Friday, June 26, 2009

Projects to Complete

First of all, thanks for all your well wishes. I had great plans to kick off retire-
ment, but ended up doing a lot of sleeping and reading instead.
We received these Japanese tree bells from my sister-in-law in SoCal. We had admired hers when we visited in March, so last week while sitting on the front porch, applying retirement time wasting skills, a UPS truck pulled to the gate and tossed over a box - these. They have the most delightful chime when the wind tosses the branches around.

I did get my towels hemmed and ready for use. I had a couple of problems along the way. For one thing, I didn't realize that my tape measure added a 1/4" before the first inch. I'd measure where I was when I had to leave for work, and then take up from there. As you can see, every towel is a different size. I had an large amount of warp breakage and finally one frustrated Saturday, emailed a Beryl, a retired friend. I figured all days are Saturday when you're retired and she responded promptly with many a variety of thoughts.
She said that black, because its over-
processed, tends to be unstable as a cotton warp. Because all the broken warps were the dark purple, I do think that is the problem. I had at least 12 break, some I found in time to tie back on and one of those broke a second time. You can see which is the first and which is the last towel. I decided to weave off the last towel in green, which looks pretty icky - bad choice. Its short because a couple more warps broke and I cut it off.

I have so many projects that I started that are still on a back burner and need to be completed. I look forward to starting afresh soon. I'm just about finished with one that I am very proud of. My parents lived in Alaska when I was born and so I have their photo albums. Daddy kept a photographic record of the building of the Alcan Highway done in 1942, which I realized earlier in the year is of archival quality. I contacted the Alaska State Library and though emailed conversations, they have agreed to accept this collection.

DD Chris wanted us to preserve a digital collection for our family and we have collaborated on this - hours! It was a giant task but this week I was able to finish and have uploaded the images to Flickr and you can see them here. Many of the pictures were taken by Rolleiflex and are surprisingly crisp. They are best viewed as a slide show.

I am pleased to be able to present them to the State that my father loved so passionately and had to leave because of his asthematic daughter. I have a little more paperwork to complete and I can get them to where they belong. Though its hard to let the physical photographs go away forever, I know Daddy would be very happy. I am blessed to be the daughter of this amazing man.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Retirement, Chapter Umpteen

This is a totally daughter dependent blog today. I took the mitts and hats to DD's house after church this morning, but she had just awakened and it didn't seem fair to make her model my goods at that time. We visited, I got lots of grandkids time and then I left, forgetting my camera. Poor Chrissie lugged my goods and my camera and her kids and husband, he came - wasn't lugged, to our retirement party tonight, so that I could get a picture of her in my - goods. She's such a good girl. She took also pictures of her own and posted them on her blog here.

We became officially retired at 5:30 tonight, exactly when our party started at Silver Peak Brewery. Together Ian and I have 40 years of combined library experience. I cannot think of a greater retirement present than to be with these wonderful people this evening, both retired and still working. We have made some rich friendships, lo these many years. I cannot believe how many people came out to celebrate our passage, accomplishment, retirement - whatever. We have crossed over to the other side.

I did hem my towels today and am planning a warp that I'll need to dye. That's how I plan to kick off my first official day of retirement - dyeing a warp and weft. Move over work life. Your time is up.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

And to Retire

I had a paper-signing kind of morning so was stunned to come to work a little late and find this party set up, with CAKE. I know that my branch manager makes spectacular cakes; its a bit of a hobby with her. This one was so big that I had to ask if it was a box. She assured me that is was a four-sheet layer cake. I thought - who is going to eat all that cake?!

Ian and I were huge fans of the Frasier show, so I
certainly appreciate this sentiment. If you didn't watch the show - never mind.

The staff gathers and I am instructed to cut my cake. Push a little harder, they say. Hmmm, try another spot. Too hard? Go a little lower.
Okay, some-
things not right here. I try several spots on top, then poke the frosting on the sides. It's becoming clear that nothing is cake-like. I scrape the frosting across the top - and it is so too a box.
There, you can see, is what my cake really is, and I'm having a *piece* of it as I type right now. I have been very fortunate to work with powerful and wonderful women. Who else would come up with all of this?!
I wish there were some way I could share the contents of the Slam Book they made for me. They decided it would be better than a card. Oh yeah, right on. You have to click for big to get the cracy authentic details and the custom spiral binding.
You cannot begin to imagine the pages that my book contains, each with answers by one of my co-
workers. This page is "How long have you worked with Sharon?" to which someone responded "Define work" and another - "Who's Sharon?" They thought this would be better than a card. Oh yeah. I laugh harder every time I read through it.
And there you have it. I am in front of my nearly balded work-
station and soon to be no more, as in the Monty Python parrot - this parrot is no more. Me neither.

Retirement, here I come.

Retirement Eve

I finally finished the hat for DD Christina. I'm anxious to see it on her because, as always, I'm worried about how it will fit. She has soooooo much hair. I'm having lunch with and granddaughter Alexia next week.
The scraps of yarn on the left are all that's left from the gauntlets and hat. I had so much fun that I've decided to do it again with the yarn on the right. I need to dye up some sock yarn for contrast so I can start. I'm starting to think it might be fun to wind off the second color repeat and try some toe-up socks from Cat Borghi's book. I've got lots of time.
After all these years, I'm still taken aback by hour our beautiful clouds.

Last night on my Retirement Eve, I was helping the last library patron of the night. We had already closed up the building, dropped the blinds and locked the doors. My poor patron couldn't understand why I wasn't seeing his overdue books that he had just asked me to renew. Pam told me later that he had asked her and she had already done that.

I explained that the first any of his materials was due wasn't until July 1st. He's about 35, very pleasant and usually comes right before we close. I turned the monitor so he could see the screen with me and had leaned my body, supported by my right elbow onto the counter. At that moment, our heads were less than a foot apart. Suddenly a wave of something passed through me and I thought I was going to pass out. I looked at the patron and saw that he too was experiencing something, so it occurred to me that we must be getting a current through the counter. I felt myself falling to the left, but when I stepped back to keep my balance the effect passed away.

It was then that I realized that my patron was having a petit mal seizure and was frozen in a partial crouch to his left. I signaled to two other staff in the building and they both came over to help us; Pam rolled up a chair for him to sit in as his seizure began to pass. Liz wanted me to call 911, but the other seizures I have exprienced have cycled thorugh in minutes, as did his. As he came back, he told us his dad was there and we brought him in. Within five minutes, it was over and he walked out with his dad.

When I was a medical transcriber, two of my accounts were neurologists. I couldn't help think how little we see seizures these days, due to the miracle of modern drugs. I talked to Ian after I got home, because I didn't realize the electrical current could pass from one experiencing a seizure to another, but as he pointed out, we were both grounded by the counter. I woke up this morning, way too early, thinking about the event again. It happened on the last night of my entire library career, reminding me that life will always be full of surprises.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

A June in Nevada

I had to go to town today for our guild meeting, and decided that if the weather permitted, I'd take some pictures on my way home. This is purple sage growing on the road cut, just a couple hundred feet inside the Nevada State line. I think of the band, New Riders of the Purple Sage.
This poor juniper tree scrambles for purchase where it was planted. It's bare roots have nothing to feed on, and yet still is grows. The hillside is dotted with Buckwheat Flower, a wild form of Eriogonum. We are still having the unseasonable rains and would otherwise have no wildflowers now.

I love it when the Buckwheat blooms. We won't have yellow blooms again until September when the Rabbitbrush flowers. There isn't much Buckwheat but the Rabbitbrush is insanely populous, so I don't feel bad about using it for a dye plant.
It's all about geographic lottery. Juniper trees that fall by the feeder stream to Long Valley Creek are vigorous - life is good.

Juniper trees that fall on the scrabble and skree, just across the road, have to struggle for their very existence. Makes me think of my birth lottery and Africa.
There are still a couple of these guys around - Bush Lupine. Disap-
pointingly, as a dye plant it produces green. Laura called yesterday from Oregon and we chatted about dye plants and color, among other things. Mormon Tea (ephedra) is a dye plant, but you have to use four times plant to wool to get brown, and as she pointed out, I already have brown sheep.
This is a wetland plant, not growing anywhere else, but because there's a small spring on the road cut across from our house, it grows here and I don't know what it is. Our geology is fascinating. It's new in geologic time, and uplifts and breaks make water a gamble - how Nevada.
I took this shot across from our gate because it tickles my funny bone. It's California Poppy and this isn't California.

Friday, June 12, 2009


I finished the socks from Cherry Tree Hill. Amy warned me that the yarn would run like crazy. I washed them, and they ran as she had predicted . I'm okay with that since these are for me, but I don't think I'd use this yarn for gift sock and it's too bad, because I love the short color runs.

It's June and I certainly didn't expect to be able to wear them this season, but it's been just that unseasonably cold. We've even have a couple of fires in the wood stove - crazy. The weather patterns are changing and I hope I'm going to like the new ones.

Double Eyelet Rib Pattern - multiple of 7 stitches. I cast on 56.

Rows 1,2 & 4: p2, k5
Row 3: k2tog, yf, K1, yf, sl 1, k1

This is what I have been spinning for the past couple of months - blah, blah, blah. My plan is to get enough yarn spun for a natural dye day. I have four wools here: the white on left is Bluefaced Leicester, then it's luster longwools in white, champagne and gray. I love how the colored wools overdye. The Blueface is for hats and the rest for double-weave wall hangings, just as soon as I learn how to do double weave. Did I mention that I'm retiring in four days and will have time to learn things like that?
Nothing goes without snooper-
vision, as you can see. With the socks finished, I have no stash yarn. I'm thinking about placing a Knit Picks order, getting a couple of sock yarns and some plain wool to toss into my natural dye pots for a fair isle sweater. Thoughts.
This odd structure is a barn loom that my brother brought down right after we moved here. It sat outside through the winter and when Laura and I finally assembled it, it was so damaged that there was no weaving potential left. It is a bird feeder now. I had planned to trellis the roses but they had plans of their own.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Late Spring

This has been a dry spring. I had looked forward to sharing the May wild-
flowers with you, but May came and went with little to show. This is Mule Ear and May last year the hillsides were yellow from the prolific growth. After a record-breaking week of rain every day, suddenly we have a late, meager wildflower season. An inch of rain fell in that period which is significant when you realize that Nevada gets 7" in a year. The reservoirs are still low and we remain in drought.

Prickly Poppy gets its name from the short yellow spines that cover its stems. The flowers can get up to 5" across and the face actually looks like a fried egg. If you look carefully, you will see all three of our dogs.
Not only is the plant armed to the teeth, its full of alkaloids and toxic to eat - why would anything want to? It reminds me of a thistle. Thankfully, the thistles are sir not appearing in this picture - not enough moisture in time.

Desert Peach has its peaches now. Some of those barbs are 3" long. This is not a bush you want to brush up against.

The white pelicans are back at the dammed ponds of Ross Creek. The attraction? This pond is stocked and leased by a fly fishing instructor who teaches classes here. I love to see these birds. He does not.

Storm clouds at sunset.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

And, Done!

They're done. The mitts aren't exactly the same, but when worn, I don't think the differences will be apparent. I had so much fun that I went back to Jimmy Beans and got another skein of the Noro sock yarn in a different, even wilder color pathway.

We're babysitting tonight so I asked Lexie if she'd help me and model them.

She was happy to help. I've just started on the flap cap to match. I bought another skein so I won't have to worry about running out of yarn. If anything, the problem will be that I have so much leftover that I'll need to think of another project.

Monday, June 01, 2009

One Glove Down,

It's Monday morning, three days after planting our poor wilted tree, and look at it now. I'm confident it will thrive. The root ball was dry when Tom pulled it out. We soaked the basin, including some smelly fermented fish stuff in the bath. What made the tree happy wasn't anything we did. We have had an abnormal spell of afternoon thunderstorms and soaking rains for two days and predicted for two more. The timing is perfect. These are our April showers - in June.
I'm very pleased with the first fingerless glove, which now that I think about it, appears more like a gauntlet. I sent a picture by phone to DD Chrissie and she is thrilled. I'm a little concerned about getting the second one to look close enough to be an actual pair. This is Noro yarn, and the color runs are so long that finding a place to start the second glove was, well, interesting. Chrissie asked if maybe I could make her a flap cap to match. I need to get back to Jimmy Beans to see if there's another skein on this color left. It was on sale, so I'm not optimistic but it really would be fun to make. The other thing is that it's kinda scratchy and might not feel as nice as it looks.

About a month ago Chrissie started talking on Facebook about needing a Three Woof Moon t-shirt, available at Amazon, which you can see here. At that time there were about 300 hundred comments. Ian thought it was so funny that he ordered one for her. The t-shirt is up to over 900 comments and has made broadcast news and now there's a YouTube video, a parody of "Colors of the Wind" from Disneys' Pocahontas which you can see here. It brings me back to the question of meme and social networking. I read that virulogists are actually looking at us learn more about how viruses spread.