Rhymes With Fuchsia

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Ten on Tuesday

Ten Ways to Lighten My Mood
  1. Go for a walk. I'm immeasurably lucky to live right next to conservation land with a brook running through it and trails of varying length. When it's this hot out I'd change that to going for a swim: we're also lucky to live very close to the town swimming hole (created by the simple expedient of digging a big hole in/around the brook bed and waiting for it to fill up).
  2. Clean house. This works only if there's a finite task that I can finish within a couple of hours. If cleaning involves massive sorting and reorganizing and decisions as to what goes, what stays, and where to put the stuff that's staying, it may have the opposite of the intended effect.
  3. Cook. I enjoy cooking if I have the time to do it. I also enjoy eating, which, depending on what I've cooked, may or may not be a good thing.
  4. Spin, especially if it's not very goal-oriented (still haven't finished the blue roving) and I can get into the Zen of it.
  5. Knit, preferably in company, although alone works too. Since giving and a sense of completion (see cleaning above) both give me a huge lift when I'm blue, charity squares are the perfect cheer-me-up knitting. Not that you asked, by the way, but the Pine Street Inn Knit-a-Thon is November 7.
  6. Hang out with friends and/or family, or, if no one is around...
  7. Hang out on Ravelry, usually in the forums, although sometimes I just gawk at what people are knitting.
  8. Put my latest pix up on Flickr. This is especially effective if we've been to Rangeley recently: see example above.
  9. Shop, mostly for yarn, usually online. It's safer that way: if I can actually touch the stuff I'm beyond hope.
  10. Read blogs, of course.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Eye Candy Friday

Deep sigh. To everything there is a season... and some of them are much too short.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Ten on Tuesday

In typical fashion, I'm getting this in just under the wire...

Ten Things I'd Tell a College Freshman
  1. As the poet said, make much of time. You don't have as much of it as you think.
  2. Get your priorities straight, aka applying the 80/20 rule: for any task, 80 percent of the work will take you 20 percent of the time and effort. If you don't have time to do it all, do as much as you need to as well as you can. This is probably the most important thing I learned in college. There's a reason they give you more work than you can comfortably do.
  3. Study, study, study. I wish I'd studied more; it would have saved me time in the end.
  4. Play to your strength, but also...
  5. Go outside your comfort zone. If you're a math geek, take an English class; if you're an English major, take math (logic and statistics, both endlessly useful, count as math).
  6. Don't spend all your time studying: do something extracurricular with people you like. In fact, do a bunch of things, and as time goes on pick a couple to concentrate on. (I really wish I'd stuck with the college paper. I'd have learned a lot and it would have been better written.)
  7. Learn how to learn. When starting any new endeavor you'll never know even half of what you need to know, so get in practice.
  8. You will bump into professors who are egomaniacs, jerks, sexist pigs, who haven't had a new thought in 40 years. Pay attention to them: they can teach you something, if it's only how the world looked 20 years before you were born. Knowing a little about coping with an egomaniac sexist jerk may also come in handy.
  9. Look for people who are different from you. (They won't be hard to find, even if everyone is studying the same thing and comes from the same part of the country.) Once you've found them...
  10. Listen.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Eye Candy Friday

Only one more day... and a splendid cerulean one it is.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

A Little Light Reading

One of my favorite new(ish) books didn't make my summer reading list because I've already read it — several times, in fact. I'm referring to Home Is Where the Wine Is, the second book by Laurie Perry, aka Crazy Aunt Purl. If you haven't read it, and you have a little beach time left in your summer, I highly recommend it. If your beach season has already flown, I apologize; I've been meaning to write this review for a while, and one thing and another, yata yata — yet I still recommend it: it's as tasty, bubbly and satisfying as fondue by the fire on a chilly evening. Truly, it is a book for all seasons.

If you read Laurie's blog, you know she's a gifted storyteller, able to take you for a walk in her shoes even if you've never tried to operate space-age exercise equipment or become one with a slightly overcrowded universe. I've never dated online, and after reading about Laurie's exploits in that arena, I have no such desire. (Grant will be thrilled to hear this.) She does have some hilarious tales to tell, however.

I would be remiss not to mention the patterns in the back. There are several by The Crochet Dude, including one for a flip-flop wine coaster that I may try as the holidays get closer. There's a terrific evening bag by Myra Wood. There's an I-cord braided rug.

And... there is one of mine. It's a small but extremely useful item for the home, it's a bit outside my usual repertoire, shall we say, and that's all I'll tell you about it, except that it's on page 193. (OK, you can find a picture of it on Ravelry too.)

Go forth and read!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


Two down, five to go: I finished another piece of roving, and I started the next biggest one, on top in the picture. While I realize I have to make some pretty awesome progress actually to finish before we leave for home, I'm pretty happy with how full that bobbin is getting, and endlessly mesmerized by the hundreds of shades of blue passing through my fingers. I was feeling altogether pleased with myself, in fact...

...until I encountered a true expert. I am outdone and outspun.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Ten on Tuesday

Since there's no official ToT this week, I'm rolling my own, using (very) recent experience as my guide.

Ten Things to Do on Vacation
  1. Spin by the lake.
  2. Visit a favorite scenic spot. In our case this would be Small's Falls.
  3. Eat. Last night we visited our favorite restaurant so far since our previous favorite burned down. (The Porter House, a couple of years ago. Nothing left. So sad, although not as sad as if anyone had been injured; fortunately no one was.)
  4. Swim. I love to swim, which in my case is really paddling around, and I've never yet found a better place to do it than Rangeley Lake. So clear, so lovely.
  5. Take pictures. Many, many pictures. There will be more.
  6. Hike. I haven't done much this time. Fortunately I get my exercise paddling around.
  7. Pick blueberries. I haven't done this yet either. I fear most of the blueberries may be gone already, that very hot June we had having moved up the growing season, but I'll venture out at least once before we leave.
  8. Shop. One nice thing about being in the middle of nowhere is that the chain stores haven't made it here yet, so I don't see the same stuff as everywhere else.
  9. Visit the nearest biggish town. A yarn store and a used bookstore (I mean a store purveying used books, of course) live cheek by jowl, an excellent arrangement.
  10. Find a place with free wifi and blog about it all.
See you tomorrow with another report on #1, and, of course, more pix.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Progress Report

Of the seven little balls of roving, five and a fraction remain. I'm taking them in reverse order of size, that is thickness (they are all more or less the same length) — I'm sure there's a way to separate a roving into perfectly even pieces, but I know nothing of it. It seemed to take me forever and a day to spin up the first one, but it's done — you can see the last remnant of it fluttering in the breeze above — and I'm now at work on the next biggest one, which I think is the top back one. Now that the end is in sight I get a bit impatient, until I get into the Zen of it, aided by the endless blues in the vista before me and the ones traveling through my fingers. (I let a couple of the kids staying at the place try the wheel, using some practice roving I had luckily brought with me, and I noticed that beginner spinners tend to work harder than they need to: rather than just pinching and drafting and letting the wheel draw the yarn in, they worry about getting the yarn onto the bobbin. Of course I was that way too when I started. As a very wise friend always says, it's the process.)

So the bobbin looked like this at the completion of #1. I can definitely see progress, and from here on out I'll take a picture as I finish each piece of roving.

And this is what I am spinning next, a wool/mohair blend from Touch of Twist. The process is the thing, but a little incentive never hurt anyone (especially anyone who is a very, very slow spinner).

Friday, August 13, 2010

Free-Association Friday

For all who admired (for suitable definitions) yesterday's picture, I should add that the young man appeared quite competent at his daredevil exploit; it was clearly not his first time. The cliff there is not more than 20 feet high (with very deep water below), and I don't imagine that jumping therefrom is any more dangerous than going off the high diving board at your local pool. We even let Miss B do it — although, like most people who try it, she did a plain jump, and we wouldn't have countenanced anything else. The really crazy people are the ones who jump maybe 40 feet into smaller pools; believe it or not, I caught one of these completely by accident while just trying to get a nice picture of the falls. The guy in midair (the blurry one to the right of the group) is probably about halfway down.

In between pix of crazy people I got a nice butterfly shot. Can anyone name this species?

I finally managed to get some halfway decent loon pictures, after at least ten years of trying. I will confess that I bought a superzoom camera not for the sole purpose of becoming a loon paparazza, but definitely with it in mind. For every picture here there was at least one loon dive just as I was focusing.

I also got a better merganser picture. The mergansers are shyer than the mallards (who, as you know if you've been here for a while, given proper incentive will walk right up and say howdy), but considerably less swimoffish than the loons.

And, of course, thank heaven for little gulls.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

New Theme

Things I Have No Interest in Trying Before I Die

I think in this case it would be very shortly before dying.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Blue Ambition

Wendy turns out to be an excellent traveler: I separated her drive wheel from her frame for the trip, then reassembled her without the least difficulty. The atmosphere up here has been highly conducive to spinning, and I have a mere seven little balls of blue roving left, similar to the one you see trailing in the breeze above. I believe I can actually finish spinning and plying the blue laceweight here. I even brought a little incentive with me, which I'll show you next time. (Read: I forgot to take a picture.)

Even on vacation, it's good to have a goal. Or seven small, soft, lovely blue ones.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Ten Reasons to Love Bacon

This is the easiest ToT topic I've ever seen. My hat's off to Carole, or whoever came up with it.

Ten Reasons to Love Bacon
  1. Bacon and eggs, of course.
  2. BLT.
  3. Bacon-wrapped lamb patties.
  4. Bacon cheddarburger.
  5. Fettucine carbonara. That would be Canadian bacon, which counts as bacon.
  6. Bacon spinach salad.
  7. Uncured bacon.
  8. The smell of bacon in the morning. Or just about any other time.
  9. Bacon and onion quiche.
  10. Random bacon.
Why the duck? you may be asking. Because I don't have a picture of bacon.

Monday, August 09, 2010

For the Birds

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Slice of Heaven

We got a late start yesterday, and then we ran into traffic.

But we got here.

And that's all that really matters.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Ten on Tuesday

Today's ToT, things to take on vacation, could not be better timed, since we leave for our annual Rangeley sojourn on Saturday morning. It also gives me a chance to redeem myself for the camping one. I found that list quite revealing, actually, as clearly some people go camping fairly often and enjoy it; they pack the necessities without having to think much about it and then make sure they have plenty of fun things like knitting, books, bathing suit and towel. Then there are those of us who haven't been camping in quite a while, or if we have, it wasn't our idea, and our lists reflected all-too-vivid memories of being constantly cold and wet (that would be me), or having trouble starting a fire, or other vicissitudes of outdoor life. My favorite was Ruth, who got as far as 1. hotel reservation — I have to admit that this was my first thought also — and promptly and wisely abandoned the whole exercise.

In any event, since as always we will be staying in a nice dry cabin with modern plumbing and kitchen facilities, when making this list I can (mostly) concentrate on the fun stuff.

Ten Things to Take on Vacation
  1. Clothing, including plenty of long underwear, wool socks, and sweats. Recurring theme, I know, but in this case it's mere prudence: it is Maine, after all, in the mountains yet. Temperature readings in the mid-40s at 7:30 am are not uncommon. (I know this because 7:30 is when I take my morning swim.)
  2. Bathing suits and beach towels. See above.
  3. Matches and/or lighter for stove (gas stove, no pilot light) and grill. Inexplicably I failed to include these on my camping list, although I did think of them. Having read The Clan of the Cave Bear, I know in theory how to start a fire without modern equipment, but I'd rather not have to try it.
  4. Hammock with stand. Yes, we really take this with us; disassembled, it takes up surprisingly little room in the van.
  5. Spinning wheel. This year I'm thinking seriously of taking Wendy; ordinarily I don't tote her around, because she's quite large, but I've really been enjoying spinning on her, and I can take the wheel off the frame pretty easily if need be. Whichever wheel I take, I'll also take roving and other spinning supplies, of course. Miss B may bring her Ladybug as well.
  6. Knitting. This includes whatever projects are either on the needles or in my head, and all of the materials and tools for same. These easily fill a small duffel, with the overflow sometimes sneaking into my big duffel, and almost never do I complete more than half of what I bring, but what's a heaven for?
  7. Laptops, mine and Grant's. While the place where we stay preserves its rustic charm and probably will not get wired for wireless in our lifetime, the Rangeley Public Library is much more abreast of the times. We have even been known to sidle up to it when it's closed, sniffing for a signal.
  8. Cell phones. Verizon has finally colonized Rangeley, may all the saints be praised — we'd always been able to use our phones there as long as we were willing to pay an arm and a leg. Down the road a short piece in either direction we get that little box with a line through it, which means we've temporarily eluded civilization.
  9. Books. See my summer reading list, and also #6 above.
  10. Bug spray, sunscreen, hats, and pails. The bug spray and sunscreen are useful in a variety of settings, but all four items are essential gear for an expedition to the blueberry patch (no, I'm not telling you where it is, either).