Friday, May 30, 2008

That was fun

We got to Peg's house about 6:00 last night to load up all the household stuff, and she had it all tagged with post-it notes so we knew what to take. I'd been really worried that it would just be Gary and me, since we were the only ones to initially sign up. But Jim & Judy showed up with their daughter and two vans, and Kelly showed up with another one, and we got all the stuff out in one load! We had just enough people - the work was easy, but we weren't getting in each other's way. And Peg looked so pleased by the whole thing!
(I'll photoshop myself in from another shot this weekend, so Peg has a picture of the complete group.)
When we got to Church and started unpacking some of the boxes, it was like going through Grandma's attic. There were two vintage Barbie cases full of clothes, including some knitted by Peg. There were all kinds of cute little trinkets, the kind of things elderly ladies will have collected over a lifetime. And there were shoe boxes of vintage jewelery. A lot of it was the kind of plastic beads featured on The Lucille Ball Show, but every once in a while we found a piece that had more in common with Grace Kelley. I pulled a few of the nicest ones out to see if we should be putting them on ebay instead of just throwing them in the mix, but it's starting to look like the trend for vintage bling is a bit past. According to last night's research, only the very nicest, signed pieces were going for any kind of money, and either these aren't signed or I don't know where to look. But just the same, aren't they cool? The red & gold one is especially gorgeous in a timeless sort of way, and looks like it could easily be converted from a choker to a stunning bracelet just by switching the extender chain for a decent clasp. And the crystal sunburst is just begging to be part of someone's special occasion. Both seem to be in perfect condition, with no missing stones or corrosion or anything.
Tonight, my job will be to haul my own donations down to the rummage sale, which starts on Saturday morning. It's a little embarrassing, because my stuff is not nearly as interesting. I have a box of old books, and a silk plant, and some little occasional tables and a plant stand, and I'm bringing Mindy's old kennel down, which is a collapsible wire set-up that has been stored outside all winter. But someone has already brought in a nice big crate suitable for a large breed dog, complete with cushion, and marked it for only $10. And there's an adorable antique baby stroller with a "Hi-o Silver" horse decorating theme, and a little vintage runner sled with a stroller-style push bar on the back which just begs to be decorated for Christmas. And collectible old milk jars, and a vintage baby crib, and of course Peg's antique bedroom set. It all makes my offering look pretty insignificant.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Ups and Downs

Last night I worked on this project for a client that involved tracking people down and interviewing them, then documenting their comments. I was hoping for 4 and I got 7, which made me feel like freakin' Erin Brokovich. (Without the bustier - although one guy told me I had pretty eyes and tried to give me a puppy.) Then I came home, had a nice dinner with Rick, and got back to prep for the farmer's market, which starts in 10 days.
I finished the 5th bottle cover (black wool with bright rainbow cotton) last night and started the 6th (deep blue with colorwork waves in a variegated light/medium blue). Hopefully I'll have a half-dozen done by tonight, at which point I'll switch over and try that fiber necklace concept again. This weekend I need to inventory the various photography prints in stock, see what else should be printed, update my portrait book and make some signage for the booth. I'm hoping my new canopy actually gets delivered today or tomorrow, so I can try setting it up in the driveway for a reality check. I also think I'm going to buy a 4' x' 8 panel of white lattice and have Rick split it lengthwise, so I can use it as a backdrop for the booth and hang merchandise from it with s-hooks. All these things are very exciting.

On the other hand, Tasha leaves today for camp. She's stressed out and wound tight, which shows in her attitude - and I am too, which shows in mine. I seem to be internalizing a lot of stress related to this, especially after a rather robust discussion about schedules and rides last night. My stomach hasn't been upset like this since the time Rick was in ICU. I know it will all work out - I just don't like having to deal with it in the interim.

Oh, and the news from Weight Watchers continues to be a bit disheartening, in spite of my best efforts. I put two and two together, called the pharmacy, and confirmed that a side effect of my new medication is weight gain!!! Great, just great.
I'm trying to think serene thoughts here. I wonder if I can get a prescription for knitting therapy, so as to take mandated work breaks with my needles?

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Thoughts for a Fall Wedding

Just pretend I'm not spilling the beans on anyone, okay?

I'm going to a wedding in the Fall, and am starting to dream about what I would like to knit for the occasion. Please ignore the current to do list and my present obligations to the farmer's market and all. Let's also presume, just for the fun of it, that I will lose some weight (in a healthy, long-lasting fashion) between now and then. Oh, and let's presume that my skills are up to the challenge. What do you think of something like this?

Maybe in a soft green merino/silk of some sort, coupled with a long flowing skirt? I might even do a lace headband to match - or would that be too much of a good thing?

But September can either be warm or cool at this latitude, depending on the whim of Mother Nature. Would I be safer with an understated tank of some sort and then a shawl? I still have that gorgeous blue & gold "Crown Jewels" pencil roving in my stash, and I always meant to make a squiggle shawl with it and some fine mohair-type something or other. But I'm kind of on this lace kick, apparently. (Alison, here's your chance to chime in.) A Strawberry Pie-type shawl? That might make more sense, since there will be enthusiastic dancing and it might be nice to be able to add or subtract layers at will. I think I'd want one that is more or less triangular but with those j-shaped wingtips, so it kind of curves around you when you throw one tip over a shoulder. I could even make a shawl pin out of silver and match some beads to my necklace or earrings or something for a whole ensemble!

Hmmmm - for end of summer/early fall dancing wedding receptions, especially when one is modeling a hand-crafted artsy kind of look, shouldn't there be an ankle bracelet?

I still love that Titania sweater, though. I wonder if I could leave off the sleeves and add a little ease in the armholes to make it a tank, then use one of the lace patterns from it to do a version of a j-shaped shawl? I contacted the designer through Ravelry, and she thinks a tank could work. And I think I have a free shawl pattern like that in my pattern files - I'll have to look tonight to see if it is adaptable to different stitch patterns.

Oh, this is beginning to sound intense . . . and I still definitely want to do a candle flame shawl for the bride (although I think I may be able to barter for that yarn). And maybe a garter.

This is starting to shape up as a case study of "How Jami Gets Herself In Trouble."
(And it's official - I'm 1" of lace short on the wingtip of the tree of life shawl. Here's hoping we get a good match when the re-ordered yarn comes in!)

Wingtip Update

If I had really been thinking, I would have weighed the other wingtip on the postage scale at work before giving it to Tammy for seaming, to determine exactly how many ounces of yarn it took - because then I would know if I have enough for the remaining wingtip. I think it's going to be very close - I have 19" of the 30" I need, and I have just under 1 & 1/2 balls - which should be about 10 - 11". Hopefully I get that call from Jodi soon to say the extra order of wool is in!
Otherwise, all is well. Rick was saying how we should all go out to breakfast yesterday, and how we should also go biking. End result: we biked over to the Waldo Cafe for breakfast. It's only about a 6 mile round trip and it's pretty civilized except for one deep valley just west of the house. I thought it was very pleasant, even if Rick did turn some funny colors coming up that last long hill on the way home. I love my old Motobecane, with it's sealed bearings and correctly proportioned frame! I suspect it's a major reason why biking is easier for me than for Rick on his old Schwinn.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Memorial Day

First, a word from a veteran - me. Memorial Day is traditionally the start of summer, and many of us are thinking a lot more about what to barbecue than why we have the day off in the first place. Let me tell you two stories.

I used to volunteer for honor guard when I was stationed in Little Rock. Sometimes it meant we helped out at events, like directing pedestrian traffic at an air show (in a wool beret and high-top black combat boots in an Arkansas summer, thank you very much). But generally it meant folding the flag and doing the 21 gun salute at funerals. I saw a lot of 'em; old geezers who'd had their time, a young guy who died of a burst appendix in Germany and left a very pregnant widow, and everything in between. Usually I did the 21 gun salute, because it meant I was a good distance from the mourners (we shot three volleys of 7 blanks "over" the casket from 30 yards or so away). If I was too close, I'd start empathizing, then have trouble maintaining my stone-faced "military bearing." It also meant we got there early, so as to be in place when the hearse pulled up - so we had a lot of time to wander around and wait. And one day, as I was absently reading headstones in the veteran's cemetery in Little Rock, I came across a headstone for a woman who died at my age and at my rank.

It totally freaked me out, and gave me a lot to think about. I mean, I joined the service for a lot of stupid, idealistic reasons, lost a lot of my faith in them during basic training, and gained a piece of them back doing those honor guard assignments. Assisting at a funeral gave me a sense of service, of actually doing something meaningful (if purely symbolic). But it never occurred to me that I could actually sacrifice my health or life in the service of my country. You know how it is - when you're in your late teens and early twenties, you're bulletproof. I think a lot of enlistees feel that way, especially those who go in right out of high school and haven't really matured enough to figure out what their life is worth and what they're offering with that oath. But for all those who have figured it out and have pressed on anyway, who are doing their duty and their job, as dangerous as it may be, no matter what they think of the generals and politicians who play with their lives like a chess set - I think of them today. Just trying to do their best, in spite of everything going on, and hoping against hope that their service will bring something positive to the world.

Second story: Janie Makel. A MIA/POW bracelet is one of the few pieces of jewelery allowed with uniform, and I liked the idea of a constant reminder of those who had sacrificed everything. There are only a dozen or so women on the official MIA/POW list, last I checked, but when I sent my $7 in with my order, I specifically requested a woman for my bracelet. And I got Janie Makel. I wore it for years - still have it - and wondered how Janie Makel happened to go missing in South Viet Nam the year before I was born. I imagined her in different ways - a nurse perhaps, in the Viet Nam version of M*A*S*H? But with the wonder of the Internet, it finally occurred to me a few years ago to look her up. She wasn't a nurse - she was an infant, brought to Viet Nam by her missionary parents. I was furious! What parents in their right minds would endanger their child like that! It still leaves a raw sadness, as I think about parents sacrificing their children to their ideals. And so, on Memorial Day, I also remember those who did not knowingly accept their fate, but were sacrificed by the parents or commanding officers entrusted with their care. Whether too young, like Janie Makel, or too idealistic or stupid to understand the stakes, like many enlisted I have known, today is also a day to remember the sacrifices of the unwitting.

So enjoy your brat or burger, rehash the Indy race or get some yard work done - but spare a thought for those who will never do those things again.

Off the soap box now; thanks for your patience. I thought I'd also share a picture of the Pasque Flowers from my rock garden. They're pretty, but absolutely determined to spread and I have to rip them up like weeds to keep them under control. But in the sunshine, they always make me think of "pretty maids all in a row.

And finally, here's one of the things I finished this weekend: a shawl for the farmer's market. I started it Friday night, discovered a major mistake and ripped it back to about 1/4 of its size on Saturday night, and finished it just as Rick walked in the door on Sunday night. (I know, I'm still working on the anniversary shawl. But sometimes it's good to have brainless knitting for movies or whatever. I learned the hard way that I can't drink or watch anything with physical humor and still expect to work effectively on that orchid lace. It takes my full attention.

Enjoy your holiday.

Sunday, May 25, 2008


This is happening more and more. The big red pills make it go away for a while, but I started the headache last night, woke up with it this morning, and now it's back. My head feels like this (except you have to imaging the orange as throbbing and more of a bright tangerine).

The good news: Rick is done in Missouri, having put his Dad's car back together, and will be home by 11:00 or so tonight. And I was almost done last night with a cotton shawl for the farmer's market, then discovered that somehow about 8" from the nape of the neck I'd shifted my marker over - which meant the spine of the shawl had a very obvious dogleg. Ripped it back while I finished "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas," did yard work this morning, then continued on it through "I Am Legend" and "Matrix Reloaded." (The first was hysterical in a sad way, the second was sad, and the third was obnoxious. I'm raiding Luc's stash of DVD's, so I'm stuck with his taste in video.) Anyway, I'm almost back to where I was last night on the shawl. If the latest red migraine pill would please kick in soon, I'll finish it before Rick gets home.