Saturday, October 30, 2010


Truly, I have done everything that I know how to do to make this Halloween bewitching and wondrous.  I feel as though I fell short.  There is SO much going on behind the scenes.

My father's veins are collapsing because he is dehydrated.  His eyes no longer focus on any of us.  These are difficult days.  Today he managed to string three words together that haunt me - "I'm not sad".  What do I take from this?  All I can manage is to stroke his hand, his bony shoulder, his head, and weep.

I leave Scott sitting at the kitchen table opening Mass cards.  He is also weeping.  I think that perhaps we are doing exactly what we are supposed to do.  We are grieving - it is all Hallow's Eve.  Perhaps we need a Bonfire!  A cleansing ritual. Or not.

There is knitting -
The paragon, the patrician, the prodigious MONKEY!  Ok, so I know that I'm late to the party, but I've never been ahead of the curve.  I tried to link this to Cookie's web, but failed.  Too much effort to go back at it again.
I pick up my needles and let the yarn find the way.  So much of this knitting business is memory, habit, solace.

Friday, October 29, 2010


We are trying to regain our footing - attempting to return to normalcy.  It's especially difficult when you've lost a parent, and, in Scott's case, he is now an 'orphan' as both of his parents are gone.  Sadness comes for an extended visit, as well as depression and full-body exhaustion.  But we keep going forward because we must, and the alternative is unthinkable. 
 I awoke with a start this morning!  I'd fallen asleep on the couch and the clock read 5:30am!  Uh-oh ... did Scott leave w/o saying good morning and good bye?  NO!  He had turned off the alarm and slept through.  I woke him up and hurried to make coffee and a lunch - he raced out of the door with the speed of an olympiad!  Later, he called.  A flat tire on route 84, in the middle of rush hour at 85mph - Someone is watching over this man...
It occurs to me that we need to get our 'affairs' in order.  That may sound morbid, or worse, but, really, you just never know.  Scott raced off this morning and, God willing, returned this evening.  But that scenario is just plain grace, and I know it.  Anyone who lives in the vicinity of rtes 84 and 684 KNOW what the score is.  People perish all of the time.  Thankfully, Scott wields a big bad diesel truck and is an excellent driver.  AND I have to believe that the Universe still cares.

This is Punta yarn.  Bulky, gorgeous and unapologetically seductive... sitting in a bowl of unshucked black beans ... we all need diversion, and here it is - thoughts of blown tires slip away ...
The beans from my garden are pretty, yes?  Anyway, this morning I cast on for a copy-cat knit - I follow this brilliant gal - jellidonut, and she is knitting  'Vanessa' headbands.  Good stuff.  I never know what to do with bulky yarn, but this makes sense.
A little break-from-work knitting.  It grows at an alarming rate!  Size 11 needles make my hands ache, make me long for a project that demands size 4 or 5 smooth Lantern Moons!  It must be time to start that incredible Sunday Knits sweater - Adams Rib or Little Riding Hoodie.  Go have a look ...
I pulled leeks from the garden and some parsley.  My intention was to concoct a leek pasta or leek and potato soup, but the cooking mojo has vanished.  I'm hoping that it returns this weekend so that I can make and freeze the last of the summer bounty.
I am experiencing an intense 'vanilla' period whereby I am drawn to all things neutral and soothing.  Undemanding.  The riotous colors of autumn are thrilling, but my soul desires the absence of drama.  The Vanessa headband may be the last bit of crimson that I will use for a while.  Again, you never know.

Thursday, October 28, 2010


Hillflowers is going on a jet plane.  If you've been around this blog for a bit, you've seen Hillflowers in its early stages - it's 1/2 way mark, and now - and now ... and NOW I've run out of yarn!!!  So close, but not close enough to finish 7 more repeats in Briar Rose 'Grandma's Blessing'.  Lovely wonderful Chris Roosien has agreed to wade through her fiber to see if anything comes remotely close to her unique red.  It is JUICY.
 Harley agreed to model - what a grand guy he is!  It's been raining like a tsunami for nearly 24 hours and everything is saturated outdoors, except the Harley noggin.  He had to spend the entire day indoors without his morning walk because his mistress is a wuss.  I'll try to remedy that today.

Did I mention that my wonderful children gave me a camera for my birthday?  
She seems a little skeptical about my ability to take on a new challenge!  (she'd be right about that!)  And this guy got right to the business of showing me HOW to operate certain features.
It was a lovely little b-day celebration because of these two individuals.  They own my heart.  OH!
Sorry, fella.  That goes for you, too!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


It's back to work.  I did manage a bit of knitting during the past week - no surprise there!  Truthfully, it was the knitting that held me together, or the IDEA that it was there, quietly waiting for me to join it that really provided comfort.  Periodically checking in with all of you was more of the glue - the stabilizer, that reminded me life would once again return.  Thank you.
The merino/silk from Mt View Farm beckoned and I answered its call.  This is dreamy stuff!  I'm working from a pattern found on Purlbee called Lovely Leaf Lace Scarf, and it is!  This pattern calls for cashmere and although I wish I had some, the Mt View stand in does not disappoint!
And, as usual, I have company whenever I sit down to knit!

Sunday, October 24, 2010


What an emotional weekend this has been!  We waked and buried Scott's dad and it was an amazing journey of love and tears and reunion.  It's not over yet - there are flights to be caught and a few rounds of golf to be played and more family to share with - food and drink to consume, etc.  I do love Scott's brothers and their spouses and their children and their cousins ...etc!  But I must admit, I have one special favorite.  She happens to be that beauty on the left -
That's Danielle, Fred Jr.'s daughter.   (And also in this image - Fred's lovely wife Mary, who is SUCH a good sport - she allowed me to drag her on a long walk through the autumn orchards.  You are amazing, Mary!)  But back to Danielle - you extraordinarily, beautiful young woman - you lifted me and made me laugh and pause at your wisdom.  I missed you even before you left!  And now you are on your way back to your life in New Orleans.  I am determined to stay in close contact - that may include a trip next year.  I wonder if they have yarn shops in the Big Easy ...
Three of the five brothers - I include this image for prosperity as we never get to see Scott in a suit!  He looks good in pink, yes?  It surprises me that I didn't take a million photos.  The children gave me a wonderful new camera for my birthday, but the days took on such a frenetic pace that I was often without it.  Scott's dad served in the Navy for four years and I wished that I could have captured the poignant naval tribute.  We had perfect weather, cool and crisp and breezy.  The colors of the American flag draped over the casket against a surreal blue sky was just heart-stopping.  After the burial and a buffet we walked across the railroad bridge en masse.  We dropped red roses into the river.  One likes to think that Poppa Fred was somewhere nearby, smiling.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


Yesterday morning Scott's dad went on to meet his Maker.  So we have a lot to do - family to see and spend moments with - sharing memories and tears and laughter.  See you soon.

Sunday, October 17, 2010


We travelled north to Rhinebeck on a perfect autumn morning - my BFF Patty and me.  She was all wound up and I had to threaten her once or twice - calm down or you'll find yourself hitch-hiking!  To be honest, I was not in the mood.  Can you believe it?  Can you even begin to imagine not being psyched about S&W?   

I didn't take a single photo.  No livestock, no fiber, no wondrous booths.  Truth is - even though we arrived as the gates opened, within an hour the crowds were so dense that there was very little chance of enjoying the show.  I don't like being pressed and pushed in crowed aisles.  By noon it was impossible to get close to some of my favorite exhibitors.  I was disappointed.

As we were getting ready to leave the fairgrounds Patty and I decided to sit on a bench and rethink our strategies and purchases.  I hadn't even made a dent in my Wish List and Patty was being mysterious ...
She NEVER forgets my birthday.  Silk, Cashmere and Wool - 450 yards.  My color of choice.  Someone smack me!  How really beautiful this fiber is.  I was happy to see that she got a skein for herself too.  And there was something else for me - something that I'd admired the year before AND this year ... a rainy day knitting bag-
A huge gorgeous laminated bag that can defy the raindrops and the inevitable smooshing that sometimes occurs in the back seat of the CRV.  I won't have to worry about my leather bag getting worn too soon and this one is DEEP and pockety!  FANTASTIC!  (and I adore the poodle motif!)
Thank you, BFF.  You brightened my day, my weekend, my outlook.  What was that you say?  Oh, yes.  There was one purchase that you might wish to see . . . and it IS hiding in the new poodle bag -
I discovered Mountain View Farm last year and returned to them this year to find a scrumptious blend of merino and silk. I bought one skein to make darling daughter a scarf (I might need another) while Patty loaded up for an afghan - I believe that she bought 8 or 10 of these delicious skeins.  Vanilla knitting .. ahhh.  And yes, those are hot pink poodles in the background - but I cannot tell you about that little project just yet. The lucky recipient reads my blog and I need for that to be a surprise until mid week!

Monday, October 11, 2010


When I was at the children's house yesterday, I noticed something all balled up in the corner of the couch.  Don't look, I told myself - it's none of your business.  Stop being a meddlesome old sot - be the mother that your children want to spend time with.  Keep your opinions to yourself and stop asking about grandchildren.

OMG - that is the quilt that I made for Andrew.  It's the one that he picked the border fabric for - the very one that he loved because the pebbles reminded him of the Housatonic River bank and our fishing escapades.  (I admit now that I called him in sick on more than one occasion and then took him fishing!)  These are memories that will always be cherished.
 This quilt is brimming, OVERFLOWING with symbolism!  Sixteen years ago I remarried and moved to New Hampshire.  In the brief time that I spent there, I worked on two quilts - one for each of my children, who had elected to stay in their hometown to live with their father.   These are emotional pieces.
Hand quilted and tied ( I ALWAYS loved tying my quilts despite the flack that I had to take from fellow quilters!)  WHAT OTHERS THINK OF ME IS NONE OF MY BUSINESS!  
I love this shot with the afternoon sun filtering through the layers.  This quilt is now nice and clean and air-dried!  I'm going to fold it carefully and tuck it into a cedar chest until someone asks for it again.  In the meantime, I'll be looking to spirit away the one that I made for Hilary so that it can have its own day at the spa!  And then you'll all get to see it.  Andrew's quilt is my perennial 'Storm at Sea' and Hill's is a pretty 'Flying Geese'.  Hers will be harder to sneak borrow as she seems to have a perfectly accurate running inventory of ALL of her things at any given time!  It's a gift, I tell you!  As soon as it leaves the driveway, she'll be all over it!  I think that she inherited that gene from my mother.
Harley seems to be able to detect eau de Bubbha even after the washing!  What a nose.  
Scott has returned from North Carolina with a stomach bug and a great cloak of sadness.  His father is not going to get better, but the trip provided both of them with some essential time and closure.  I have massive amounts of empathy for him, for us, for everyone who struggles with their parents' aging and disease.  One is never prepared for how difficult these passages are going to be.  As some of you have pointed out - there are no manuals for either child rearing or parenting our parents.  We do the best that we can and it's in the sharing of our stories, the affirmations of strength and courage and love that we find some peace.  I appreciate all of your comments and encouragement - thank you so much!
If the pumpkins are here, can Sheep & Wool be far behind?  Five more days ...

Saturday, October 9, 2010


It seems intolerably quiet tonight.  Although I was lucky enough to spend some splendid hours this afternoon with my children and the dogs, returning to this silent house was hard.  I have spent many many weeks alone this year, and it does not get easier.  I wish that I were better with this solitary existence.
While walking out to the garden this morning I discovered numerous puff balls (for want of a better description!) dotting the overgrown lawn.
 I think that they resemble little peeled open craniums!  I have to stifle the impulse to kick them! Andrew warns that this action will distribute spores all over the place!  (He should know - he mowed last week.)
The zinnias are still beautiful and providing  bouquets each day.
This unfocused image is of my black beans, drying in their pods.  I've begun to harvest them - a little bit each day. 
When you open the pods the shiniest black beans appear!  The morning light wasn't conducive, so I'll try to show you a 'group shot' when I shuck them all tomorrow.  Harley and Jack and I settled in on the porch for a few hours of fresh air and knitting -
I am redoubling my efforts to finish this piece - Hillflowers by Anne Hanson.  It's such a glorious shawl and the fiber is amazing (Briar Rose 'Grandma's Blessing') BUT it is taking an outrageously FREAKING long time to complete!  I finished the first half this week and immediately cast on for the second -
two repeats with 14 more to go.  (sigh)  This shawl has been in the works since last year.  Of course, it isn't as if I haven't finished anything since then - that's more than half of the problem - I am not a monogamous knitter!  I need to learn how to be.  When I am struggling with feelings of sadness and isolation, it is very difficult to sit down to my sewing machine and work on my quilts.  The quilting can languish for a long time, but I'll always find joy in the portable nature of my knitting.  This is why you haven't seen any fabric progress for a while - my heart just isn't in it.  Quilting requires more from my creative well than just about anything else that I like to create.  When I begin, I submerge myself 100% and this effort knows no limits!  I can get up at 5:30am and work until midnight without feeling weary.  It's hard to understand, and harder to explain!  But I bet there are many of you out there who are shaking your heads in silent agreement and recognition.  Housework?  I don't think so.  Baking?  Not this weekend!  Shower?  Oops - I really should attend to that.

A long time ago I found an image of a vintage appliqued quilt and I had it framed because I loved it so much AND it was discovered in Poughkeepsie, New York - the town that I hail from.
I've recently discovered that there is an Australian group who are reproducing this old piece, The Civil War Bride Quilt, block by block.  Can you see those ostriches?  OMG. And the peacocks and the horses and owls and black dogs, etc????  I am soooo tempted.  Somebody stop me.  Another languishing project will surely do me in.

Friday, October 8, 2010


David Yurman, how do I love thee?  At least this one way.  Oh, I misspoke.  At least these TWO ways . . .
My birthday arrives this month and while I am quite certain that neither of these pieces will find their way to my house, one can always dream.  I have many things that I dream of.

Harley would enjoy riding in this Cayenne, wouldn't he?  Me too.  And how about an entire lot of this - just because.
Blue Moon Fiber Arts - Spirit collection.  Any and all and at LEAST 20 skeins each.  (gluttony resides here)  I could sit in my new house and knit while listening to the sounds of the ocean.  Block Island.
Harley would need a few new playmates to run over the dunes with.  There are wonderful places on Block Island where cars cannot go and dogs reign.
How about this gorgeous Leonberger - they love the water as much as my Golden dog does.  And a friend to guard the picnic basket back on the beach -
 I fell in love with the Corgi back in college when one of my equestrian suite-mates brought hers along to keep her horse company at the stable.  Seriously. You can't make this stuff up.  I attended an all-female junior college which catered to the horsey set.  I think that I may have been the only art major there on full scholarship.  One of my suite-mates had a weekly allowance which equalled my tuition.  (maybe I'm exaggerating a little bit here!)  Sometimes she would take a group of us into the city and we would ultimately end up in Chinatown - dining on food that I could never pronounce and really had never experienced before.  Bennett Junior College.  Those were the days.  I digress ...
You already know that I love cowboy boots - these are gorgeous -

I can definitely see myself clumping around Sheep & Wool in them.  I would show you all of the fabrics that I presently covet, and books, and plants, etc, but I'll bet you have lists of your own - and I'd love it if you would share them!  (now leave off world peace and the like - this is pure fluff.)

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


'Blue Skies' continues to hold true to its name.  Images taken yesterday in the rain - the only spots of blue to be found.
So much rain for October.  The garden continues to delight, even while winding down.
Little pumpkins conferring with the juiciest parsley imaginable.  And the asparagus is growing its berries-
while the basil sends out its final flowers.  I have to find time to make pesto before the frost arrives.  Cooking in the winter w/o it can be so dismal!  I like to stock the freezer as full as I can so that it lasts through early spring.

Monday, October 4, 2010


I think that I was a cowgirl in another life.  Horses, guns, dangerous men, whiskey.  Think - 'The Quick and the Dead'.
Remember Sharon Stone in those leather pants?  THAT'S what I'm talking about.  These days I muddle about in my cowgirl FAT BABY boots.
And everyone at work laughs at me and my quirky fashion sense.  Ask me if I care - that's pink suede, man!  But there IS something missing.  Look closely.
No socks.  No hand-knitted socks!  So I holstered up and spun me a hank or two!
By midday I had the beginnings of a new 'jitterbug' sock which will make those boots feel really wonderful.  I'm going to need knee socks next.  I'm pretty sure that the leather pants will remain a memory.