Friday, July 31, 2009

sometimes I'm a little slow on the uptake

It occurred to me today, as I was hanging out with Jamie at the local arboretum's children's garden, watching him figure out flowers, that .... wheee! I'm going to Sock Summit!!


We're busy packing, because it's off to Oregon!
I spent the night going through the list of stuff to bring for classes and winding yarn. The Fool got travel documents ready and looked stuff up on maps.
Jamie got a bath.
The Fool and I had this talk, in which his small-gauge knitting bias shines bright and strong.

ME: I need to remember to bring straight needles.
FOOL: Why?
ME: They're going to try to break a world record for the largest number of knitters knitting together, and it has to be on straight needles.
FOOL: Can anyone do it?
ME: Yeah, if you want. You could participate. You just have to bring straight needles.
FOOL: But I don't have a project on straight needles.
ME: Just knit anything. They don't care what you knit. I'm knitting a dishcloth.
FOOL: Hmm. Well, put these in.
ME: This is a 1 and a 2. They don't match.
ME: So, they disqualify people for knitting like idiots, so you have to bring two needles the same size.
FOOL: (Sighs.) Here. Here. Here are some 8s, which are a perfect size for knitting something ridiculous like worsted weight yarn.

I made stitch markers for the stitch marker swap that's going on. The last thing I need to do is take up beading as a hobby, but it was fun to shop that particular aisle of the craft store.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

I had no idea Meg is so suggestible

So our original plan this evening was to make a batch of enchiladas for dinner. Meg doesn't really have a recipe for enchiladas; she just makes it up as she goes along. I, on the other hand, am one of those people who likes to follow recipes to the letter. So guess who was in charge of making dinner!

I decided to clean up the kitchen a bit to give Meg some room to work. Part of this involved me going out back to dump the compost. The compost bin is tantalizingly close to the garden, so I stopped by to check on all of the plants, in particular the tomatoes. There was one ripe cherry tomato and a green tomato that had managed to fall off the vine, so I brought those both in. I figured we could leave the green tomato on the counter for a few days and it would ripen.

So I came back into the house, put the tomatoes on the counter, and continued to clean up the kitchen. A few minutes later...

Meg: *sigh* I don't really want enchiladas for dinner. I mean, I'll make them and all because that's what we planned, but I really want catfish.

Me: *puzzled* ...catfish?

Meg: Yeah.

And it was then that I realized that the sight of the green tomato sitting on the counter set her mind racing about the possibility of Southern comfort food, namely fried green tomatoes and cornmeal-crusted catfish. So after some coaxing, I convinced her to make an unplanned grocery run.

All in all, it was a grand enchilada dinner.

It was a bit of a bizarre day. The power went out some time last night, which meant that my alarm didn't go off this morning. "No problem," I thought, "I'll just work from home.... Oh wait, the power's out, so that means the Internet is out..." On top of that, the Internet went out the day before, so even if we had had power, it wouldn't have matter. On top of that, neither of us were able to shower because we have an electric well pump, and there's only a limited amount of water pressure until the water goes completely.

So we had a nice day frequenting various cafes in the area which have free Wi-Fi.

Jamie had a nice day splashing about at a nearby water park. I guess his swimming trunks ride a bit low, and Meg got a picture of him bending over to pick something up, and... yeah, it's a plumber's butt picture. We'll spare you.

So all that splashing around really tired him out. He took a long nap. On his mom.

Now we're winding down, checking e-mails, and blogging. What crazy adventures will life throw our way tomorrow?

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Quiet house

The Fool is mowing the lawn, Grandma Fool is napping, Jamie is napping, and the cats are all in the basement. So nobody is bothering me for anything and I can use the computer. Here are some random things from the weekend at the Midwest Fiber and Folk Art Fair and beyond.

1. I was the vendor coordinator, which was fun enough that I would do it again. I got to talk to lots of interesting folks, and even though I ran around a lot, I liked it. I got to meet author Nora Murphy, and had read enough of her book, "Knitting the Threads of Time," to be able to say something intelligent about it, other than how much I liked the cover art.

2. Jamie is scared of angora rabbits ... the Fool went to show him the rabbits, thinking, as I did, oh, cute fluffy bunnies, but I guess one of the rabbits gave him a beady-eyed stare (or basically looked at him with a typical rabbity expression) and that was enough to get Jamie to make his "I don't like this" noise and demand to be picked up, safely out of reach of the scary, scary rabbit.

3. Animals Jamie has recently met that he does like: Ducks, toads, alpacas. Every time he saw the paddock of alpacas, he pointed and hooted and insisted that whomever was with him take him closer so he could look at them.
The Fool spent a lot of time at the fair hanging around the alpacas. They were there so often, Jamie even got a little souvenir of alpaca fiber to fondle. Here he is napping with a keepsake from his woolly friend.

4. In light of our stunning success with alpacas, I think the Wisconsin Sheep and Wool Festival is a must-do this fall.

5. Grandma Fool's visit is going just fine. I see my role as facilitator -- I keep Jamie well-fed, clean and happy so his grandmother can get in all the time she likes playing with him. We've been to the botanic gardens and to an Irish festival where the Fool played and out for gelato. The two went for a walk today and yesterday and spend lots of time looking at books together and playing some kind of horsie game in German that I really ought to videotape for the sake of preserving family culture.

6. The Fool is old today! I made him blueberry pancakes for breakfast (note to self: miniature blueberry pancakes for Jamie, while cute and delicious, are too messy to have been a smart idea. Hence the shirtless dining.)

And I made him a birthday cake, which we are taking to a block party this evening to share. That's a triple-layer, made-from-scratch devil's food cake you're looking at. It's in such opposition to things like the fruit desserts and oatmeal cookies I usually make, I felt rebellious melting all the different kinds of chocolate, and banging around cartons of whole cream and cream cheese and butter.

7. Preparations continue for the trip out West. My aunt offered to watch Jamie for one night while the Fool and I go to the Ashland Shakespeare Festival. So weird. With the exception of two wedding gigs, we haven't ever been away from the little wiggler for an evening, and certainly not an evening that resembles a date. So weird. (It's "Much Ado About Nothing" set in 1940s Italy.)

8. The Herringbone Rib socks completely kicked my butt. I could not knit those things correctly to save my life, and they were going really slowly and I have to get these socks done sooner, so I bailed for a simpler pattern from "Knitting on The Road." Picture later.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

I had a great weekend.... the Midwest Fiber and Folk Art Fair, and I want to put up a couple pictures and write about it, but Grandma Fool is arriving for a long weekend on Wednesday night, and I have a lot of shopping and errand-running to accomplish, the library books are overdue and Jamie wants a banana. In other words, more later....

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

In an attempt to save Jamie...

... from my fate, that of a non-swimmer, he and I have been pursuing the arts aquatic for several months now. My parents tried repeatedly to get me to learn to swim, starting with my mother's ancient Hawaiian traditional method of instruction.
She threw me in a pool.
I sank.
So much for that thing about people knowing instinctively how to swim.
My father sent me to swimming lessons at the park district, where, after six weeks, they convinced me to hold my breath underwater for five seconds, but not to venture beyond an arm's length of the edge.
"You don't have to be a great swimmer," my father kept telling me. "Hell, you don't even have to be a good swimmer, you just have to be able to swim enough to save your life." He was in the Navy during World War II, and when U.S. forces accidentally sank his ship, he (obviously) was able to swim enough. (I also think he might have had some floating wreckage, too.)
My parents sent me to swimming lessons at summer camp for three years. I tried to learn to swim in high school, in college and when I turned 30, each time getting a little closer.
So each week, Jamie and I suit up and go off to the gym and get in the pool with the rest of the Diaper Dippers, and sing songs and play games, and go underwater, and each week, I am greeted with solemn tolerance from someone whose pants I have to change every two hours. Those are the good weeks.
Last week, when we were running late, and I splashed down the steps and over to our class, Jamie tucked under my arm, he was Not Amused and grumbled loudly for the entire half hour, while clinging to my left side like a barnacle.
This week, when I sat Jamie up on the side of the pool for "Humpty Dumpty," which ends with "One, two, three, jump!" I got the same look from him that I used to get from my father, especially in his later years, as I tried to jolly him into going to the doctor, or something similar - an expression that basically said, "I think this is stupid, but I'm humoring you anyway."
That stopped me cold for a few seconds. No one expects their father's face on their small kid.
Then we recited Humpty Dumpty, and after we counted to three, all the babies got to jump in the pool (or in Jamie's case, get lifted), and go underwater, and he came up wide-eyed and yelling mad and stayed that way until the end of class.
Today, we went to a kiddie water park with our playgroup, with fountains and showers and a rubberized surface to run around on, and Jamie was cautiously interested, until a big kid stepped on a small burbling fountain, and like putting a finger over a garden hose, sprayed everyone nearby. Jamie emerged wide-eyed and yelling mad, and clung to me like a barnacle for 15 minutes before I could even suggest he might want to put his feet in a puddle.
Luckily, there were ducks hanging around the picnic tables, waiting for kids to drop sandwich crumbs, or else I think he would have considered the entire day a waste. Oh, and he got to eat a whole kiwifruit when we got home, so more to the good.
I had something to say about knitting, but I can't remember what.

(On a weird note, I was taking a shower tonight, and Jamie tottered into the bathroom, pulled the curtain open and watched me for some time. I explained the whole thing, how showering involved standing under water, and how it felt nice, and how it was pretty rude to watch people take showers, so could he go find something else to do, which was more directed at the Fool, and which actually meant, "Can you come in here and take Jamie away with you and shut the door, too, because I would like five unsupervised minutes of my life today." Point being, he didn't mind the water then.)

Monday, July 13, 2009

The week of fests

Just finished up with the Chicago Folk and Roots Fest, where the Fool clogged Saturday as part of a team in the fiddle competition (they took second place!) Check out the skirts - Rachel and I made those. Rachel and Edward are on the far left, there. The Fool is on the far right.

Next weekend is the Midwest Fiber and Folk Art Fair, for which I am the vendor coordinator. No fun photo of that yet - it's mostly me answering emails and talking to myself.

I got a skein of yarn from my friend Sandy, who sells it on Etsy (her shop name is Bunkybobo). She's selling it at Sock Summit, but not in person, and I volunteered to knit some sample socks. So far, I like this yarn quite a bit (and I'm not just saying it because she's my friend.) It doesn't pool weirdly. But that doesn't stop me from making hash of the pattern - Herringbone Rib Socks from Knitting Socks with Variegated Yarns. Sigh. I really want to make this work.

Here's a leftover picture of the dancers at the Delafield contra dance weekend. The problem with these things is that when we're playing, I can't take pictures, so you get photos of a lot of people standing around. Trust me, they move more than this in real life.
And now, to bed ....

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Among the Muggles

ME: Sorry I didn't make it to the meeting; I'm doing a lot of work for this fiber festival, and Tuesday turned out to be the only free night I have this week, so I wanted to stay home.
OTHER PERSON: Fiber festival?
ME: Yeah, like, yarn and knitting and fiber arts.
OP: Ohhh! I thought you meant fiber in the diet.
ME: Like oat bran?
OP: Yes!
ME: I don't know how much fun that kind of a fiber festival would be.

Unfortunately, that is about as much time as I'm spending with the fiber arts this week. Unless you count working with Rachel to assemble tiered skirts for a clogging team which she and Edward and the Fool volunteered for, and which is performing Saturday afternoon at the Chicago Folk and Roots Festival. Naturally, because I have a deadline on these skirts, I had a lapse of brainfulness regarding the measurements I needed, and am re-engineering three of them. Sigh.

Jamie took up walking over the Fourth of July weekend. We were at a contra dance weekend, and he walked six steps, then 10, and then a bunch. He still prefers crawling, but periodically walks a little bit too. I'll put up some pictures from the weekend as soon as I remember to bring the camera in from the car. Jamie had a decent time, I think, even though the Fool and Edward and I had to play a lot (we were one of the hired bands.) He hung around with Rachel, and we wore him on our backs when it seemed like he wanted to sleep a bit. Sometimes, he objected loudly and unhappily, but mostly, he looked around at the dancers and everyone else on stage.

All the bipedal business has made Jamie a bit clingy, and Angus has got a mood upon him as well, so now, whenever I nurse Jamie to sleep, Angus comes and cuddles up behind me, which is nice and all, but it's getting hot here - and I do not like being the filling in their Big Sandwich O' Love. The Fool says to close the bedroom door, but I don't remember to do that until I feel Angus leap onto the bed and get snuggly.

OK. Jamie is still napping, and I have one more skirt to fix. We are going to take the train downtown in a bit to meet the Fool and our friends Susan and Christian and Wee Liam for dinner at a place with Thursday-night-specials on fancy wood-oven pizzas. Yum.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

There's an oriole in the pear tree

Not, "There's an Oreo in the pantry," or more bizarrely, "There's an Oreo in the pear tree," which are the two things the Fool thought I was calling to tell him, rather than my latest ornithological observation.
(I'd just called him to go on about what a pill his son was being, so I felt like I should give him something nice to think about too. Instead, he thought he was getting some kind of weird cookie update.)
I finished a pair of socks for Rachel the other night. These were so much fun to knit; Socks That Rock in Puck's Mischief, a pattern from Knitting Vintage Socks. Now the needles are free again, which is good, as I have a sock project in the works that's going to be a lot of fun.

We've been gigging a lot lately, which has been a challenge because Jamie is really trying hard to learn to walk and so tends to be kind of clingy when he's not staggering around holding onto furniture with one hand. It's tough, because we take these gigs months in advance and sort of guess as to what Jamie might be up to when the actual date comes. These days, our strategy centers on keeping him well fed, because he seems happier with a full stomach, like anyone, really. But usually, Jamie ends up on our backs. He slept on my back during the Saturday night Milwaukee Irish set dance gig.

Then on Monday, the Cosmic Otters played our home dance, which was terrific fun. We did well, too, which makes me happy, because Friday night, at the Delafield contra dance weekend, I think we'll be in great form.

Jamie hangs out with the Fool while we tune.

I had to take a couple breaks to nurse, and Jamie wanted to sit on my lap while I played guitar, which is nice in concept, but trying in practice, because he likes to hold the guitar neck. One set of tunes like that, and then he went back on the Fool for the rest of the dance.

I don't get this expression of his at all. But note how he's fretting the bass strings at, like, the 11th fret. So helpful. At least he wasn't messing around with the tuning pegs. I hate to think what will happen when he figures out how to turn them.