Thursday, May 13, 2010

a birthday

Ella will be 12 tomorrow. It's hard to believe I've had her for that long, and yet I can't easily remember a time in my life when she wasn't along for the ride, offering head butts, opinions and sweet puppy kisses. My dogs are each so very different that i don't bother to try and pick favorites, now; each occupies a place in my heart. Ella's breeder remarked to me, when I had her as a bouncy young thing that "You will look back, years and dogs from now, and understand that she is the best dog you'll ever have." Gotta love a breeder who is kennel-blind, no? But she's right, she must be right, I think. Even with only a few years past... anyway, for my sweet gray old lady, who still loves walking in inclement weather,swimming, rolling in goose-poop and worse, catching frisbees and begging incessantly for whatever handout she can talk you out of, a huge Happy Birthday! And many more.

I have a 3 day weekend, my treat after an altogether too-long three day work week. I know that sounds awful to those who are working longer weeks, but really, I had a job interview, gave and graded upwards of 50 tests, had to teach a model lesson before a jury of my peers, dealt with weather and temperature extremes and generally was tried and taxed beyond my tolerance. I have nothing planned, beyond a little grading and a little knitting. I am open to ambition and events coming up, namely the making of banana french toast for breakfast tomorrow morning, as I have a going-stale loaf of home baked bread and some overripe bananas on the counter.

It is a hazy, too-hot, too-muggy day, uninspiring. In conflict with the new moon, which is supposed to be an extremely auspicious one for all kinds of beginnings, but I find myself still mired in the middle of things I need to finish. Fortitude for the long stretch, that's what I ask. Fortitude.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

luck turning round

I came home late today, late for me, anyway, at 4:30pm. I work half time, so 7:30 to 4:30 is a grueling day. Working part time has played havoc with my work ethic as well as my bank account. meh. It'll change soon enough if I'm lucky, and if not, well, I enjoy the downtime.

Anyway, I noticed that our front yard has become wildly overgrown. We don't own a lawn mower anymore, and we pay a guy to mow, but he's been crazy busy with his other job lately, and so hasn't gotten around to us. I do like the meadow effect of the yard all filled up with clover and dandelions and forget-me-nots, though, and so it's really no problem. We have so much clover that the grass was fragrant, and I decided to look around for bees. 20 minutes yielded one bee. One bee in a yard that should have been buzzing audibly. Was it just the wrong time of day? Or is (and I do believe that this is more likely) colony collapse syndrome hitting them hard here? Sad.

I did find a four-leaf clover, though, which made me happy. P suggests that finding one on Cinco de Mayo is extra lucky. I hope so. I did not win the $266 million lottery last night, but maybe today things are turning around...

Last entry, I promised you fibery goodness, and I intend to deliver. I have really been enjoying spinning different types of fiber on the Louet, and I was determined to buy myself a good cross-section of fun fiber to play with. I had a bit of a budget, and a bit of a space concern, so I truly didn't go crazy (did I?) with it, but I think I found some fun stuff:
I was totally seduced by these shiny happy colors at the Ivy Brambles booth. Merino, soft, fragrant and with the irresistable name: "Impatiens". Sometimes I look at this pic and think it looks like clown guts, but I think it will be fun to spin up. I think I'm going to use this to try this fractal spinning technique I've been reading about. There are lots of examples and discussions of it on Ravelry and if you google "fractal spinning" a lot of blog entries come up, so I'm feeling inspired.

Here's some 80/20 Blueface Leicester/silk from Carolina Homespun. I fell in love with the color and feel of this lovely stuff. It's so shiny and soft. I'm currently spinning it up, and while I like it a lot, it isn't as easy to spin as the pure BFL I've spun up earlier. The silk makes it a little slicker and I find myself swinging between spinning fairy hair and sportweight singles. Getting some consistency is a challenge. I'll ply it up, so it won't be a huge deal; I'm finding that plying, while a bit boring, is vastly improving the appearance of my efforts.

I wanted some undyed, more natural wool, so I got some Coopworth roving from Carolina, as well. I like this pretty brown. I've been reading Clara Parke's "The Knitter's Book of Wool" about the different sheepy breeds and qualities of wool, and learned that this breed was developed by crossing Border Leicester and Romney sheep. The natural colored ones are allowed to be registered in the USA, but in Australia and NZ only white ones are allowed. I'm told it's easy to spin, and good for outerwear.

Some Merino/silk from Ellen's Half-Pint Farm. I'm completely smitten by these gothy colors. I had been browsing a display of Socks that Rock yarn, and had fallen quite in love with the Raven Clan colors, but had resisted buying any sock yarn for my stash. When I saw this roving, I couldn't resist. I also got a wee bag of firestar shiny glittery stuff to spin in with it.

My husband is working round the clock, these days, as his office is handling wildlife refuge issues for the Gulf oil spill, right now. Reports are grim, and sad, as oil reached land, finally today, on some islands where brown pelicans are nesting. The pelicans had recently been removed from the Endangered Species list, because they'd been doing so much better, after nearly dying out, several years ago. Very sad, this spill, and a little surreal, right now.
***ETA: Correction: Oil has reached land, but has not been seen on the islands where the pelicans are actually nesting! That is good news!

I leave you with my current favorite Avett Brothers song. This changes from day to day, but today it's Perfect Space.