Saturday, August 2, 2008

Uh oh

I'm standing up with my brother Dan (yes, on the groom's side) for his wedding next month, and it's been kind of an adventure figuring out what one wears for the role of groomswoman. We finally, after significant effort, decided that I and the matron of honor would wear the same thing, a copper-colored dress from David's Bridal with a vest-like wrap front and trumpet shaped skirt which works well with "junk in the trunk." So last night I drove to Appleton after work with Tasha, rushed into the store 30 minutes before they closed, and proceeded to discover that although they found a top in my size (in Ohio), the skirt had an 8 - 12 week lead time and wouldn't be ready until well after the wedding. Not good.

What I think I'd like to do is just have a dress made here, which would probably be cheaper and would almost certainly fit better than anything off-the-rack in some specialty store. Butterick even has a pattern which could be made up along the same lines as the previously approved design. But the matron of honor is in Maine, along with the rest of the wedding party. The question of the moment is, will she be willing to trust me to procure a dress for her, sight unseen? I'm pretty sure I can approximate the fabric of the other dress, especially since browns seem to be popular this fall. And I can ask the seamstress to leave great big seam allowances in case alterations are needed. I'm just starting to get nervous about getting all this stuff taken care of in only 6 weeks.

Meanwhile, I had my best day yet at farmer's market this morning. Several baby hats went away, and I took more requests. I also sold every small copy I had of the 'Baby's First Christmas" cow image, as well as several other large images. I even moved a big chunk of Bill's clearance stuff (t-shirts, postcards, etc. from his store close-out). I really appreciated the encouragement, since after getting home from Appleton after midnight last night and getting up early today to give the dog a little attention before I left, I really was kind of wondering if it was going to be worth it. Oh, and that adult-sized pirate beanie? Turns out that 76 stitches on size 6 needles with all that colorwork makes a hat that's more suitable for an 8 year old. So I need to make another one.

Friday, August 1, 2008


When I was a kid in Maine, I remember judging how much summer vacation we had left by the flowers in the fields. If the Queen Anne's Lace was ramping up, it was time to start getting anxious. And once the Goldenrod bloomed, we were doomed to a bus ride in the near future.

I noticed on my walk last night that we're coming up on that "late summer warning" stage of vegetation. The Queen Anne's lace is everywhere in white summer drifts, and the Goldenrod is in bud. In the evening, the light makes the fields of grain just glow. The smaller tree fruits are ripening, and the wild grasses are starting to get that leggy, woody, almost spent appearance.

I love Fall, with it's warm colors and cool nights and ripe fruits and all. Also, it's birthday season for me, so I've been conditioned by years of timely gifts to appreciate that particular time of year.

But oh, I am just not sure I can even think about another Wisconsin winter just yet.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Nothing To Report

I really don't have anything bloggable today - more knitting in the boring category, chicks are still doing fine in the coop, dog is still doing fine, adventures at the OB/GYN that are best left to your imagination (except you should see the major industrial-looking implement of torture they use to "sound" your uterus! Mark Twain, my patootie.), etc. etc. etc.
And so I leave you with a photo from my archives (Quebec trip, 2006), and recommend you meditate on today's words of wisdom from Crazy Aunt Purl:

Wednesday, July 30, 2008


Some days I feel like the dog from The Jetsons, who keeps running and running on his treadmill but can't seem to make any progress. The extra 2 miles each day with Nora is working out fine so far, but I do notice the loss of another hour in every day. And I started yesterday with a hair appointment, followed immediately by a professional portrait session for the firm, followed by a somewhat vain attempt to get a whole day's worth of work done, followed by grocery shopping, followed by running home to make dinner, all of which was bracketed on both sides by walking the dog, tending the birds, and checking on the bunny. And I still needed to run back to the church garden to do the harvest before the food pantry does their next distribution - but I finally decided to just blow that off until this morning.

Rick woke me up early at my request so I would have extra time to run over and pick whatever was ripe. I thanked him, then flopped back in bed as soon as he left. Nora is learning that it's not "time to get up" until my clock radio starts playing, so she just flopped back down too. But by 6:35 we were up, leash in hand and headed down the road. We discovered that Nora is afraid of cows, in spite of the fact that she comes from cow herding stock; but I put her in a sit to distract her, then fed her a few treats while the cows watched. She still gets nervous about them, but at least she isn't trying to hide behind me while we walk by them. I bolted some breakfast, watered the new birds (lost another chick over night. I hate that part.) and headed over to the church garden by 8:00 or so.

The swiss chard is going crazy, and I picked three full bags. I could have picked more, but was worried that I'd overload them; swiss chard seems not to be one of the default garden plants in this area, and people seem hesitant about what to do with it. But I also picked a bag of zucchini and pattypans and other squash, and if I'd had time I could have gotten another half-bag of snap peas. But I was getting hot and sweaty, my fingernails rimmed in green from the picking and (most importantly) running late for work, so I headed off to the food pantry. When I got there, the door was locked.

Now, those of you who have a calendar and know how to read it (a category which apparently does not include me) already knew that today is, in fact, not the 1st Wednesday of the month but rather the 5th. The food pantry distributes on the 1st and 3rd Wednesday of each month, and I'd just gotten into the mindset of delivering produce every other week. So there I was, late for work and sweaty whisps of hair curling into my eyes, with 4 bags of very fresh veggies and no where to take them. I ended up at the Plymouth Senior Center, where they laid everything out on a "free for the taking" table for their members. The swiss chard absolutely befuddled a few of them, especially the red-stemmed varieties that look like rhubarb. But hey, the object of the game is to put fresh local produce in the hands of local people who need it. Mission accomplished, more or less.

But while I was in the garden, I took a peek over at the pumpkin patch. We planted 6 pumpkin seedlings in the pile of sod which had been set aside to compost last fall, and the vines were really taking off last time I looked. There were blossoms everywhere, and even a couple of fruits - but these definitely don't look like pumpkins. I'm starting to think someone switched the tags at the garden center. Does anyone know what the item in the center of the picture is?

Monday, July 28, 2008

"The Secretary Next Door"

The attorney in the next office over had to leave the building and asked if I could hold something to be picked up later in the day. (No problem, of course.) Then he called the other party to tell them he'd left the materials with "the secretary next door."
Let me say that again: "the secretary next door." I mean, I'm sitting here on the Group W Bench - sorry, I mean, in my tastefully decorated office with all the diplomas on the wall, doing that legal thing and billing for it at a pretty impressive rate thankyouverymuch, and looking back on my 16 years of legal experience and 7 years of college and all . . . and suddenly I'm "the secretary next door." (Tears hair out, bangs head against wall, takes deep breath, and moves on.)
Lessee . . . Saturday was one of my better days at the market. To top things off, Patty Akers from Gaelic Sands (the silk painting lady) stopped by my booth with several lengths of silk, so we could pick out exactly what size and weight to use for my next project. You see (and this is very cool), I'm going to paint silk shawls for the wedding party to use during my brother's wedding this fall. Doesn't that sound great? The dresses are going to be a copper color, and the flowers will be mums in warm fall palate, so Patty has invited me to her studio to make floralesque swirls and abstract resist images and generally just play. I need to make a run to Appleton as soon as my bonus check arrives to pick up my dress and give us a target color, and then order the silk blanks from her company - and then it's playtime!
I got a call from Rick just as I was packing up from market on Saturday. I'd stayed up late the night before to finish one of the pirate hats, then left the remote on the beat up little couch which is the only piece of furniture where the dog is allowed. The next morning she was sitting there when he went in, and in no uncertain terms told him that he was NOT getting near "her" couch or the remote laying on it. Keep in mind that she'd met him a week ago Sunday, then not seen him again until he got home late Friday night. So from what she knew, this was an occasional visitor to the house with undetermined privileges and a big question mark in the "trustworthy" category. Just the same, this kind of behavior is not going to work. I talked to boss lady about it, and she gave me the name of a local trainer. Nora and I had an emergency first session with her on Saturday evening and signed up for a full series starting tonight. But I did learn that Nora knows her obedience commands very well (whereas I'm a bit hazy about the whole thing), and that she needed a better collar, a better leash, and at least 4 miles of walking a day. Oh, and an umbrella insurance policy wouldn't be a bad idea.
So we walked 4 miles on Sunday, after which the dog just kind of lay there for the rest of the night. Me too. But I'm not ready to give up on her yet.
Finally, I present you with an image of my new hen, who replaces the little red hen killed last week by someone else's dog. Notice how many feet she has sticking out from underneath her feathers? She's supposed to have 13 chicks under there, but she's not planning on letting me count them just yet.