Thursday, July 24, 2008

7.24 Randomness

I have guests arriving today. Sometime. They left about 11 this morning; at 9:30 tonight they aren't here.
I left my phone at work so it's difficult to give them a call and find out where they are.
I have guests arriving tomorrow. Sometime. They plan to leave at 5 am or thereabouts.
Tomorrow, S finishes up at All-Sports camp (Camp Games, Flag Football, Soccer, Swimming, Flag Football and Camp Games - he's been coming home one tired and hungry pup).
Tomorrow, K starts play performances again - Friday and Saturday nights.
Sunday, everyone leaves, except perhaps some of the guests.
I plan on collapsing next week. Just me and the critters.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

7.23 miniatures

One of the benefits of visiting my in-laws during the summer is the chance to check out the babies at the end of the street.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

7.22 reading weekly

This week's reading:

1. Fairy Godmother by Mercedes Lackey. For a person who spent a great deal of time as a child reading (and re-reading) the Color Fairy books, the revisions dreamed up by Lackey are amusing and pleasant reading. She tackled fairy tales first in the Elemental Mages series (starting with The Fire Rose), but redid them with the 500 Kingdoms books, and I've enjoyed reading all of them.
2. One Good Knight by Mercedes Lackey. The second book, ditto.
3. The Corinthian by Georgette Heyer.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

7.20 yellow daylily

Somewhere I have the label for this daylily - where I don't know. Probably in a stack on the kitchen desk. Or maybe in the drawer in the kitchen where I keep extra seeds. Or... There are several possibilities, when I start following the idiot boy's advice about looking for a lost horse. It was an acquisition from last fall, along with the James Marsh. While not as intense a yellow as the James Marsh is a red, it is still pretty eyecatching.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

7.19 Bad week for posting

It's been a bad week for getting posts up on the blog. Somehow I'm not having trouble getting posts written, but getting them to post? Not so much. Mostly the problem has been that when things don't work perfectly, I've not had time to stop and sort things out.

The dryer hasn't been working (that is, the dryer works fine. It also squeals shrilly with a metal-on-metal shriek when it's run. I haven't been running it.) On investigation, it turns out that the problem is the "felt pad", which has teflon bearings on which the drum is supposed to slide. This have worn away to nothing, leaving us with metal-on-metal, which I suppose explains the shriek. Thanks to J and the appliance parts store, the shriek is gone and I merely have a mountain of laundry to work my way through.

J and S and the grandparents are off to his second game of the day, third since yesterday afternoon. They lost yesterday (tough team to beat) and lost again this morning (up too early after way too late a night, since yesterday's game was on the other side of town and ended at 10 pm). They enjoy playing in tournaments, but the time combination was really unfortunate. We'll see if they pull themselves together for the afternoon game.

K's opening night for the play was last night and the grands are here so that we can all go see it tonight. S has another game tomorrow morning, and possibly a game in the afternoon. K has a matinee to do tomorrow afternoon, at which I'll be ushering or possibly costume assisting or... Working, at any rate. The grands leave tomorrow sometime and I have to stop by the office I used to work for and if I can figure out what she did to the computer, or what was done to the computer for her, that makes it not work. Busy weekend. I'll have to go to the office on Monday to rest up.

Friday, July 18, 2008

7.18 james marsh daylily

I acquired a new-to-me daylily last year and didn't have it bloom. I acquired a second specimen of the same lily in a collection I bought at the end of the summer. I'm just now getting to see what I have and Wow! I just love it. The James Marsh daylily is just really intensely colorful.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

7.17 spindle progress

I'm also making progress on the spindle spinning. This is the first time I've spun with the merino tencel. I'm not yet sure how I'm going like the finished yarn - mostly because of the shiny-shiny. I love the sleekness of silk, but the tencel seems just a bit over-the-top glossy.

As a fiber to spin, I like it pretty well. I find that silk tends to stick to my hands and be difficult to spin in the summer humidity. The tencel doesn't have that problem - it's a good summer heat-and-humidity fiber.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

7.16 bobbins

I finished the first wool/angora bobbin, here shown with the two of the ones that are waiting to be plied. I'm planning on having the brown be a 3-ply, but I don't want to chain ply it so... 2 more bobbins to go.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

7.15 Let me just say this about that...

I would thoroughly enjoy working with teenagers if they didn't bring with them the baggage of stage mothers.

I would thoroughly be willing to let others work with my teenaged daughter if they weren't pushy obnoxious stage mothers.

I don't see any way of turning my daughter over to the non-pushy non-obnoxious mothers without having the pushy obnoxious stage mother barging in.

It's a puzzlement.

Monday, July 14, 2008

7.14 reading weekly

This week's reading has involved a bunch of old favorites, with a new one that I've finished up.

1. The Golden One by Elizabeth Peters. I've been listening to Barbara Rosenblatt read through the Amelia Peabody books for some time. Audible has had many of them, but has the more recent ones only in abridged format which annoys me greatly. My guess is that the more recent ones in their long format are not a cost-effective purchase for the discount that Audible offers for their monthly membership. The library offers most of them on tape or CD and since I have discovered that I have lost my patience with anything over a 5 minute commute, having books on tape has been a godsend.

2. Wingarden by Elsie Lee. One of the books I stumbled across most recently by this author (although written in '71 - most of her books were written in the late 50s and 60s). Her books are pleasant romances, usually either nominally Regencies or set in post-WWII time frames, often with a mystery. This was a "contemporary" romance (i.e. set in the late sixties?) and had the tense race-relations of small town Virginia as the setting. Her books remind me of many of Mary Stewart's books written about the same time.

3. Chinese Nail Murders by Robert van Gulik. An old favorite.

4. The Gold Falcon by Katherine Kerr. One of the more recent books by Kerr, which I just picked up recently. I read her books when she first started writing. I went through a phase of not reading anything new fictional for a while (i.e about 10 years), and a number of writers kept on writing while I was not reading. Having gone back to reading fiction, I'm finding myself needing to catch on certain authors. Kerr is one of them.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

7.13 mystery wool and angora

Each year the local spinning guild has a Holiday Gift Swap as the theme for the December meeting. Each person brings 8 oz of spinnable fiber, wrapped in a pretty package. Packages get judged by their wrappings; each person in turn can take a package from the pile or from another person. If your package gets stolen you replace it by choosing again.

A while back, this was what I came home with. Mystery wool with a certain amount of white angora mixed in. It will be a three-ply when I get finished with it. I am trying to get a minimum of a half hour of spinning in each day.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

7.12 merino tencel

I don't really remember where I picked up this merino tencel. If I recall correctly, it was a "throw-in" from a swap I did with someone sometime. The rest of what I got was yarn. I haven't done anything with the yarn either.

This is 2 oz of merino tencel in colors I would never have bought to start with but which turning out to be a rather nice singles. I haven't hit any of the white bits of fiber yet, so I don't know how that part is going to look. I think plied together it will look ok. I split the top into two 1 oz sections and plan to make a two ply skein.

Friday, July 11, 2008

7.11 baby 4 bloom

Hey, Cathy - baby 4 bloomed! I missed the first bloom on this one while I was away, but it has obliged with another one.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

7.10 bearing fruit

About six months ago, I warned the offspring that when I got a full time job (intended for this summer internship), they were suddenly going to be responsible for cooking dinner once a week. Now, mind you, this is after a couple of years of anecdotes about my teen years when my mother went back to work and then back to college and my mother, sister and I would sit down at the beginning of the semester and decide who had time to cook dinner when since we were all three going to school.

I wasn't sure how this was going to work out. K has been interested in cooking for some years, but S has not. S is the one I was worried about - he needs to know how to feed himself without resorting to fast food or tv dinners. (We will not even go into his stated opinion of two years ago which was that that was what girlfriends were for - ever since he ran into the Zits cartoon that said "nothing says 'knuckledragger' like sexist expectations of your girlfriend" he has ceased to even try to tease his sister with such statements.) While having additional hands to fix meals is of course bonus, the point is to make them learn to be self sufficient. This summer's addition to the self-sufficiency plans is cooking.

It's working out great. When I said, ok, it's time - they both shrugged and said "OK". No fuss, no muss. I thought they might want to choose the menu, but that seems to be more than they want right now. I'm writing out recipes, leaving ingredients and instructions, and when asked, walking them through the instructions over the phone. I'm also coming home to meals not cooked by me.
I could get used to this.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

7.8 Foolishness

I did a very foolish thing this evening - I walked into the costume dept at the high school (K wanted me to admire her costumes for the play) and made the mistake of admitting I know my way around a sewing machine. (I couldn't help it - they were admiring the costume I made K two springs ago [n.b. has it really been that long?]).

I walked out with a skirt to hem up and another skirt to make.

Gotta learn to keep my mouth shut.

Monday, July 07, 2008

7.7 reading weekly

This week I've started a bunch of books, and I've read the last two chapters of a bunch of books - not much has been read from start to finish.

1. Venetia by Georgette Heyer - I started at the last three chapters, then read the middle, then read the beginning and the last four chapters. I suppose that's one way of reading a book.
2. The Snow Queen by Mercedes Lackey - yes I know, this was on last week's list. I read it again.

Not much else to add - I should have about 7 books on next week's list if I actually finish all the ones I'm in the middle of. I'm not sure why I'm having so much trouble with book monogamy, but there you go.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

7.6 tango lilies

The tango lilies are in full bloom. I come out the front door (to my right from the angle at which I was taking this picture) and walk down the walk each morning, between this picture and yesterday's picture. I generally come flying out the door (mostly to keep cats from accompanying me), patter down the steps, and...
By the time I have rounded the corner, my steps have slowed drastically. I may be late for work, but I have to stop and admire and smell, and see what's new...
It always takes five minutes to get to the end of the walk these days.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

7.5 front garden lilies

Last year I bought a couple of grab-bags of lilies and salted them in the front bed. I had almost forgotten I did this and was a little surprised when lilies started popping up everywhere this spring. They have filled in the bed nicely, along with the alyssum. I love the scent of alyssum and, having planted it two years in a row, now have no need to plant it again. All I have to do now is to recognize the seedlings when they start popping up and not treat them as weeds.

7.4 black raspberries

Behold the fruits of the garden, wrested even from the very gaping jaws of the wild turkey.
We always have wild raspberres at the edge of the property - the vines seem to enjoy the climate facing east, just at the perpendicular of the horizontal grassy lawn meeting the vertical of the woodland trees. I had been keeping a general eye on them for about for or five days - it seemed that they should be ripening any day now, but there never were any fully ripe ones.
Yesterday in the morning, Brandon raised a ruckus and I noticed a turkey strutting away, cautiously but without haste.
The mystery of the non-ripening berries is solved.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

7.3 baby 3 bloom

The first baby bloomed! This is the first of the blooms on the six daylilies that Cathy sent me last year - five are of her own hybridization. I just love the colors on this one and I'm so pleased to have it.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

7.2 bobbin 3

The third bobbin of the spring merino is done. I'll be glad to have it done, and yet, my spinning is so far ahead of my knitting in projects-worth of production, I have no idea when I will get around to knitting with it. I ought to stop spinning and concentrate on knitting, but the spinning helps my feet and ankles, so I keep on spinning. Perhaps I'll simply wind up with lots of yarn for Christmas presents.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

7.1 square foot gardening book

Well, Sylvia wins the mink-lined whatsit - I picked up a copy of this book last winter and I've got my squares all lined up. I'm not sure I'll have all my squares filled in this year, but maybe next.
The answer to Norma's question is that IF I have baby snapping turtles, they are under the zucchini seedlings in the bed not pictured the other day. I find myself strangely reluctant to plant too much in that bed.
I plan to encourage the squashes to lean over OFF the bed. This will preclude J's being able to properly mow around the beds, but he got over it the last time I had watermelon and pumpkin vines everywhere, so I expect he'll get over it this time, too.

6.30 reading weekly

This week's reading was a wild swerve away from last week's. While I am slowly making my way through Sea of Sorrows by Michelle West, I certainly have not been a one book woman this week.

1. Nine Coaches Waiting by Mary Stewart
2. The Nine Tailors by Dorothy Sayers
3. Madam Will You Talk by Mary Stewart
4. Wingarden by Elsie Lee
5. The Unknown Ajax by Georgette Heyer

Old favorites, one and all. And a new book:

6. The Snow Queen by Mercedes Lackey

This is a new entry in her Five Hundred Kingdoms series; a set of fairy tales retold with a charming twist to the basic concept. In her introduction to this book, Ms. Lackey references Dorothy Sayers comment that mystery books are where the reader can know that the good will prevail and the evil get their comeuppance. This, of course, not always true in the modern mystery, but it is most of the time. The modern fantasy and the modern romance novels also fall into this category.
There are those who point out that this attitude sets up unreasonable expectations in the minds of the impressionable, that life will always be perfect. While this may be true for some people, I think that an grim insistence on complete realism in one's reading is a mistake. A little escapism is good for the soul, once in a while.
This is not to say that I don't enjoy reading books that are a bit grittier at times, and I have moved past the stage (long since) where I was deeply crushed by any book that didn't have a happy ending. I do certainly appreciate stories that allow all genders to be equally competant at solving problems, and Ms. Lackey's books fit that bill as well.