Rhymes With Fuchsia

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Saturday Sky: A Bit Crabby

After disporting ourselves at the Fiber Frolic, Miss B and I returned to my folks', took them out to dinner, and played some of our favorite card and word games. (Like Marjorie, my stepmother, and unlike most people we know, I'm a Boggle freak, so that's what we play whenever we see each other.)

Sunday morning dawned warm, sunny and gorgeous, so Miss B and I headed down to the neighborhood beach, a one-minute walk from my folks' house, to climb on the rocks and investigate the tide pools (both of us) and maybe take a dip (that would be Miss B).

My parents are lucky I don't just move in with them for the summer.

Miss B found a hermit crab. She thought at first the shell was empty, but when tiny crab legs appeared she put it in a tide pool and we watched the whole critter emerge. (OK, so you may have to use your imagination a bit. Where is Cara when I need her?)

Finally Miss B decided not to let the shell dwellers have all the fun, and got wet herself.

Between sheep and shore, a most excellent weekend.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

My Husband the Classicist

For a couple of years now Grant has had a CafePress shop, Cicero's Soapbox, wherein he sells merchandise emblazoned with sayings in classical languages. He began with Latin, branched out into Greek, ancient Sumerian (as opposed to modern Sumerian) and ancient Egyptian, and more recently has made forays into Vulcan and Klingon. (I am not sure, but I think there may be more scholars of Klingon than of Sumerian.)

He has quotes from ancient Roman writers, some of them remarkably relevant to modern life (plus ça change...), as well as translations of modern aphorisms, all in the best tradition of classical scholarship. As an added bonus, he's sold enough stuff to pay for the books he bought in order to learn all these languages.

But now, to my great fiendish glee delight distress, the wool fumes have gotten to him. Next thing you know he'll be knitting.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Meant To Be

Our first stop when we got to the Fiber Frolic was the used-equipment shed, where I hoped to find a drum carder. Eventually someone did bring one in, but it was too big (drums about 18 inches wide) and too rich for my blood. We didn't move on right away, though, because this caught my attention.

A Jensen Tina II with three regular and three laceweight bobbins and all the standard accoutrements. I walked around it, admired it, stroked it, tried it. It was smooth as silk. I was in love; so was Miss B. At this auspicious moment my cell phone rang; it was Grant, wanting to check on some Taz-care detail. I told him about the wheel, and he said (condensing and paraphrasing) I could decide. Since it was getting close to time to meet Lisa, we wandered away, still lusting. If it was still there in the afternoon, I thought, it would be mine.

By the time I ran into Cheryl and Teresa, after lunch, I had pretty much made up my mind, so I invited them to come watch me buy it. Only... when we got there its happy new owner was packing up its accessories. I was five minutes too late.

Silently berating myself (why why why hadn't I bought it on the spot? why why why?) I followed the crowd back to Amy's and rather dazedly bought Miss B some pink-and-green roving: since I won't be dropping a bundle on a wheel, I thought, might as well let the kid have her fun. She tried out one of Amy's wheels while I poked around in some nearby booths.

Eventually we drifted back to the other big building where Dave was ensconced, and Miss B tried a Hitchhiker... and tried it, and tried it, creating quite a bit of yarn in the process. Finally I left her there and went off to find the Forrester spindles. By the time I was done, it was past closing time, and I collected her and headed out.

I was putting the key in the ignition when at last I heeded the call of destiny, and we raced back to the fairgrounds, getting in just under the wire. Luckily Dave is a patient man.

Some things are meant to be.

Enablers of the world, take note: I'm still looking for the wheel of my dreams.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Where To Begin?

Miss B and I escaped to Maine over the weekend, just the two of us. Grant and Taz held down the home fort from Friday night until late Sunday afternoon, and one of them would have earned the title of Superdad if he didn't already own it.

We left as soon as possible after the soccer game (the parents won, believe it or not: we may be slower, but we're taller, this year anyway), but still didn't get to my folks' until nearly midnight. In the morning we set off for the Fiber Frolic under an overcast sky, with thunderstorms forecast, but luckily they held off. We watched our perennial favorite, the sheepdog demo...

Here comes the dog. Better go this way.

Uh oh, she got behind us again! Everybody turn right!

and we met various llamas...

all of them beautiful...

some friendlier than others.

The best part of the day was meeting friends old and new. Here are Lisa and her friend Ginny.

Note the bag in Lisa's right hand. It holds most of the former contents of Amy's sale bin.

(I'm pretty sure I have a better picture of Ginny somewhere.)

Here we see Amy and Teresa, who not only knits but also spins the blues.

Kristen found herself giving an impromptu spindling tutorial, introduced me to Liz, and advised me in the purchase of a Forrester spindle. (You can't really accuse a person of enabling when you practically drag her over to the booth and say, "Which one should I buy?" — but she did offer wise counsel, which I gratefully accepted.)

I met Ellen and her lovely friend, whose name unfortunately eludes me. Ellen runs a LYS in Brunswick; I've never been to it, but anyone wearing that hat must know something about yarn.

Cheryl aided and abetted the spindle-buying, and also found a great way to protect her fair skin. (I don't think she actually bought it, which is a shame because it looks terrific with her hair.)

So there you have it, or some of it, anyway. Tomorrow: the wheel that got away... and the one that didn't.

Friday, June 08, 2007

I Probably Shouldn't Be Doing This

Miss B and I are headed to Maine this evening to see my folks and frolic with fiber at the Fiber Frolic. Many obstacles lie between now and then, not least among them the end-of-season kids-versus-parents humiliation soccer game. Since there's no way I can write effectively in such a state of chaos and high anticipation, I post this for the several people who've asked me how Ed is doing.

He's fine.

(No, I did not alter this picture in any way. No, he didn't make it onto the counter, nor do I remember what he was after. Yes, we gave him A for effort.)

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Saturday Sky: Bunting Situation

Last fall Miss B decided that she wanted to take up the flute and join the school band. We thought this was a fine idea, although we weren't sure she would stick with it. She did: when her class of six fifth-grade flutists eventually dwindled to two, she was still there. Since we failed to pay sufficient attention to a notice that came home detailing all of the band gigs in which she would participate, we barely made it to her first concert, and realized that she was due to march in the Memorial Day parade only the day before. We recovered, however, and got her delivered to the starting point and ourselves ensconced along the route in the center of town.

It was a grand occasion, with Minutemen, Scouts of both sexes and various ages, the elementary band, and the high school band in full regalia. The Minutemen are the ones in period costume; the guy in front of the fire station looks quite anachronistic (you probably can't really tell, but he is using a metal crutch). They are historians and reenacters of the original Colonial Minutemen, unrelated to the right-wing fringe group.

There are five elementary schools in our town; this was the first time they had all played together, and they had maybe half an hour to practice before the parade. They acquitted themselves remarkably well. Miss B is the one waving instead of getting ready to play.

If she's still playing in four years, she'll have an opportunity to try out for the high-school band and march in splendor. I'm not sure wearing one of those hats on a warm day is such an honor, but they looked great.

Taz went to the parade with us; we weren't sure how he would feel about this, as he is often put out by crowds, noise, and unfamiliar places.

We needn't have worried: he had a great time.

Friday, June 01, 2007

But Wait, There's More

Just in case you didn't already learn more about me this week than you really wanted to know, some time ago I was interviewed by my very own George Stephanopoulos, Carole. (That may not be a fair comparison. If you ask me, Carole is far more talented than George, and very nearly as pretty.) Without further ado I present my answers to her astute and probing questions.

  1. What has been your biggest challenge as a parent?
    Carole told me I could answer this one seriously, or not, as I wished. Since I already gave a serious answer, here are some wiseass ones: getting Miss B to clean her room, showing up at school conferences on time, scaling Mount Laundry. Come to think of it, that last one is fairly serious.

  2. What's your favorite thing to knit and why?
    This is a tough one, since I like to knit lots of different things, using lots of different techniques — about the only thing I don't like to knit is miles of plain stockinette. I'm going to say cabled socks, preferably incorporating some color motif. I love the way cables look, and I love socks in all their compactness and portability and many other well-documented virtues. And I love intarsia, and I love how knitting intarsia cables gives people, including many who should know better (i.e. other knitters), the idea that you're doing rocket science. I am (trust me) not that smart, but it's fun to make people think otherwise.

  3. Do you think gauge swatches lie? Why or why not?
    Do you remember that scene from Postcards From the Edge where Dennis Quaid seduces Meryl Streep by telling her a string of outrageously flattering lies? He all but admits they're lies, we all know they're lies, even she knows they're lies if she thinks about it, but she'd rather not because it just feels so good. Gauge swatches are sort of like that: it's tempting to believe that they don't need to be all that big, and that if you find a single one- or two-inch stretch of stitches that measure just the way you want them to, you're all set. The temptation to squish or stretch just a bit can also be well-nigh irresistible. I try to overcome this wishful thinking by knitting big swatches and measuring in several places.

    While most swatches are only out for what they can get away with, some are just plain evil.

  4. What's your favorite thing to make for dinner?
    Lamb steaks, zucchini and potatoes on the outdoor grill. Sadly, the Diet From Hell does not allow potatoes, but the lamb and zucchini are still pretty good.

  5. Have you been spinning much lately?
    No. My wheel is sadly neglected. I am way, way behind on my charity and gift knitting, and plan to get rolling again as soon as possible.
If for some strange reason you would like to be interviewed but haven't yet had the opportunity, leave me a comment and I will interview you.

Still here? I have some Friday eye candy for you.

Happy weekend, everyone!