Knitting

Plus Ça Change...

Nine years ago I decided to leave Maine to go to Michigan to live with the man I am now married to. It was a big deal to do this and I fretted about it for quite a while before committing to it. The biggest hurdle was figuring out how, with working on my doctorate and moving, I would be able to continue to support myself. Part of the problem was solved when about half of the patients I was working with decided to move with me, i.e. continue our work by telephone. Then I learned of an opening at Beliefnet.com for a part-time community manager. I applied and got the contract. I started there in January of 2001. Being able to supplement my income that way enabled me to make the move, to finish graduate school on time, and then to move back to Maine and begin work to again to establish a practice here. The work was interesting, easy for me and just enough of a challenge for me to feel it worth continuing to do.

All good things come to an end. In January 2008, Fox bought Beliefnet and the changes began. The community was moved to a new platform this winter and the members were not happy. And the direction of things as a whole turned to trying to have content that matched the hot trends on Google, rather than generating content that could become a hot trend -- that is heavily searched on Google. The work became less fun, traffic to the community declined. Then came the inevitable and I, and the other contract managers were terminated. My last day was today.

Will it ever stop?

This is what it looks like out my front door now


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It's raining. Again. Right out there in the park there is supposed to be a concert in 2 hours. It's been like this for 10 days now, not raining all the time, but cloudy and foggy and humid. Our grass is so tall it is going to seed -- too wet to mow. The tomatoes in the garden are doing all right. But the peppers are struggling and the cucumbers are gone. I think we have had only 3 or 4 sunny days this whole month.

See what is waiting for a nice sunny day?

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Sigh.



What's a kitten to do...

What is a kitten to do on a rainy day? 


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Father's Day


I have kind of ambivalent feelings about Father's Day and Mother's Day, partly because they have become more about cards and obligation than recognition and partly because my own parents were not easy people. But this morning I have been thinking about my dad.

He was quite the dashing guy in his time. Here he is sitting on the beach in 1933 or so, not even a year after he and my mother got married.


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He was 19 in this photo, already married and his first child on the way.

My dad was a complicated man, spoiled by being the only boy with 3 sisters and a doting mother. He was smart and funny and a bit of  con man. Think of Milo Minderbinder in Catch 22 and you will have a sense of my dad. He did not graduate from college. The Depression combined with a wife and, by 1935, 2 sons made staying in college impossible. He had a radio repair business, worked for a company that made radios, and then spent most of my childhood in the Army, most of that time as a nuclear weapons inspector. When I was a little girl, we had a strong mutual admiration  thing going on and I was definitely a daddy's girl.

But as can happen, when I grew up, I began to see a darker and far less appealing side of my father and his bravado and trickster qualities became problematic. When he died 10 years ago, we had been estranged for two years. As time has passed, I have become better able to carry him in my heart and memory as the Daddy of my childhood, who read me stories, played games with me, carried me on his shoulders, took me with him when he went to work, and wrote me letters when he was away. 


Taking a walk with my son




He was a difficult man and he gave me something priceless. Because he told me over and over again that I could be anything I wanted to be and that I could learn anything I needed to know from books -- neither of which was exactly true of course -- he gave me confidence in myself, the belief that if I want something badly enough, I can do it. That was a priceless gift and for that alone I will always love him.


Buddies

With this slow warming, we haven't had many days when we could open all the windows. The cats love to sit on the sills, but they get really excited when the windows are open and they can be in the window and sniff the breeze and dream kitty dreams of catching squirrels and birds. (Our cats are indoors only). The other day we actually had a warm sunny day and Spike and Roscoe were ready for it. They spent hours like this, buddies enjoying a summer day.


Pizza Night

Friday night is pizza night at our house, when it isn't soup night or let's get take out night. Frankly I get tired of pizza after a while and I never eat more than a couple of pieces anyway so pizza night is more my husband than me. Tonight was pizza night.

We have loads of luscious Maine shrimp we bought in the winter and froze to use all year. So we started with a bag of shrimp -- maybe a pound of them, shells on. After my husband peeled them, we let them marinate in some Newman's Own Caesar dressing -- not the creamy kind. Then he sauteed some onions in butter. We use whole wheat pizza crust dough that we get from the supermarket, because it is quite good. So he shaped the crust into the pan and then we spread more Caesar dressing, this time the creamy kind, on the crust. Next came the onions and shrimp, anchovies -- because we both love them -- and parmesan cheese. I think Neal used a little too much of the cream dressing, so it wasn't as pretty as we might wish, but oh, did it taste great!

My garden is growing!

We are having a very slow start with our garden this year. Everything was in the ground 2 weeks ago, but we have had rain and chilly days since then. But then the sun came out and now I see that we have germination!

We have a small garden here in the front of the house and a larger one on the side below the house. Up here we have lettuce, radishes, and basil growing in boxes --

and several varieties of early bearing tomatoes in buckets --

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The lilies I planted in the small bed by the door are coming up -- not that you can really tell from this picture, but trust me, they are there.

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Chive flowers are so pretty --

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It is one of those sublime early summer days here --

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All of which should distract you from the fact that I have no new knitting to show you.

Community Supported Agriculture

Access to locally grown agricultural products has become common enough that nearly everyone can gain access to this marvelous food source. Where I live we have a wide array of farms offering all kinds of produce and meat. In fact we have bought a half share for eggs, 1/4 of a pig for pork in the fall and we buy bread every week in a similar arrangement. Yes, we could bake the bread ourselves, but this way we help support a local baker who makes terrific bread that we can pick up every Tuesday.

One thing we have here that most people do not have is access to a community supported fishery program. We bought a half share last summer, then in the winter when they offered Maine shrimp, we did that too and now we are again in fishing season and we are getting our fish every Sunday. The Midcoast Fishermen's Cooperative, operating out of Port Clyde offers wild caught fish from the Gulf of Maine for the duration of the groundfishing season. This year it will run for 14 weeks and started last week. The fish is unbelievably good and fresh and a half share gives us a meal to eat each week, plus one to put in the freezer and we make fish stock also. Last week we got 4 beautiful flounder --

Finished! Mostly

Well, I finished Aeolian on Wednesday. It isn't blocked yet, so I suppose I can't really call it finished in the fullest sense of the word, but it is off the needles. It looks like it will block to around 72" wide. Because I used really fine yarn and small needles, it is not as big as you would expect given the number of repeats I did, but it is big enough for my purposes. I think. I wish it were larger but I don't wish that hard enough to go back and add more repeats. No way.

So here is a glimpse or two --

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Those gazillions of teeny 11/0 beads make the silk, which already has a really nice drape, drape even better.

So now my next, god-these-rows-are-interminable project which needs to be finished will get some of my attention. I promised myself I will do at least a row a day, which doesn't sound like a lot but believe me, they take forever! Here is the Snow Peacock, once again in progress --


For some reason I also like the way she looks when she is all crumpled up like this --

Slogging along

Every time I knit a triangular shawl I remember why I hate knitting them -- these long rows at the end are maddening. Stoles, besides being a better choice in general for me, have the tedium of length but at least it is easy to measure progress.

So here is where I am today with Aeolian -- about 9 rows from the end. And that will take at least 2 days.

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Look closely and you will see that I substituted an 8/0 bead -- the rest are 11/0 and smaller -- for the nupps in this last part. No more nupps for me!

      

We have the garden almost completely planted. We mostly buy our seedlings locally but occasionally we are unable to locate a variety that we really want to try so we order them. Like these hot yellow peppers that we got from Burpee. I didn't know we could buy seedlings from them but they have a fair variety available and they ship them in these plastic packs so they really do not get damaged. Yes, I know, plastic bad. But still...

As you can see Spike is intrigued --

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And finally look who has been visiting our lilacs -- a hummingbird! This is a quick shot and not the best --

© Cheryl Fuller, 2007. All  rights reserved.