Wednesday, April 30, 2008

cold snap

We've been all snuggled up on warm blankies with our tails tucked under our chins here. The temperatures dropped from 80 degrees F to about 35! The heat got turned on again because suddenly, we feel cold from that damp spring chill.

Luckily, my constant companions have been working hard to warm me up. Never discount the warming powers of a furry dog that is trying to get into your lap!

I also finally finished Thermal. I started this back in mid-September, and something about the pattern (4 row repeat, but textured enough to make movie knitting disconcerting) and the needle size --US#3--very slow. Basically, knitting this was like making a very big sock with a pattern in it. I loved the yarn I chose, Merino Bambino, and I like the sweater style very much. I did sort of lose enthusiasm for the whole thing halfway through, as I had so many other knitting projects going on simultaneously. Anyway, here's Harry and me, modelling the sweater, on a day that is still cool enough to need a one! I think a darker color would have been more slimming and the arms are just a bit longer than maybe I needed (although that was hard to judge) but I'm not undertaking another one of these any time soon, so this will have to do! (Please forgive the dorky expression, it was hard to model a sweater before breakfast, and that's when the professor was available!)

The professor also grabbed my camera the other day to show what I look like sometimes as I am emailing people back or writing. Note Harry and his bone are right along side, Sally is keeping watch, AND I'm wearing a great oversized v-neck aran cardigan my mom made for me.

The professor himself is very harried. It is the end of the semester and he's had a particularly rough one. He's just about narrowed things down to eating, sleeping,and working. I'm very much looking forward to the end of the term in a couple of weeks! The funniest part about this is how oblivious he is to what's happening around him though. Last night he was working in the living room as I watched a fascinating movie, Stranger Than Fiction and knit. (He also managed to watch portions of it, because I heard him laugh.) Now, the piece I'm knitting is very very long, perhaps a yard long, and already 10 inches across, and yet when I said, "I'm designing a curtain," the professor said, "What!! You're knitting a curtain?!"

Yup, it was almost as surprising as that electric fence wire knitting I did, I guess? ...but don't you think he might have noticed this enormous thing in his living room and said, "Gee, what you working on there?!" Ahh, the absent minded professor. Perhaps it's too cold here for his brain. He maybe needs a dog warmer or two.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

here sheepie sheepie

Every year, I get the phone call from my friend, a retired geography professor. "Hey, the shearer's coming in a week. Usually on a weekday. At some inconvenient time. Can you come?" And year after year, I'm there...driving just 7? miles and into an oasis of rural springtime. It's hard to imagine skipping it! First, there's the company.

This man's farm is no normal farm. It's like a big bunch of household pets...a horse, two cows, two enormous labrador retrievers, geese, and 18 sheep-- right down to the sign at the front gate, that says:
Drive with Caution. Canadian Geese Nesting.
You can imagine the geese flying in, making reservations, grabbing the keys and saying to the farmer, "Shhh! We're making babies over here!"

Of course, I was there for the sheep. The flock fluctuates, but it's a Romney cross flock. The other breeds in the mix are something like (put your hand over your mouth to mumble this) Suffolk/Polypay/Dorset/Border Leicester/something else the cat drug in. Whatever, the fleeces are luscious. Long stapled rich colors of grays, browns, and even a white one or two.

Before being shorn, the sheep look scruffy, like teenage boys with longish hair who are trying to grow goatees. Also, quite disgruntled, because they've all been herded into the horse's stall for one morning and they're resentful. (again, like some teenagers?)

Gerald, the shearer, set to work. I found out this year that Gerald has been shearing this particular flock since 1986...that's a long term relationship! The day is full of interesting conversation. I helped open and close some gates, and I scooped up a lot of fleece. Too much fleece.

"Colored" or "Black" fleece is only of value to handspinners. So even though these fleeces are stellar, they aren't worth anything in the commercial wool pool. The farmer is delighted to gift me some. The shearer will take whatever's left to sell online. This year, we saved 3 fleeces for the farmer's adult daughter, a beginning spinner. I'd planned to come home with 2 fleeces, one white and one black. I brought presents...jars of homemade plum port and blackberry brandy jams. I brought two chapter drafts from my forthcoming book about the shearing last year for the farmer and the shearer to read. Then, somehow, 5 fleeces followed me home!

Romney fleeces aren't petite. We're talking about 50 lbs of wool. I was stunned as I carried the pillowcases full of wool to my car. I just hadn't realized what was happening. As the shearer finishes a "haircut", he says, "This is a nice one" and I dart in, check out the staple length, crimp and color, say nope or yes. Nope means it goes in the shearer's enormous plastic wool bag. If it's yes, I grab an pillow case, stuff it in--largely unskirted--while rushing to get it and myself off the shearing board before the next sheep gets dragged in. Sheep hate leaving their buddies and are often skittish. It's not good to be standing, grabbing wool on the shearing board...even though they settle down the minute the barbering starts. Think about a toddler at the barber. You've got it. Sheep require coaxing at first, but settle right down, mesmerized, as the trimming begins. Anyhow, amidst the darting, I lost count of the fleece total. Oops.
This farmer treats all the sheep as beloved pets. Here the shearer is shearing a ram that used to be enormous. You can read about his fleece in years past here. Sadly, Mr. Ram has gotten on in age. There were no lambs this year. He'd lost weight (hard to imagine when you see his size) and underneath his lighter gray, coarser fleece, he looked bony and arthritic. The shearer acted more as a podiatrist and less like he was giving a pedicure for poor Mr. Ram's hooves. You can see shots of the "pedicure" option here. After he was shorn, the shearer and I had a heart to heart with the farmer about getting a new ram. Later, I emailed him another Romney breeder's contact information. Mr. Ram (senior), and one of his sons were obviously no longer up to the task.

Wednesday evening, I gave one fleece away to a friend. On Thursday morning, I went ahead and skirted 4 fleeces. One white, 4 "colored"...roughly 40 lbs of wool. By the time I'd skirted all four and packaged up the 3 fleeces that I'm sending away to be processed, I was quivering with fatigue. Turns out that the sleeping bag stuff bag technique, the crouching and sorting out sheep poop, and shlepping around of 40 lbs of wool by oneself can be exhausting. Either that, or I'm just past it, like the ram!

I'm saving a fleece and a bit for teaching my workshop in May. (Are you signed up yet!?) On Friday, the professor helped me carry two well-labelled boxes to the post office. 27 pounds of wool (too much to cope with at home just now) were shipped off!

On Saturday, I celebrated by sitting in the sunshine on my back porch. I spun some sample skeins in the grease, straight from the locks of wool. It spun--like warm butter spreads on bread--as I soaked up the sun. There is really nothing quite like freshly shorn fleece! (stinky, but delicious, like say, a good blue cheese!)

Been to a good shearing lately? Can you smell the sheepy parfum from here?

Thursday, April 24, 2008

News you can use

People have asked me, when's the book coming out? How will I know when I can buy it? What's that book about, again?

Fiber Gathering will be in stores by February, 2009. I believe you'll be able to pre-order on Amazon sometime in July or August. If you're like me, and all this stuff seems hard to keep track of, here's a new tool that will help both of us! Sign up for my email newsletter and get more information on the book! There's even another newsletter, in case I happen to be teaching or travelling to your vicinity and you want to know about it. Here's how:
Click Here!

Here is some other useful information...My smart web designer Ben gave me a link to add to my blog. You'll now see a "Subscribe to this blog!" link on the sidebar. This is just in case you can't see the RSS feed symbols in your browser. I hope that ends all the concern about this--I hear it really does work!

Today I read a thoughtful essay by a man who helped his wife write a knitting book. It sounded meaningful to me since the professor took all the photos for Fiber Gathering. It's worth a read! Here's the link to Martin John Brown's thoughts on what it was like to research Knitalong. I've got no affiliation with this--haven't even seen the book itself--but the essay's great!

More soon about the sheep shearing I went to yesterday and all the fleeces that followed me home!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Remember this?

The Molly Baby Socks are available again! You can find the pattern HERE on my website. Not only are they revamped and reformatted, but this time, I think they are also edited correctly. (Oh, I hope so! I was so embarrassed when I realized there were mistakes in the earlier pattern on, mistakes sometimes happen.)

This updated pattern is worked with 2 strands of fingering weight yarn or one strand of sport weight yarn that knits at 5 sts to an inch, #4(3.5mm) straight needles, and needs two dpns for binding off. Sample yarn featured here, top to bottom, is Regia 4 ply Silk, Tahki Cotton Classic and Regia 4 ply Bamboo. This project requires only 1-2 skeins fingering weight or sports weight yarn with instructions for 3 sizes: 12 months, 2 years, and 3 years.
This is just the ticket when everybody's having babies and you need gifts! One pair of socks can be completed in an evening. I hope you like the new, re-knitted Molly Baby Socks!

Monday, April 21, 2008

sorry for the delay

Apologies for the delay in my usual Sunday posting...but it's a holiday! We were away, visiting family and celebrating the beginning of Passover. This year, my brother and his lovely wife hosted our whole family at their house. The food was great. Gefilte fish, chicken soup with matzoh balls, brisket, veggies, and a stellar walnut chocolate cake. The seder part (seder means order, and is shorthand for the "order" of telling the Exodus from Egypt story, doing the prayers and blessings of the holiday) was very short, largely because of our newest family member. He's two. Speed was paramount.

We also took turns playing and handing over our (real) keys to the nephew, as he showed us his commuting skills. In the DC suburbs, there's a lot of car seat time. He can stop on a dime, and even back up slowly--really!

My travel time on Friday and Sunday was complex and varied. Car, plane, train, metro car, car=arrive at my parents' house. Visit. Car, plane, car=arrive home. During my journeys, I worked on the Molly Baby Sock needed some tech editing, revision, and updating. (turns out there were mistakes in the MagKnits version!) Here's one of the sample's mostly knit on two straight needles, and that's what's so interesting about it. It's still a very cute sock, don't you think? I am hoping to get it back online soon.

PS: An Rss feed note. On my browser, there is this neat orange and white square symbol that indicates that one can subscribe to this blog. Is that the case for you? If not, can you tell me how I'd set up an rss feed? One of my readers requested this, and I aim to please!

PPS: I have consulted on this! Here's what I've found. In both the Explorer and Safari Browsers, on both a Mac and a PC there is an RSS feed available. In the Explorer browser, if you are logged into "blogger/google", you can see an orange and white square in the top right corner. That shows you the feeds available.

On Safari, it is on the right side of the address at the top of the browser.

Another friend of mine has subscribed to my blog via bloglines, and tells me I already have a feed. I hope this is helpful! I'm not trying to be difficult regarding feedburner or any other system, but I find I already do an enormous amount of interfacing with software, and I'm trying to keep life simple, if possible.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

nothing and everything

Lately I've been wondering what to focus on when I post. Some things seem private, and other things seem like fun anecdotes, and well...I'm always surprised by what folks like the best. Yup, I've knit electric fence wire and THAT is tough on the hands! I'll keep telling my stories over here. Thanks for commenting right back at me so I know what tickles you!

On the knitting front, surprisingly little knitting is happening. I finished my hemp and nettle project. It's secret, for now, and otherwise? I've spent time thinking about two of my patterns that used to be available online at

As you may know, that site is now defunct. These patterns are out of date, the yarns discontinued and the patterns need reformatting for me to post them again. Since that will take time for me to do, I'm thinking I'll need to charge for the patterns...because I need to earn money for a living. This, it turns out, is problematic for a lot of people who feel all designs should be fact, I even discovered someone who was posting my patterns online as jpgs, without my permission. Chasing that copyright violation was a real downer for me...and it took time. Time I could have been knitting...but might instead spend reformatting patterns, confronting copyright violations, or doing the other daily business that is

In the end, I realized if one person had emailed me and said "Hey, I really liked the Alpaca Ruffle Boa and/or the Molly Baby Socks pattern! Would you be willing to post it for sale on your site?" I would have rushed to do it. For me, it's been a lesson in negative reinforcement. I do better with positive reinforcement. (Obviously, educational research shows that most people do!)

So, some positive's a photo of my fava beans. The professor plants these for me, because I adore fresh favas. They can't be got here for love or money, so we grow enough for one or two meals a season. I'm spending some time out in my garden in the sunshine, planting things, and I'm sore. I'm enjoying it thoroughly.

Just finished reading Bento Box in the Heartland by Linda Furiya, and I can recommend it. Briefly, it's about growing up Japanese-American in the small town Midwest. There are inconsistencies in the writing, things that an editor should have caught, but the raw, strong emotional ties to Japanese food and identity ring true. It's a compelling memoir, and her difficult coming of age experience in an intolerant country should be acknowledged. This too, is growing up in the's not all apple pie and baseball.

Recently I set up my personalized browser to link to Poetry 180. This means I have the opportunity to read a poem every day. This program's designed for high school students, but I'm a lifelong learner. For me, it's another shot at culture...and dangnabit, I need some every day! It's also a reminder of some things our government does for us. The Library of Congress hosts this. My little public service announcement in honor of paying my taxes...this, along with the NEA, food-aid at home and abroad, Social Security, roads, schools, bridges, veteran services, the G.I. bill...all the good parts of paying taxes.

So, all at once, this is an everything and nothing post. No news yet about where we might move, although there's a lot of movement behind the curtains...will the wizard come out? Will we know what's right and where and when to go? And I'm still making those long trips to Nashville every other week...the acupuncture appointments are making me very calm and I can shop at Whole Foods every time I go...I listen to audiobooks in the car. Aside from the gas consumption, it's a win-win experience. Fiber Gathering is all but done; just waiting for the editors to show me what they've done. It's quiet here...and I'm thinking a lot. The professor says it's ok, he can see the cogs turning in my brain! Cogitating on the future of book #2.

Did you go through periods of introspection? Do you need shots of music, poetry, and art? Do you come out the other side with new conclusions about yourself/others/the world?

Sunday, April 13, 2008


Cyndy asked me about kale varieties. We reserve part of our garden for "greens." We buy lettuce and green mixes and toss down seeds there in regular intervals. Hence, I get some kale. (what kinds? gosh knows!) I also grow arugula, mache, dandelions, and a variety of lettuces and herbs. I'm flexible about greens. I eat a lot of them. So many, in fact, that our small garden doesn't keep up with me in any way; we buy most of our lettuce, kale, swiss chard and collards from local farmers.

Also from Cyndy's questions, about the nettle yarn and the hemp yarn, she asks: Is it tough on the hands?

The answer is, No. Well, I don't think so. This yarn is wiry and stiff, textured and strong, but my hands don't hurt from knitting it. I believe there are a large variety of fibers out there to spin and use because we need them all. There's nothing cooler to wear in the summertime than a loose linen shift, and any plant fiber is strong and sturdy, for tying up one's tomato plants. Merino, Cormo, or Rambouillet wools? Perfect for a baby or a next to the skin garment that won't see much wear... and not that hard wearing when it comes to socks. I knit a pair of Merino superwash socks and wore them for only this winter...they are already looking alarmingly worn. I'll likely go back to less delicate wools with nylon or mohair blends for my handknit socks in the future.

Coarse is ok in my book. Karakul wool is ideal for a rug. Coarse Romney wool lasts a long time as a winter coat like mine, worn every day. The only fibers I've had trouble with over the long haul have been cottons and bamboos that aren't blends, are not spun in a way that offers any "give" and then I try to knit them with needles without "give" into densely stitched items like a camisole or napkin. That gives me some soreness as I knit, which is often relieved by taking breaks, wood, bamboo, or plastic needles, and thinking consciously about "loosening up."

I may be the wrong person to ask. A little while back, I made this for an art show. I knit with electric fence wire. I have this piece hanging in my office; I love it and look at it every day. I'd definitely knit fence wire again...a struggle but worth it. Everything has its use!

We didn't start many seeds this year...well, the peas, favas, lettuces, garlic, onions and radishes aside! Instead we went to the opening day of the farmer's market, and toted home our first plants. They weren't quite hardened off and ready to be put right into the cold earth, especially as drizzly rain and lows in the 30's were predicted. We made use of an old washtub planter...and a big plastic fleece bag. Spinners often buy their raw fleeces in these gigantic clear plastic bags, so you can see what you're buying. I wash my fleeces and store them in pillowcases after they're clean, so there's better sweating in plastic in our hot humid weather. Then, I'm left with these huge plastic bags, slightly used. They make...instant greenhouses!

Harry the dog is suffering with spring time allergies. He is itchy, and has a "hot spot" on his arm where he's licked off his fur. Home remedies of anthistamines, anti-itch cream, and even a bandage have done no good. Harry only wears the bandage to play dress up with me. As soon as I turn my back, he is back to the licking. He leaves the bandage carefully unwrapped in a pile for me. We may have to see the vet soon about this one. Darn greenery! It makes him so uncomfortable...

In the meanwhile, just as I'm learning and thinking about your comments, questions and music, the dogs are learning too. We had a toddler who loves dogs and her mom visit for dinner on Friday. Harry and Sally had never seen such a little human. Harry delighted in licking her up and down. There were a lot of giggles from the little human. Sally growled...until we started feeding her small bits of carrots, pre-tasted or touched by the toddler. By the end of our visit, Sally was beginning to warm to this. Toddlers?=Treats. Good learning experience for everyone involved.
Having any good green encounters? For example, Garden, Salad, Green Knitting or Re-Use of fleece plastic? Do tell!

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

La la la...

Lettuce #2 photo caption: Why garden veggies are almost too beautiful to eat!
Yesterday night I got to hear Cantus as part of the same university "cultural enhancement" series that I mentioned earlier. Their music is brilliant, deep, complex, and definitely worth going to hear. That said, the first half of the show was music from the Christian tradition, and the concert was held at a local church.

As a result, the professor decided to stay home. He's not a music lover like I am, and some Jewish families (like his) dissuade their kids from going to other people's places of worship. He can't shake that discomfort as an adult, and I understand that. I was raised to be intellectually curious about religion (and I am) and open to new religious experiences, as long as I don't cross any lines regarding my faith tradition that make me uncomfortable. Even so, I find sometimes that choral music is hard to access, because it's so heavily influenced by Western Christian tradition.

I love to sing, and wish I'd gotten to do more of it in music education...but I lost my opportunity around 5th grade. That's when the public school music teacher said that if I wouldn't sing the religious Christmas carols in the chorus, I'd be kicked out. I explained that it compromised my religious practice, and chose to be kicked out...that was my last chorus experience. Instead, I played piano, sax, and guitar, and I sang at summer camp, at religious services, and in college jazz ensembles. If I sang, I chose the words (rather than a choral director) and that worked out best for me. If only that elementary school music teacher had handled things a little differently.

I still love to sing, and try to find opportunities to do it. Listening to Cantus (especially the second half, with less religious material) was as close to vicarious singing as I will ever get--and I will never be that good!

I'm blogging about this because I think sometimes people lose track of what it's like to be a minority or to feel alone in one's beliefs. I watched someone roll her eyes last night while I tried to gently explain why the professor didn't come to the concert. This shouldn't be an invitation for people to say, "Just get over it!" or "Geez, I went to a mosque/synagogue/temple,etc. once, what's your problem?" or "You're just handicapping yourself!" (That's how Mendelssohn's family saw this, as a disadavantage) Offering the explanation of difference to someone shouldn't result in an "I'm so sorry" or pity, either. It's just an explanation. Here's why. Here's a chance to put on an empathy cap, and try to understand the "other." It's an emotion and skill that is, perhaps, underutilized.

Photo Caption for Kale: Kale, an underutilized (underappreciated?) delicious green, in our garden.

I've been knitting with handspun Nepalese hemp and nettle yarns. These are available in the USA, and allow me, through my fingers, to practice my empathy. These are sustainably produced yarns made by hand by Nepalese women. I know what it is to spin these bast fibers, and these far away women do a great job. (I need to work on my bast spinning skills) The yarn is affordable, it's well done, and it respectfully supports others whose traditions I don't understand. In the meanwhile, the yarn is wiry, tense, and alive. It's hard on the hands and softens over time. The design I'm making has a body of its own, and I like how it is turning out. I like how it connects me to those women in Nepal.

One of the songs Cantus sung last night was in Japanese. It sounded beautiful, but the translation was what drew me in. It's a famous folk song...but it's the yearning and empathy that gets me, every time.

Mogami River Boat Song
I am leaving for Sakata. I hope you work hard, stay healthy, and don't catch cold.
It's hard to be apart, but blame it on the mountain and the wind.
With the wind in my straw mat sail, I will catch much for the one I love.

A good musical performance can definitely be a learning experience, don't you think?

Sunday, April 06, 2008

flighty spring? Not.

I'm a person who deliberates, and I've appreciated all your thoughts on moving and how you've made your decisions. The professor and I are still working on this, although the Philly option didn't work out in the end. He's still traveling to other interviews, and if and when new options come in, we'll think through each one to see if it's right. We both like to make informed and careful choices; I find that where I live really matters to me, so we'll keep working on this one. I'm a hands-on person about creating a home, wherever it is--I'll be working on this right down until I pack the last box, drive to the new place, and set up the whole new home, down to the dog crates and bed linens.

In the meanwhile, I worked on this freeform embroidery. My cousin is getting married in a small ceremony. In order to include her loved ones, she is asking folks to contribute decorated squares to create her Huppah, or wedding canopy. Here's mine. The top bit is in Hebrew, it says (transliterated) "Kol Sasson v'kol Simcha" and is part of the seven blessings that are recited in a Jewish wedding ceremony. I quoted a fragment of the blessing, this part, which is also a joyous song sung at traditional weddings:
The sound of happiness and of rejoicing;
the voice of bridegroom and the voice of the bride

Although I don't love to embroider, it was fun to celebrate this occasion on my own, with needlework. The bride, my cousin, is a good person and deserves every happiness!

Next up has been preparing for Passover. We've just begun searching out Passover foods. This time, instead of travelling to a city where we can buy special foods for the holiday, we've tried ordering them online. I'm hoping a big box of matzo and other necessities arrives soon. Alas, prepared foods for the holiday are just not an option here in the hinterlands. (homemade tastes better anyway.) Although we're spending the first couple of days and the seder with my family in Virginia, we'll still clean up and observe the rest of the holiday at home. Since the professor has been travelling a lot, he's had to schedule trips around the holiday. It's very hard to avoid eating bread and other prohibited foods on the road.

Another tradition for Passover is to get new clothes. I've had an online shopping binge all by myself! Right now I'm celebrating my new Keen Ventura sneakers--my first ones ever made of all natural and recycled materials. I'm excited about my new sneaks and a step towards sustainability. I've also gotten a new dress, some jeans, and I'm enjoying the pleasure of new things that fit better for spring.

The garden is also bursting out with new growth. We've got more green onions than we can possibly eat, and lovely heads of lettuce that look like flowers. It makes eating your veggies look so exciting! An old college friend of mine is visiting, and I'm off to pick spring onions and incorporate some of them into our green salad and jerusalem artichokes for dinner. In the end I'm not flighty (much) but really enjoy spring, despite allergies... anyway. Deliberately!

Thursday, April 03, 2008


In a collegetown, there are some rare opportunities. The professor's teaching institution recognizes that the famous folk don't just wander by our area of the world. Instead, there's a cultural enhancement program, run by a friend of mine, who is also an amazing spinner and artist. Each year, the university brings famous people into town to talk to us.

Sometimes the turnout is embarrassingly small...but on Tuesday night, I felt proud to see the entire auditorium fill up to hear Gloria Steinem speak about sexism, racism and the current election cycle. It's no surprise that this woman has had such an amazing effect on women's lives. She is sparkling. Intelligent, clever, and self-possessed, she's a perfect example of what a beautiful smart person looks like...and her presence and ideas make such a difference in the world.

Another lucky part of this experience is that a lot of good and friendly people go to these events. I was driving "up the hill" towards the university when I saw my neighbor and friend. I slowed the car, she hopped in and we got to visit along the way. There are good and bad sides to a small town. You see people you know all the time...but for me, this isn't usually a problem, because I'm always glad to have another friend appear. After the talk, yesterday, I had a visit from a 17 year old friend, a college freshman, who walked over from school, sat and knit on my office couch with Harry and Sally--and we talked about Gloria Steinem. That's such an important exchange, too!

In my last post, I joked about the jughandles and jugheads--the things you just have to get around because you can't relate to them. I have that happen here a lot and I have a hard time relating sometimes. When talking to folks about what I lack in this town, I can see they think I'm too particular, that it's one thing or the other, either this town as an equivalent for all collegetowns, or a huge metropolitan area. I'm not sure I want to give up a collegetown atmosphere in my life, even though big cities offer some of the resources (intellectual and social community, family, healthcare or religious institutions) that I also may need. I'm sad too that sometimes people think that good health care or a like-minded community only exist in a big city, or that I need to just suck it up and be grateful for what I've got. Through my travels, I know I don't have to compromise, that there are places where all this is available, in a town setting!

Of course, it's all a compromise, trying to live where a spouse has the right job, along with everything else. We're wrestling right now with the big issues. Yet, today I was sent a link to this poem, featured in a national syndicated column. Written by a Kentucky poet, it grasps hold of something I don't want to give up in a move to a large city. I want my piece of grass and sun to hang out my quilts and air those pillows, and the space that allows us to maintain these old and effective traditions. I want to pick fruit in the summer, spend a day canning, and eat that precious berry sunshine when it's cold outside. I believe it may be possible to have both, along with the right, highly specialized job for my professor, but I don't know where yet.

Have you contemplated or made a move? (or 3 or 4?) How do you resolve all these decisions for everyone in the family? Advice?