Sunday, February 28, 2010

Olympic hopes, dashed

I am no Olympian.

Well, at least not this year. That little slip on the ice two weeks ago has turned into actual Injury (that's a capital "I" as in, "I can't drive all the way to Trader Joe's because I have an Injury!") and cannot sit in any television-ready chair for much time. Those heady, early days of watching are over and don't know why they were possible in the first place. I have knitted a bit, here and there, but not according to my plan. Oh well. Next year. 

By the way, this is a picture of the mobile groomer's trailer, and the reason I was out there at 9 a.m.and not thinking clearly enough to avoid the ice:
Pretty funny, huh? I wanted to go out and see the inside of the trailer but, again, the Injury. Apparently several neighbors stopped by to look in the window and at least once to inquire about her services. 

Off now to make a birthday cake - someone around here has turned 50 today!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Books on the Table

I was talking with a friend about the books that are in my house, waiting to be read. There are dozens, occupying one full shelf and several piles on a table, not to mention my bedside table or Kindle.  I thought I'd share, starting with the table.

 Fire Underground, The Ongoing Tragedy of the Centralia Mine Fire, David DeKok - - Because I have been to Centralia and I am fascinated by this, an underground fire burning since 1962. So creepy to see the deserted town area, but creepier to read about how badly the whole thing was handled.


Lucia, Lucia, Adriana Trigiani - -  Because my friend Nancy said I would totally love the Italian references. For the same reason, she also gave me Trigiani's Very Valentine.

The Anthologist, Nicholson Baker - - Because you have to buy something when you are in an indie shop, and it caught my eye.

The Omnivore's Dilemma, Michael Pollan - - In Defense of Food is around here somewhere as well. 

A Voyage Long and Strange, On the Trail of Vikings, Conquistadors, Lost Colonists, and Other Adventurers in Early America, Tony Horwitz - - Because, as my friends know, my knowledge of American history is woefully inadequate and I am always looking for something that will capture my interest and teach me something. Can that happen if you just leave the book around, like osmosis or something?

Olive Kitteridge, Elizabeth Strout - - That same Nancy said I will like this one too.

Palladian Days, Finding a New Life in a Venetian Country House, Sally and Carl Gable - - Please. It's Venice.

Book of Longing and Let us Compare Mythologies, Leonard Cohen - - Please.  It's Leonard Cohen.


Shirtmaking: Developing Skills for Fine Sewing, David Page Coffin - - I think the title tells the tale. I will never sew to that skill level, but I sure can read about it.

American Gargoyles, Crist/Llewellyn - - A lovely little book with lots of pictures. I swiped this from DS1 and promise I will put it back. Someday.

Divine Proportion PHI in Art, Nature, and Science, Priya Hemenway - - Another lovely book with lots of illustrations and sidebars exploring the Divine Proportion. As above, swiped this one from him too. That's a Real Simple magazine on the right, and what looks like a ski trail map on the left.

Christmas at the New Yorker, Stories, Poems, Humor, and Art - - This was left out from Christmas just like that ribbon full of Christmas cards in the kitchen that I keep meaning to take down and put away.

Arthur Rex, A Legendary Novel, Thomas Berger - - Because when my husband and son were buying me a special edition of The Mists of Avalon (Marion Zimmer Bradley, but you knew that.) the bookseller thought I needed to have this as well.

8 Weeks to Optimum Health, Andrew Weil, M.D. -  - Because I like him, and I've got 8 weeks. And health.

The Splendid Table's How to Eat Supper, Recipes Stories, and Opinions from Public Radio's Award-Winning Food Show - - Nice food read and some recipes to try.

Dance Me to the End of Love, Poem by Leonard Cohen, Paintings by Henri Matisse - - This is part of the Art & Poetry series which get the idea. It's beautiful, and again, it's Leonard Cohen. Great song. As a matter of fact, you should listen to it here.

The Knitting Olympics are rolling along, but the combination of so many hours of television commercials combined with my still painful tailbone are making it an actual challenge! I am recording them now so I can just whiz past the commercials.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Knitting Olympics Day Two

Done! Men's moguls were exciting while the skating was ok, but either way, I knitted those 24 rows. If I actually do stick to 9 straight nights of Olympics and knitting, that would be the most days in a row I've ever watched television. I think the competitions will keep me in my seat, but I reserve the right to knit and listen to an audio book!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Knitting Olympics Day One and Last Blizzard Pics

I know I know, but one last thing about the snow last week. As a reminder, this is what 24 inches of snow on the deck looks like.

And this is what 24 inches plus 24 MORE inches looks like.

That was fun, eh?
Knitting: done. First I - and this will only be interesting to my fellow knitters - dropped 10 rows of a 9-stitch cable because I noticed a place where it hadn't crossed. It was a challenge but not impossible, even though there were two crossings within those 10 rows. Otherwise, I thoroughly enjoyed the speed skating and moguls - luge not so much - while I knitted. Unfortunately I was sitting ramrod straight the entire time because I stepped off the front porch this morning on to a patch of clear, hard ice. This is a fair amount of pain, and sitting back into the chair is not an option.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Knitting Olympics

I really like watching the Olympics, winter or summer. (This is surprising when you consider that before I learned to ski, my only sport was foosball.) Last night's opening ceremonies also ushered in the Knitting Olympics here. (There is a very organized KO run by the Yarn Harlot but I didn't sign up for that one; this one is just mine.) I'm going to knit during every Olympic-watching session to finish this shawl-collared stole, and I think I have to do some calculating to make that possible.

First, about the stole. It will be 11-12 inches wide after it's blocked, and around 72 inches long.  Gorgeous pattern, eh? I see a couple of cables that didn't cross, dammit, but a little bit of trickery with a needle and yarn on the back will camoflauge that. Once the length is finished I will pick up stitches along the middle to make a shawl collar. The yarn is a beautiful hand dyed aran wool from Fleece Artist in Nova Scotia - very subtle color variations and a soft hand.

It is not a fast knit, with all those cables and bobbles to work. Each repeat is 24 rows, and while I did not keep close track last night, I would say I knitted through most of the ceremony - 4 hours - and completed perhaps 37 rows. And then I ripped 12 of them out. That's right. Ripped them out. I lost a stitch somewhere and it just wasn't working, so I went back to a bobble row, where it's easy to keep track of the pattern. 

Warning, math ahead:

24 rows is approximately 3.5 inches. 
Goal: 72 inches
Completed: ~41 inches
Remaining knitting: 31 inches
31 inches, divided by 3.5 inches as my repeat unit, and rounded up for the sake of sanity, is 9 more repeats, or 216 rows.

Ok. So. If I knit 24 rows for 9 Olympic evenings, the length will be finished. That will leave 7 more nights to pick up and knit the collar. One of those nights is dh's birthday. I think I can do it, but it will take some doing. Now that I've publicly committed to it, I have to!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

I had this idea....

Although I didn't spend any time playing in the snow yesterday, beyond just generally enjoying being outside and marveling at how much there was, I had a great time. We certainly all got plenty of exercise and really, it's rewarding to see such dramatic results from your labor. We shoveled, plowed, found the trash can, excavated the bird bath, made a path to the patio, and dug out three cars. 

Then I had a great idea. Defying frostbite and the doubts of certain family members, I tested out my theory and it worked!  

 First I enlisted my daughter, who is usually willing to go along with things. We used a water bottle to make a hole in the snow. We put a little extra snow in the bottom and packed it down a bit before putting a candle in.
 DD went along making holes and I followed with the candles. It was a cold job. I keep a lot of candles around for power outages and I was thinking that if we lost power, I would feel pretty stupid.

Lighting them a few hours later was tricky and cold, but look!!
I wish I had better photography skills, but you get the idea. There were about 20 candles from the street to the house and they looked beautiful. They burned for 6 hours or so until DD insisted that we blow them out before going to bed. 

It was so fun!
I am definitely doing that again!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

More snow

Rumor has it we have close to 24 inches on the ground - or at least the neighboring township does. This is a picture-heavy post of some more snow stuff....
This is the front door. Really. There's a porch there, and sidewalks, and a driveway.

 The back porch door and screen door, where the snow was trying to sneak in. If snow was at all scary that could be kind of creepy, but it's snow. Maybe if it was ... mud. 
Look at the roof!
Daughter, for scale. 
DS2 slogging through the snow. He is well over 6 feet tall.
Gratuitous picture of Rusty.

Snow capped wreath. It just made me smile.

Woo Hoo Snow!

Well. Good morning snowstorm!

Looks like 16 inches here so far, with many more hours of snow to come. Above, the cozy view from the library window this morning, and below, the view from the kitchen window.

Rusty was in a panic this morning as we went from door to door for his morning ritual. We finally settled on the garage so I could shovel a bathroom for him. I don't know if you can see that this is a 2 foot drift?

Finally, I turned this photo black and white and played with the contrasts to try to show the really cool shapes that the wind carved on top of the cars in the drive. 

I'm making more coffee!