Wednesday, September 30, 2009


Dear Mom,
I don't know when it happened.

But this morning I had to remind this boy to shave for his school picture.


Friday, September 25, 2009

Another Teen Heart Throb

Dear Mom,
In one of those email exchanges that only good friends can manage, CarolWho'sHouseWasStruckbyLightening told me that Bobby Sherman was on the Brady Bunch the other night. I didn't pause to wonder why she was watching The Brady Bunch, because I figure it was on either before or after her Andy Griffith Show fix, but mostly because I was overcome by my Bobby Sherman swoon.
I immediately recalled the Bobby Sheman pictures I had carefully cut out of the TV section of the Sunday paper and taped, lovingly, to the headboard of my bed. I specifically recall they were publicity shots for that weeks episode of The Partridge Family on which Bobby Sherman was The Guest Star. Remember Guest Stars? I don't think shows have Guest Stars anymore.

I can also remember having a mini crush on Jack Wild when he was on HR Pufinstuff. What was I thinking?

Anyway, those photos probably had the bonus of including David Cassidy in them, too. Not being a family that would waste our money on a purchase as foolish as a Tiger Beat magazine, the Sunday TV section was my only source for pre-teen beefcake photos of David and Bobby. I remember carefully scanning the paper for any glimpse of a teen heartthrob.
So, in our email exchange, CarolWHWSbL asked what "that" song was that he sang. I replied: Julie,julie,julie do you love me?  Yep. And Julie, Do Ya Love Me sang in our heads the rest of the day. It wasn't long before I was compelled to go to itunes in search of anything Bobby Sherman. No problem. You gotta love itunes for this stuff.

I downloaded Julie, Do Ya Love Me, and Easy Come, Easy Go (and a couple of Osmond and Partridge Family songs), Easy Come, Easy Go is the song that, until today, I believed Bobby was singing about shaving under the sun.  
Shaving? Outside? Well, it was the late 60's/ early 70's and there could have been an advertising campaign for shaving cream or an electric razor that inspired those lyrics, I suppose.  I took advantage of another modern day wonder- I googled the lyrics. I have to laugh at myself, (and I am pretty sure Bonnie was singing the same lyrics I was, and believing them to be correct for 30+ years) but the actual lyrics are "TAKING THE SHADE  OUT OF THE SUN." I'll still probably continue to sing it (in my head) the other way.

In my internet searching, I have learned that Bobby has 2 sons, has been a paradmedic and currently serves with the San Bernadino Police Department. Which kind of makes me appreciate him even more- no has-been melt downs, rehab visits, no wrong side of the bars jail time.
Okay, I am plugging in my ear buds now, and going off to attend to the housework I've been ignoring while taking this little detour. And as all the songs of that era did, I faaaade oouuuttttt......

A Wool Gathering

Dear Mom,
This past weekend, our shop went to A Wool Gathering in Yellow Springs, OH.  It is my favorite show and it is a fiber fair that appeals to every one of my senses.  Besides the no-brainer that I am working at the best yarn store in all of Ohio, I get to take the work "out there" and meet so many creative, fabulous people.  Like Tammy.  And Lisa.  And Jamie.

(Jamie is smiling in spite of my threats!)

And Theresa from Ohio Valley Natural Fibers.  This is Theresa in her booth, which was across from our booth.  She is tempting me with the sheepskins.  I kept telling Theresa that I wanted to hop onto her table and roll around in the sheepskins.  Snuggle in them and take a nap.

There were spinners.

And weavers.

My favorite part of the weekend is usually watching the dogs herd the ducks.

But I think my new favorite thing is the "pickin'".

There were blue-eyed alpacas and nervous little llamas.

(Don't adjust your monitor.  They look pink because they were in a red tent!)

Angora goats.

Sheep that felt naked.

There were jousting exhibitions, wool dying, and a corn maze.  There was a LOT of ice cream.

(Notice the teenager has 2 tubs; a pint of ice cream!)

I got to spend all day Sunday with my BFF!  We wore our matching Godzilla panties.  And proudly showed them to anyone!

After working a 22 hour weekend, we frolicked in a sunflower meadow together on our way back toward home.

Can you believe we get paid to do this?!?!?!  Aren't I so blessed?!  Isn't life so very happy happy?!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Her real name is Muffin

Dear Mom,
Straight off the pages of a James Herriot story, the cul-de-sac has adopted, or more accurately, has been adopted by, a cat. The Cul-de-sac calls her Patches. Patches started hanging around late in the summer of 2008, when it seems that the only human in the family she truly cared about left for college. Better that she finds an alternate close to home rather than trot along the side of a divided highway in search of her girl.
Patches knows the cul-de-sac routines, what time the kids leave for school in the morning, when the bus brings the kids home from school, the sound of my front door opening and closing, and maybe even the sounds of our cars. She definitely knows the sound of the doggie door flap, so she can skedaddle out of the back yard before Bumper Joseph spies her. She keeps me company when I work in the yard and I've noticed her watching me from a safe spot in the driveway when John, Dear and I mow the grass. She has spent the occasional night in various cul-de-sac garages after having been unintentionally closed in.
The kids play with her, of course. I hear the Boy Next Door call for her while he waits for his ride to school. The Young Lady found yarn (what a shock!) to tie in trees and amuse the cat. And Patches does that cat thing where she pretends not to be interested, but really is. We tried introducing Patches and Bumper Joseph to each other, but the strong negative feelings are mutual.

It didn't take too long for this animal lover to start feeding Patches. I kept it a secret for awhile, with the bowl hidden to the side of a planter on the front porch and the cat chow in the front closet. The ever observant Young Lady caught me feeding her one day, and then it was our secret. Until My Hero, who is not a cat person, stepped onto the front porch, spied the dish and bellowed, "WHO IS FEEDING THE CAT!?" The Young Lady didn't waste any time giving me up. (And probably thrilled at the opportunity to tattle on Mom.) But I still feed her. (The Young Lady and Patches.)

Every few days Patches' real mom walks down the street and calls for her. Actually, she calls for Muffin, and Patches follows her home. Sometimes for the night, sometimes for just a short visit.
About this time last year, we started to worry about the approaching cold weather and Patches' plans for the winter. Fortunately Patches is smart enough to set aside her grievances and go home to Muffin's house and where she will stay inside until spring.


Tuesday, September 22, 2009

tiger beat

Dear Mom,

Two words.

Donny Osmond.


I may have to break my unspoken rule and actually VOTE on this season of Dancing With the Stars.


Monday, September 21, 2009

Dancing with the Stars....not

Dear Mom,
I can only give you a sneak peek at yesterdays finished project. It is destined for the July 2010 issue of Creative Knitting magazine.

It is always a thrill to have an idea become a successful reality, and it is also a relief when a deadline knit is off the needles. This project awaits a few finishing touches before it is handed off to the magazine, but I can now, with a clear conscience, return to my black lace work in progress.

The Young Man seems to have had a fun time (and actually dance) at the Homecoming Dance on Saturday night, in spite of (or thanks to) all the coaching and dance demos My Hero and I gave him. As if we have any business giving dance demos. A Crisis was avoided when, with less than 2 hours before the dance, The Young Man discovered that his arms and shoulders had significantly and seriously outgrown his dress shirt. My Hero and I calmly sent him up to the shower, left our dinners half eaten on our plates and drove to the nearby Kohl's where we were able to find a couple of shirts and save the day. Wooosh. When he left, I let out the breath I was holding, then took another one and held it until he got home, smiling.


Friday, September 18, 2009

Vibrant Individuals

Dear Mom,
While the Young Man was making his own High School Homecoming memories- walking with the tennis team in the Homecoming Parade, and watching the Powderpuff Football game- I was spending the evening with my two bestest friends from High School, Polly and Jill.

We did not say "cheese". We said, "Chins UP!"

We did not do too much reminiscing, though, because THANKFULLY we are all still living our lives, and they are all individual, interesting, rich, happy lives at that. We all still have much to accomplish. We care about each other's todays.
The three of us have not been together for years, but it was as if no time had passed. The only evidences of the years gone by were the presence of alcohol and the absence of Noble Roman's pizza.... And the fact that Polly told Jill what she would be wearing as if we would be unable to recognize her..... And that I needed cheaters to read the menu and Polly told us she has cataracts (thank goodness Jill is the Lasix Miracle, in another ten years we may need her to read the menu next time we get together).... but really, we are the same!!!!! THE SAME, I TELL YOU!!!

While awaiting Polly's arrival, Jill and I warned the manager that we three would be talking and laughing, possible loudly, and that he would be wise to seat us in an area where we would disturb the least amount of people, like, possibly, our own ROOM. We also gave him permission to Shush! us if he needed to, but that we would probably not stay shushed for long. (We did get shushed, but only in jest.) We also warned our good-natured waiter, Brian, that we would be in his booth for the entire evening. Brian is a real pro, barely pausing in the midst of taking Jill's order to pose for this candid shot. And he took the excellent photo of the three of us.
It occurred to me after my day with Jill last week, and was echoed again last night, that as high school friends, were all individuals. Each of us secure enough in ourselves and our friendships to pursue our own interests. We did NOT have to do everything together, belong to the same clubs, have only each other as friends. Which is remarkably mature, I think, considering we found each other when we were what? 14? 15? We were lucky to have found each other.
I just thought of another difference from the Noble Roman's days. We were home shortly after 9. Polly had to go to work today; I had to get home to the Young Lady and Project Runway. And, except for the Lasik Miracle, our eyes probably don't drive at night so well anymore.
It was fun. I miss them already.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


Dear Mom,
I think I may have been overcome with cider fumes when I came home from the apple orchard with not just the apples and cider I drove out there to get, but a half peck of plums.
Plums remind me of climbing the trees at Missy's house and eating them up there in the branches.
Last spring, or was it summer? I got this cookbook and I am counting on it to provide me with something to do with these plums other than eat them plain.
For dessert tonight, I tried the Vanilla-Spiked Plum Galette. I made it exactly as I was told, with no substitutions or shortcuts. Sometimes I have Betty Crocker delusions, but certainly not Julia Child delusions, and I think I can improvise or make changes to recipes. And many times I rush through recipes, or rather, rush the recipe along, not taking the time I sometimes should.. Sometimes this works fine but more often I am left to wonder why it all didn't work out so well.  I get ahead of myself and then realize, too late, that I forgot something.
So, I specifically went out to buy the fine sea salt and vanilla beans that the recipe called for, but were not in my cupboard. Luckily I found them both in the regular old grocery store without too much searching. (I did have to ask for the manager's help, but this turned out to be a good thing because 2 other people in my aisle needed him, too, so I actually helped a lot of customers today.) And I took my time and did all the steps in order.
The results were delicious, even though my galette dough (which I would describe as a sturdy pie dough) was not tough enough to hold in the fruit juices and the kitchen got a tad smokey. And the baking sheet is not really pretty to look at and may need to soak for several days to get all the black baked on juices cleaned off. I will try correcting the galette dough issue and make this again, though.
My Hero and I decided the results were tasty enough to have a second piece, and I decided that mine would be perfect with a cup of hot tea. It was.

One really nice thing about this is that there is little sugar added, letting the natural sweetness and flavors of the fruit come through.
The recipe, however, barely made a dent in my plums. Thankfully there is a recipe for a Stone Fruit Slump, and one for Stone Fruit Tea cake and one for Stone Fruit Upside-Down Cornmeal Cake....

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Pipsqueak's Hat

Dear Mom,
Pipsqueak and I spent some time this summer dying wool.  She used red, purple and orange RIT dye.  We soaked the yarn in water before she did all of the dying herself.  I microwaved the yarn and then we let it set and dry in the summer sun.  It took me about 45 minutes to knit this beanie hat for her with her dyed wool. 
I cast on 44 stitches on a size 15 needles and knit for about 6 inches. I decreased on the last 3 rows by knitting 2 stitches together all the way around.  I ended up with 6 stitches which I gathered at the top.  The Pippers slept in her hat last night, despite our 80 degree weather, so I think she is happy happy!

The Young Lady's Jacket

Dear Mom,

After weaving in countless ends of yarn, the Young Lady's Child Surprise Jacket was completed on Sunday night.

Because this is constructed in one piece and looks more like a blanket with alot of mistakes in it until at the very end, when, with a couple of folds and seams at the shoulder abracadabra! it turns itself into a jacket, drastic measures to assure the proper fit and sleeve length were employed:

Here is the Young Lady, laying down on the work in progress, after I folded it around her to make sure I was on track with the sleeves. Notice that her tongue is sticking out in the classic "dead child" pose.

There was a point at which it seemed the garter stitch would never end, but the stripes kept it interesting. I cursed all those stripes when I was weaving in their yarn tails, though.

I added Afterthought Pockets, which, as it sounds, are constructed after the garment is finished to insure proper placement. After marking the pocket's location, a single stitch is snipped and the stitches to either side of it are unraveled to the desired width. These unraveled stitches are then either bound off for the outer edge of the pocket, or knitted for the pocket lining.

I used a 2 stitch i-cord bind off on the pocket edge and added a little loop so the pockets could be kept closed with a button.

The inside of the pocket was knitted with one of the stripe colors, just for fun.

I also added a "locker loop" to the back of the neck, so she can hang it up.

The buttons were made with these and the some of the yarn used in the jacket. They are just right for this jacket, but took way longer to make than I thought they would. I'd use them again, though, if the project called for it.



Monday, September 14, 2009

The Tipton County Pork Festival Parade

Dear Mom,

That sounds like a book title, doesn't it? Could be a murder mystery with Indiana's version of Miss Marple solving the crime behind the scenes.....hmmmmm.....

I thought I would share pictures and recap Saturday's afternoon at the Tipton Pork Festival. This being our first year to attend in the afternoon, rather than the evening, we were treated to a wholesome slice of Americana- the local parade. This was the kind of parade that, as Will's Lady pointed out, if you have it in your barn and it moves, put it in the parade.

In addition to everybody's tractors, there were the obligatory 2009 Pork Festival Princesses,

and the 4-H Queen,

and Princesses from last year,

And a Princess from yesteryear.
There was even a Prince.

I didn't even know there was an Indiana's Hottest Farmer Pageant.

It has been a long time since I have seen a Baton Twirler. I think they may be an endangered species.
In fact, just seeing those batons brought back a flood of memories: twirling away in the back yard, twirling away in the driveway, bruising my forearms, throwing the baton up high and trying to catch it, and then ducking so I wouldn't be clobbered in the head. You just don't see girls having that kind of fun anymore. My twirling career ended at age 6, when, in what I look back on as an obvious Desperate Measure, you called my baton into action to repair the clothes line. Just as well, I suppose.

This parade was healthy with Marching Bands,

and "floats". This one from the local Beauty Shop, wins my prize for most original. There is a real live pedicure happening on this one.

There were patriotic displays,

sleeping kids,

and creepy clowns.

And my vote for Most Important Person In A Parade goes to:

This guy.