Wednesday, January 28, 2009

first snow

hmmmm. check this out. Is that snow?!
Yep. Snow.
Here are the woods and the Lutyens bench in snow pointillism.
The corvids arrive.
Which Luther notices.
"Hey! This stuff is pretty cool!"
"You can run in it!"
We're talking run!!!!
". . . . well. . . . maybe a little tired. . . ."
"ah c'mon. . . . do I hafta go in?"
"Oh all right. . . ."

Meanwhile, I've braved the ice and snow of the east coast and made it to the west - where considerably warmer temperatures (and sun) prevail! Home Saturday.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

here is the culprit

No, this is not the big-boy bed. This is Luther's Christmas-present bed, which (feeling momentarily sorry for him) I dragged into the bedroom for him. Then I remembered the ferocity of the attack on his other bed, came to my senses, and put it back in the living room where he gets supervised visitation with it.

Meanwhile, here is a picture of Luther's brother, Buck.

See that, Luther? Buck looks rather more regal and well-behaved than your disreputable self. Buck's just won a "major" - and is well on his way to becoming a champion just like his mom (Treasure) and dad (Lear).

Buck would never trash his big-boy bed. . . .

Let it be a lesson to you, Luther!

Monday, January 19, 2009

black and white

Yesterday's Raven debacle was too painful to watch.

So I kept my eyes on my knitting, and finished my socks.

Friday, January 16, 2009


. . . why does the stuffing of Luther's big-boy bed take up a lot more room once it's pulled out of his big-boy bed?

Maybe it's an exposure-to-the-air thing. . . .

Anyway: it's trashed.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

who needs buttons?

I have ribands. . . .Tartan ribands. Just as nice as buttons.

OK: a bit harder (and slower) to get into and out of. Not that I'll be taking this warm thing off anytime soon. It's freezing! I don't know if it's still the Canadian Clipper or now the Saskatchewan Screamer. . .

It's COLD.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

more knitting

I don't think this will turn into a knitting blog, but I realize that this makes two different knitting projects in about a week! To all you non-knitters out there: sorry about that. Bear with me. Surely I will start to focus on something else again, shortly.

As it is, the bobble project is finished, but I can't find enough of the same metal buttons to line one edge of it, as required. You need something like 20 of them, and most stores only have 6 or 8 of the same kind, if you're lucky! (hello, internet!) So it looks as if I'll be posting yet a third knitting entry here shortly. Meanwhile. . . .

Found: one Norwegian-style sock I've been carting around with me for probably 5 years.

In search of: a toe and a matching mate.

We're working on it, as you see.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

who knew?

The top name for both dogs and cats is:


So there.

No Luther, B-man, Otis, Goliath, Diana, Berlin, Omar, Beau, Fella, Denois [Denny] or Teddy in the bunch. Having grown up bearing one of the most popular names of the late 50's/early 60's, I feel strangely vindicated at our history of non-popular canine and feline monikers. I wonder why that is?

Monday, January 5, 2009

categorical lessons

I admire writers who seemingly effortlessly organize their work into a manageable number of neat categories. My friend Cheryl, for example, over at A Simple Yarn has taken days of the week, and has "Everything in its Place": knit on Monday, garden on Tuesday, weave on Wednesday, simplify on Thursday, photograph on Friday, eat on Saturday, reflect on Sunday, and one catch-all: "the kitchen sink". Her archives are called "On the Shelf".

How clever! How cool! How totally unlike my mish-mash! sigh. . . .

You will note that I have no visible categories listed. That's because they're all over the place. I thought a system of categories would develop as I wrote. I was wrong. Instead, here are the categories that formed [alphabetically]:

bureaucratisms * critters * details details * foundation * front left corner * gardenings * glitch * greenwood chronicles * in the woods * kitchen * landmarks * Luther * now what? * people * ponderings * quotings * rant * roof * soundtrack * stone and brick * tower * walls * weather

Granted, this site did start out to chronicle construction, and that would explain some of the wierder categories like "roof" and "walls". Still, I defy you to find some sort of order in the whole thing! But yet order - or pattern - seems to be where we can begin to appreciate beauty; learn; find meaning. I'm still waaaay too random here. . . .

But maybe there's something else going on.

I present my last knitting project.

Surprisingly, this was one of the hardest patterns I've ever worked on. Normally I'm able to memorize a pattern pretty quickly, and don't have to continually consult the written pattern. Not so, this one.

No - it's not really all that complex, it's just that there's no immediately recognizable arrangement of the admittedly recognizable repeated elements. The bobbles (those knobby, bobbly bits sticking up) don't fall at the same place each time in relation to the cable stitch crossings in the middle for example, and the yarn-over lacey bits on the sides are festooned with apparently random extra yarn-overs every so often.

The free pattern is here, if you'd like to look at a much better picture of the finished project. It's a very cool shawl that can be worn as a cardigan, hood, sleeves, and who-knows-what-else!

I almost gave up on it, though, because it required me to be bound to the written pattern and to continually count, pay attention to where I was, and rip out the bits where I'd lost track and gone astray. The pattern does not emerge until first after the 16 row pattern 'set up', and then the pattern itself is a 24-row repeat! [Meaning: it takes 24 rows to knit one complete pattern bit. That's a lot to go through before you get to repeat a recognizable pattern! Imagine, for example, a song that has 24 lines of melody before it repeats, and you'll see what I mean.]

Worse, it has bobbles.

I've always hated bobbles. They're like a one stitch detour - round and around - that leaves you with a stop-and-go tangle of yarn and needles. It requires you to go forward [turn], backward [turn], forward [turn], backward [turn], and then forward again - increasing and then decreasing as you go. I don't mind the increase/decrease bits so much, but I don't like the continual turning of my work. Clearly, something was going to have to give if I was going to knit something that had so many bobbles in it, and it did.

I learned to knit backwards.


Bobbles are now a breeze, just a slight delay, while a bit of texture is worked in. I begin to see a correlation in this versatile shawl with the lengthy pattern and regular detours, and my lack of categories with an easily discernible organization. OK, maybe at this point "organization" is still too organized a word to apply to my non-categories, but I'm working on it, and I'm hoping that after a few more rounds, a pattern repeat might be seen to have come into being. Not continually turning around helps! The end result might not be a mess, after all, but something very unique and versatile if I just stick with it long enough.

Then again, maybe not. sigh. Here's hoping for the best, though!

Help me out here - where would you position this post, for example, in the above categories?! Or should I scrap the categories altogether? Come up with different ones? For now, I'm going to label this one 'landmarks' . . . . [as in: 'looking for']

Saturday, January 3, 2009

leaf piles revisited

It's been several days now, but the gratuitous leaf piles remain. I finally got a picture of them today. Here, the one outside the studio.
Here, the one outside the dining room.
This is the pile in the courtyard.
I promise you, these piles were not made by human hands. It's wierd to see something so 'precise' after such a violent windstorm. It reminds me of the example I've heard given of random evolution being like placing all the parts of a Boeing 747 in a field and expecting that, in thousands of years, a working jet could be standing there.

In any event, the roof and gutters are leaf-clean and here's a big picture of the three piles. The third pile is hard to see - it's in the shadow through the porte cochère. You have to walk under and through the arch to be able to really see it. Yep, probably much like what I was describing in my last post about the one pile of stuff we still have to sort through.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

another day; another year; another meal

A retrospective is not possible today.

It's probably not possible any time soon.

We still have house guests: one party that left for New Year's eve, another that came just for New Year's eve and left this morning (the former party returning), with additional guests expected this afternoon. From Christmas to today, we've done breakfasts and brunch, quite a few dinners, dealt with left-overs, and come close [once] to my goal of actually running out of food. Left over that particular night were only the pan-drippings and bones from the prime rib, a scant helping of mashed 'tates, and half a helping of an incredible croissant bread pudding for dessert. [WARNING: it's from Martha Stewart, but you can find the recipe here.] All the veggies were gone! Seconds were had by many of us. . . .

But to return to the non-retrospective: we've been learning about being a host, and how to be hospitable without being overbearing. My biggest question is how to excuse myself to do the clean-up! We've had guests now for over a week, and little time even to deal with the daily mess I make in the kitchen, not to mention the increasing clutter on the floor from dog hair, gravel and leaves being drug in from outside, and the imperceptible accumulation of fuzz that inexorably accompanies our lives.

Yesterday, we had help from 'outside', when the high winds rounded all the leaves up off the front meadow and off the roof and gutters (which the king had planned to assault with his ladder last weekend, but couldn't) and deposited them all into 3 piles. One is in front of the dining room, one in front of the studio, and one in the courtyard.

That's a bit what life has felt like this last year. After being blanketed with so many different things, a storm blew long and hard, and we ended up with everything 'done and dusted' and in 3 different piles. One: the house; finished and moved in. Two: the doctorate; finished, printed and bound. Three: the what-next; which is coming together surprisingly, although still a bit uncertainly. All I know is that there's a big third pile of 'stuff' out there that we're exploring. It looks like this next month will bring a new clarity.

Unless another wind storm pops up!

Meanwhile, the Rose Bowl starts in a couple of hours; I've made the smashed bean dip/hummos, put the tomato sauce to simmer on the stove, and should shortly be found in front of the fireplace dividing my time between knitting and watching instant replays of impressive runs. Time enough tomorrow to spend some time in reflection.

Happy New Year!