Sunday, July 23, 2017

Beginning week two of Grandma Camp

Alexia and I went in early to the museum so she could get fitted for a costume.  Her job ended up being to help children pump water from the hand pump into watering cans and then conduct them to the garden so they could water the plants.  About midday they close the gate because the plants are well watered by then and then she escorts them to various trees.
This is Lexi with Linda Evans, the director of living history at the museum.
As we were changing our clothes afterwards I noticed parts of my boot heels with sticking out to the sides.  Last week I had to take them to the shoe guy to be stretched and this week we had to go back again.  He said they're "vintage" (as in old) and since I bought them from eBay, I have no idea how old they are.  He said these are injectable molded heels which can last for three to thirty years.  They are utterly rotten and crumbly, however many years.
Alexia has been working on her "Build a Better World" list for the library summer reading program.  She was down to the last two items of the ten to check off for ice cream coupons.  One of the options is to plant a plant for pollinators so we took ourselves to the nursery yesterday and came home with this crocosmia which attracts butterflies.
And this morning she planted it, literally.  I dug the hole and she planted it.  Now I'm wondering if this spot is as sunny as I originally thought.  That was a hard hole to dig - I sure hope I don't need to move this!

I finished another Quick Sand sweater, this time in Malabrigos Rios, color Bobby Blue.  It took five balls and each one was a little different from the other and one was much darker.  I'm pleased with the order I used the skeins with the darkest on the bottom.
In fact I'm no pleased that I ripped out a sweater that was a flop and am knitting it in Heidi Kerrmaier's Fine Sand pattern.  I found both her patterns on Ravelry.  After the "flop" experience I'm much more careful about Ravelry patterns, I can tell you that!

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

To be continued

I started at the High Desert Museum last Friday.  The first thing I needed before I could put on my costume was to get fitted for a chemise and corset.
This is my costume and my station at the ranch house.  The costume isn't as uncomfortable as it looks but I am having my boots stretched before.  I learned a lot about what works and what doesn't and I realized that fiber preparation gets in the way of the interpretation of living history.  I've since prepared my fiber at home.
It really went well until my drive band broke.  It's been at least 10 years since I've spun on a double drive wheel so I was impressed that I was able to create a substitute band using some tightly spun Shetland wool I had in my basket.  Being wool it started to stretch and required an extra knot, a very large knot. Somehow it managed to hold together for the rest of the session.
This is Shade, a college intern who plays the hired hand.  He carried my wheel to the hidden golf cart when it was time to go in.  My session goes until 4:00 but it was 95 and most of the visitors had gone inside.  Shade suggested I call it a day and I thought that was a good idea.
The next day we drove down to Tulelake California to meet up with my daughter and son-in-law who had driven up with Alexia.  We get to enjoy her for three weeks and I can't believe how quickly the time is going.  She loves to read so we've create an evening ritual.  After Grandpa goes to bed we stay up and read until about 10:00. That's my quitting time.  She continues until she finishes her book.
Sunday Alexia and I took a stroll along the Deschutes River, got a bite to eat and were planning to hear the free concert at the Les Schwab Amphitheater.  I asked Lu what she really wanted to do and she said - go to Dudley's.  It's a quaint bookshop in downtown Bend, a visit that I've been promising her.
It turns out that Tom the owner had just made a private purchase of young adult novels.  He brought out stacks of books and what she ultimately chose was the four-volume Pellinor series.  He said he has more at home that he'll be bringing in next week so we'll go back.  It was starting to look pretty expensive but the hardback set was only $20.
Monday we took a tour through three thrift stores and got a big laugh out of this bit of creativity.  We weren't sure of it's function because those cups surely can't hold candles.

We were looking for fairies but instead found this composite angel so now our garden is an angel garden.  Next stop in this project is the nursery.
She's enjoying the deer in our neighborhood.  Her favorite was the young twins who pronged through our front yard followed by their mother who sauntered casually across the driveway.  I didn't have my camera for that but I did have it for this doe and young buck in a neighbor's yard.

Tuesday I played hookie while Alexia went to Tai Chi with Grandpa.  They went to breakfast afterwords and then to the library where she signed up for summer reading club.  She got a free book just for signing up and she's already read the required three books to get another one.  There's a list of things she needs to do to get ice cream coupons and she has three out of ten on that.  One was to meet a neighbor so this morning I introduced her to Connor who lives behind us.  Another is to plant a pollinator plant which she'll do as soon as go to the nursery.
I thought she would enjoy going into the print studio and making some monotypes but after visiting it, I think she was a little intimidated.  She has elected to paint with water colors every day.

She gets to "help" me at the High Desert Museum on Friday so we will go in early for a costume fitting.  I think they'll have her help with some of the children's activities.  She's really looking forward to it.
Meanwhile, in preparation I put a replacement drive band on the wheel using 8/4 linen which I waxed with bees wax.  At some point I realized that the bobbins are longer than either of my lazy kates so I came up with this work-around.  The block is something I bought from Ken Ledbetter.  It's to put in three drop spindles so you can triple ply from them.  Instead I put the pin from my Kromsky kate through the bobbin to afix it vertically.  The block has a post with eye in the front and flawlessly fed the single yarn onto my bobbin winder.

I was able to ply the wool together that I had spun last week so I have something for children to see and feel.  And I also finished processing the wool that I'll be using hereon out.  My backstory is still in process.  I need a name so I can refer to my husband as Mr. Morse (or whatever) rather than "my husband."  That was the proper form of address then.  To be continued.

Monday, July 10, 2017

So it's July again

Grandson Logan has invested a good part of this year in making his dream come true, to be a member of a drum and bugle corps and to compete in DCI or Drum Corps International.  It has required a lot of the whole family, both in money and in time.  DCI competitors are between the ages of 17 and 21 and as soon as Logan turned 17 in February, he started working toward this goal.  He auditioned for the Columbians, a Pasco Washington-based troop, and while his trumpet playing got him a call-back after he auditioned, he still had to learn to walk and play at the same time.

Missy drove the four hours for weekend practices while finishing her masters degree and teaching during the week.  He practiced and she worked on her thesis in their hotel room.  And he did it. Hours of grueling practice in the heat - and you thought it was just football that did that!  Last weekend she drove up to Pasco, but this time to drop him off for the competition tour.  They compete, get back on the buses afterwards and sleep until they arrive at the next destination, then roll out their sleeping bags and sleep on high school gym floors.  Then they get up, work on correcting the flaws the judges noted and then practice until it's time to compete again.  They'll do this all week.  We saw them in Hillsboro and then it's Tacoma, Pasco, Boise, Salt Lake City finishing up in Denver next Saturday.

I took this picture and a couple of videos before I was told that there had been an announcement - this was a big NoNo.  All the material is copyright protected but you can see what the group does for audition here.  Here's a performance from last year.  Logan will be a senior and is looking at colleges according to how close they are to major DCI troops like the Blue Devils in Concord CA (his dream) and this is what a practice looks like. And this is from the show we saw that night, bootlegged apparently.  I would much rather watch this in the stadium than football.
We drove over to Hillsboro, OR on Friday morning for the first competition of the tour.  Missy took this selfie , the first of many to come I'm sure as she and Josh and her parents are following the tour over the next week. Josh was exhausted.  They weren't an hour from the house when a radiator hose blew, and him towing a trailer. We managed to save seats because the stadium was full.  Who knew DCI was so popular?!
I've crossed the Sierras since I was a teenager but the Cascades are really a lot different.  For one thing there are a lot of distinctive peaks and I'm finding them difficult to distinguish.  It helps to identify them by actually being there so we stopped at the Mt Washington viewpoint. We learned that the fire damage is from the B&B Complex fire, two fires that grew into one and burned over 90,000 acres in 2003.  Our poor tortured West.
This is only our second time to take a trip north from Central Oregon since we moved here and again I'm stunned at how many visitors are leaving as we return.  As far as I could see it was a steady stream of cars.  I live in the right place.
This weekend is Summerfest so Ian and I went down Sunday afternoon, and in spite of it being the tail end of the event, there was plenty going on.  Parking isn't really a problem if you're willing to walk a couple extra blocks. It was fun and we stopped to enjoy music at a couple of the stages - probably could have stayed longer but it was hot and our dogs were barking.
I figure one vendor purchase is good and I could see this in our yard. 
So back to my volunteer role at the High Desert Museum, I've been familiarizing myself with the official backstory.  I'm a little frustrated as I'm pretty sure spinning was no longer an activity in 1904 and I can find nothing to support it either way.  Bend had a large Norwegian population at that time so I suppose I can tie into that. I called the State Library who referred me to the Willamette Heritage Center and they are only prepared to answer questions relating to wool as an industry.  
Meanwhile the boots for my costume that I ordered from eBay have arrived.  One friend asked me if I was planing a visit to Lancaster PA.
Laura is loaning me her Country Craftsman, a reproduction flax wheel, and bless her heart she delivered it, sparing me the hour drive to Prineville.  (I should be ashamed when I quail at an hour drive since every trip I made when we lived in Red Rock was an hour, one way.)  We talked over the wools I'm going to use and how to use them. It's been frustrating to me that there is no literature for me to draw on for this Living History role that I'll be playing at the museum. And then we just turned to working with the wool and sampling, and then suddenly it was like old days, like camping at Richardson Park before Black Sheep Gathering. I don't know what I'm doing half of the time but then I realize I never have.

Friday, June 30, 2017

For another day

June 21st was Josh and Missy's 20th anniversary and we wanted to take them out to dinner to celebrate.  We've saved our bottle deposit refund money all year thinking we'd take ourselves out for our anniversary this year but it was much more fun to take the kids out instead.  We chose the Blacksmith, a rather swanky place, but they did it up right including the roses.
They ordered the Tomahawk steak for two which I thought was quite the romantic choice.  It was a work night and they said they raced into the house, threw off their work clothes and threw on their dinner clothes.  That's what their life has been like though Missy just finished her masters degree and will have that monkey off her back in the future.  And a good time was had by all.
We have acquired quite the social agenda this year.  This was the Brian Copeland Band at McMenamins.  David and Joanie asked if we might like to come hear their niece Kat sing backup in this Portland group so we said sure but we only lasted to the break. We had gone with them to see Rent last Sunday, a firecracker day, and those poor actors, dressed up for winter on the hottest day of the year so far.  We had so much fun that we're thinking about getting season tickets for the theater next year.
Meanwhile I'm thinking about this soaking pool.  McMennamins is in the old St Francis School, a whole complex of entertainment opportunities including a theater that runs classic movies.  The concert was in the Father Luke's room and the events there are free.  I'm not sure I have the energy to enjoy all that they offer!
Meanwhile, I continue tackling yard work in the cool of the mornings. Yesterday I was doing laundry and yard work in shifts.  I checked my Fitbit for the time and came in at 10:06 to pull partially wet clothes from the dryer to hang.  I realized my Fitbit was no longer on my wrist and checked the time on my phone - 10:33.  Where had I been in those 25 minutes?  Everywhere!!  I had moved compost and raked mulch, pulled grass and clipped dead blossoms from the lilac tree.

I spent more time looking for the Fitbit than I did on yard work.  A friend suggested I open the bluetooth on my phone and see if I could get them to pair.  Still no luck.  I finally googled "how to find a lost Fitbit" and discovered there's an app for just that.
I walked around with it scanning and realized the only place that I hadn't checked was the yard waste dumpster which Ian had already taken out to the curb for pick-up in the morning.
Bingo!  I had to walk all the way back up our long driveway for a yard basket and my gloves so I could unload the waste without just dumping it on the ground and make yet more work for myself.  My iPhone activity monitor gave  me 11,000 steps for the day.  It's fallen off my wrist before so now I've ordered two replacement bands with safety fasteners.
Niece Allison put me in touch with Linda Evans of the High Desert Museum who apparently is looking for spinners to participate in character and interact with the public.  I went down this morning to meet with her and to clarify what she was expecting.  Allison mentioned a week-long program called Frontier Days. She took me to the storage area where they had various articles she thought I might be able to employ.
By the time we were done talking, I had committed to being a regular volunteer on Fridays from 11:00-4:00.  This is my costume, she is going to fit me for a corset later and I've ordered boots online from eBay.  I think the weekly gig is primarily for the summer tourist months so it shouldn't interfere with the SMART kindergarten reading program during the school year.  My spinning wheel and I start July 14th.

Meanwhile I finished my placemats from Suzie Liles' pattern in the latest Handwoven.  She used linen and I substituted 8/2 cotton.  I love the colors but they're just too thin in my opinion.  I'm going to try to create the pattern in Fiberworks substituting 3/2 cotton instead or else just use Turned Taquete which is double thick.  I'll have to substitute different colors as I used up the last of these cones.  Actually, in looking at the picture I think I would actually like the squares instead of stripes.  For another day.

Fireworks are going off as I type.  The 4th of July is just four days away and its legal to sell fireworks in this state.  Temporary tents are set up everywhere and even Costco has some for sale.  It's going to be a noisy night.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Books, Books, Books

Once again, my reading has been interrupted by other things.  I'm trying something new to ensure that reading doesn't get lost during these summer months.  I have a 90-minute date with a book before bedtime every night and I find that by keeping to a specific bedtime and not reading in bed, the quality of my sleep has improved.

Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane by Lisa See

This was Lisa See's best book yet. In the past we read about California with a China backstory, but the tables were turned this time. This was set in China with a California backstory and as we knew from the press release, it was a story of a Chinese mother and her daughter adopted by a California couple, so I expected a predictable story told in two voices. Not so! We read about the Hill People and their cultural and economic struggles to survive. We read about their minority status and the problem with opium. We read about Pu'er tea, all about Pu'er tea. I was introduced to Pu'er tea through my Tai Chi school, plus two of my friends are adoptive mothers of Korean babies, now grown. This book felt very personal. I loved the ending.

Seventh Heaven by Alice Hoffman

The setting is a Levittown-type of community where all houses are uniformly the same, yet the living is not. Couldn't anyone please love, listen to and appreciate someone else?! These neighbors were anything but neighborly, just going through the motions. As for the children, it was Lord of the Flies meets Long Island.

The writing was so compelling that I kept reading in spite of liking just about no one. The community was manufactured out of a potato field and the people who moved into it tried to create community from scratch. They were going through the motions of living the life they thought they were supposed to live and when they gave up, the solution seemed to be to leave. Nora was a breath of fresh air as she fought to not drown in the community's rejection and to give her sons more than she had grown up with.  Hoffman's choice of title is pure irony since these people were not living in that state.

A Piece of the World by Christine Baker Kline

The story is based on Andrew Wyeth's painting by the same name and unfolds with Christina as a young girl. A childhood illness left her with difficulty walking and no cure for her bone disease. As she grew older, the effects worsened leaving her crippled making her farm chores difficult. A bright student, the opportunity to further her studies to become a teacher were dismissed early by her parents. Her future only left her with two choices, to marry or maintain the farm. Sadly, she had very few opportunities to make romantic connections leaving her with no escape. Christina is not the most likable character, but by reading the book you become sympathetic to her disposition. Andrew Wyeth developed a relationship with her over many years and was able to capture a different side of her in his painting.  I gave it five stars.

Beartown by Fredrik Backman

After reading two of this author's earlier books I received this one up from NetGalley, expecting some light reading but instead found myself in a layered tale of a struggling small town and doing what's right. I'm unfamiliar with hockey and have never seen a game so I found it hard to get into the book at first because hockey is one of the major characters!

Beartown is struggling to hang on to it's ever-shrinking existence. The major employer "efectivized it's personnel" for the past three years in a row and residents were moving away, leaving those remaining to pin their hopes on a successful season for their hockey team - a winning season. If they lost their hockey club, would they next lose their remaining school? People in desperate situations resort to desperate means. That's what this book is about. It's "all" for the hockey club, but what is "all?"

These students and hockey players have been friends since kindergarten, but at a drunken celebratory party something happens that changes everything. How quickly hockey club supporters convince themselves of a lie and turn against Maya, the victim, and throw her under the bus because they're desperate to win. Sune, the team's coach, watches helplessly, knowing that "we love winners even when they're very rarely particularly likable people." And how quickly the lie turns to hatred which seeps through their town all the way down to the children. Anyone who questions their personal actions reminds themselves that it is for the good of the club - they believe that a winning star player means a winning team and a winning town. The beginning was slow for me, but it turned into a page turner, right up to the end.  Another five start book for me.

Oh My Stars by Lorna Landvik

Tall, slender Violet Mathers is growing up in the Great Depression, which could just as well define her state of mind. Abandoned by her mother as a child, mistreated by her father, and teased by her schoolmates (“Hey, Olive Oyl, where’s Popeye?”), the lonely girl finds solace in artistic pursuits. Only when she’s hired by the town’s sole feminist to work the night shift in the local thread factory does Violet come into her name, and bloom. Accepted by her co-workers, the teenager enters the happiest phase of her life, until a terrible accident causes her to retreat once again into her lonely shell. I can't believe I gave a mystery five stars. I always say that I don't like the mystery genre and than I have to qualify that by adding, except for Tony Hillerman. He had an uncanny way of placing me in the story, the sounds, the vistas, the culture - I overlooked the formulaic pacing. After a stretch of years I went back and read them all again.

Oh My Stars is Lorna Landvik’s most ambitious novel yet, with a cast of characters whose travails and triumphs you’ll long remember. It is a tale of love and hope, bigotry and betrayal, loss and discovery–as Violet, who’s always considered herself a minor character in her own life story, emerges as a heroine you’ll laugh with, cry with, and, most important, cheer for all the way.

This is from the publishers review but it was the dose of chick lit I was looking for.

Song of the Lion by Anne Hillerman

I can't believe I gave a mystery five stars. I always say that I don't like the mystery genre and than I have to qualify that by adding, except for Tony Hillerman. He had an uncanny way of placing me in the story, the sounds, the vistas, the culture - I overlooked the formulaic pacing. After a stretch of years I went back and read them all again.

And then along comes his daughter, writing the things I had enjoyed so much but from a woman's perspective. Her writing is literary while holding true to the mystery who dunnit expectations. As a weaver I am especially excited about the culture she weaves into her stories, pun intended. I know for a fact that this is first mystery I've concluded choked up with sentimental tears. I'm a fan.

The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert

I have to write reviews of the books I receive through NetGalley so I rarely write for other books.  Once again, this review is from the publisher.  It's my favorite book so far this year and when I finished reading, I felt like I knew Alma, that she was a real person.  She was very real to me. This is a six star book!

Exquisitely researched and told at a galloping pace, The Signature of All Things soars across the globe—from London to Peru to Philadelphia to Tahiti to Amsterdam, and beyond. Along the way, the story is peopled with unforgettable characters: missionaries, abolitionists, adventurers, astronomers, sea captains, geniuses, and the quite mad. But most memorable of all, it is the story of Alma Whittaker, who — born in the Age of Enlightenment, but living well into the Industrial Revolution — bears witness to that extraordinary moment in human history when all the old assumptions about science, religion, commerce, and class were exploding into dangerous new ideas. Written in the bold, questing spirit of that singular time, Gilbert's wise, deep, and spellbinding tale is certain to capture the hearts and minds of readers.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Mary Mary Quite Contrary

How does your garden grow?  Not very quickly, I can tell you that! Saturday morning I picked up a couple of my prints from the studio to work on here at the house and I got caught up by a sign that said Plant Sale, so like Hansel and Gretel, I followed the signs until I arrived at this residence about a mile from our house.  I put up no resistance.
The plants are hearty and local and sold for $6 per gallon plants.  I bought six and came home to plant them.
They sure look a lot smaller when they're in the ground.  It's been overcast and in the mid-60s for most of June, with yesterday being the first nice day.  It's now in the 80s as though someone turned a temperature knob.  I said I was done planting, but this time I mean it.
This is my favorite outside sitting area and where I like to drink my morning coffee.
My work is beginning to pay off though most of the summer color is from annuals.  The perennials have some more growing to do before they'll flash their pretty colors.  I'm hoping for a showy display next summer.

We have a lot of overgrown junipers that I've decided to turn my attention to now.  They dominate four areas and I've going to just focus on one at time, this being the first.
This is all the further I got after about an hour of hand trimming this morning. Ian is going to have to make quite a few dump runs and it's a good thing it's only a mile from here.  I think if I work a bit each morning that I can make this an attractive plant.
This is what I don't want to have happen.  Our subdivision was built and planted about 1990 and we're not the only house struggling with overgrown junipers.  This is ugly!
I was anxious to finish these two scarves and in my hurry gave no thought to beat.  Never has "haste makes waste" but more appropriate.  I beat these much to hard, and while they're pretty to look at, they're stiff.  I've decided to take a break from weaving for a couple months this summer.  I'm feeling pulled in too many directions.
I think rather I'll focus on printmaking for a while, especially since I can do my relief block carving at home.  The right is a wood block I did a couple of months ago and I did it again in linoleum last week, so Friday took both blocks into the studio to print and proof.  Linocut is much easier to cut but I clearly don't have a feel yet for removing background chatter.  I'll clean up the block and print again.

I've been experimenting with my monoprints and at the present I prefer nonrepresentational abstractionism.  I'm spending about eight hours a week at the studio between my volunteer shift and studio time and feel a lot of relief from my decision to take a weaving break.  I had gotten into a mindset that I "should" weave instead of I "want" to weave.  I have enough inventory that picking back up at the end of summer I'll still have time to weave for the holiday sales.  Weaving pays for my arts supplies on top of the yarn!  I'll be back.