Saturday, September 30, 2006

There are two major ways to tell if it's Autumn around here.

This is perhaps the most obvious.

But the sweeter, more cuddly way, is to sit under nearly any blanket or lap cover in the house.

It's then that you'll find yourself trying to persuade Aslan that he is a Norwegian-Forest-Cat-for-crying-out-loud and is remarkably well suited to cooler temperatures (remember, I found this guy in a Buffalo NY blizzard!) It hasn't even dropped below 60 (15.5 C) in the house yet (well, maybe overnight) but as soon as you throw a cover over your lap, you'll have this handsome little puffball (who has fluffed all his silky hair out for maximum insulation) pawing at your arm and yelling at you until you lift the cover long enough for him to crawl underneath. Where it's warm. You know, above the bitter cold sixty degrees.

Ideally he'd like to be someplace super warm, reclining away while you fan him gently with palm fronds and feed him olives, but barring that, snoring loudly under my lap blanket is a pretty darn cozy place for him to be. For both of us.

Happy Autumn to all, and to all a good Fall!

okay, can anyone tell me why the white background of my blog is only going partway down the screen?
I thought it was just my own computer issues since I was on dial up temporarily, but back on DSL the problem hasn't resolved itself, and it seems to look this way on more than one browser. Anyone know how to fix this?

Monday, September 25, 2006

Okay, seriously???

Could you die?

I mean, really. Does this just make you swoon and fan yourself and want to ask Rhett to bring you a mint julep?

Is this among the more beautiful things you've seen this month? Seriously? Even with fairly shoddy spinning (and I'm not kidding myself here, I'm generally an above average spinner, but I started rushing for the last third of singles, so two are lovely and the third is shoddy, thereby throwing off the whole plying process as well.)

And every little glimmer of that sheen is just showing off how soft it is, too.

You should get to Mama this very instant. Actually, get there yesterday if you can, and get some of this stuff. It's her stunning 50% superwash merino/50% tencel (oh, yeah, did I mention that something that disquietingly beguiling is also machine wash and dry? Seriously? Kill me now!) and well beyond being super fun to spin - and feeling remarkably like really, really, really nice silk, it turns out this magnificently ravishing....

Thursday, September 21, 2006

There's got to be a morning after...

Have I ever told you Aslan's aspirations?

He wants to be a hair stylist when he grows up. He is very determined and dedicated, practicing nightly. By this I mean he sits behind me on the couch while I'm knitting and pets and licks the back of my head. Well, when you have a cat who wants to be a hair stylist when he grows up, you should really clear any major hair decisions with him first.

I neglected to do this, adding futher evidence to the "why she's a horrible mommy" list (other items: 17. doesn't keep us bathed in cat nip, and 54. dogs.)

Trevor and Oscar both reacted like typical guys, cocking their heads slightly when I came home, but scared to say anything in case I responded with "Are you calling me fat???"

Aslan, however, hasn't spoken to me since.

But he's not letting me end his dreams. He's keeping up practice on my teddy bear, Frosty, who may look raggedy to some of you, but is absolutely one of the most beautiful things in the world to me, and has been since I was one.

In other "my hair is short now" news, I'm really unclear as to how people with short hair don't regularly sustain third-degree burns on their backs. Perhaps someone could clear that up for me?

I got in the shower this morning, and while I always knew I liked a good hot shower, I didn't realize how much insulation my hair provided against that.

You may have heard the screams. Sorry about that.

This has nothing to do with anything, except that while we're talking lessons (like ask the cat before you cut your hair and don't step into a hot shower without an asbestos suit) I offer a photographic lesson in why we seldom leave glasses of water sitting around the house. I will admit even after seeing this happen (and both cats prefer to drink from a glass than anything else) I still felt like if I hadn't actually seen the water being consumed by said furry fellows it was probably okay. What really clinched the matter was Trevor. I've mentioned before that he's an enthusiastic eater and drinker? Well, sometimes he drinks with such vigor, his whole nose is submerged. Getting water up his nose makes him sneeze.

Right back into the glass.

No, I won't be finishing that drink there, thank you.

Now behold as I seemlessly segue into actual fiber news.

Hot showers, sneezing in water glasses, and SEA SOCKS CRUISES!!!

It's selling out fast, y'all, so get the to the blog and signed up tout de suite.

You do know that Eunny will be there, with some fun exclusives and previews and just her generally lovely, wacky little self.

And of course Mama Erin is dyeing up some stunning stuff that will knock your socks off (I swear that was unintended). And a few patterns from me, too.

Erin is of course the one who dyed this amazing roving - superwash/tencel blend. It takes my breath away - I feel like I'm spinning jewelry, it's just amazing. This will become a big-lace shawl for a friend - super simple and hopefully fast. I just can't get over how gorgeous it is, and trust me when I tell you that every little bit of gorgeousness is balenced out in how it feels...

But, seriously? Sign up soon for the cruise - space is very limited!!!

Meanwhile, I haven't forgotten how to knit either. This is a simple hat design of mine, named Rose of Sharon. Is it a pattern you might like? I'm thinking of selling it, so if you'd be interested, drop a line.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

For Good.


I've heard it said
That people come into our lives for a reason
Bringing something we must learn
And we are led
To those who help us most to grow
If we let them
And we help them in return
Well, I don't know if I believe that's true
But I know I'm who I am today
Because I knew you.

It well may be
That we will never meet again
In this lifetime
So let me say before we part
So much of me
Is made of what I learned from you
You'll be with me
Like a handprint on my heart
And now whatever way our stories end
I know you have re-written mine
By being my friend

And just to clear the air
I ask forgiveness
For the things I've done you blame me for
But then, I guess we know
There's blame to share
And none of it seems to matter anymore

Like a comet pulled from orbit
As it passes a sun
Like a stream that meets a boulder
Halfway through the wood
Who can say if I've been changed for the better?
But because I knew you
I have been changed for good

Like a ship blown from its mooring
By a wind off the sea
Like a seed dropped by a skybird
In a distant wood
Who can say if I've been changed for the better?
But because I knew you:
I have been changed for good

Who can say if I've been changed for the better?
I do believe I have been changed for the better

And because I knew you:
I have been changed for good.

("For Good", from Wicked, words & music by Stephen Schwartz)


My hair looked like this yesterday.


In fact, I didn't even realize how long until I took this photo.

About even with my belly button (if my belly button were in back, which it's not, but thanks for checking)

But today is the anniversary of Olivia's death, and I needed to do something drastic.

It wasn't spontaneously drastic.

It's something I've given a lot of thought to, spent a lot of time dreading.

It is by far, without a doubt, the hardest thing I've ever done that I did completely of my own volition.

Now, fourteen inches of it will go to Locks of Love

Because my hair now looks like this.

You see, there are a lot of really horrible anniversaries this week for people I love a great deal. They will always be sad days for me, always be days that make me emotional and depressed and scared and sorrowful and heartbroken.


But I can't let them be entirely negative. I just can't allow myself to drown. I can't allow the universe to have all that negativity clumped in one small time period for me.

So in an attempt to throw a little positive energy into the kosmos, in an attempt to make something positive come out of these wretched times, I've made a petty little sacrifice which is a stupid big deal to me, so that someone else can feel a little happier, someone else can feel a little better about their own troubled life, someone else will smile. By giving up one of the few things I'm moderately vain about, a child who doesn't feel good will have new hair to be proud of.

Just a few of these tears I've cried have to be shed for good.


Saturday, September 16, 2006

Big Buffalo & Tiny Fairies

This arrived at my door today.

As you can see, it's a large box.

Significantly larger, in fact, than my bomb sniffing guard cat.

But not terribly heavy.
After all, buffalo fiber doesn't weigh a whole lot!

A friend's mother had been given some buffalo fiber at a friend's farm and didn't really know what to do with it.

Well, that friend isn't a spinner, nor does she have any real desire for buffalo, being as it's so warm...

So she said she'd send me the fiber to see if it's usable, and if not, fine, and if it is, we can work out a trade!

As you can see, it's very dirty - not just loaded with VM but extremely dusty as well - and will likely take several careful washes to get it clean enough to use, along with some sorting through to remove guard hair. And I think a few spots are a little felted. So basically, it will be an exciting game, but one that I won't know the final results of until it's nearly over!

Of course, the three furry gentlemen in my house have been strutting around with their little chests puffed out as though they'd brought the durn buffalo down themselves. The egos are just going to be unbearable around here, I can tell.

After a quiet, retrospective day yesterday looking at old photos, singing old songs, and crying a good bit, I did a little fluffy knitting - nothing for work, just a piddling little attempt at PDA modesty. (er, that's PDA "Personal Data Assistant" not "Public Display of Affection," which is decidedly immodest)

You see how far I got before I ran out of yarn? Over there on the left?


My design might take a little reworking - if I do away with the little flap/closure on the right there, I'll have enough to finish the cover flap on the left, I think. But of course that means ripping it aalllll out and starting over from the very first stitch. So we'll see if I follow through on that or just break down and buy a sturdy leather cover.

It does need a case, I'm convinced of that, since the flap it came with is already starting to wear a little from being opened and closed and tossed in my purse and just generally lived with.

And this little girl helped me through a bit of my mopiness yesterday too.

She's a toilet fairy. See her little toilet brush?

You see, I (kinda) live with a man who, like most men, only sees the things that matter to him. The things that don't matter, become invisible. This is a common trait, you likely know someone who shares it.

Anyway, when I moved in with GB, we found that our housekeeping styles were drastically different. I have a slight propensity for clutter. He has an ability to not see bacteria until it could eat Cleveland. In one discussion about what he saw as my lack of housekeeping practice, I reminded him of the condition of his bathroom when I moved in, and pointed out that it had never been anywhere near as toxic since I'd moved in. But since he didn't think I did anything around the house, what did he think caused this increased level of cleanliness - the toilet fairy? (It made sense, the Wee Folk are quite active in my house. In the past, I sometimes had a money fairy who would leave $20 bills in my purse when I was low on gas or something...)

Brandy (you remember Brandy, don't you? She who made me those adorable Sheepy needles and the stitch markers donated for two-thousand-socks?) has heard me tell this story of our home's alleged toilet fairy, and somehow knew I would need a little pick me up, and so she sent me a toilet fairy. Now, don't get excited. Everyone knows that real toilet fairies move too quickly to be seen by mere mortals. This is simply a likeness of one, and she's hanging over my toilet now, so the real toilet fairy isn't lonely while she's doing her work!

Thanks, Brandy!

Friday, September 15, 2006

Five Hundred Twenty-Five Thousand Six Hundred Minutes

One Year Ago I answered this questionaire. Please take note of the answer to question 33, about my greatest fear.

The very next day I got the news that sometimes your worst fears come true.

Not a day goes by that I don't miss her.
Not a day goes by that I don't talk to her.
Not a day goes by that I am not given colossal peace by knowing that my last words to her (and hers to me) were
"I love you."

I'm gonna take a little private time this weekend to do a little more talking to Sharon. But do me a favor - make sure the folks you love know it. You never know when you'll run out of time to tell them again.


525,600 minutes, 525,000 moments so dear.
525,600 minutes - how do you measure, measure a year?
In daylights, in sunsets, in midnights, in cups of coffee.
In inches, in miles, in laughter, in strife.
In 525,600 minutes - how do you measure a year in the life?
How about love? How about love? How about love?
Measure in love. Seasons of love.

525,600 minutes! 525,000 journeys to plan. 525,600 minutes -
how can you measure the life of a woman or man?

In truths that she learned, or in times that he cried.
In bridges he burned, or
the way that she died.

It’s time now to sing out, though the story never ends,
Let's celebrate remember a year in the life of friends.
Remember the love! Remember the love!
Remember the love! Measure in love.
Seasons of love! Seasons of love.

(Seasons of Love ~ from Rent, words and music by Jonathon Larson)

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

What's your weirdest reason for insomnia?

I went out with the girls last night (and had a wonderful time - love you guys! you're fabulous!!!) and put Oscar outside while I was away. When I came back, I was getting some intense wiggy vibes from him. I couldn't have explained, and anyone who didn't have a connection with him likely wouldn't have noticed, but he was scared about something.

We went inside and I started my decompression routine, and Oscar wandered off to bed.

When I turned the lights out to sleep myself (earlier than I'd been able to make it to sleep any other night this week) I was dozing off to dreamland when I heard crying. Doggy crying.

Oscar was having a very bad dream.

I stumbled to his room, woke him up and gave him some cuddles until he was awake and wagging again, though I was still getting that vibe from him. But he was calmer, and I was tired, so I kissed him goodnight and went back on my way.

To have it happen again a few minutes later. And again still later.

How many of you have a boss that would take "I didn't get any sleep because my pitbull kept having nightmares" as an excuse for grogginess? Yeah, my students this morning didn't buy it either.

But he's gotten tons of cuddles today, and I didn't make him go outside alone, though he doesn't seem frightened to be there, so he seems to be doing much better today. We'll see how much sleep we get tonight.

As for me, I've been busy, I swear.

How busy?

I made this, which is far closer to done than it appears (and has since been moved to an indefinite holding pattern, as I was developing wrist problems)

I made this, a baby blanket for your very favorite baby on acid. (It's actually a store sample for AC Moore, and will remain in its unfinished state for the display)

There's this is exactly one skein of yarn, which is unimpressive when you see it pre-blocking, but the colors are very accurate in this shot:
an after blocking - or faux-blocking, hanging on a wall of cabinet doors - is a bit bigger. (the red broomstick sized things are the horrible needles that I used, and never will again, and that's actually a screwdriver set used as weight to block it downwards)

This will get finished a little more, I think to about square, but it's another store sample

Another sample is this baby sweater, which will also remain unfinished (I swear, this isn't me being lazy, they want it to add "dimension" to the displays) and is one of the new colors of Paton's Merino.

There's also this little hat/mitten set (stays in this state, yada yada yada)

As I mentioned, my wrist was giving me a little trouble. And I'm the brilliant person that said "hmmm... sore wrist - let me make samples on stupid large needles!" So here's another of those:

It was not carpal tunnel, and not just because I stamped my foot and threatened to hold my breath until it gave in to my stunning will. It didn't have the symptoms of CT. But it hurt like heck, and was really starting to worry me until I put two and two together. The way I knit, my left hand and wrist barely move at all. So in marathon sessions, my hand would be so stiff, it would be extremely painful to move after. I've been trying to remind myself to do wrist rolls at the end of ever row (or round) and that's been extremely helpful. Both for the wrist and my sanity - oh, the fear that I was going to be told I couldn't knit again!

And time off to spin didn't help - once it hurt, it hurt like the dickens! Even spindling this special little project caused a horrible throbbing burning pain.

But I did try to rest it a little more, and did very little of my own knitting while working on the store samples. While I was taking time off, Aslan and I made a few wishes to this book we found:

One of our wishes was for a little sanity, since I've been nearly running ragged trying to keep track of everything going on right now. I looked in my purse the other day, and it looked like this (notice the receipt from Cloverhill? I swear, I only bought one button)

After lots of research (ie: many e-mails to my brother saying "what the heck is bluetooth" and other highly technical questions) purchase and a little work on my part, my purse looks like this;

Now down to wallet, checkbook, wet naps, and a naked little PDA. So many people say they love them, but admittedly, I thought it was going to be a hard habit for me to get into. Not so. I'm hooked, my life is on that thing, and I love it more that I thought possible.

And as I said, it's naked.

What kind of knitter could leave a beloved device naked?
Not this one.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Numbers For Benny

Two thousand, nine hundred, ninety-six.

One thousand, eight hundred, twenty-six.

It’s hard to picture any one thing in an amount like either of those two numbers, isn’t it?

So how about these numbers: Eight. Three. or One.

Eight years of little anniversaries, romantic gestures, dreams, and planning for the future. Eight years of marriage. Eight years that aren't enough.

Three children, growing and learning and loving. Three sets of school plays and football games and high school proms and moving into adulthood. Three children doing that without a father.

And just One Benjamin Suarez.

One man, father, husband, brother, uncle, friend.

One Benny, who can no longer show of his tattoos signifying his two great passions - the name of his wife Sally on one arm, and a dragon entwined with the emblem of the New York Fire Department on the other.

One Benny who was tender and romantic, often remembering little anniversaries even his wife forgot.

One Benny, who had dreams of buying a house with his wife. Who wanted nothing more than to make Sally happy, saying “'I could live in a cardboard box, but I have to make sure you have the house you want.'”

One Benny who grew up in Brooklyn always active in church and the community, so that becoming someone who spent his life working for others was a natural progression.

One Benny who was a familar face to all in the neighborhood, who could go no place in the district where he wasn't known and loved by all.

One Benny, who loved his job as a firefighter in Manattan’s Ladder Company 21, at 38th Street for the excitement, the time with the community and because the flexible schedule allowed him to be with his children and attend their events proudly, sometimes bringing the whole ladder company along with him.

Two thousand, nine hundred, ninety-six lives were lost on September 11, 2001.

That was One thousand, eight hundred, twenty-six days ago, when
One Benjamin Suarez, at Thirty-Six years old, after working a Twenty-Four hour shift, called and said his last words to his wife:
“I have to help the people”.


The Tower

Into the Tower, we must go
There’s people in trouble,
We all know.

The towers stretch into the sky
Over one hundred stories high.

As people run out every way
They are in trouble they can not stay

Down the stairs, they must go lower
To leave the danger of the tower.

For damage caused to the towers beauty,
We must go in, it is our duty.

As we go high we have to poke
Because the thickness of the smoke

Its getting hot as we go higher
The intense heat of burning fire.

This is real, its no dream
As people run, and people scream

As things drop of the damaged tower
People hide and people cower.

We did not know it would fall
We done our duty
We gave our all.

Written by David Boyce
On the 30th of May 2004

South Wales police officer sc7061 Boyce was one of 340 to attend 9/11 memorial 2002 at Ground Zero and says:

Since returning to the United Kingdom after the 2002 memorial visit I found my spiritual side and I started writting spiritual poetry.
This came to me one morning on 30 May 2004 by a fire fighter by the name similar to Suarez. Until a short time ago I did not know if this was correct.
I have just looked at the lost list and found the name Benjamin Suarez who was lost at 9/11 WTC.
I had the visions of actually going up the stairs within the tower whilst the rescue was taking place, although I [had] never actually been to New York until the 2002 911 memorial.
Please send this to the relevant people who may appreciate this poem.

God Bless them all
Dave Boyce


Janine of Staten Island made this quilt for the family of Firefighter Benjamin Suarez, in his memory. The quilt was delivered in person to the fire station in August 2002.

Marriage is love.