Rhymes With Fuchsia

Monday, June 30, 2008


Last week, at Grant's suggestion, I moved Wendy upstairs so that we could hang out and watch the ball game together while I spun. I find that I'm enjoying this a lot. I'm trying to spin an even laceweight, which (for me, anyway) involves paying fairly close attention to my drafting, but baseball is such a slow game that I can easily divide my attention.

Of course I would enjoy it even more if the Red Sox could manage to, you know, win more than once in five games. Already knocked out of first place, they won't stay in second long at this rate, especially playing the Evil Empire later this week. (Sorry, New Yorkers. Out of sympathy with my husband, who grew up in northern New Jersey, I'm an occasional Mets fan, but the Yankees are beyond the pale.)

My bobbin is coming along nicely, however. The colors don't show up too well in this picture (note to self: remember to take pictures in daylight), but there are many, many shades of blue here. Am I bluuuuuuuue... yes, I am, and loving it.

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Sunday, June 29, 2008

Campaign Poster


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Saturday, June 28, 2008

Saturday Sky: Ome Sweet Ome

Friday, June 27, 2008

Friday Flowers

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Double the Fun

Remember my double-knitting class, where I ended up making a coaster instead of a hat because I didn't do my homework?

Better late than never, I'm working on the hat.

When I made the double-knit initial square for WoolyBabe's blanket I used the slip method, working all the stitches in one color and slipping the others, then sliding the work back to the other end of the circ and working the second color. I tried working both colors at once, but I seemed to have less control of the tension that way.

I learned during the class that when working in the round I would need to work both colors at once. I'm not sure I believe that — I would think that I could work a round with one color, then with the other, the same as if I were working flat — but I started with both colors and found it surprisingly easy. I don't know if it's easier because the yarn is less stretchy or because I'm finally getting the hang of it, but I'm enjoying myself.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Cocktail Hour

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Ten on Tuesday

Today we have ten inventions that made life easier. Since it doesn't specify inventions that have made my life easier, I'm thinking of inventions related to knitting and spinning. These are in approximate chronological order.
  1. The drop spindle. I couldn't find even a ballpark date of invention, undoubtedly because spindles made their appearance long before writing. We owe a lot to that prehistoric genius: spindling sure beats twisting fiber with your fingers.
  2. Knitting. Here again, no one is quite sure how old knitting is, but I tip my (knitted) hat to the First Knitter. I was going to say Continental knitting, which definitely made my life easier when I learned how to do it, but no one knows for sure how the First Knitter knitted.
  3. The spinning wheel. There's considerable uncertainty here: the invention is said to have been anywhere from 1500 to 500 years ago, in India or China or possibly Persia. Having had the somewhat unusual experience of learning to spin on a wheel first, I drink to this inventor also: the wheel made spinning (at least) twice as fast and much easier.
  4. The drum carder. The first patents for drum carders came in the 18th century; early ones were powered by hand or by draft animals, but they were still a big improvement over hand carding. One of these years I will own one.
  5. The spinning Jenny. Without it we'd still be spinning for several hours a day, every day, just to keep ourselves decently clothed, instead of doing it as a hobby.
  6. Circular needles. I couldn't find a date for these either, but single-pointed needles seem to have been invented in the 19th century, much later than I would have thought. Circular needles would have depended on the technology to produce a thin, flexible cord connecting two points, maybe around the turn of the 20th century? Something like that.
  7. Sock knitting on two circs/magic loop. Like many other knitting innovations, these methods seem to have been invented many times by many different people, starting not later than the 1970s. I know a lot of people like dpn's, and I bow to them, because I much prefer to use magic loop or two circs (I don't have a strong preference for either of these).
  8. Knitting blogs. There are many more mundane and practical applications of the Internet, everything from finding the best plane fare (although best is a relative term: I'm glad we're not flying anywhere this summer) to locating an expert in an esoteric subject, but knitting blogs have created a whole new social fabric, as it were (and knitbloggers know the strangest things).
  9. The Woolee Winder. It's pretty cool that people are still improving the venerable craft.
  10. Ravelry. Need I say more?
What did I miss?


Monday, June 23, 2008

In the Blue Zone

Now and then I read an article with a title like "How to Retire Rich." As these articles tell it, the secret is to start early and save consistently, don't think about it too much, and next thing you know it will add up to real money. Leaving finances aside for the moment, I'm finding this to be true of spinning, even when the gorgeous Blue Moon merino that I bought from Amy insists that it wants to be laceweight — maybe a light sock weight by the time it's plied. I joined Carole's Ten Minutes a Day spinning group, and, while I'm not nearly as productive as she is, it's working.

Of course Wendy deserves some of the credit too. When I have her humming along to Mozart's third Prussian quartet, surely the most beautiful piece of music ever written, it's easy to lose track of time.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Good Waugan!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Saturday Sky: The Old Ball Game

Miss B has now officially survived elementary school; the school held a graduation ceremony Tuesday night, and by way of further celebration the dad of one of her classmates came up with the bright idea of going to a Pawtucket Red Sox game. About 40 kids and parents boarded a bus late yesterday afternoon bound for Rhode Island. The PawSox are the Red Sox AAA affiliate, and we were lucky enough to catch Clay Buchholz in a rehab start. He went five shutout innings, and the Sox won 5-2. (The big club didn't do as well yesterday, and they got shellacked today, but one cannot have everything.)

I had never been to a AAA game before, although we've seen the single-A Lowell Spinners several times. The PawSox have much more seating than the Spinners do, most of it under a roof (this turned out to be a good thing as there was a brief rain delay during the game, and they played through drizzle for the last two innings). They also have many fewer silly between-innings stunts. I've decided that if I'm going to a game I prefer the minors — everything is much more friendly and relaxed, not to mention considerably cheaper, and now and then you get to see a star in the making.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Friday Flowers: Loopy for Lupines

The roadsides of Maine do not lack for lupines at this time of year: you see them everywhere, along the interstates and along back roads as well. Most of them are blue, a few are white, and a pink one sneaks in there now and then.

I don't remember ever seeing them until maybe five years ago, which makes me wonder if they too are an invasive species that someone thought would be nice to plant here and there, and before you knew it they were everywhere.

I quite like them, though, especially the blue-purple ones. In my mind they've become associated with Fiber Frolic, and a weekend with lupines and llamas is a wonderful thing.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

L is for Lama

The genus Lama includes alpacas (L. pacos), guanacos (L. guanicoe), and the glamorous llamas (L. glama). While I've never seen a guanaco in person, I've been privileged to spend some time with llamas and alpacas. I always feel bad for them when I see them at fiber festivals: in unfamiliar surroundings, with lots of strange smells, they tend to be a bit skittish, and I think I would be too. At a spin-in at Alpaca Kathy's farm, though, the alpacas observed us for a while from their enclosure; since we didn't seem hostile, they eventually got curious and wandered over to get a better look at us. They're lovely critters, looking to me as though they might have been invented by Dr. Seuss.

While I've met lamas at all of the fiber festivals I've attended, the Maine Fiber Frolic, sponsored until this year by the Maine Llama Association, is where they really come into their own. There are leapin' lamas...

limbo lamas...

bewigged lamas...

and of course there is the famous Llama Drill Team.

The concept of a llama drill team is a delightful one. Llamas are not well known as team players, but they're good sports, while making it very clear who is humoring whom. They're rather like large, extra-furry cats.

I can only hope that, if ever called upon to array myself in a clown wig and rainbow-striped and polka-dotted raiment, I can carry it off with half as much panache.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

K is for Klingon

My husband is an accomplished, if somewhat mercenary, scholar of classical languages: he has learned enough Latin, ancient Egyptian, ancient Sumerian, and Anglo-Saxon to create objets d'art for sale in his CafePress shop, Cicero's Soapbox. To be fair, he does actually enjoy the learning process. You haven't lived until you've been regaled with the peculiarities of ancient Egyptian verb forms during your morning commute.

Though their study sharpens the brain and reminds us that some things never change (as Cicero himself said, parvi enim sunt foris arma nisi est consilium domi: for arms are of little value in the field unless there is wise counsel at home), admittedly ancient languages won't help you much in daily life. The same cannot be said of Klingon, which the modern galactic traveler will find indispensable.

A Klingon visiting our planet might not be impressed. Beam me up, Maltz! There's no intelligent life down here.

Cross a Klingon at your dire peril. Do not meddle in the affairs of Klingons, for they are prepared to kill you where you stand.

So how do you make friends with a Klingon? The same way you do with a knitter. Drop the chocolate and nobody gets hurt.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Ten on Tuesday

Today we have ten favorite events in your country's history. This is a hard one, because there are lots of political events as well as breakthroughs in science and technology and social changes to choose from. Doing my best, in chronological order:
  1. Salem witch trials, 1692-3. Favorite is not exactly the right word here, but, having grown up in Massachusetts, I learned about the trials in elementary school and have read about them since. A group of girls and young women accused over 30 people in Salem Village (modern-day Danvers, MA) and nearby towns of witchcraft; 19 were eventually hanged and one crushed to death when he refused to enter a plea. It's a cautionary tale too little heeded of what can happen when people let fear take over their brains.
  2. Samuel Prescott's ride/battles of Lexington and Concord, April 18-19, 1775. You've never heard of Sam Prescott, have you? The poor guy should have hired a press agent: he, Paul Revere, and William Dawes rode out on April 18 to spread the word that the British were coming. Revere was captured in Lexington and Dawes in Lincoln, and only Prescott made it all the way to Concord. The battles of Lexington and Concord the next day were the first armed conflict of the American Revolution.
  3. Signing of the Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776.
  4. Adoption of the US Constitution, September 17, 1787.
  5. Samuel Morse's telegraph patent, 1837. Instant communication changed everything.
  6. Emancipation Proclamation, September 22, 1862. I remember learning in ninth-grade history class that serfdom was not abolished in Russia until 1861. All the students agreed that Russia must have been pretty, well, medieval. "Really?" said the teacher. "When did we abolish slavery?" Oh, yeah. And high time, too.
  7. Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court decision, May 17, 1954. And it took us only another 89 years to start dismantling Jim Crow.
  8. Moon landing, July 20, 1969. At the time, at age 10, I thought this was an incredible waste of time, energy and money, with so many desperately poor people right here on terra firma. But it was an amazing accomplishment, and the investment in technology has improved quality of life and paid for itself many times over.
  9. Goodridge v. Dept. of Public Health Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court decision, November 18, 2003. The ruling found that under its constitution the state could not "deny the protections, benefits and obligations conferred by civil marriage to two individuals of the same sex who wish to marry." I don't know about you, but my marriage is at least as valid and meaningful now as it was then.
  10. Boumediene v. Bush Supreme Court decision, June 12, 2008. The right of habeas corpus is the only one specifically mentioned in the main body of the Constitution (rather than the Bill of Rights), and it applies to everybody. Everybody.
  11. I have to throw in one more, even though it's one too many and it doesn't quite fit the category: January 20, 2009. 'Nuff said.

Monday, June 16, 2008


Today I had no idea what to post about, but fortunately Lene tagged me for the Book Challenge. It is as follows:

Pick up the nearest book.
Open on page 123.
Find the fifth sentence.
Post the next three sentences.
Tag five people, and acknowledge who tagged you.

When I read her post I was at work, and the nearest book was probably a code manual, which would make for pretty dull reading. So I waited until I got into the car with Grant, who had with him a murder mystery set in ancient Rome, Nobody Loves a Centurion by John Maddox Roberts.
"You know, I could use a cook..." and so on. Everyone found that he had room for just one more slave. Everyone except my cousin Lumpy.

If/when I eventually read it, I'll find out the context, which is clearly everything.

I'm tagging:

Ruth, because the book nearest her could be a children's book, or a knitting book, or The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire — you just never know with her.

Lisa, because I've spent two Fiber Frolics with her and still have no idea what she reads.

Roxie, in the hope that it won't be something to do with GED testing.

Liz, in the hope that it will be something to do with Japanese history. Just kidding, Liz.

Double Helix, because her mailbox is in a tree.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Mean Mom

After running some errands today we decided to stop at the local bookstore, one of our favorite weekend haunts. Miss B immediately headed off to the young-adult series section, returning seconds later clutching the newest Clique book.

Deciding that a bit of vetting was my parental duty, a couple of months ago I had braced myself to read at least a little of one of these books, wondering as a former teenage superdweeb if anything labeled Clique could be any good. Within a page and a half I had my answer.


Randomly selected excerpt:
It was as though everyone suddenly had a brutal case of social amnesia, and all knowledge of her being this year's alpha-alpha had been deleted from their memories. Were girls so easily distracted by boys? And were boys really so easily attracted to girls with horrific style? A visit to CosmoGirl's FAQ archive was a must as soon as she got home.

Massie stepped onto the cold, dew-covered grass, which poked at her parrafin-waxed feet and most likely stained the leather on her black snakeskin Prada sandals. "This place is so over," she grumbled as she zigzagged through clusters of overdressed, borderline tacky bodies invading her lawn.

Now, as this comes quite early in the book one might suspect, and I do suspect and indeed sincerely hope, that this snooty kid is being set up for a fall here. But, as best I can tell from random skimming, the whole book is like that. Everyone is all about who's up, who's down, who has and doesn't have the right clothes, hair, makeup, all of which costs a fortune. (Since when do eighth graders wear Prada?) There are no actual friendships, just a pecking order.

We had bought Miss B several of these books a while ago, without quite realizing what was inside them. Our mistake. Today we told her that while we weren't going to forbid her to read anything, we did not like the books' values, and that if she wanted any more of them she'd have to buy them herself. Needless to say, she was not pleased.*

And thus did I become a Mean Mom. What would you have done?
*I should add that we did buy her several other books, including, at the suggestion of one of the employees, the first of the Tamora Pierce Circle of Magic series. There are ten of them, so we hope that will keep her occupied for a while. I also plan to try her on the Anne McCaffrey dragon books and to order the second and third Sanna books. Please keep crankin' 'em out, Roxie.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Saturday Sky

Friday, June 13, 2008

Friday Flowers: Green in Tooth and Claw

The other day I read an article online (I don't remember where, but these days it could have been anywhere) about how the mortgage crisis was no longer confined to subprime loans: seeing a nice house in a nice neighborhood with an untidy, obviously untended lawn, you'd have proof that even a conventional mortgage could go bad, and foreclosure was just around the corner.

This morning at the bus stop I was chatting with the next-door neighbors, Mike and Karen; since the bus stop is officially across the street but in practice in our driveway, we all had a full view of our spectacularly unkempt lawn. "We're not in foreclosure, really," I said, after mentioning the article, "the lawn just got away from us and it's now too much for our friendly local teenagers to deal with, so we had to find someone with a heavy-duty riding mower, and he's coming tomorrow."

"Drat," said Mike, "we were just about to vandalize."

The lawn doesn't need mowing so much as haying at this point, and the truth is that I still find splendor in tall waving grass. (I may feel differently later, depending on how many ticks I discover have become attached to me.) Realizing that its time was short, I made sure to take my camera out back earlier.

If there were a way to play soccer in it and keep the ticks away, I'd leave it like this.

At the back of the lawn a battle royal is in progress. In this corner...

Rosa multiflora, multiflora, baby, or rambler rose. Originally imported from Asia and planted to prevent erosion and attract wildlife, according to Wikipedia it's now often considered a noxious weed, a judgment with which I fully concur.

And in this corner...

Allium schoenoprasum, or common chives.

Truth to tell, while chives are extremely hardy, especially when they have plenty of sun — when we bought our previous house from my parents we inherited their garden, complete with chive plants, which grew and throve and never seemed to get any smaller, even though I would often divide a clump and give half to a friend — they are no match for the multiflora roses, which in a state of nature would long ago have rerooted themselves and smothered any innocent chive plant growing nearby. I am on the chives' side, however, and periodically eradicate the violators of their personal space. (We also have invasive Japanese bittersweet; the battle between it and multiflora seems to be a draw.)

It's a jungle out there.

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Thursday, June 12, 2008

Fear of Plying

Linda, the lovely woman who sold me Wendy (that sounds like it should be illegal, doesn't it?), was kind enough to throw in some nice gray roving that she'd provided for people to try the wheel out with — since I bought Wendy approximately twelve minutes after the Frolic officially opened, there was quite a bit left over, and Miss B and I have taken turns using it to get acquainted with her. Earlier this evening, though, I decided that I was ready to move on to Blue Moon. This meant that I had to get the gray singles off the bobbin, and, since I'd been wanting to learn Navajo plying for a while, I figured, why not give it a whirl. After watching this short video to refresh my memory of the technique, off I went.

The first ten feet or so were hilariously bad. Look at the outermost strand in the picture (click to embiggen): see all those lumpy knots? At first I didn't get the trick of controlling twist with one hand, chaining with the other, so I was chaining with both hands, which left the yarn free to back-twist and tangle around itself, which in turn made lumps so big that they got caught on the flyer hooks, so the yarn got way overplied into the bargain. I wound it onto the bobbin by hand and kept trying.

By the time I got to the end, much less than a full bobbin's worth, things were looking a good deal better, although I still wouldn't call myself exactly skilled. All the same, my loops were smoother and (more or less) the same size, and the resulting yarn was much more uniform. I'll definitely want to use this technique in earnest at some point. I do plan to practice some more before trying it on merino.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Tramps Like Us

If you read either of my Fiber Frolic posts, you may have been asking yourself, so, what did she buy? Surely she couldn't have walked past that wall-o-fiber repeatedly without getting seduced.

Honey? Um, could you check Taz's diaper for me, please?

Is he gone? OK.

Amy's BFL, colorway Embers. I don't think Amy had this colorway the last time I saw her; and she didn't have any by Sunday afternoon, either. No, it wasn't just me.

Amy's merino, colorway Blue Moon. I thought I liked it when I saw it online, but now I'm in love with it. (Yes, so a couple of weeks ago I was in love with green yarn. I never said I was monofibrous.)

Recalling that I did have a fairly significant fiber stash already, some of you (honey, please go reorganize your CD collection) may be wondering what possessed me, aside from Amy's magic. Well, you see, I needed it.

Meet Wendy.

She was sitting in the used-equipment shed when we got there Saturday, and I wasn't about to let her get away. Speed proved essential: several interested-looking people hovered around Miss B as she tried Wendy out while I produced my checkbook. When I wandered by some 20 minutes later, the two Kromskis that had been next to her were also off to the side awaiting collection by their new owners.

Wendy is a custom cherry Watson, double drive, single treadle. Had I ordered her for myself I probably would have gone with double treadle, but she's very easy to work with, and she's the quiet type — on Saturday evening I was checking my email at my folks' dining-room table, and she was not ten feet away in the living room, where Miss B was putting her through her paces, but I didn't know that until I walked into the room.

Wendy is also a lefty, which again I wouldn't have specified myself, but it doesn't slow me down at all and just adds to her charm.

Baby, we were born to spin.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Ten on Tuesday

Today's official Ten on Tuesday is "ten things that annoy you about work." I thought this one would be easy, but, oddly, it's not. So, as a professional editor, I get to change anything I want...

Ten Things I Like About Work
  1. My boss. No, really. He keeps his cool nearly all the time (even when release dates get pushed back again and again, which is definitely on my "most annoying" list) and never sweats the small stuff. He also takes amazing pictures.
  2. My fellow writers. They're nice, they're funny, and I couldn't ask for a better group of people to rub elbows with every day.
  3. The office park where we work. It's very nicely landscaped, with plenty of photo ops for Friday flowers.
  4. Working next to a shopping mall. Usually this doesn't matter — deadlines we have with us always, so there's no time to browse — but if I forget my lunch or have to run to CVS it comes in handy.
  5. Driving to and from work with Grant (usually). We started doing it as a way to emit a few fewer carbons; the unexpected benefit is at least an hour of one-on-one adult time. He always drives, so sometimes I get to knit if I read several interesting bits in the paper aloud first.
  6. Having a laptop and being able to work from home if I need to. (Company policy says you have to be on site during business hours, but it doesn't say you can't log on from home at 11 pm if you need to exchange emails with someone in the Singapore office without waiting a day for each response.)
  7. Being appreciated by people whose first language is not English. Conan hat (or rather horned helmet) firmly in place, I tell them that if they can remember that no possessive pronoun ever contains an apostrophe, they will be ahead of many native speakers, and they actually thank me.
  8. The dress code. There isn't one. Well, there sort of is, but jeans are most definitely permitted.
  9. Occasional free food left over from client training.
  10. Last but by no means least, getting paid, of course.

Monday, June 09, 2008


I stole the Yes/No game from Maryse. Since I absolutely hate not being able to explain myself (I would be an unbelievably bad trial witness), this will not be easy, but here goes.

Yes/No game rules are as follows:

You can only say yes or no. You are not allowed to explain anything unless someone messages you and asks!

Over 18? Yes
Danced in front of your mirror naked? No
Ever told a lie? Yes
Been arrested? No
Kissed a picture? No
Fallen asleep at work/school? Yes
Held an actual snake? Yes
Have you ever run a red light? Yes
Ever drink and drive? Yes
Been suspended from school? No
Ever been fired from a job? Yes
Totaled a car/motorbike in an accident? Yes
Sung karaoke? Yes
Done something you told yourself you wouldn't? Yes
Laughed until something you were drinking came out your nose? Yes
Ever laughed until you wet yourself? No
Caught a snowflake on your tongue? Yes
Kissed in the rain? Yes
Sung in the shower? Yes
Sat on a rooftop? Yes
Thought about your past with regret? Yes
Been pushed in the pool with your clothes on? No
Shaved your head? No
Blacked out from drinking? No
Had a gym membership? Yes
Been in a band? No
Shot a gun? Yes
Liked someone with nobody else knowing about it? Yes
Played strip poker? Yes
Been to a strip joint? No
Donated blood? Yes
Liked someone you shouldn't? Yes
Have a tattoo? No
Have or had any piercings besides ears? No
Made out with a complete stranger? Yes
Caught someone cheating on you? No
Skinny dipped? Yes
Regret any of your ex's? Yes
Been to a rodeo? No
Been to a NASCAR race? No
Been in love? Yes

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Fiber Frolic, Part Deux

Today I met Lisa at the front gate at ten, and we Frolicked the day away. The sign on the wall next to me says "pictures welcome, just two rules: ask [the booth owners] first, and photoshop them to make us look like Angelina Jolie." Alas, my image-manipulation skills are not up to the task. (In my case, I'm not sure it can be done.)

Since Lisa seems to know absolutely everyone (today she introduced me to Patricia, Stephanie, Robbi, Pogo, and... a bunch of other people — sorry, guys, it's not you, it's old age), I was astounded to discover that she didn't know Dave.

She does now.

We did visit Amy, who of course did not need to be introduced to Dave. Amy's wall-o-fiber was somewhat depleted at that point (I might have helped a little with that), but still quite impressive.

I egged Lisa on to try various wheels, as she tried to get a feel for the different types and decide what she liked. She didn't end up buying one, but I'm a process enabler. I now have all the wheels I need, and I just want to share that circular love.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Saturday Sky: Nervous Sheep

We had a lovely time at the Fiber Frolic today. We petted some very cute and very soft goats. You almost have to be soft when you're wearing cashmere.

We petted an even cuter baby bunny. Miss B wanted to bring her home with us, but I dissuaded her by mentioning how happy she would make the cats.

As always, we much enjoyed the sheepdog demo. This year there were goats as well as sheep for the dogs to work on; goats are a good deal less tractable than sheep, being quite a bit less afraid of the dogs and perfectly happy to wander off to the far corner of the enclosure and hang out until the sheep find them again.

Tomorrow: Frolic, part deux, in which we visit our favorite fiber vendor.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Friday Flowers: A Walk on the Wild Side

The other day I realized that I hadn't walked in the woods since the big floods of late winter, and that I'd better get down there in a hurry if I didn't want to miss the show.

Walking by a stand of these ferns always makes me wonder if I've gone back in time a few epochs. Some of them are nearly my height.

Maianthemum canadense, known as false lily-of-the-valley or Canada mayflower. I used to think it a poor imitation of the real lily-of-the-valley, but considering it just for itself I find it quite lovely.

The gorgeous pink lady slipper.

For some reason I've always loved the jack-in-the-pulpits most of all the spring wildflowers, maybe because I remember my mother's showing them to me when I was about four.

The wild geraniums (Geranium maculatum) don't look much like the red geraniums blooming in every window box, and in fact (I do so love Google), the red ones belong to a different genus, Pelargonium.

The starflower, Trientalis borealis. The Connecticut Botanical Society's starflower page points out that the starflower "has the unusual feature of being based on sevens: seven leaves, seven petals, and seven sepals." Most of them do, but (apologies for the blurry pix, clearly I don't quite get the macro thing yet)...

some flowers have eight petals (I can't tell for sure how many leaves this one had originally)...

...and a few have six (I do count six leaves here).

There are obviously mutants in the ranks. I wonder if it's easier for a flower to make an even number of petals. Would my favorite botanical experts care to enlighten me?

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Thursday, June 05, 2008

Icumen In

How did it get to be June so fast? All of a sudden it's Fiber Frolic weekend. Are you going? If so, Miss B and I will see you there.

The advent of June means that Miss B will soon be ending her elementary school career — it's a horrible cliche to say that it seems like she entered kindergarten only a month or two ago, but it's true — and she and Taz have only two more weeks of school.

This is good, because summer is always a bit more relaxed: Taz will have summer school, but his van won't come as early, and Miss B will be gone for half the summer, between sleep-away camp and visiting relatives.

It's also bad, because before and after summer school crouch several weeks when he will have nothing at all, and since his regular sitter comes only after school, this will mean scrounging for teenagers. I know of at least a couple who will be looking for work, but still, the uncertainty always raises my anxiety a bit.

Of course I have the perfect antidote for anxiety, in the form of knitting. I haven't decided exactly what to do with that Smooshy yet, but never fear, I will think of something.

And then there's Rangeley.

Any season that has Rangeley in it is by definition better than any season that doesn't (although I understand it gets rather chilly there sometimes).

Wednesday, June 04, 2008


There's nothing sexier than watching a man stride into your favorite watering hole, grab a seat, reach into the pocket of his studded black leather jacket, and pull out... his knitting.

Yay, Dave!

(Roxie? Since I am posting a pic of other people KIP, this doesn't count.)

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