up again at lunch. Started for the third time and knit a couple of rows and realized I had some weird loops of yarn hanging loose...couldn't figure out what was wrong, so I ripped it out again and started for the fourth time...with much grumbling.

This cast on will end up with 64, rather than 74 stitches and I think will fit much better. (I sort of wondered if 74 stitches wasn't going to be too big.)

And not only will it fit better....look....

I like this version much better! There isn't any pooling or striping and gee, I just love these colors. So, although starting a sock four times is not something I generally love to do, in this case, the end result is a great improvement.

Nice afternoon. We left work early as Rachel had a physical therapy appointment (for her back). While she was there, Arthur and I wandered over to the Toyota dealership and, lo and behold, they had a Scion of the original boxy ones. We really like the look of them and don't care as much for the new ones. So we asked to take this one for a test drive....pretty darn nice. But it's a 2006, the last year this version was made, and it has 40,000 miles on it. But we really liked it.

Picked Rachel up and we headed down the road to the Nissan dealer to try out the Cube. It was nice too. And brand new. And a little more maneuverable, Arthur said. But not as high off the ground...and it didn't have the same feeling of openness and visibility. On the other hand, the Scion only had two airbags, and the Cube had six. The Scion had wonderfully comfortable seats...but seemed to be pulling to the side somewhat on braking.

Still, it was fun to take these vehicles for a spin.

Giz had a nice evening, too, with a little outside time.

He'll undoubtedly throw up later.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

How About Some More Relatives?

I've written before about my great-grandparents, Dora and Quinn Lauer. Here's a nice studio portrait taken in late middle age, I would guess. (Dora may be the one whose hair turned pretty much snow white when she was in her twenties. I remember Mom telling me that about one of her relatives.)

But we all started out younger. Here's a picture of Dora as a young woman.

I love the fur muff and the big satiny roses on her hat. Though I am glad I don't have to dress this way. Oh...honestly...I would use that muff.

And here is Quinn Lauer in front of what may be his first doctor's office in Conover, Ohio. I love the swing in the front.

There was a swing like that in the front yard of my Great-Great-Uncle Justus's house in Carlsbad, New Mexico. My mom and brother and I went out to Carlsbad to visit family there when I was six. And my mom said I spent an afternoon swinging in the porch swing with Uncle Justus talking a mile a minute. I don't have any clear memories of that moment, though I do remember some stuff about the visit, but I've always had a warm spot in my heart for Uncle Justus. Don't think I have any pictures of him, though.

See The Pretty Colors!

Oooh, see how pretty. See how colorful. See how soft. (Okay, you can't see soft...)

See how doomed. I tried this on and it's too big. Dang it. I guess I'll be ripping it out this evening.


It's so pretty.

Guess I Made Up My Mind!

I have about 3 inches of a new sock on the needles. Big surprise, right?

After I posted last night I sat and looked at my sock, I should say...I sat and looked at one pile of my sock yarn. I had some JoJoland Melody...already in two tidy useable balls so no winding necessary. But the colors, which are lovely, are muted enough that the yarn really should be used for something with some pattern and I wanted something mindless. So I nixed that...

Then there were some skeins (we won't say how many) of Claudia's Hand-painted. Lovely squooshy yarn, pretty colors. Two skeins so, while I would have to wind them, I wouldn't have to weigh and measure and make sure a large skein was evenly divided.

But my eye kept being drawn to my bag of Creatively Dyed skeins. Oh, such colors. Riots of color that would look great in a simple stockinette sock.

So that's what I chose. The skein I picked is made up of shades of green and ginger and brown and blue with dashes of yellow. It looks like a sun-dappled forest glade. Yum.

Pictures tonight if I get up the energy.

Oh...and I did some research this afternoon that disproves an old wives' tale. I recently read somewhere that if you wanted to know someone's shoe size, you could measure from the base of the thumb to the inner side of the elbow and the length would equal the foot's length. For some reason it came to my mind this morning and I thought...."Huh. Now wait a minute. I gained a shoe size when I was pregnant with Rachel. But my arm sure didn't grow another inch!" So I enlisted the help of my co-workers. J. and E. both measure 9 inches. But J.'s shoe size is 7 1/2 and E.'s is 7. My arm measures 9 and a half inches and I wear a size 10. Sorry, old wives! I think you blew this one.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

So...What Next?

The Cobbler socks are done.

They look a little washed out in this picture...they are much deeper in color. I was a little tiny bit disappointed in this skein of Madelinetosh. Toward the end of one sock and the beginning of the other (so I'm assuming the middle of the skein) there were several spots were the yarn was thicker and looked sort of felted rather than spun. The spots reminded me of the look of a spit splice. And then, in the cuff of the second sock there was a spot that I really had to cut was just too frazzy looking. (You can see the spot in the thick red stripe in the cuff of the top-most sock...where it sort of jogs.)

So now what? I mean, I need something simple and fun...more socks? A scarf? Argh. I just don't know.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

My Happy Place

Ahh...I got in a (short) visit to the Black Sheep on Saturday morning. Such a nice place.

Full of color....

With buckets of soft....

And bins full of sparkle....

And tables of shine....

So what did I buy, you ask?

Exciting, no? But I am worried that I might run out of Elijah yarn before Elijah's feet, arms and ears are done. So...sigh...gray acrylic it is.

What else did we do this weekend? A little yardwork (bleah), some grocery shopping (and how come, no matter how often I go grocery shopping, there never seems to be anything to eat in the house?), a lot of reading (see additions in the "Books Read" column), and some napping. Adds up to an okay weekend in my book.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Free Books -- Just Not Quite Yet

I realized that I hadn't added the books I've been reading for a while. Just hadn't realized how long a while. So now that list is updated. Some quick comments on them:

In the Shadow of Gotham - Quiet...just on the edge of boring.
Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie - Less twee than the title might suggest. I love the narrator/detective.
A Darker Domain - Val McDermid doesn't disappoint.
Sovereign - Ariana Franklin.
The Missing - Wonderful, wonderful book.
The Steam Pig - Fascinating...a re-read.
The Redbreast - Okay. Not sure I'd seek out more Nesbo.
Bloodless Shadows - Good first mystery...interesting detective.
Little Face - A little over the top but a quick read. of the threads I really liked on Readerville was the Free Books thread where people offered up books (for free) to others that might like them. And I think I'll continue it. What do you all think? Every once in a while I'll offer up some titles. They might be duplicates (I do have a tendency to buy books more than once.) or they might be books that I liked well enough but don't necessarily think I'll ever read again. So stay tuned.

Meanwhile - KWARREN, please email me. The only email addy I seem to have for you is through Readerville and I'm thinking that won't be working. I have a question for you.

House Of Crank

So everyone in our house is in a bad mood. How about you?

I think Mercury must be in retrograde, or Venus is in traction, or Mars is in a snit…one of those things. That, and I think our house may not be big enough for three adults.

Took Duncan to the vet yesterday (I had taken the day off as one of my “sweater” days but ended up working on Elijah – got his body done) and he’s overweight (Join the club, Furface!) and he has two teeth that need pulling. So dental surgery is in his future. I do love my cats but man, I hate the vet bills.

I did get a load of wash done and my biking so the day wasn’t a total waste.

Monday, June 8, 2009

That Old Rachel 14

Rachel was good at naming things when she was little. When she was about two and a half, my dad ansd step-mom gave her a stuffed Dalmatian dog. Rachel told me that the dog's name was Squatchspot. "Squatchspot?" I said, "That's a funny name." She thought for a minute and then said, "I don't think it's funny. It doesn't make me laugh."

And a year or so later she and I were playing Bert and Ernie. (Rachel always got to be Ernie.)

"Look, Bert," she said, "I got you a puppy."
"Thanks, Ernie," I said, "What's his name?"
"Allan," she said, "Allan in Wonderland."

Sunday, June 7, 2009

The Return Of The Camera

The camera is found and I have pictures for you...but Blogger is behaving very oddly. It's making this post be all in italics, which is strange, and it's not letting me load pictures.

First off, the apricot Malabrigo that was on sale. I got three skeins, math in head)....648 yards. There is one more skein up there. I'm hoping to find it in the $3 bin...I sort of regretted not snagging it, too. These three would make a yummy scarf with matching hat. With the fourth skein I'd math, this time with pencil)...864 yards...that might be shawl length.

And here's the Ondule pattern and a couple of balls of the Reynold's Whiskey. What you can't see here, I don't think, is that this red has a haze of...purple?...gray?....that really gives it some depth.

I've had a good weekend knitting-wise. Finished the first Cobbler sock and started the second one. Got most of Elijah's head done...down to the trunk. Put several inches on the back of my Perfect Sweater. Feels good to get moving on these things.

And tomorrow is work. Woe is me.

RIP Readerville

So Readerville is no more. I have been posting there less and less frequently, for some reason, but I was there Friday morning and everything seemed fine. Open up the browser on Saturday and there is Karen's farewell message. No explanation just a good-bye message saying that she is suspending operations. I know it's none of my business...wouldn't be any of my business even if I was still a regular, frequent poster...but it sure seems abrupt. It would have been nice to have the opportunity to contact a few people and get alternate contact points for them. As it is, some of the people I've enjoyed on the site are just gone....

I'm sorry to see Readerville go. Just wish the going could have been a little more gradual.

Oh, and I found my to get pictures of the new yarn.

(Edited to say - I think this sounds a little ungrateful on my part...I really can't imagine the amount of work and resources that Karen has poured into Readerville. And I really am grateful for the nine years it was around. I just sort of feel pole-axed.)

Saturday, June 6, 2009

I Made It

(Somehow, somewhere, I have mislaid my camera so this post is going to be, I'm afraid, a trifle boring. I would suggest that you close your eyes to imagine the yarn I'm about to describe, but then you couldn't read the blog, so that would be sort of self-defeating.)

Anyway, I made it to The Black Sheep's sale today...the last day. I picked up some yummy apricot Malabrigo that was on sale. Soft and pretty.

The big purchase (well, not that bad...I had the 20 percent off coupon) was some Reynold's Whiskey in a gorgeous, rich red. And with this yarn I am planning to make Anne Hanson's gorgeous cardigan, Ondule (please close your eyes and imagine an accent acute over the e there). I can't wait. Of course, I really should finish my Perfect Sweater first. Perhaps I can tempt myself by saying, "If you work on Perfect for half an hour, then you can work on Ondule."

Wish you could see this red's yummy.

Guess I'd better find my camera....

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

That Old Rachel 13

When Rachel was about three, she was in daycare with Miss Rita. She didn't like it fact, I would say she pretty much hated it. I kept thinking that I should look for another place but the day care center at work was supposed to open imminently...for about a year.

One day we picked her up from Miss Rita's (she came running to us when she saw us saying, "I thought I would never see you again!") and took her home, having a nice chat on the drive home about Sesame Street characters and such. When we got into the house, she got a box of Ritz crackers and trotted into the dining room, where I was sitting and looking at my mail. She said, "Mom, I want to tell you something..." as she clambered up into a chair. She got all settled down in her chair and I asked her what she wanted to tell me. "Well," she said, sort of looking around the room musingly, "not many big people or children have ever sat in these chairs."

Let's Start A New Internet Craze!

So, last year, I think it was, there was an internet wide craze for no-rise bread. Let's see if we can't start a new craze.

I give great-grandmother's recipe for salt-rising bread. I love it that the recipe tells you what time of day to start it. And look! A use for one of your wool shawls! See how neatly this ties in with knitting!?

This is a letter written by my mom's grandfather's mother, Ada Crawford...probably not long after those pictures taken on the front porch of the farm, so 1949 or 1950 perhaps. If you click on it, it'll be legible. It's the best bread in the world! Well, according to my great-grandmother. And great grandmother's don't lie!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Oh, Hi!

Sorry. It's been a while. No special reason, just...nothing much to say.

I have, however, found an old suitcase full of letters that my Mom saved...including a stack of letters full of funny Rachel stories. So, fair warning. The "That Old Rachel" series will be restarting.