Sunday, November 03, 2013

i love november...

... and I just realized it. It might be that November is Georgia's answer to the Mid-Atlantic region's October, which is that area's answer to New England's September. But it has just hit me, the day after Samhain, (though I consider us still in Samhain's cycle, maybe, though this morning's eclipse may have blown that away, but that's another story for another time) that I love this quiet, cooling month of release and contemplation. Everything darkening, ever slowly winding down before the energetic bang of Yule. Weather here, not too bad, though definitely with a cold snap. Still some pretty color, and no chance of heat. Reduced mosquitos are a bonus.

 Frosty yard! 
Marigolds from Autrey Mill. These were appropriated for my Samhain altar. 

Fallen fungus: aptly named Turkeytails. 

We've had a frost, but only the one, and nothing too cold called for this upcoming week. I'm almost disappointed. I turned my heat on once last week, before I went off to Folk School, because I was sick, and it seemed that if I were warmer, I could maybe function better. Once I bounced back, the dial went down again. It came on automatically again, this morning, when the house temp went below 60. I didn't stop it, as it seemed the only way I was going to make it out of bed and to church...once up, I am fine. 

Some knitting of a bright orange brushed alpaca hat, and some Cricket walking and yardwork are going on today. The cooking of collard greens and cornbread round out my Soul Food Sunday meal. Later tonight, I am off to my beloved Arabia Mountain Nature Preserve, for some night sky viewing and a lecture/class given by a shamanic astrologer in the area. The weekend has shaped up splendidly. 

Thursday, October 31, 2013

under the milky way tonight.

It's Samhain. Cool, humid, windy. The streets are alive with trick-or-treaters, but for once in my life, I am avoiding it. I didn't get a pumpkin or sweep the walk, earlier this week, and suddenly, I've been busy and so Halloween is happening without me, as I eat my takeout Cuban medianoche sandwich and dig my toes into Cricket's warm fur.

Yesterday, Burdock called me at work, to tell me that a dear old (from 1980) friend of ours had been killed in a motorcycle accident. I am stunned. His brother and sisters had been my dear friends for years - they were all my soul siblings in my college and twenties years. Time and distance had spread us, but we were still close. I cannot imagine the world without him, and my heart breaks for his family, his partner, his coworkers...

This year has been one for the books. Gary, an old D&D friend from that same era, Ella, and now Steven. sigh. The veil is thin, and many are passing through...

It has been the perfect fall day, the sad news notwithstanding. Cloudy and a little hazy, warm, windy. Trees finally turning, and leaves blowing in the breezes. Work was enjoyable, though I felt, in many ways, that I was fighting against the rising tide of child/sugar alchemy...glad to send the munchkins off to their costumes and parties for the evening. I am certain they will all be useless tomorrow.

This weekend, I am taking a stargazing class at Arabia Mountain - a granite outcropping in Lithonia, known for its good night skies. Usually it is closed to public access at dusk, but this class gets me in, and a hike to the top of its granite hump, to look at the late autumn stars. I will dedicate the trip to my friend Steven, who was a scientist, and lover of all things wild and natural.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

ebb and flow

A friend of mine moved to Baltimore this summer, and is teaching in a tough inner-city school. We've been talking a lot about how to surf and survive the ebb and flow of the Universe. You know, that interplay of goodness and badness that comprises Life. She is young, and energetic, and hopeful - a great teacher, and I hope that she doesn't get knocked down too badly by the mercilessness of her work there.

Meanwhile, I have my own waves to ride. I haven't blogged in eons. Seriously. In one part, because I've been busy as a one-legged man in an asskicking contest, and in another, because things have happened that I just couldn't write about at the time they were happening. I finished school, my ESOL endorsement, and my massive writing project, finally - a piece of work that I am proud of. I was a mediocre student in high school and during my undergrad years, for so many reasons, none of them intellectual. Later, when I went back to school, I was surprised to find myself doing well, working harder, and learning more. I have felt like every academic experience I've had has pushed the girl who got a report cards full of C's (by the skin of her teeth) farther and farther away, til she is a distant stranger. This Georgia State program has been, by far, the most challenging piece of work I've done, and arguably the most rewarding. I've researched/written/edited more in the past year than in all the previous academic years combined, and I've learned some things: that I'm capable of being a good student, that I want to stay in touch, as a teacher, to the research and university community, and finally, that there will be no PhD for me. Ebb and flow, baby.

Summer was a blur of rain, more rain, and then some more rain. Really. It was freakish, every day was cloudy, the woods grew thicker, moss grew mossier, mold grew on every piece of leather we owned, as if we were living in HI still. Rats chewed a hole in the fuel line of my truck, a gas can, and the gas cap of my lawn mower. I never saw them, so it may have been chipmunks - I dunno. Spiders took over the house. Normally, I like spiders, but having them as my landlords kind of sucked, as did the my vacuum cleaning solution to the problem.

I taught at Tiger Mother Tutoring for my last summer, teaching a 4th grade writing class for my 3 Korean + 1 Ghanaian boys, and had a great time with them. I ran a literature circle in which we read "Shiloh," "Because of Winn Dixie," "Henry Huggins," and "The Secret Soldier." I tutored adults and negotiated dialogues and curriculum that dealt with auto accidents, gun control conversations, planning a trip to the gynecologist, and grocery shopping. I ate a lot of Korean food, and discovered a new Caribbean restaurant in Duluth.

I got a new job, at  a school not too far from home, with an enormous Central American immigrant population, off my beloved Buford Highway, with a bunch of fun new coworkers. I'm teaching math, in an ESL role, collecting data, and working to plan and deliver parent workshops for moms and dads who want to become more involved in school. It's a ton of work, and I feel like I am never caught up. All the old problems I've had and seen and felt with teaching have arisen again, but I'm in a different place in my head, possibly due to the 2+ years of NOT being in public schools. I am enjoying my work, and being alive, making money, making friends, and the different routine.

I will always remember this summer as my last summer with Ella, my sweet friend and heart dog. She'd been hale and hearty for 15 years, but was growing progressively weaker, shakier on her feet, and in need of more TLC. We walked every day this summer, offleash, through the backwoods, in the neighboring field and little apple orchard. It was such a gift, having the time to spend with my old dog, in those last weeks, which I didn't realize were her last weeks, until she took a turn for the worse, on my birthday, and I made the decision to say goodbye to her. I will always love her. She is part of me, now, as she has been, since I got her as a pup.

I'm mostly okay, now. I spent days crying, more tears than I thought it was possible to shed. Ella was a huge part of my life, my heart dog, the one I depended on, to balance out the roller coaster of life with Cricket; she was my agility partner, the dog who was so intuitive and affectionate. We were always together, always touching, and I really didn't know what to do with myself, without her. P came down and spent 2 weeks here, and we mourned together, and worried about Cricket the singleton, and tried to get our heads and hearts around a new routine, and life. I went back to work, and now, I'm grateful, so very grateful for the job, and the realization, that even in the worst times, life goes on. Linda, Ella's breeder wrote me 2 weeks ago, letting me know that her litter sister Taz had passed on, as well, and that she was feeling the same; enormous loss, hole in the heart, and gratitude for life's gifts, as well. We are okay, really. Ella was a lively, vigorous dog, and had a no-nonsense, unsentimental outlook. I found a lot of comfort, in this poem by Jon Katz, written this summer in his blog, two days before I lost Ella. It seems a fitting thing, to think of her running in fields, hunting with Orion's pack, sniffing, swimming, and drinking from ponds and creeks in the hereafter.

Cricket is doing fine.  He has settled down somewhat, is quieter, less barky around the house. I try not to think much about his loss, and how socially isolated he, a dog-aggressive dog with few playmates, must be. He is a stellar companion, guardian, and friend, and we are enjoying each other. I'm struck by how much easier life is with only one dog - I felt a lot of guilt saying that, at first. But it's true, for now, at least. We are going to start working with a new trainer, in a few weeks, to address some of his anxiety/fear/aggression issues - a decision his dogsitter's boss and I made together, but it's all good. I love dog training, and welcome the new lessons. Ebb and flow, baby, ebb and flow.

I've been wanting to write about this summer for the longest time, and just found I couldn't put it all down. I don't think I did, still, but it felt like a hump I needed to get over, so I could come back to the blog, which has been around for so long that it seemed like a shame to just leave it hanging.

I am recently returned from a weekend at folk school, where I spent three days making soap, new friends, and reconnecting to creativity and joy. I will write more about it later, but suffice to day, I have a new "making" thing to pursue.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

tweaks and adjustments

June is shaping up to be a sodden, muddy month, with big storms, torrential rains, and hard winds, at every turn. Added to that, is the heat, which isn't as bad as it could be, but is bumming me out, nevertheless. Sticky, 90-ish, and rainy has lost its appeal. I do like the thunderstorms, now, don't get me wrong. I'd just like some humidity-free sunshine in betweentimes.

They do provide for some spectacular cloudshows, though.
Last week, I went to Tucker, to meet some friends at the farmer's market. It was the week of the first Georgia peaches, and cause for excitement. We had just enough time to get our produce (cutiecumbers! new potatoes! Italian green beans! Peeeeeaaaaaaaches...) before a massive, storm hit (much like the one that's pounding us right now, in fact) forcing us into a local bar n' restaurant. Nice dinner, and then when it was over, a dramatic cloud show. I drove home through downed trees, and the aftermath of what turned out to be a tornado. Arrived to find my entire neighborhood without power, which wasn't too much of a thing, as we keep big man-killer flashlights by each door, and pagans always have candles, so I wasn't in the dark for long. It's nice to sleep in a completely dark neighborhood. No ambient lighting at all, and a powerless house is so. very. quiet. I spun the rest of my brat-paca by candlelight, and listened to music on iTunes til my laptop battery died. Power came back on late the next afternoon, just in time to salvage my freezer full of food, which was a happy thing; I didn't relish a meat-cooking extravaganza, nor throwing it all out. 

I plied the brat-paca, which is 2oz of green suri alpaca with firestar, and 2oz of reddish alpaca from the Big Island of Hawaii, courtesy of Acornbud. That was some sweet spinning, but man, oh man, was that Hawaiian alpaca dirty!! I can picture the alpaca lounging around in the red dust of Hawaii, rolling around in the mud, wallowing in the vog...I expected it to wash out into a white fiber, but it was truly red, and very soft and pretty. 
At the risk of descending this blog into the zone of the ridiculous and possibly NSFW (especially if you work with alpacas) I share a video; some inappropriate but inspired silliness. 
I'd share the brat-paca yarn (sportweight, shiny marled green and brown goodness) but I put it outside after washing it, to hang dry, and it is currently being rained on. Meh. A little more washing won't hurt that no spinning. Practically no knitting, either, except that I will offer you a gratuitous hexipuff: 
I have been assimilated into the cult of the Beekeeper's Quilt, after years of curiosity. The puffery is fun, a little addictive, and I don't see myself finishing this thing for like a million years. But it is a portable little project for my light rail rides to GSU, or my lunch hour. Trouble is, I realize I need to knit more socks so I'll have leftover sock yarn to make the silly puffs. I am adding a wee bit of lavender in each of my puffs, because in some distant future, when I am an ancient crone, I will lay me down under a lavender-scented puffy quilt...this puff is made of Koigu, and happens to be the only thing I have ever completed successfully in that yarn, despite my obsessive love of the stuff. Koigu, like Kidsilk Haze, just confounds me, for no good reason. But I love it hard. 

So I realize that I am well and truly sick of working for the Tiger Mother Tutoring Business, and am looking for work. Hard, in a hard market, especially when one is working and going to school. I am in the happy position of being able to sub this fall for some $$ and Tiger Mother will take me back to work, (assuming there are students in need) should I desire this. But I need a change, at least a temporary one. My commute is too long for the $$ I am making, and the part of me that wants to be administrative, and make organizational changes in an organization that doesn't want to change is frustrated. Even something as simple as requesting that our students bring water bottles instead of providing them with a zillion styrofoam cups at the water cooler, gets shot down. Never mind that the water cooler is replacing a water fountain that hasn't been repaired in a year. Ditto the busted toilet in the boys bathroom, forcing us to have co-ed bathrooms (does not bother me, but it's a symptom of bigger issues) When I finally got my own students to bring in water bottles, and they left them in the room, the ones that appeared "disposable" were thrown away by a custodian. Grrrrrrr!!! I'm having to share my classroom this summer, because I am working only two days a week, and the teachers who use the room use all my post-its, paper, and supplies, and stuff I've bought with my own money. Arrgh. I want a different scene altogether, and miss the days of having my own personal fiefdom of the classroom. It feels good to vent my spleen about this here. I am on very good terms with my boss, and I've given notice for my departure at the end of the summer. Now my personal challenge is to fight the short-timer syndrome...

Work frustration, hot flashes in a hot summer, and old dog hijinx are playing havoc with my sleep patterns, resulting in me falling apart, and it's not even Litha yet!! Ugh. I've started a yoga class after a hiatus; a new vinyasa class with the parks department, and I'm re-embarking on Project Z, again, to try and fix my sleep, or lack thereof. We are early in the process, so I haven't seen any huge results yet. 

Am I the last person to have discovered the blog A Veggie Venture? In my quest to make green beans with new potatoes, a dish from my Grandma Carr's table, in my rural Virginia childhood, I stumbled onto it, with insanely delicious and simple results! 

Considerably less porkified than the ones from my childhood, and smashingly buttery and delicious! Serious country food. 

Hopefully my whining hasn't ground you down, dear readers. In lieu of any real sunshine here, I leave you with a bit of sunshine from my neighborhood. 
Our neighborhood school crossing guard spends hours embellishing pine cones and arranging them in little vignettes at the corner near the school. This pile of sunny yellow cones reminds me of (look out, geekish moment coming up!!) the scene in one of the Song of Ice and Fire books, at the Iron Isles kingsmoot, where Asha Greyjoy dumps out a treasure chest full of pinecones all over the floor, and proclaims "The gold of the North!"I do love me some Asha Greyjoy...

Saturday, June 08, 2013

new moon in Gemini

...happening even as we speak, or rather, as I write this. It is a cool, humid day here in the Georgia woods, and I'm getting geared up to do some house and yard work, after a spinach-mushroom omelet. Later in the day, some bbq will happen.

Most of my energy the past week or so has gone toward figuring out my new summer schedule, with teaching on Monday/Wednesday, some tutoring in the eves (though a greatly reduced schedule) and my last grad class on Tuesdays and Thursdays - a culture class.

I've been excused from some of the assignments for said class,  as I covered the content in the culture standard of my portfolio, and instead, will be working for my professor, editing and writing some documents for our department. I'm not sure this is a good thing - it's flattering, but I have a sneaking suspicion it will also be a shitload of work, and may extend beyond the parameters of importance I'd be giving a simple writing assignment. Apparently this is what happens when I wish for new horizons and ask the Universe to help me grow as a writer...

So now my task is to ask the Universe to help me manage this stuff. Oh the neverending balancing act of the perennial underachiever!

I taught myself to chainply, and made this:
That cute Butterfly Bush roving from the last entry. 230 yards of sport-dk weight squishy bfl. There are breaks and flaws throughout, but the chain ply (Navajo ply, but I'm not Dine, so I figure I should be politically correct) is no longer a mystery to me.

I went to a fiber flea market, last week, in Atlanta. I spent way too much money, for things which were very reasonably priced, which means that I bought a lot of stuff. Arty batts, and merino and wensleydale roving from someone's destash, someone's wonderful old project bag, for 50 cents. Two cones of yarn, priced at $3 each; the first, a 100% brown wool, looks to  be like a single ply Lamb's Pride mill end? Maybe? Another mystery yarn, heathery green, which passed the burn test, but only partially passed the bleach test, and so I've identified it as maybe 50% wool, both laceweight. The green softened up when I skeined some and gave it a bath. There's like a zillion yards, and I am thinking maybe a Whisper Cardigan for myself, and then passing the rest of it along to my sis, and another friend who has a loom and may want warping yarn. Lots of warping yarn.

In other news, I am putting the miles on Mr. Cricket, in an attempt take his crazy energy down a notch.
Somebody needs a haircut. 

Monday, May 20, 2013

It's mid-May already??!

Well Spring just keeps moving on through, and this morning, a warm, foggy one, I realized that it smells and looks like Summer, here in Atlanta. It has been a cool, wet spring, one full of pollen and huge rains, which have caused the green world to explode, before everything settles down to the stuporous heat of my favorite season.

April flew by; seems like every time I decide to post regularly, I get busy and a month goes by. The highlights of life since my last post include my sister's visit, Stitches South and a wonderful class taken with Anna Zilboorg on fair isle techniques and steeking, lots of work; tutoring, subbing, and writing for the portfolio, and a rainy day hike on Arabia Mountain. I visited P in DC, and hung out in the Love Bubble for 4 days, looking at art, visiting friends, eating delicious food, and generally enjoying myself.

A couple of FO's to show, as well. The first is a fun, fast, easy joy: Chelsea's "Out of Its League Jar Cozy", knit here in Noro Kureyon:
Note the use of the Cuppow device to turn a quart jar into a sippycup. My new iced tea delivery vehicle. I am pleased as punch with this thing, and highly recommend this pattern as a gift or a quick knitting pick-me-up. It helped me to face the endless short rows and tiresome painful garter stitch torment of Pendulum, which I finally finished. Blogger is not letting me upload the pic, so you'll have to use the rav link to see it. I did not enjoy knitting Pendulum, and I think it's oddly shaped and weird looking when you lay it out flat, but it's squishy and soft and warm and the Malabrigo Arroyo is a luxury yarn, in my book, in incredible colors. ETA: Pendulum!! The way I wear it, as a big scarf.

School is nearly out, and my round of 12-hour workdays and 1 day weekends are coming to a close. I'm trying to get the house decluttered and deep cleaned,  and the yard tamed down, before the heat becomes too oppressive, and I start combining my summer job with my last class at GSU. A 10-day staycation is coming up next week, and P is driving down to hang with me, with nothing more complicated planned than hiking, cooking and maybe putting the kayak into the Chattahoochee. I am already thinking about Summer's joys.

Saturday, March 09, 2013

off and on the wheel

 I love my spinning, even though technical problems abound, and I have much learning to do. This is some recently spun, a bit scratchy, mixed wool from my sister's trip to the VA Fiber Festival at Montpelier, VA last fall. I like how there's a bright golden line running through much of the yarn.
Most of my spinning at this point is 2 ply, because I suck at Navajo plying, and only practice it at the end of plying when I have a single leftover to waste. That, of course is not going to get me anywhere. I have some white Romney-alpaca that I think I am going to dye with kool-aid and spin up in singles to practice the Navajo plying - in part because it was super-inexpensive, and because Romney-alpaca drafts like a dream; I won't have to work very hard to spin up this stuff. 

Before that, however, there's this...
I have been stalking this fiber, a mixed bfl, in Fibercharmer's Butterfly Bush colorway forever. Always with an itchy Etsy trigger finger, but never quite ready to buy...then, last week, I just happened upon a listing for it on SALE, at a considerable discount, and bang! Sold. I have no real plan for it, beyond spinning it up and enjoying the weird juxtaposition of purple, orange and is squishy and soft beyond measure. 

A gratuitous Cricket picture...just because he is handsome, and he, too, is squishy and soft beyond measure. 

Friday, March 08, 2013

friday is my friend

How did it get to be March? Wasn't it just January a day or so ago? We've been enjoying the lion/lamb weather here - one day in the 30's, with biting winds, a night of howling thunderstorms, a day to cherish, in the 60's with soft sunshine and joyous birdsong...still, it's supposed to be cold, so I'm enjoying the rollercoaster ride.

Friday is my day off, usually, unless I take a sub day, which I often do, to supplement the finances. Today, however, is my next-to-last PT appointment, so I didn't work. It's a nice feeling, the whole glorious springy day unfurling in front of me. I'm going to drink this coffee, go to PT, and then on to REI, where I have a $20 off a $50 purchase gift certificate. Then home to do yardwork, namely pick up the million limbs and sticks and pinecones which the last round of storms deposited. I am grateful that my fences are intact, still. I'll pick up the sticks, rake the yard out a little and sow some grass seed on the barer spots.

I am not a grassy yard queen, by any means. But I do have dogs, who like to lay in grass, and I have a big backyard, which otherwise would be dirt or ivy and weeds, so some cool-season fescue growing in one swath of the space is perfectly appropriate. I put in some native plants last fall, wild ginger, mugwort, and already have a small patch of goldenrod and white asters growing up, so am hoping they thicken up. My attempts to nurture the joe-pye weed of 2 years ago resulted in 1 sad little plant, which bloomed enthusiastically, but who can say? It is a favorite roadside perennial of mine. We'll see how it does.

I've been brewing kombucha, this past month, with some success! I joined a kombucha lovers group on Ravelry, (Ravelry has everything, doesn't it?) and a member sent me a scoby (Symbiotic Colony Of Bacteria and Yeast - in other words, a kombucha culture) which I tossed into a gallon jar of sweetened strong English Breakfast tea, and let ferment in the clamcave for a week. The clamcave has become my fermentation chamber, because it's the warmest room in the house, during the winter, for some reason. The scoby is like a big muscular pancake. Not pretty to behold.

Then I strained off the slightly fizzy, slightly vinegary stuff, and bottled it, placing in each bottle 10 squashed blueberries and some slices of fresh ginger. Let that bottle-ferment a few days, and then fridged it. The result was yummy, red, fruity, slightly carbonated and altogether delicious. I've got a gallon of green tea fermenting right now, and will bottle it with some fresh raspberries and ginger later this afternoon. Soooo looking forward to that. I'm really pleased to add kombucha fermentation to my post-apocalyptic skillset, as buying the bottles, at $3.99 per 16 oz was a bit ridiculous.

Have I showed you The Lady Edith?
She is coming along nicely - I'm now about 8 repeats in, and getting ready to start the decreases. I am in love with this yarn: Dragonfly Fibers Dragon Sock yarn, in the Bougainvillea colorway. Red and pink always elevate my mood. I only have 400 yards of the stuff, so it's going to end up being a tiny little shawl - which I'll block the hell out of, but it's an easy, portable knit, anyway. It was a KAL with Acornbud, who (of course!) has already completed and is wearing her much larger shawl.

I had a bit of a panicky crisis at the end of February, when my professor emailed me requesting a draft of my exit portfolio, even though I'm not exiting my program til the end of July. I had put it on a back burner, and had not written a word since December 10, when I had sent her my first draft. I was not the only person in my program in this boat, however, and we panicked together, resulting in a week of nervous breakdowns and frantic writing to bring ourselves up to speed. I am NOT done with this sucker by a long shot, and am hoping to have a reasonable draft (ie, one that needs tweaking but is in the ballpark) by 17 March, when I have to face her in person, because I am speaking at a conference with her that day...needless to say, this upcoming week is one of writing and reading and thinking and rounding up artifacts.

But today, Friday is most definitely my friend, and I shall enjoy the moment.

Thursday, February 14, 2013


I haven't quite worked up to shooting and displaying the status of all my WIPs, but I think that's coming. For now, here's a peep at a thing I did actually finish in 2013, the first FO!
It's the IAD(dulles) hat, by cafemama, a pattern I've knit before. An easy mix of knits and purls, to which I added a silly braided tassel for emphasis. One lovely, squishy, heartbreakingly beautiful skein of Malabrigo Twist, in the BEST colorway ever, "Tender." A mix of bloody reds, clay and soft, sage greens. So unexpected that I had to buy it last summer, because I'd never seen such a juxtaposition, before, or so I thought. Later, recalling my utter surprise, my first return spring in VA, in 2001, that new tree buds weren't "spring green," but grey, red, purple, brown...and the mountains aren't really green in March and April, but instead, this dappled golden mix of bud-colors flecked with green. So maybe a "tender" color. I dunno. 

My heart is tender this morning, Valentine's Day, to be spent alone, with dogs and work all day. Huge sorrow, for a friend who prepares to say goodbye to an adored new dog, a pup who has been diagnosed with an unusual orthopedic condition that would require a $2,000 operation, plus dysplasia in both hips. This would maybe be do-able, as he's young, but he's also displaying unpredictable temperament problems, resource guarding...she is a dog trainer, and works a lot with therapy dogs, and needs a working partner. They have not been able to successfully address the resource guarding issue, and it seems to be increasing. She phoned his breeder, who won't take him back. I know that she is utterly wretched, right now, laid low by this blow, which comes on the heels of losing her beloved older dog to hip issues last year. 

What happens to the "perfect storm" of a dog? In Cricket's case, learning management tools, relentless obedience training, and the judicious use of a crate helped me to keep a dog who has, on occasion, bitten people, attacked other dogs, and is fearful and anxious, due to breeding, lack of early socialization, and traumatic experience as a puppy. But Cricket doesn't resource guard. He has not shown aggression to me, and I can introduce him to people, through the use of toys and treats. Once you're in with Cricket, you're in. But I can feel some of my friend's heartache. I support her decision to euthanize, as the breeder won't take him back (another rant for another day) and she feels he can't be successfully rehomed. I know she will release him humanely and with love, and that this was not an easy decision to make. My love goes with her, this day. My own dogs' breeder would have taken Crick back (I signed a contract saying if I couldn't keep him, she was to be the first rehoming choice),  had I desired to rehome him, but of course, that was never a consideration. Cricket, the birthday boy, is here to stay, a boon companion. 
On to another tender thing, and a happier one. My hellebores bloomed this week - a true Lenten rose! Tender in hue, and a glad thing, since I planted them 2 years ago, and considered moving them, as they've done little up to this point. Finally, flowers! They seem to be spreading, as well. 

Happy St. Valentine's Day to all my readers. To my wolves, pagans, and partiers,  a festive and fertile (however you may interpret it) Lupercalia! May we be blessed with tender hearts, no matter how much trouble they give us. 

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

February fiber

Days of cold gray rain have intensified my desire to do little beyond swaddle myself in the down comforter and self-medicate with knitting and silly tv. But the appearance of daffodils and pink flowers on trees, in spite of the graygraygray seem to be snapping me out of it.

Somebody has a birthday coming up this weekend. Yes, my baby dog will be 7! Even though he's done little to deserve it, I will share a bit of steak with him. P will be home, so the likelihood of red meat increases. Maybe bison? Some frisbee in the churchyard? A muddy swim to top it all off? A dog's gotta celebrate his impending middle age, after all.

Knitting and spinning are continuing at a somewhat abbreviated pace, with more spinning than knitting. My spinning mojo rarely fluctuates - I love that wheel and visit it, if only for a few minutes, daily.

This is FiberCharmer bfl, in the Seven Eleven colorway. Wholly satisfying to spin, as bfl always is. It makes me feel like a good spinner. FiberCharmer is a local dyer, and I plan to shop her wares again and again. 

On the needles are way too many wips. Really. I should catalog them, as a blog entry, just for mojo raising. Perhaps it's fodder for another entry...I did corral them all into a basket (or two, I am a great one for baskets, y'know) and have resolved to more or less be faithful to them til they all somehow jump off the needles this year. I did finish a dishcloth last week, for my beloved soap and dishcloth swap, and a kneesock, as well. That sock had taken me since August to  knit, most of it being done to and from GA State, on the MARTA train. A kneesock is a long drawn out thing. Sock 2 has been cast on, and the toe already complete, though like its (fraternal because it's Noro) twin, it will spend most of its days languishing in my purse, waiting for some downtime in waiting rooms and on the light rail...

This weekend, P comes home to hang out for a few days; hopefully we'll manage a hike and some birding, as well as the Cricket birthday extravaganza. I have big plans to bake chocolate cupcakes with some pink buttercream, for the fluffy heart holiday, being celebrated late. 

Saturday, January 05, 2013

the gray of the day

My 2 fun-filled weeks off work, frolicking with my husband and family are at an end. Today, I tutored the tiniest Tiger, as well as the sweet girl who always does her homework. Tiger Mother emailed me a schedule for the upcoming week full of new clients, including some adult ESL students, just in from Korea. So I have a slightly new direction, which is good, if somewhat anxiety provoking.

P left for DC this morning, and I was sad to see him go. When I say I like living alone, that's when I am in a groove, getting things done, in a clean house, with nice weather. The day my husband drives away for 3 + weeks, in cold, gray weather, with a holiday-trashed house behind me, and a long day's work ahead, the day after we spent the entire day in the woods watching birds,, I don't like living alone so much. Even the dogs seem depressed. I self-medicated with gyros after work, and now I feel just overstuffed and nasty.

There are diversions ahead, of course, the season 3 premier of Downton Abbey tomorrow, and the kickoff of my mini KAL with Acornbud. We are casting on for  The Lady Edith with the premier. I'm doing mine in this lovely yarn:
Dragonfly Fibers sock yarn

That's Dragonfly Fibers' Dragon Sock yarn, in the Bougainvillea colorway - a pleasing mix of reds with a shot of hot pink. I figure Lady Edith can use some cheering up, as she's all too often the forgotten Crowley sister. I was dithering a lot about what yarn to use, and even bought (off destash, so it doesn't count, right?) this lovely green dream:

but decided it was too variegated for the lacy part, so I will make other plans for it. I do love that Smooshy yarn. It's so...smooshy! 

I'm trying to work up the mojo to clean the house, but really hardly know where to begin. I need a serious kick of motivation, here. Or some sun and fresh air. Really, SAD is sad. I thought I was dealing with it, but it has hit me like a train, the past month, and so I am having the same damn conversation with myself again, my annual SAD struggle. Yick. 

My quest to grow out my hair, in both length and greyness has resulted in some pretty funny moments, including this, which is what it does naturally, these days: 

That flip has been with me since childhood. This is the hair washed and airdried, allowed to do its own crazy thing. I tame the insanity down with a flatiron, and it is really much better behaved on a day to day basis. Longer, it will settle down into waves. I REALLY like not messing around with haircolor for a change, though I do have some electric blue Manic Panic in the cabinet for some frisky fun. The color in the picture is fairly true, though. I actually like the grey, though it is giving me some makeup and skin tone challenges - suddenly I feel pale and washed out, and it has me running for the red lipstick, with pleasing results(not shown here). This is a pleasing new lipcolor I've scored in recent makeup shopping, during the buy-one-gift-for-you-buy-2-gifts-for-me season that has just passed. 

I am trying to be back in the habit of blogging. January is full of possibilities, no? 

Thursday, January 03, 2013

a little knitting, a little striping

I've really been struck by how many of those stripey colored shawls there are out there: Color AffectionCatkin, etc. I was jonesing for a Catkin of my own, but had neither the luxe yarn, nor the patience/time/orthopedic integrity to knit up such an ambitious project, so I cast on for something not entirely unrelated:

I give you Pendulum, still in WIP status, knitted in 2 shades of Malabrigo Arroyo: colorways Candombe (blue) and Chircas (green). It is very pretty and squishy and the garter is boring me and hurting my wrists, and I love it and can't wait to wear it. Yes. Pendulum is all about the product for me. I love how the colors rock back and forth, and they lok like river deltas or fingers of the sea coming into the land. With any luck, I'll finish it sometime this month or so, but I realize there's an error in it a few rows down...I dropped a stitch, it laddered down, and I tried to repair it, and realize I don't really know how to fix garter mistakes - it doesn't work in quite the same way as a stockinette repair. Some research was done, and now I am girding my loins to fix the ugly spot: 

Meh. It wouldn't really be visible, but it is bugging the daylights out of me. I may be developing a little more responsibility for small repairs. Gone are the days when I'd just blithely fold in mistakes in my knitting and wear them proudly. 

Trying, desperately, this week, to photograph and update my ravelry project pages and stash page, including handspun. It has all run away from me. We'll see if I catch it. 

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

New Year's Day

Ooh, Happy 2013! I bid a pleased farewell to the departing guest of 2012, helping it pack and get its ass out my door. I am not one to wish away time, but 2012 was a challenge. I suppose I should try and see the good, and it was, in many ways, a good year.

Good Things Happened
 - I found my job at Tiger Mother Tutoring, a great boss, enjoyable work, and good experience teaching ESL. I also did some easy-money sub teaching work.

- I knit and finished a surprising 13 items!! When I first thought about 2012, I didn't think I knit much, beyond Aidez, but I actually finished some things - smalls, and stuff that had been on the needles a few years, but still...

- Ella is healthy and frisky at 14, and we are treating her arthritis, and she's responding to the meds and has had a good year. Cricket has really settled down, I've kept him bite-free and fight-free, save for one day last month when we were rushed by a neighbor's dog, resulting in a scuffle. My dogs have kept me going, this year, and represent the thin gray line between me and the Black Dog of Impenetrable Depression and Craziness. I love them.

- I got into GA State, took 3 graduate level classes, worked my ass off, and nailed a 4.0 this semester. More important, I feel like I actually LEARNED a lot, and made good professional and research connections. I also clarified further for myself that I am truly non PhD candidate material, and this endorsement may be it for my academic career.

- I won a raffle for a week's tuition at the John C. Campbell Folk School, to happen sometime this summer. I also won a raffle for one of Rachael's books.

- I spun a lot of yarn, and am actually knitting projects from my handspun.

- The commuter marriage continues to work, and most days, I'm okay with it. I don't see my husband enough, though, and I hope to get to the DC area a lot more in the coming year.

- I cleaned out the Clamcave and made it a better studio and workspace for myself.

- I found a UU church that feels good to attend. I don't go as often as I like, because laying around on Sunday is my true religion, but I can say that this church feels like home.

- I got certified as a GA Master Naturalist, by taking a 10 week class in Athens, every Friday last spring. I also got certified to do chemical and macroinvertebrate monitoring for GA's Adopt-A-Stream program. I joined up with a couple of neighbors to start a stream cleanup group in the neighborhood.

- Obama got re-elected. Election drama and facebook and family wank aside, this was great news for our country.

- I joined the Outlander Swap on ravelry, and had an awesome time immersing myself in the wonderful time-traveling world of Diana Gabaldon's books. I will do this again.

- I grew out my grey hair, and am working on growing it longer. I actually like it this way!

- I started making my own laundry detergent, and made some dryer balls by felting some of my crappy handspun.

Bad Things Happened (please bear with me as I chronicle what I realize are First-World problems.)

- I let the house and yard go to hell, and am really going to have my work cut out for me getting it cleaned up and decluttered/weeded/pruned back to a reasonable state.

- I gained 10 lbs for no good reason.

- Just as I got the knee straightened out, my shoulder flared up with an impingement, which I ignored (because grad school was so much more interesting) and then developed into a full-blown frozen shoulder. gah. It is no fun dealing with chronic pain, and that is an ongoing issue in 2013. Let's not talk about how I can only knit a little without hurting, right now.

- Schedule and injuries have caused me to fall out of my yoga practice.

- I am pretty broke. My jobs pay relatively little, and while I DO have P's salary to fall back on, I don't have a lot of fun money after my food and household money, and the lack of substantial travel funds is sucking my soul.

- The ONE class I need to finish my endorsement isn't being offered this semester, so I have to go to summer school, and that screws with my professional timeline. I have cried my tears about it, and am making the most of it, by using the time to work more, make some $$ and do some professional and portfolio writing, but still, it galls me.

- I lost a cute project bag, with a nearly-completed sock, and my beloved Kollage square dpns somewhere out in the world. All efforts to find it have turned up nada.

All in all, the good tremendously outweighs the bad, and I have had a pretty blessed year. I am looking forward to working on getting my body back, and moving forward in life.