Sunday, July 29, 2007
Thursday, July 26, 2007
I'm having a rough work week, but I'm feeling very upbeat about it. Relieved, as a matter of fact. Like when you've been running with the cool crowd at school, and then they kick you out of the club all of a sudden. It's a let down, sure, but it's also a relief. You don't have to keep getting up early to do ridiculous hairdos or some other fad. You can sleep in a little, and then hang out with the folks who are actually nice. You know, your friends.
I'm sure this sounds cryptic but it's about all I can say right now. Have to maintain a sort of privacy about work stuff, as I'm sure you'll understand. In the meanwhile, I've been exhausted each evening and I crash about 9 PM. Then I have weird dreams.
I haven't even started Harry Potter yet, so please keep it a secret a little longer for me! Thank you!
My best friend and I used to joke with each other when we were adolescents. "You know, your mother hasn't paid me this month. I don't know if I can keep sitting next to you on the band bus..." Or "I'm going to have to raise the rates! Tell your mom to pay up. Being your friend has been hard work this month!" It was all a joke, of course, and she's still my best friend!
Yup, this is my form of paying you. I've got these two little odd bunches of perfectly nice yarn. The red and gray bunch? Full balls of Ribbon yarns...the Katia Denim red is leftover from a kid's cardigan, and the Online Vision gray from a vest I made myself. Fun stuff. The pink? Heirloom Breeze --Wool, Cotton blend with a touch of lycra, DK weight, I think--good for cushy socks if you like such things. Leave me a cheery note in the comments, and this weekend I'll have a drawing for two lucky folk. Wherever you live, if you win, I'll mail you a treat. (Assuming mail service goes from my country to yours!) Of course, you'll always be welcome to leave a note without pay--just tell me you don't want to enter the drawing!
Monday, July 23, 2007
An old house with good cross ventilation is a joy. We lack screens for some of the windows, and some don't easily open--the weight system in the window frame broke, or it was painted shut long ago. No matter. I set up some fans. Within hours, things were deliciously cool, even upstairs.
It's hard to catch the pleasure of sunny, low humidity summer days, so these photos will have to do. Imagine the cool breezes, please...and contrast this with the heat and humidity indexes of 97-102 (40 Celsius) we had last week. Ahhh. The relief.Today, the problem with the fan motor was fixed by some wonderful repair folk. These are my favorite repairmen. They come early, they work until the problem is fixed, the bills are reasonable and they're kind. We tested the fan and air conditioning--but in the end, I left the windows open. You have to catch these amazing days while you can.
To pass along some treats to you, no matter what your weather:
Have you seen this article about Prince Charles and his gift for Camilla's birthday?
I've linked to this sheepy photo for a hint:
While spinning and knitting, I've been listening to a free audio book from Librivox. It's a British mystery called "Whose Body?" and it's by Dorothy Sayers. You can download it here for a little summer time entertainment.
I'm waiting in line for my chance to read the latest Harry Potter...the professor has first dibs. I'm struck by something--there were lots of complaints about reviews and spoilers, yet every review I've heard or read has been so careful to keep from spoiling all the surprises for millions of excited readers. So, instead of focusing on who DID leak the book early, I'd like to turn that notion on its head. Think about how many people, in media, in your houses, or on the street, are carefully keeping Harry Potter's secrets for the rest of us. Thanks for helping us preserve our innocence for just a little while longer, until we've all had a chance to read and it enjoy it for ourselves.
Thursday, July 19, 2007
the secret sheep pajamas
The professor is finally home again...after nearly 3 weeks of travel to conferences. His plane landed after midnight and he didn't arrive back home until 2:30 AM. Of course, the dogs and I got up and say hello. We were tired the next day. So tired that when I got up from the office futon, sample knitting in hand, I discovered this when I came back. My dogs suffer so, don't they?
The professor celebrated his return by offering me this gift...he bought it while at his conference. Doesn't everyone need another piece of clothing with sheep on it? I do, for sure. Almost all my pajamas have sheep on them. The other pairs? dogs. I can't help myself. I suspect this trend towards matching animal pajamas is encouraged by the professor because of my old habit. Before we were married, I slept in horribly clashing bright t-shirts, shorts, or sweatclothes. I thought it was fun--and the thing is-- No One Can See You in the dark!! Also, when you live by yourself? And you go to sleep? You can't see either! 'cause your eyes are CLOSED! Purple, RED and Pink? Neon Green, anyone? I think the professor sleeps with his eyes open, because shortly after we were married, he started buying me matching sheep pajamas. hint hint.
Last night we went out to a new town attraction, Anna's Greek Restaurant. It tasted just like being in Greece, except it was air conditioned! The professor knows I'm beginning to long for a vacation...and we can't take one while I'm working on the book. (you know, we lack time and money at the moment.) So instead, we had fabulous Greek food and talked about our trip to Crete last year. Remember Crete? (click there and you can replay an amazing vacation. hmmm.)
Other excitements include buying our very own ram lamb. That is, after he's visited the butcher for a while. We're buying a friend's lamb and stocking the freezer. It's hard to buy lamb at the grocery store here, and this is a local animal. It's our chance to eat meat sustainably. I just hope I don't get any upsetting nightmares while wearing the sheep pajamas... or while making kofte.
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
the news from here
You are a pretty serious non conformist. You live a life hardly anyone understands.
And while some may call you a freak, you're happy with who you are.
Sunday, July 15, 2007
My mom gave me a pile of old Cast On magazines (published by TKGA, The Knitting Guild Association) because she was going to get rid of them...and my office is full as it is! There are 10 issues from 1997 to 1999, and one odd ball from Fall 1991. They've all been read but are in ok condition. Many have designs by Lucy Neatby, Dawn Brocco, NickyEpstein, Janet Szabo, Jill Wolcott, Nancie Wiseman, etc. Some big names and articles, if a little out of date. I don't know whether they are "worth" anything but I thought I'd ask here before trying to post them elsewhere. Anyone interested? I imagine I could mail them media rate in the USA for a reasonable amount of money--they are heavy! What do you think? (even if you don't want them, you would be doing me a huge favor if you could let me know what they might be worth? I have no idea!)
Advice? (in the comments, please...) If you're interested, please email me: Joanne AT joanneseiff.com.
EDIT: (July 16) I haven't heard from anyone at all! Does anyone have interest in these for the price of postage? Should I just recycle them?
Friday, July 13, 2007
Doing the right thing
Here's what's on my mind:
I applaud the Yarn Harlot for speaking out about this appalling miscarriage of justice in Nebraska. (this is a rape case in which the judge forbid them to use the words "rape," "victim," "sexual assault," etc.) I took the time to submit a complaint to the Nebraska court system about this judge. If you haven't done something already, wander over there, read all the comments, and take a stand. It's high time women's rights were defended in cases of sexual violence.
I'm incredibly pleased to see European fashion shows and designers taking a stand for women's health:
Report: Designer Bars 15 Models From Rome Fashion Show Saying They Were Too Skinny
Yes, it is possible to be model-skinny and healthy, but it isn't usual...and it isn't recommended as a norm. Anorexia, bulima, and other horrible health threats stem from this sort of fashion insanity...and who among us doesn't know a woman (or a man) who has suffered from one of these illnesses? We can choose to support (knitting?) publications that feature healthy, normal sized women. We can choose not to buy fashions or magazines that celebrate the impossibly skinny. Most importantly, we can date or marry, encourage and celebrate people whose bodies are healthy, and help those who are suffering from poor self-image because of the media and societal pressures.
Our society is also creating a media frenzy around younger women and girls. Sexualizing very young girls creates a very dangerous precedent in terms of children's safety and well-being. It also creates a false illusion that women (of all ages and sizes) are not as sexy as young girls. That's just WRONG...and you know why!
These aren't just women's issues. They are people issues. If we create a society in which men aren't equally responsible for this kind of madness, we'll never create a better society.
Yesterday I attended a start up meeting for a local chapter of the League of Women Voters. How exciting!--it seems like another chance to help do the right thing, democracy, and educate others in the US about it.
Morals and ethics are funny things. Like Raskolnikov in Dostoevsky's book, Crime and Punishment, sometimes people convince themselves that they are smart enough, clever enough or important enough to be above punishment or above harming others. Nobody's above that...we all should behave in upright ways, kind and careful ways, to help and take care of those around us. It's something I think about often.
My story, "The Prayer for Swift and University," the one I won the award for, is now online!
Jerry Jazz Musician Fiction Contest
(You'll know why I show my dogs, Sally and Harry, after you read it. It's sort of about, well, what this post is about, in an abstract way.)
Tuesday, July 10, 2007
I've always loved a good book. J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series gives many people (not just kids) a first chance to get lost in an amazing narrative, reading it again and again. For that, she should be really celebrated! The newest HP book and movie are coming out in July. Lucky for us!
Sunday, July 08, 2007
As an antidote to angst, I offer you things that bring me pleasure. First knitting and spinning, and then "the other stuff." Here's the professor's sweater, with one of the finished "travelling socks" for scale and reference. Big sweater, huh? The sock (women's, to fit medium sized feet) is knit out of a Herrschner's long gone special called "Hot Socks"-a cotton/wool springy blend that I loved to knit. Good for wearing with hiking shoes, if say, you live in a place cool enough to wear socks in the summer.
Ahh, these are a pleasure of the senses, a pervasive floral melon smell that just won't quit. The local name for these is "Plum Granny." Read about them here. Also called Queen Anne Pocket Melons, these lovelies fit in the pockets of Victorian ladies who, ahem, might have needed to bathe more often. At this time of year, when even air conditioned southern spaces smell a bit dank and humid, plum grannies are just the thing to perfume one's life for a few days. They taste terrible, slimy and bland, but the smell. Oh, the divine smell...
Next, the photos of the new spindle in use. Gotland Gray, Black Alpaca and bits of green Mohair, 70 yards, 3.5 oz, 2 ply, and 3.5 sts to the inch on a size #8 needle. Soft cushy balls of pleasure. When I learned to spin, I met a middle aged woman (I was 12, mind you, no idea how old she actually was!) who spun luxurious Lopi-weight singles on an enormous Turkish Spindle. I was in love with her huge ball of soft squishy yarn. I wanted it. I own the exact spindle she used, but these skeins and this new spindle are the closest I've come to reproducing her yarns on a spindle. Whoosh. The yarns of our memory are very hard to replicate.
Non-fibery pleasures, too:
On Friday, I caught up with an old student of mine, now a friend. Maybe I'm alone with the dogs too much, because it just gave me enormous pleasure to talk to him again! Next, I opened my email, and POOF! His call was good luck. I won a short story contest! My story will be published next week on the Jerry Jazz Musician site. I'm so excited about this! It's another step towards a lifegoal of mine--writing fiction. I'd love to do it for a living, but first, alas, someone has to buy the stuff...it's a lot easier to sell non-fiction. This award is a good sign!
This AM I took the dogs to our town's dog park for the first time. The running! The playing! Sally's pent up nervous and defensive agression (UH-OH.) Nobody got hurt and now we're exhausted, relaxed, and resting. I'm afraid the dogs have absorbed some of my wrangling angst, but we'll be going to that park again. It's freeing in an entirely different way...watching my bird dogs run like that. Liberating...like a weekend without any book wrangling, maybe? Almost like flying?
Someday, we'll all get along well with others, I hope...Sally and me included. Oh, and did anyone catch the clip of Crowded House from the Live Earth Concert in Sydney? Swoon. Brings back my days as a sweet young thing dating an Australian, before I married the professor...who should be home from his travels today! At last, a human conversation. I may have been reduced to discussing squeaky toys and kibble here...
Thursday, July 05, 2007
The photo here shows me trying out a Baynes Spinning Wheel at Black Sheep Gathering. I'd never gotten to try one of these little New Zealand wheels before in person, and I loved it. Smooth silent action without any wiggles or noises and a small footprint without the possibility of tipping it over--these all seemed very appealing, especially as my Little Gem, my "office" and travel wheel, is really showing signs of hard wear after five years of use. Also the Baynes' price is reasonable. Check them out in the USA at Rowan Tree Woolery. These kind folks let me try out both a double and single treadle wheel just for fun. In the end, I preferred the single treadle, by the way, but that's just because of how my particular knees creak....
Anybody out there own a Baynes? How do you feel about it? Curious minds want to know.
Coming up soon---the professor took some very funny photos in preparation for the big new Harry Potter release...the photos are both fiber and fiction related. Perfect for a yarn spinner like me!
Monday, July 02, 2007
Sunday, July 01, 2007
by Terri and I was so moved that I got a tear or two going. Yup. Wow. Thank you. I am not exactly sure what the creed is for this group, but I'm going to claim it as being a feminist, rockin' cool gyrrl who works to create community and promote positive change with others. That's what I'd like to be, when I'm not losing my mind in work frustration and chopping down weeds like this. That's what I spent part of the morning doing today. It helps!
I've got an enormous pile of brush at the edge of my curb and a feeling of calm. I've also got a big back yard, so tomorrow, I may be at it again! Yes, this is why I turned down a trip to Italy with the professor--so I can stay home for a bit and work on the book...and chop. (professor is giving a talk at a conference and left yesterday. Let's hope there aren't anymore terrorists near airports, shall we?)
I am nominating these folks for their very own Rockin' Girl Blogger awards:
Who are they? Well, the cool kids at Estes Park: Deb, Tara, Jamie (cool but don't know her blog!) and then on the other side of me, Donna, and Catherine Hollingsworth, the famous Alaskan Yarn Council President.
Now, the cool folks at Black Sheep Gathering: (Or should I say cool ewes? In the best possible way, of course?!) Skip me there, and you have Angela,Denise and Holly. I nominate you too. Since I don't know the rules, I can nominate any cool person I want, right?
By the way, if you commented, or if you didn't comment but are thinking cheering thoughts for me regarding the book, you are rockin' too. Thank you so much. I am still worrying, but the 8 jars of blackberry brandy jam, the brush pile, and the almost finished professor's sweater are keeping me breathing smoothly for now. Oh, and that lovely spindle I mentioned has already produced 70 yards of double ply worsted weight yarn, 3 oz, knits at 3.5 sts to the inch on an #8. It's a gray Gotland, black alpaca, and green mohair blend, but more on that another time, right?
You are stars. Now, since the professor came through with the above photos, here's another one of his gifts. I made this one large for you to appreciate this color in all its glory. I hope you can see the locks on your screen. We think this one was a Lincoln and of course, it won a first at Black Sheep. Wouldn't you give this a first?