Tuesday, September 27, 2005

It's Knit Night!

Guess what time it is? Time for me to have some fun! No, I am not running off to the races. I was bummin' cause I had missed the Hemlock Fiber Festival, but San Diego was almost as fun as being knee deep in fiber!

Anyway, this weekend Knox State Farm is hosting its first Fiber Arts Festival! And I cannot wait. So yes, Bonnie, I will be there!

I shall not jinx myself, but this day is going a bit too smoothly. K does not have scouts, E got in a good car pool for drama, dinner is in the oven, and I actually have all my papers graded until tomorrow morning. Nothing to do but make one car run and go to knit night. Happy, happy...

P.S. I have returned from Knit Night and am now not so happy. One of the girls brought a woman who evacuated from New Orleans with her husband and 2 children. How brave she is! I would not be able to move from pure despair! Her house was spared from the waters, but not from looters. They are currently living with her father. Her husband's job no longer exists in NO, but they are willing to transfer his position here - she wants to return. It was interesting to learn that they have evacutated the city 12 times in the 13 years she has lived there.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

I Know, My Husband Already Told Me

So I've spun every piece of fiber I own. I stumble across a new spinning, weaving, yarn kinda store. I enter the store, and immediately am greeted by a woman working on a loom (one of two) in one of the large storefront windows. The owner is sitting in the opposite side of the room. So I tell her I am a new spinner, and need something to work on (did that translate into something else in her mind?). So anyway....

First she shows me the lovely undyed something with random bits of VM. I receive instructions on Kool Aid dying. Nah...not really what I had in mind. "No? Let me think.... Oh! OH! I know! Follow me!" Her enthusiasm is contagious. What is it? I feel like a kid on an adventure.

We go to the back of the store. The part you can always see, but cannot enter. "Come on, " she frantically gestures. She grabs large, overstuffed garbage bags, dragging them to the front. "Where is it? This one? no....this one? no....Here, oh just wait!"

The bag opens and suddenly I have entered the barn...my husband says the zoo, but what the heck...it's animal pooh no matter what your point of references. Lovely, energetic shop lady tells me how this fleece is one of four from a poor group of neglected sheep. This fleece is the result of TWO years of growth (thus the extra piquant aroma). Nice lady advises me that I should spin this in the grease, as is - no combing, carding anything! Can she be right? I keep thinking, if I run this through my wheel, my orifice will be permanently lubed and FILTHY! She promised me she personally skirted the nasty thing and removed all tags, and whatever you call the urine stained (eeeesh) areas.

Some staple length, huh?

As keen observers of the obvious, I am sure you have all deduced I walked out the door with this fleece (and some felting needles...at least I KNOW those will get used).

So, if anyone out there is accustomed to working with raw, greased, whatever the heck you call fresh off the sheep fleece, could you please tell what to do. I think I should wash it first. I do not have combs, but I really think I can, if careful, just spin directly off the gently, freshly washed pieces.

Although I love the lanolin, I do not like the barnyard in the house.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

A Life

When DH and I moved into our house, daughter A was a 1 1/2 year old toddler. A few months later ground broke on the adjoining lot and in moved a friendly couple with two pre-teens. The years went by and we watched those two kids doing all the things teenagers do. I can remember countless nights thinking their games of driveway basketball and conversations in the front yard would never stop! There was an endless parade of friends and family in and out of that home.

Bob and his sister eventually went off to college. The skinny young kid became a young ROTC officer. He embraced his role in the United States Army. He became a very proud soldier and officer who shared his parents love of country and God.

Bob went to Iraq. His parents heard the good things: the roadways he and his unit protected with their tank, the little kids who squealed with delight when they saw the American soldiers roll into their village. The e-mails he wrote to his sister told the truth: the daily attacks he faced, being spit upon by Iraqi citizens, the fear that would not leave him, and a nagging doubt that began to follow him.

And then it was over. Bob was home on leave and then returned to his unit in Germany. Basic training exercises are a part of a soldier's daily routine...and this day should have been like all the others. He became a victim when crossing railroad tracks in his tank, a high voltage line arched.

Bob received 3rd degree burns over 70% of his body. His face, upper chest, and arms were unharmed; his torso and legs were severely damaged. The civilian hospital in Germany is credited for saving his life. They also took his right leg above the knee. Bob spent the next four months in San Antonio, Texas at the Army's burn and amputee hospital. His fiancee left her teaching job in New York State to stay by his side. His father sold his business. His mother's employer told her to take as long as she needed. His sister delayed her wedding. And we prayed.

Despite the numerous skin grafts, infections, ventilator problems and problems too numerous to mention, Bob's parents remained optimistic. They often told us how lucky their son was in comparison to the other brave soldiers that were brought in day after day. Four months dragged by.

Progress was good, the skin grafts were taking. He was being weaned from the ventilator and moved to a "sitting" position for longer periods of time each day. All he wanted was to go home.

Bob died yesterday morning.

For what we now feel - there are no words.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Knitter's Block

It's Thursday and I have three days of school under my belt. I told the superintendent it was a smooth start; I only lied a wee bit. For some reason everyone around me is in a foul mood. Heck, you would think after two months off - unpaid - we would all be more than ready to earn our keep. Apparently not. For some reason many teachers seem to think they are self employed and have the right to set their own working conditions. I shall say no more lest I offend.

Katrina has dealt so many a terrible blow. And to add insult to injury I heard something on NPR that was truly depressing. Apparently the city of New Orleans has been steadily sinking. Since the 1950s, the city has sunk about 2" every 10 years. The scientists believe that the current flooding will only cause increase in the drop due to the compacting of the softer soils near the Lake area. The assumption is that when the next large storm hits, even the French Quarter will be under water. No wonder so many people are saying that they will not return...the prospect is just too frightening.

I have had no time to knit. I have managed to seam four of the five panels of the Manos Afghan from Hell. We may see fringe on it before Sunday evening. Now the next big decision is to decide what to take on our trip to San Diego. Something airplane friendly. I think perhaps the alpaca cream and white alpaca.

More to come later!

Monday, September 05, 2005

I Am Thankful

Tomorrow I go back to work. Summer is over. Traditionally, this is an evening that makes me a bit sad. Instead I have decided to be thankful for the fact that
  1. I have a home.
  2. I have food and water.
  3. I can account for all my family members.
  4. I actually have a car, regardless of the cost to run it.

Let me never forget my problems are really meaningless in the grand scheme of things.

Thursday evening was the first Knitting Guild meeting of the year. We have a great program coordinator (yes, you Bonnie!). We are truly blessed with some great knitters in the Buffalo area. Each year the guild sponsors two weekend workshops. This year our own, Heather...this is her latest, most popular pattern. She also has a pattern in the Ponchos (Vogue on the Go Knitting Series). Heather will be teaching shadow knitting, in addition to double knitting, in October.

But the one that really has me is excited is our April weekend. Annie Modesitt is coming! Just open any issue of anything and you are sure to see a pattern...and they are always so clever!

And another exciting thing to look forward to...the Buffalo area is having its very own fiber festival. October 1st at Knox Farm will be the place to be! My spinning wheel is jumping up and down with glee.