Monday, August 30, 2010

What's That Smell?

Had another fabulous weekend. The weather couldn't have better and I spent most of Saturday with my Last Saturday Knitting group which is always a blast. We met at a local restaurant for lunch beforehand. Mary and I arrived a little early, and there is a comic book store next door to the restaurant that Mary wanted to go to so I went with her. I've only been in one a couple of times before, and not recently, so I'd forgotten that 'special' smell of comic book and gaming stores. What is that anyway? Ink? Plastic? Bat Man costumes? Orks? A combination of geek sweat, 40 year old virginity and desperation? I dunno but I got so lightheaded that I had to go to spend a half an hour in the safe environment that is 'Bed Bath and Beyond' to detox afterward. I'm kidding. It was amazing to see all of the comics they have out now ; essentially every show on television now has its own comic book (ahem, a thousand pardons, 'Graphic Novel') with fantasy episodes that you won't see on TV. Very interesting.

Almost the whole gang (and then some) showed up at Last Saturday Knitting and we cleared out Victor Allen's as we are wont to do when we get rowdy. We make up for the lost customers with coffee and pastry purchases a plenty. It was Tasha Tudor's birthday so I made gingersnaps for our little tea party and dressed up in her honor (which was confusing to certain members of our group who didn't realize I actually had legs under the denim they are usually encased in).

Saturday night was spent working. I do have to be a responsible adult sometimes.

Sunday morning and early afternoon was spent taking advantage of a unexpected, stray power surge and getting a jump on fall cleaning my nest. Even scraped the Ben-slobber off the patio door which took almost 40 minutes and was no fun on the outside where it was 90+° in the shade which the door wasn't. Vacuuming, laundry, bed, trash, dishes, fridge; I was on fire. I even whipped up crock pot curry so I wouldn't have to cook as much this week. I was too tired to eat any of it so will try it at supper time tonight and let you know how it is, but smelled heavenly.

I crashed for a nap in mid-afternoon and then resumed with work-work until True Blood came on at 8P. I called it a day and knit some on my Sock Blank socks for a couple of hours. I anticipate finishing them tonight, I've already started the toe decreases.

It was productive but so much for the 'down time' I had planned. I had to come back to work today just to rest! Hope you all had wonderful weekends too!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

In The Zone

The past couple of weeks since I’ve been home from Maine have been a blur of hangin’ with friends and just generally running around like a cranium-less barnyard fowl. There’s been Farmer’s Markets, brunches, lunches and suppers…knit nights, knit days, geocaching, game playing, shopping, and movies. But this week I started to feel it; that little hint of crisp in the air that germinates the barest glimmering, inkling of feelings of snuggling in and enjoying my spinning wheel, knitting, tea pot and books. I LOVE autumn. I do a large amount of running around to orchards, parks, festivals, quilt shows etc., but then about the end of October, the hibernation gene starts to kick in more and I start preparing the den for the long winter ahead. And you know what that means…

TWO WEEKS UNTIL THE JEFFERSON SHEEP AND WOOL FESTIVAL! I go at that vendor show like a squirrel hording nuts for a chilly day; tucking bits of wool fleece and yarn away to warm my nest in January, February and March; choosing lively color ways to brighten up the dreary, grey, days and contrast against the glaring, white of the stark, snowy, landscape. Sigh... I get warm fuzzies just thinking about it. Usually the week before the festival, I start getting tingles but this year I’ve been chomping at the bit for a full month now. I shudder to think at what my poor pocketbook is going to go through on the 11th! I restrained myself really well last year. I had such a stockpile of goods at home that I went with a $20 budget (not counting the cost of the new dog seat belt restraint that I have to buy at the herding booth every year because Bentley keeps gnawing through them.) and I stuck to it. But this year, my yarn larder is a little depleted….(insert maniacal laughter here). Can’t wait!

I’ve also started in with the pine needle baskets again. I decided to make a small one for Grammie for Christmas (don’t worry, she doesn’t read this blog, but don’t mention it to her OK?) so I boiled the needles and was out in the yard getting the sheaths off them when I started “snottin’ and blowin” and my Mum says. ‘Course I was in the zone, outside in the fresh air, plotting the new design so I didn’t’ put two and two together that I was having an allergic reaction to the needles…until I scratched the corner of my eye with my finger and it pretty much instantly swelled shut. Sheesh! I said I was going to finish the basket if it killed me, but I wasn’t serious! That’s never happened before! All I can think is that maybe there were mold spores on the needles that had been stored for a year and that I didn’t boil them long enough. Three Benadryl fixed the problem and gave me a comatose night’s sleep so I woke up 'normal' again the next morning…in as much as that is a possibility where I’m concerned! Will have to reboil the needles again tonight before I continue. I got this far anyway….
I’m thinking about using some of my ultra-colorful hand spun on future baskets. The only thing is, I'm thinking there would be no way to clean them other than dusting them. Right now I use artificial sinew and/or waxed linen thread. Does anyone have any thought on using yarn? How do you clean your baskets?

And here's today's Awwwww picture:
This handsome fella has been living somewhere around my patio this summer. He's by my door every evening. I've been tempted to pick him up and kiss him to see what happens. Then I thought, 'If he actually did turn into Prince Charming, would he still eat bugs and mosquitoes around the patio for me?" Nope. So I left him as he is; handsome, faithful and useful. My kinda guy. He eats what bugs me and I keep Ben from noshing on him-a symbiotic relationship. (Shhh! Don't tell Knute! I don't want him to get jealous!)

Friday, August 27, 2010

I Smell A Rat...Or Something...

One night while I was in Maine, we were driving home from camp and had just tipped over the top of the hill by the house when we were hit by the tantalizing aroma of freshly startled skunk. We remarked on it and made our way down the hill towards the dooryard and there it was; lying in the road right in front of the house. We swung the car around, grabbed a shovel and one of Hefty’s finest and by the light of the silvery car lights, went to remove Pepe to a less prominent place than basically under Mum’s bedroom window. Mr. Skunk didn’t have a mark on him which raised a couple of questions. Was he just napping? Stunned? Or was he actually dead? Didn't really matter because all of these questions lead to the same very undesirable answer. Napping? Wake him up and you’re going to need a tomato soup bath. Stunned? See previous answer. Dead? You’d think this one would be the safest but no, touch the little fella with the shovel just right and muscles can twitch, mysterious things can happen and…see tomato soup bath above.
Turns out he actually had gone in that big forest full of grubs in the sky and we were able to scoop him into the bag without incident, tie it up tight and set it on the side lawn until he could have a proper burial. The next morning, I asked Mum…

Me: Is there anyone around here you hate?
Mum: No
Me: Anyone you dislike intensely?
Mum: No
Me: Hmmm (walking away)
(This same conversation when on several times throughout the morning until she finally broke.)
Mum: “There are people I don’t care for but I don’t HATE anyone! Why do you keep asking me that?”
ME: ‘Cause we have a dead skunk in a Hefty bag and that opportunity doesn’t just come around every day.” (Granted in the North Woods of Maine, it happens more frequently than in more populous areas, but still…)

I mean, I know people out here that it would be the perfect gift for but carrion carry-on is apparently frowned up by Chautauqua-A-Division-of-Delta Airlines. I saw a little kid get a Slim Jim taken away before he boarded so I know what I’m talking about. So with nary a gift recipient in sight, we gave Pepe a proper committal service. Them who came to the forest shall return to the forest. Rest in peace little friend.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

My New Love

I have a new love in my life. When he holds me in his strong, yet sensitive, arms all my tension eases. He's more than willing to snuggle me all. night. long if I so choose, but doesn't take offense if I'd rather just turn in early. He's the most supportive love I've ever had. He's not much for conversation; he's more the strong silent type, but we can sit for hours in an easy silence. We watch old movies, do crosswords and read together. He supports my knitting habit and never says a word about unfinished projects or unneccessary yarn purchases. He gets me. He really gets me.

Meet Knute Rockme.

I finally decided to bite the bullet the other night and buy a chair that fits me. When I sit on my sofa or love seat, the seat is so deep and my legs are so, well... NOT, that my knees don't really bend and my legs stick out straight. I feel like that Lilly Tomlin character that used to sit in that huge rocker and say "And that's the truth!" and blow raspberries! Plus, try getting out of a sofa when your legs have lost purchase with the floor. It' ain't pretty. So I purused the personals for a fella who would be gentle and love me for me. Knute blew away the competition. He's all kinda 'just right'. I know it's a big step so soon, but we've been cohabitating blissfully since a week ago Thursday. Oh Lord, don't tell my Grandma!

Just had to include an Awwww picture in this post. This is my friends' Scott and Michael's new dog, Duchess. She's a 10 week old Golden Doodle. They had to frisk me when I left their house to make sure she wasn't in my purse. What a cutie!!! All fluff and waddle and puppy breath! I told you there'd be knitting content! Remember this?

This is the sock blank I got from The Fiber Art Cafe. I got Mum one too and so I took mine to Maine with me in the hopes that we could work on them together. It was so finorkin hot that neither of us got much accomplished. We did cast on but that was about it.

When I got home, I made more progress. The sock blank is double knit, so two strands come off when you unravel it. You simply knit two socks at a time and ta da matching funky colored socks. I will take better pictures when I get closer to being done. But have no fear...I'm anticipating the cooling weather setting in so I can get back in the swing of my fiber addictions!
And that's the truth. Pppfffffttttt!

How is your week going?

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Random Miscellania

Lots of little bits and bobs to add with no discernible cohesivity so I'll just throw 'em out there. This is Grammie. You may remember her face from the picture I posted of her after she fell and bruised her face up. She looked like she'd gone 20 rounds with Mike Tyson. Even though she will be 99 in March, there's no doubt in my mind ol' Mike would have come out on the losin' end of that fight. She's a scrappy little bugger. Here she is making pickles on the morning that I left Maine.

This is now my favorite pic of me and Gram. It was a self portrait that I took of the two of us with my camera. Doesn't she look like she's up to something! Little twinkle in her eye!
I took this on the way home from her house on August 11th. The leaves were already starting to turn! Wicked early, Deah! When the leaf peepers start pulling in by the bus loads in mid-September there won't be a leaf on a tree at this rate!

On the home front, I found this guy on the sidewalk the other evening. It's a Hylaophor cecropia caterpillar. The largest in the US. He's about 6-7 inches long and as big around a my thumb or bigger. He'll turn into a magnificent moth with frilly antennas if he makes it. (Click on the picture to biggify. You won't be sorry!)

Here's an excellent website with better pictures and information on this beautiful silk spinner! . There, now don't say you didn't learn anything today!
Next time: Some details about Knute, the new love of my life and honest-to-goodness knitting content!
Have a wonderful night all!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Marooned At Sea and The Part Where God and I Duke It Out.

My Mum's friends, D and G, have a beautiful camp on Portage Lake. D offered us a boat ride on their swanky pontoon boat and you know me and boats...who could turn down and offer like that? We got in the boat and pushed away from the dock only to discover that the boat keys were in the camp. We were stuck two arm lengths away (betchu didn't know Sh** Creek was so short eh?) from dock with a too-short paddle! Ideas were bandied about as we drifted further away. Take one for the team and jump in the water? Flag down a jet ski? Wait for the wind? 15 minutes later, the wind and much finesse with the too-short paddle brought us back to the pier! Whew!

Off we went for a beautiful afternoon on the lake. The weather was wonderful.
The scenery and wildlife were magnificent...

We went up Fish River in search of the elusive Maine Moose but didn't see any. Didn't matter, look at that gorgeous glassy water! Glorious!
D and G's granddoggie was staying with them so we took him along. It was his first boat ride....

and you can see he was absolutely terrified....Here's to Dante The Sea Dog!

The next night we went down to our camp in Mattawamkeag Lake for an hot dog roast. Camp used to be one of my favorite places as a kid. All of that water and all of the animals=heaven. We always used to feed raccoons and chipmunks by hand. With the prevalence of rabies in the 'coons now though, we can't get that close to them anymore, but the chippies are still willing. It's fun to put seeds in your hands and have them come up and put their front feet on your fingers and start packing their little cheeks. If you slowly raise your hand they will s t r e t c h until they have no choice but to haul their back legs up and sit right in your hands to eat. I couldn't feed them and take the picture at the same time so I just sat the seeds right next to me on the step. This little guy was more than willing to model for me. He's not even half full of seeds yet and look at his widdle cheeks. I don't know why their heads don't explode.
As we got ready for supper, a storm was brewing on the horizon.
It rolled in pretty quickly...

But Uncle Donn had made an awesome fire in the old stone pit in front of the camp so we started roasting weiners anyway. We were just starting to eat them when it started to sprinkle. After a few minutes, I raised my fist to the sky and jokingly challenged, " Bring it on Old Man! If you think I'm going inside before I get my s'more, you've got another think coming!", at which point it started to pour. Story of my life. My Bad. I was the one that double dog dared him. God quite a sense of humor. Especially where I'm concerned. I stuck it out and made my s'more in the rain anyway. It tasted just as good wet.
After the storm though, he gave me a sign that we were still buds. Check out the beautiful colors of the sky. This photo hasn't been touched up at all, but it still doesn't do the real thing justice.

The next day I flew to Madison. Thus endeth my Summer 2010 trip to Maine.

Monday, August 16, 2010

50th Class Reunion

Mum threw a little shindig in honor of her 50th class reunion. There were 16 in her class. Three have passed away and three couldn't make it but all of the others did. The tables were decorated with fresh flox and mints that had 50 on them.
We put a big table out for all of the goodies. Good thing we did! It was full when everyone showed up!

Here is Mum and her class. The lady the second from the right is Patricia. She was Mum's bestie, in school. She stayed the night with us before heading home the next morning. She recently moved from Connecticut to the Bangor aream which is only 2 hours from Mum. Given the way they carried on the night of the reunion and the next morning, I'm not sure it's such a good idea for them to be in such close proximity. Better start saving up bail money in case I get the call! What a pair!

And here is a gratuitous fur baby picture. This is Pun'kin. She was my buddy and made huge strides in being sociable and not so afraid of strangers during the 2 weeks I was home. Way to go Pun'kin! Tell Grammie I said to scritch your ears and give you a belly rub!

Tomorrow: Marooned at sea and twilight at camp.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Pah-kin our Yacht in Camden Hah-bah

Mum and I pulled our yacht into Camden Har-bah, Deah and spent the evening having a picnic by the sea. The details on this little dingy can be found here.

This was a less high tech little number out of Rhode Island. Still WAY out of the average girls price range. Of course I have all of the money I will ever need as long as I die by 4PM this afternoon!

The next morning we went to Rockland to hike out to the Breakwater Lighthouse. It's 1 m. each way and GORGEOUS. It was misty when we started and full on sunny and warm by the time we got back.

This is one of my favorite places on the planet.

Afterward we hiked the rocky beach for a bit in search of beach glass. I love the wild flowers in the foreground.
I found this little fella excellently demonstrating my motto of 'Bloom Where You're Planted!' Way to go little guy!

Then it was off to Belfast for our annual Lobstah Dinnah at Young's Lobstah Pound. (I missed out last year due to my 'dental disaster' and frankly, I'm still a little bitter.)
A Lobster Pound is a depository where the lobster boats offload their catch into big saltwater tanks.
Then via the magic of an uber low tech system, a bunch of guys there will place your chosen victim in a large net bag and give him a soothing spa treatment...
Then serve him on coastal china with fine plastic ware.
The you go outside to enjoy the beautiful scenery and flick bits of lobster shell and innards all over the great outdoors instead of on your fellow diners in a 5 star restaurant. This is my version of a 10 star joint!

And again, there are bears EVERYWHERE in Maine. This one threatened me with a large papier machet lobster until I bought him a fishing outfit and agreed to have my picture taken with him.

Tomorrow: Farmer's Markets, 50th Year Reunions and Dante the Sea Dog.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Boothbay and Birch Point Beach State Park

After the Botanical Gardens, we went down to the water in Boothbay for supper. No fancy seafood restaurants for us! We got a yummy Italian sandwich and ate it at a picnic table down on the pier; so much fun to watch the boats and people.
It wasn't all fun and games however. Maine is fraught with danger at every turn. The wild animals are particularly troublesome. This black bear just would not stop harassing me until I posed for a picture with him and gave him something from my pic-a-nik basket.
I wish this picture has come out better. We went to the Maine State Aquarium and they had the hugest lob-stah I had ever seen in a big tank there. I'm surprise there weren't Mission Impossible guys dangling from the ceiling, trying to break the glass and steal him. With the price of seafood, this monster would have been quite a treasure. My favorite part of the aquarium was petting the dogfish sharks and rays...and holding a creepy sea cucumber.
Mum got a new Tom Tom navigator for the car. We changed the voice option to 'male' and then 'Richard' was our constant companion while driving around the coast. We asked him to find a little out-of-the-way state park called Birch Point Beach near Owl's Head and he finally did. I don't know how anyone could find it without billion dollar government communication satellites; it was waaaaay down some pretty dicey roads. At one point I was sure that Richard had taken us hostage and was leading us to our doom. We would have deserved it since we kept dropping him on his head on sharp turns and asking him if he thought he should stop somewhere and ask directions.
But in the end we found it and it was gorgeous. Pines, granite, seawater and salt air. HEAVEN!
Coming up: Rockland Breakwater and docking our little boat in Camden Harbor.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Maine Recap

Just returned from a two week visit home. Took so many pictures that the next several entries will be pretty much dedicated to that. But, have no fear, we'll return to our regularly scheduled programming next week.

We spent a pleasant afternoon at the Central Maine Botanical Gardens while I was in Maine. If you're in the Boothbay Harbor area, I highly recommend it. Be sure and carve out at least an afternoon, if not a whole day. It's huge and there are beautiful surprises everywhere!



Shady paths

Lilly ponds

Carved art

Beautiful flagstones


(This was the coolest maze. It had smooth stones going from biggest to smallest and we walked it in our bare feet. It was uncomfortable at first but soon the round stones, heated by the sun, worked their magic and when we finished it felt like we'd just had a foot massage. )

And everywhere you looked...
Next up-Boothbay Harbor, Birch Point Beach, Camden/Rockport/Lincolnville...

Sturgeon Bay Speed Racer

I was in Sturgeon Bay over the weekend and went to see the Third Ave Playhouse's matinee of Shooting Star with Doug Mancheski and Amy En...