Friday, May 30, 2008

My Day Off

I got half my display for the library installed yesterday morning. They have two display cases and I was asked to be the June gig - pretty cool. The other case won't be empty until next week so I have some time to think about it. This one is hats and bags, and while I was putting it together, one of the staff bought a bag which paid for lunch and my museum tour, with change. Amy, Allison and her daughter Phoebe and I met for lunch at the museum restaurant, an extension of the Cheese Board and Wine. The food and company was delightful.

The Nevada Museum of Art only permits photo-
graphy of the rooftop gallery, and I thought this sculpture against the Porsche Building was pretty cool. Beryl had emailed me earlier in the week to tell me that they had driven over from California to see the Frank Lloyd Wright exhibit and that it was wonderful. I live here and I hadn't seen it! He's one of my American icons and so her email had put the wheels in motion.
I liked this sculpture a lot, but those sharp pointy bits are just as sharp and pointy as they look. I think its looks like an idea for an episode of Monk, which Ian and I are totally hooked on through Netflix. I don't know why we pay for satellite when all we watch is Netflix. And when we finish with Monk, I think we're going to watch Northern Exposure. By the way, the Frank Lloyd Wright exhibit was just as wonderful as Beryl said.
This exhibit is Mt. Rose, recently recrowned with snow - I love living in the Sierra's backyard. I am a huge FLW afficionado and just glad I didn't miss the change to see this collection. Ian and I got to see his windows exhibit at the Building Museum in DC. I need pay closer attention to our local museum's schedule. Note to self~

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Three Bags Full(ed)

These are my last three felted bags, and they may truly be my last as I hate the part where I have to assemble them, and I'm none to hot on carrying a bag with two straps. They are knit with roughly the same number of stitches but the different wools is how they end up being different in size.

I used to block them with cereal boxes but we have eaten most of the cereal so now I block them deacces-
sioned library books.
If you're going to full something in the washing machine, you must encase it in a zippered pillow case bag and this the reason why. This is all the link I pulled out of the bags, which would have otherwise gone into my washing machine pump.
I am a bad bag mom - I do play favorites, and this is my favorite. I love the way Border Leicester fulls. I dyed the locks, carded them whilekeeping their colors as separate as possible and then spun them. The other wools I've used haven't fulled into this boucle-like yarn and I love the way it looks. My own bag is from this wool. I bought about five fleeces from Ralph Groefsema before he retired so don't worry about running out any time soon.
Drum roll please - three complete bags. I'm going to knit on my Sonnet sweater for a while - phew. Glad these are done.
I got out of the car to open the gate tonight and just had to drive right back in for my camera and so will leave you with yet another gratuitous Big Sky picture.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Memorial Day Red Rock Breakfast

Laura was down from Oregon this past weekend. She and Linda share a birthday year and they wanted to celebrate their landmark birthdays together. We decided to have breakfast together out here in Red Rock since she had to drive home this way anyway. We?? Friends already, our friendships really began to deepen as a sheep-to-shawl team at the Conference of Northern California Handweavers. The event was in Grass Valley and one of those days you could fry eggs on the sidewalk. Ian reconnoitered and found a couple of fans for us since we were stuck in a corner of the unairconditioned building. It was so hot that one of the members of another team passed out, and while paramedics attended, the team labored on - a race to the finish, a finish that's another story in itself.
Of course, we want to see all the lambs. Mim had a horrible lambing season and and it appears to be a problem with line breeding. She will use another ram from another line next year. The grass that appears to be above our heads is where the ewe and her blind twins are. There used to be a nice tree in the middle but Mim cut it down. The poor blind lambs figured out the fence, then would dark across the pen and right right into the tree, completely stunning themselves. Finally, she took the tree out.
Their house is a log cabin that they built 25 years ago and is charming. Doesn't it look like all the trucks are pulled up to the feeding station??
Mim's husband Bob is a landscaper and their yard is stunning. Also, in the first picture of the group, Mim is holding JoBeth, their Jack Russell terrier. She alternates between calling him a Jack Russell Terriorist and The Verminator. They don't have rabbits and they don't have squirrels. A lot more grows when you're not feeding rodents. I could almost want a verminator of my own - almost.

This is the view from their front porch and it's the view I fell in love with when I came out here for a spin-in seven years ago. I still feel like I need to pinch myself to be sure it's true that I live out here too now.
The Tapestry Club! Though we've been trying to start since the first of the month, tomorrow is our day, and I have everything in the car. But first we're going to meet Amy at the Nevada Museum of Art for lunch and then see the Frank Lloyd Wright exhibit. After that, we'll launch the first session of the Tapestry Club.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Huggable Chickens

Originally uploaded by oktopus garden
Who would 'a thought~

I've Been Tagged.

Michelle recently tagged me for a meme and asked me pretty please to play, so here goes:

The rules: Posted here at the beginning. The player answers all questions. The player then chooses six people you want to know more about and tags those people by listing their names at the end of the post and going to their blog and leaving a comment, letting them know they've been tagged and asking them to read your blog. Also, you let the person who tagged you know when you've posted your answer.

1. What was I doing 10 years ago? That was a pretty rough time - Ian and I hadn't even been married two years yet and still had a teenager under our roof, and not just any teenager, but a very troubled boy whose friends were in the same boat. I never knew when I was going to get a call from the Sheriff's department and was relieved when he was finally court-ordered into a drug and alcohol treatment program, which he had just finished at this time ten years ago. I had only been spinning a couple of years but found it was great therapy. I enjoy my son so much now, I hardly think of those days and am glad that Reno had a treatment program when we needed it. That program is gone and jail is the substitute. I know a blessing when I see one.

2. What were five things on my to-do list today (not in any particular order)? 1) I need to felt the last three bags I knitted so I can put them in the display case at the library on Thursday - they're in the third cycle through the washing machine right now. 2) I also need to skirt Mickey's fleece so I can get it shipped for processing. I have completely run out of his roving - I had forgotten to send his fleece in last year because I put it in the State Fair. It's still raining so I am deferring that until Wednesday, which means I'll have time to start a new book today. 3) I carded some more Border Leicester so I can finish the bobbin I'm spinning and ply it up. It's white and I want to put it in the indigo dye bath next month, along with two different grey Romney skeins, yet to be spun but *not* today! 4) The first thing after drinking my coffee was to make a fruit salad for breakfast this morning at Mim's. Several of our friends drove out from town and it was such a wonderful visit, short but sweet. I'm lobbying to make it an annual tradition. 5) Start a new book.

3. What snacks do I enjoy? Salty - anything salty; pickles, popcorn, corn or veggie chips, though I'm not really much of a snacker. Years ago when I was a runner, I recognized that one of the secrets to keeping my weight down was to not eat in between meals, so if I do need to snack on my break at work, I tend to make it fruit or veggies, which I have actually come to prefer over time. Lately I've been taking a cold artichoke for my break but that season is just about over, dangit. It's easy to do in the microwave while I'm getting ready for work. I put a little water in a small, deep bowl, then add a splash of lemon juice, a splash of olive oil and a sliced clove of garlic. I cover it with plastic wrap with a vent hole, then nuke it for 7-8 minutes. I only have one left and my mouth is watering, just typing this.

4. Where are some places I've lived? I began in Alaska, then my parents wended their way to San Diego, arriving there when I turned five. They were just looking for a place to live where they could get some sleep since my asthma kept them up at nights, bless their hearts. I moved to Pensacola, Florida as a Marine wife for a year, then spent two in the Philippines, ending up in Applegate, California when Mike got out of the service. We came to Reno when he was accepted at the University, and while I've also lived briefly in Winnemucca and Redding, Reno has pretty much been it since 1975. With three children and four grandchildren also in this area, I'm pretty sure it's going to stay "it."

5. What things would I do if I were a billionaire? Oh boy, I'd pay off the house and car so Ian could retire, buy him a new truck so he could retire his 1994 Toyota, set up trust funds for all seven kids and grandkids, contribute to the educational scholarship that my brother-in-law and his wife developed as well as give to my favorite charities, and then take a long trip since we could afford to hire someone to take care of our animals. Oh, and while the fantasy continues, I'd have a larger area of our property fenced, pay for excavation so we could erect a barn and then fill it with hay. That's why this is called a Meme - it's me, me, me, me....

But 'nuff about me. I'd like to hear from: Robin, Marie, Cindy, Kathy, Leigh and Lee. You are all folks I've "chatted" with from time to time and I'd like the chance to know more about you. I didn't include Valerie since she's at Penland for a couple of weeks, and we probably won't see hide nor hair of her for quite some time, though I am eager for her reports!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Springy May

Well, Spring made a liar out of me. The weather has continued to hold and we are still using the wood stove. We are also getting more rain than I can ever remember for a May which in turn is causing the wildflowers to pour it on. The hillsides are literally golden. The weather is so unusual that they had to close Tioga Pass into Yosemite due to snow. Those poor folks at the Strawberry Music Festival!

This is source of the golden hillsides - Mule Ears, a member of the Composite Family. Another never - I have never seen them grow in such thick carpets.
I drove in for grandson Kiernan's Little League game. These are two of his biggest fans, hard core for sure to endure the wind and cold. I left after an hour and Chrissie called me minutes later to say they had just left too. At least it didn't rain during the game.
Kiernan loves baseball - bet you can see that without me telling you. Those coach dads are dedicated and infinitely patient.
I am really enjoying this May and I'm sorry that it's almost over.

Monday, May 19, 2008

The Shoe Tree

The other morning driving into work, I saw a number of cars and trailers parked by the Shoe Tree, and realized that it's been a while since I've taken any pictures of it. On my way home, I became the tourist myself.

What's on the tree changes from season to season, storm to storm. Piles of shoes appear on the ground under the tree after heavy winds. I always wonder who picks them up - not their mother!
When California DOT did major roadwork two years ago to widen the shoulders, they circled the tree with protective barrier tape. This poor broken tree has become the object of affection and three-year-old Granddaughter Alexia is saving a pair of red glitter shoes hang on it.
Storms completely and repeatedly empty the tree through-
out the year and I'm always amazed to see it fill up again. Who? Why? I am reluctant to help Alexia hang her shoes because these shoe adornments are temporary and I won't know how to explain to her why her shoes are no longer there.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

High Desert Spring

Spring is very brief in the high desert and it comes and goes, never lasting more than a couple of weeks. Fruit trees are more for looks, as the fluctuating temperatures kill the blossoms more often than not. I think Walls of Water are the best invention since sliced bread. My tomatoes have doubled in size already and have blossoms - yippee!

I wish I could capture the delightful colors of the pink desert peach and the yellow mule ears growing side by side - you have to click for big. They seem so vivid when I'm driving and not so much when I stop the car to take a picture. Anyway, that's how it appears to me~

Friday, May 16, 2008

State of Fiber

The baby sweater is done. I just need to get down to Jimmy Beans for buttons. I absolutely love the unique look that you get from the Schaffer Elaine thick-and-thin yarn and realize that with practice and dedication, I could actually spin something like it - oh well. I just wish this were machine washable, but then they don't advertise it as baby yarn. In fact, the first issue of Weavezine has a scarf using this yarn in the warp.

I have used Mr. Rabbit as my model so you can see how cute the sweater is, but his ears are in the way. Best I can do - no babies here.
My spinning hasn't been very exciting, I must admit. I just finished this triple-plied Lincoln, spun for warp. I have decided that I want to learn the Cut Pile weaving that Sara has been teaching and so have spun this according to her instructions at the retreat last June. I realize that I process and move slowly.
Are you as impressed as I am at how closely I guessed the filling of my three bobbins?

Allison and I are going to start meeting next week for a small tapestry study group - a Tapestry Club! I am so so excited. We'll also be doing the Sara Swett tapestry bag, woven from a box. I have a wretched work schedule for the next four months and won't get to see much of my friends or family, and so this was Allison's idea of how to sweeten this lonely period. Aaah, friends~ I am rich.

Monday, May 12, 2008

My Favorite Book

I'm not sure what happened to this slow reader recently, but I've fallen a pattern of reading my old favorites again. With so many books yet to be read and me such a slow reader, I feel a little conflicted, yet it's been good. I finished rereading Cat's Eye by Margaret Atwood a couple of weeks ago. I read it the first time when it was new fiction and gave a copy to my running partner for her birthday. We were taking a writing class together at the time and she rued that someone had already written her story. I'm thinking that Annie Proulx's Shipping News is going to be a future reread. Lee says she is getting ready to reread The Great Gatsby, another book that I'd like to revisit.

However, today at lunch I finished reading Angle of Repose for the third time. I bought a copy at the Dog Eared Bookstore on Valencia Street and have been marking the heck out it. I bought a copy and Ian bought another copy which he gave to Sharon's husband. Michael's a reader and Ian wanted him to have a copy of my favorite book. It is still my favorite book. If this isn't the perfect novel, will someone please tell me what is?! It's the two parallel stories, both powerful and playing off of each other, that make my jaw drop. The last paragraph is so powerful, but only in context of the whole story. I confess that the first time I read it, I devoured it in a matter of a couple of sittings, but I also had a crush on Oliver - maybe I still do. Outside of the Bible, I think this is *the* story of forgiveness, lack of forgiveness and power of redemption. Will I read it again? Probably.

On creativity, if you haven't caught it, Google sponsored a contest for children to submit art to be used as one of their creative logos, like Earth Day and Mother's Day. They asked children to submit art, themed around "what if" and provided teachers with teaching unit guides across a number of disciplines so all children would be included. Submissions are divided into four age categories. If you have time, I hope you'll click on the link to see what the kids have done. You can vote on their submissions until May 22nd.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Morning Walk

Because spring is so late this year, the pink Desert Peach is blooming at the same time as the yellow Bitter Brush. It's a specta-
cular show and very hard to capture on camera - can't say "on film" anymore, can we now.

What was easy to get a picture of was Buster trying his best to herd Sammi, which is pretty much like trying to herd cats. He's just trying to do his job and she thinks he's cute and quite funny. Almost the entire walk, Buster is herding and she's playing. It can get annoying, but they seem to have an understanding.

Then there's Eddie, the old man, waiting for the kids to shake out their sillies at the end of the walk. We begin with everyone trying to herd everyone, then it digresses into chasing rabbits and ends up with Buster trying be the boss. I walk a mile - they run three.

Here's Bitter Brush growing alongside Desert Peach. When almost all vegetation is sage green, it is absolutely delightful to see these banks of yellow and pink dotting the hillsides throughout the whole valley. I took dozens of photos but just couldn't capture what I was actually seeing.
One of our staff lives on the Reserva-
tion and said that the wild-
flowers are exploding up in her valley. Nope - I said - we don't have any at all and definitely no explosion. I haven't seen any yet and so took the camera this morning, just in case. Nothing again, then here at the bottom of our driveway, I see it. Phlox! Isn't it a sweet little thing?! Not an explosion but I'll take it.
Before going into the house, I decided to pull some of the weeds from our flower bed, such as it is. Then I realized that the finches were completely ignoring me.
I was still yanking up grass and weeds, when Mr. Quail ran down the bank, followed by Mrs. Quail, but by the time I depressed the shutter for a second shot, they had both run out of the frame.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

To Dye For

Last month I received notice that the Brewery Arts Center Artisans' Store would be closing the end of May for remodeling into a coffee shop. Huh? Like, did you walk or bring your lunch? I'm not sure about the intent, other than the hope to make more money, but it seems incongruous with the Center's goals. I drove down yesterday and retrieved my stuff, which is now on the dining room table. If you look carefully, you will see a feline presence. I haven't decided what to do with all these hats but probably will recycle some into bags.

How about now - do you see a feline presence now? One of our neighbors said she wanted to see the hats as possible Christmas presents. She saw them and ordered five, to be knit hats. I think I'll be phasing out of the hats very soon. It's just that they are such a fun way to use up bits of handspun.
Becky and Mim were here last Saturday for a dye day and this is my loot. It looks like a lot but doesn't even weigh a pound altogether. Mim is the master of producing intended color. I'm afraid I got some surprises this time, but until I spin them, I won't know if I'm pleased or not.

It wasn't our best photo - Ian took several - but I thought it showed our work area. Becky is holding some fruits of our labor, actually her's since those are her skeins. It was a good day and remains a good memory.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Hook and Ladder Rescue

This post is out of time sequence and dates back to our visit with the kids in San Francisco. We had walked down to eat at a wonderful East Indian restaurant, my favorite cuisine, on Valencia Street and ended up walking back home in near gale force winds. We could hear emergency vehicle sirens going off all over the city. We got home to find this outside the bedroom window. There was a car right below this. The lamp fixture was clearly compromised, lights hadn't come on yet and this is a tinder dry city. Sharon called emergency services.

We were flabber-
asted when within minutes we could hear a distant siren, which then slowed to turn on 17th Street. I think this is the closest I have even been to a hook and ladder truck. What to do? Oh what to do. Grab the camera!
Up came the ladder, up came the fireman who waved to Noah, who had the best seat in the house. They were worried about spark and risk of fire - we could hear the whole conversation. He was only feet away.
We also heard him lambaste PG&E for putting in a fixture that didn't fit the base. He couldn't restore the lamp and so removed everything and secured it with duct tape. I want you to notice to color of a fireman's duct tape.
Wait, wait. The story is not over. See the tall tan house in the center of the picture? There is a cocktail party going on and the ladies, all it their black dresses, have been hooting at the firemen. They make gestures of "come on up" and the firemen make gestures of "come on down." Finally the ladder driver says, "Put me on, send me up."

And they do. Noah is enthralled. Okay, so are we. Will Noah remember this and want to be a fireman when he grows up? They are the heroes, modern days heroes, however you look at it. After returning to the other fireman, we could hear the ladder driver say - "She really wanted to kiss me." Yup.