Wednesday, November 3, 2010

One-Eyed Jack

We woke this morning to find that Jack had crossed the Rainbow Bridge. After the last bug they all had, it was like he just decided to go. We realized he wasn't eating as much, but Jack had never been the foodie that Benny is. It wasn't until he was groomed that we realized just how much weight he'd lost, because he always had one of the thickest coats I'd ever seen on a Scottie.

He kept scaling back on what and how much he'd eat, and when he refused his favorite treat of an apple, I knew he was going. I wanted him to be able to do it on his own terms, at home, if at all possible, and that's what he did.

Jack loved snow, as Scotties do, and was so content to burrow in it, eat it, and come in caked in ice balls. This photograph of him was taken February of this year, after the second of our three blizzards. As long as the DH dug out a space for the necessities, the dogs were all happy, but none more so than Jack.

Jack had a lot of nicknames, because he had so much personality. Doodlebug, for the flying Scottie way he loved to lay down. Apple Jack, after as a puppy he tried, without invitation, to help Tara eat her apple. Jack of Hearts for the way he'd burrow into my lap on cold days. Jack was the grand old man type of Scottie, and as our groomer said today, she became a Scottie lover because of his personality.

Jack will never be cold again, but our world is much colder without him.

Friday, October 22, 2010

It Gets Better

I'm not a woman who makes friends easily. My concept of friendship is not exchanging statuses on Facebook, much as I enjoy it. I think real friendship is deep and rare, so while I have a lot of friendly relationships, I have a handful of real, true friends. A few of them I've never met in person, or may only have met a few times, or may not have seen for years, but the kind of friendship I mean survives all of that. We're involved with one another.

Thing is, I never know when one of these friends is going to appear in my life - or sadly, disappear. Some of the best friendships I've had in my life have been utterly unexpected, and completely by chance. My senior year in high school, my choral group was doing back to back performances, first at a mall, then at a garden club. One of the other members of the group wasn't feeling well, and since my little Toyota had reclining seats, I invited her to ride with me so she could lay back. During that twenty minute ride and conversation, we founded a friendship that lasts to this day. I'd known her a couple of years, thought her nice, envied her talent, but happenstance made us friends, and made my senior year much richer.

I got pregnant with my first daughter about two months after we landed in England. I knew almost no one, I was 19, and my husband was a fighter pilot who would be gone for days and weeks at a time. An enlisted man's wife befriended me, loaned me baby clothes, taught me to crochet, shared my love of reading, and helped shepherd my mom to tourist sites when she came over for the birth. We haven't seen each other in about 27 years...and when we talk or email, it's like it was yesterday.

And then there was Witt, whose larger-than-life presence showing up with Gary to surprise me at my studio made my life so much richer that just thinking of him evokes tears of gratitude as I type. He'd recently moved, left a lot of his comfort zone over an hour's drive away, and we needed and loved one another. We met because he happened to mention on a knitting forum that he'd moved fairly close to where I live, and I said so...and we started to email. He realized immediately that I not only didn't mind that he was gay, but that I was very accepting of him and Gary. So accepting that when they decided to do a commitment ceremony, they asked me to do the service, and DH, who loved them both too, to be their photographer. They only had about a year and a half together after that, but I think they were more content for having made the public commitment.

My point here is, I never knew any of these people were around the corner for me. Brilliant Goddess tho' I may be, I have no crystal ball, no foresight, to know the deep happiness they would bring. They made my life better, but I didn't know they were out there.

I've been in abusive relationships, first with my father who was both mentally and physically abusive, and then with my first husband, who tore me to shreds verbally (and often publicly) and withheld affection. There were many tear-filled nights and days, some of which I spent wondering why I went on.

But it got better. I grew stronger, in spite of and because of what I went through. I grew stronger because of people I really admired who thought I was special enough to want to befriend me. I grew stronger when I found the man I thought was the best person I ever met actually loved me. And if those things can happen to me, they can happen to you. But you have to be here! Borrow a little of my faith in you if you have none of your own, and believe it will get better. Believe there are those of us willing to help, willing to stand up, willing to love you for exactly who you were born to be.

Believe. It gets better.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

What Opinions Are Like

You know the quote, I'm sure. I got reamed for an opinion I expressed on a list I own, MMarioKKnits. A dear friend of several years' standing asked if I were attending a fiber show this coming weekend, after we crossed wires with me thinking that she was coming to one I went to on Sunday.

The show to which she's referring is about a three hour trek - admittedly through beautiful countryside - from my home. We first met face-to-face at this show two or three years ago. Anyway, I told her that DH and I would not attend that show, because we found it very disappointing. Leaving aside that there were not many vendors, there was no where to sit and eat, or just sit, porta-potties are the only amenities, and there is ZERO shade. For your fair-skinned delicate Goddess, this was hell, boys and girls. That year everything was liberally covered in dust, but rainy weather would be difficult too, because everything is in a field and tents, with no walkways.

So in response to my friend, I said no, we wouldn't be there, it was too far FOR US to travel for a show with no seating, no shade, etc...finishing with the fact that it was small. I felt this made it clear that it was the distance for small return that was the issue, and that it was a personal choice based on those factors.

Then I got hauled over the coals. Rather than paraphrase, I'll just give you the actual response I sent to her, quoting her email. Her name is redacted just so I won't get reamed for that too. The only part to which I responded that I did not quote was where she informed me that comparing two Fiber Festivals was comparing apples and oranges. No idea why, but that's what was said...

Wow, XXX. If you're going to spank me, at least buy me dinner first!
But in the interest of fairness, I will respond politely and point by point.

> SVFF is, as you mentioned, relatively new. It was fortunate to land in
> the Clarke County fairgrounds. That means: permanent buildings, a food
> preparation area, and a seating area for folks who have purchased food.

You call it fortunate, I call it good planning. I should add that I
have no affiliation with any of the fiber shows. But I can't see how
comparing two regional fiber shows is comparing apples to oranges. They
are the same thing!

> It is also quite spread out for its size, and the bathrooms are quite a
> way from the main gate (exception being the two porta-potties I found) -

Um...no. You should have looked at the map back on your program. There
are restrooms (aside from portapotties, which require desperation on my
part - rank, cramped and hot!) at five locations at SVFF, one set of
which is just off to the left after you enter, next to the sheep barn.

> Saturday was quite warm, especially
> inside the permanent buildings. We kept trying to find places where the
> air was moving (and not the stinkbugs).

Since weather is beyond the control of any festival, as are insects, I
can't see much point in this for comparison. Fortunately yesterday was
perfect weather.

> Fall Fiber Festival (Montpelier) is a bit smaller in number of vendors,
> but it is also not spread out all over the place. Once you get to the
> tents, it is easy to walk from one to the next.

Once you do get to the tents...quite a hike from where I had to park.
There were far fewer vendors, what they had was very limited, and I
reiterate, there was no where at all to sit down, not even so much as a
few hay bales. There is NO shade anywhere, and as a very fair-skinned
person, I was quickly miserable to the point of illness.

> Some vendors have been
> coming for years and obviously think it is worth it, and we look forward
> to seeing them every year.

Good for them. I'm glad they and you enjoy it. What I said was it was
not worth the trip to my husband or I, traveling the three hours there
to spend effectively maybe an hour looking at what little was there.
Then turning around and driving three hours back...however much we
enjoyed getting to meet (my friend).

> As for dust - we've been having plenty of
> rain this week and Friday promises to be dry and sunny, so the weekend
> should be quite nice.

Trouble is, there are no walkways there. If it's rained, you'll get
muddy. It it's dry, you'll get dusty. It's just not a great venue in
my opinion.

> The portapotties are quite accessible.
>
See above. Ick.

> There are
> honest -to-gawd sheepdog trials all weekend (not just demonstrations).

Nice, but not why I attend fiber festivals.

> I look forward to FFF every year and I hardly find it "miserable".
>
Good for you.

> This was my second year at SVFF (and you should have at least mentioned
> the deluges we experienced last year, btw).
>
I didn't go last year. The person I had planned to attend it with died,
and I hadn't the heart. At least much of the venue is undercover,
though. If it 'deluged' at FFF, I'd be afraid cars (and shoes!) would
get stuck.

> To me a fiber show with good vendors is a spiritual experience
> and I go to as many as I can.
>
I think spiritual experience is stretching it for me, but I do enjoy
them. I certainly have moments when I cry "O, God"...like yesterday
when I first felt the black alpaca yarn I bought.

> But I appreciate each one for what it is
> and I don't dump on another festival that obviously offers what people
> are looking for.
>
XXX, I spoke for myself (and my DH) about why we wouldn't be there.
After traveling so far to go, I was dreadfully disappointed. They
didn't offer what _I_ was looking for, either in product or amenities,
and I hardly purchased anything. If you feel that an honest opinion -
and facts where it wasn't opinion - is dumping, I have to disagree. I
hope you have a great time there.

So, I was polite, yes? Oh, goodie. And yes, I'm just anal-reten...I mean, desirous enough of being accurate to count vendors for both shows this year. The one I attended is has 86. The other has 55, so my perception is not off. I should add that many of those vendors are duplicates from the two shows I have already attended this year, so pretty much, I've seen their wares.

Yet again, I don't understand why people have to get all huffy over a matter of opinion. She's happy with the show? Wonderful. But that's no reason why I should think her experience trumps mine. She has not, to this point, responded to me. I'd just as soon she didn't. I have a new set of idiots to deal with at work today, but more on that later.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

I Know It When I See It

Art that is, not porn. Okay, that too, but that's beside the point which you don't know because you have no idea what the point is.

Maybe I should start over, but I'm too lazy after I typed all that, so onward.

For the last several years, a good client of ours has brought her young daughter's artwork to me, and asked me to create cards for various seasons for her. The first was a construction paper Christmas tree with Fruit Loop ornaments. A miniature of that became the logo for the back of all their folding holiday cards. For things like Halloween, I do 4x6 prints, she slaps on a postcard back, and sends them out.

This year, they want to use a shot from the blizzard last February for the Christmas card, but their daughter's art work was the basis for two cards, Halloween and Thanksgiving. I think you'll be able to tell what is her art, and what is my enhancements.



Her mother professes herself thrilled, and since she paid me, I guess she meant it. By the way, I'm pretty sure her spider is tap dancing. Even more impressive when you realize he has to coordinate eight legs, right?

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Long Time We No Get Drunk Together

A quote from one of my uncle Harry's favorite movies, McClintock. Yes, I've been quiet. Sue me. A lot of stuff has been going down.

Eldest daughter is still struggling. We don't need to go there, except to say that the jerk who used to be her husband has paid about a tenth of the child support he owes. Thank God for her family.

However, good news from younger daughter and her wonderful hubby...my second grandchild is due to be born in April. Current name selections are Lilith or Xander. Middle names are quite esoteric, and have changed multiple times. :-) I couldn't be more thrilled, and yes, there will be baby knitting in the near future. Another happy thought - this baby will be sleeping in the cradle that my grandfather handmade for me when I was expecting my eldest. So far, both my children, my two nieces, my nephew and my grandson have started life sleeping in that cradle. I know my grandfather would be thrilled.

I've been knitting the Mythos sweater. Not in the yarn called-for, the cost of which is astronomical for a sweater to fit me. I wish designers would remember that just because the yarn to make their itsy bitsy teeny weeny size only takes a skein with enough left over to make a tea cozy, enough yarn for a woman of abundance means her wallet darn well better be abundant too. Given my second paragraph above...let's just say that instead, I got a seriously good deal on some Sockotta. Not the stripey kind, but one that gives a Jacquard kind of pattern. I'm loving it. Until I have to join the two halves by grafting the back, then we'll talk again.

And speaking of knitting, I've decided to get certified through the Craft Yarn Council as a knitting instructor. If I like the program, I may continue on and get certified as a pro. We'll see how it goes. There is also a strong possibility that my DH and I may be jointly teaching a class at a local university in Lightroom and Photoshop. We'll see on that too.

One friend of mine recently asked if I were having a mid-life crisis. The wench is only a few months younger than I! Why did she ask, you wonder? As well you might, given my general youthful demeanor and jejune outlook. (Look it up.) Well, she asked because of this.


Yes, it's a tattoo. After years of saying I would never get one, I suddenly decided I wanted to, and I will tell you why, because I can see you're panting to know. Which is seriously steaming up your monitor, so stop that.

The DH's nickname is Tigger. In return, he calls me Pooh, but is very careful not to point out that I too am stuffed with fluff. For years we've had a standing joke about him (who hates needles) getting a Pooh on his butt, that is if we could find it. The man is practically concave.

Anyway, I recently commented that I should get the Tigger on my left shoulder, where DH falls asleep most nights. And I caught a look on his face - he LOVED the idea! I was stunned, but there was no denying that he got all misty at the thought. That settled it...it had to be done, and as my 16th wedding anniversary gift to him.

The trick was finding the right Tigger. After a lot of search, I found the one above, with the same mush-mush look on his face that the DH gets. He signed off as liking it too. But being your crafty little Goddess, I added a surprise. Ladybugs are very special to us, and I added one, making sure she had nine dots on her back to represent our getting engaged and married in subsequent Septembers. Okay, everyone say, "Ahhhhh." The tattoo artists all did.

It hurt far less than I thought, even on my sensitive lily-white (or as DD2 says, "Pasty" - she went with me) skin. This photo was about two hours after the procedure. Now, nine days later, it's a bit itchy but mostly done healing, and I'm pleased. More importantly, the DH loves it.

Totally out of character for me to have done this. Maybe I am having a mid-life crisis. But as a quote I read in college said, at the end of my life I'd rather regret things I have done, than things I wish I had done.

I like that.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Some pictures

I promised some pictures of my Maia, and here she is. The color is actually a lovely emerald green, and the sheets under are olive. This is what I get for using my point & shoot instead of having the DH do studio shots. Oh well.





Detail of the neckline. Romi did some creative patterning here.











And a detail of the bottom. This is not a large shawl, nor as small as a scarf, though you could wear it as one. It's perfect size for tossing around your shoulders when the A/C is too high in the office, or your muscles feel like they need warmed up a bit.











Right out in front of our photography studio, a pair of cardinals has a nest that has hatched out four babies. They are starting to wander outside the nest now, and I was able to get a few pictures. I call this one, "Are you steppin' to ME?"








The parents aren't happy when I'm out there shooting, because they want to feed the babies. They'll go so far as to come into the bush, cheeping up a storm, but they won't 'lead' me to their babies by going close enough to feed them. This baby felt it was definitely time to eat.









And in one that cracks me up every time I look at it, I think this one would make a perfect ad for Metamucil. I think he needs more fiber, in spite of the pine berries I watched Daddy Cardinal ripping off the tree to feed them.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

I've been busy

Yahoo! Avatars

But I'll try to catch you up soon. I promise to post some pics tomorrow of Maia, the second in a series of seven shawls by Romi. I'm one of her test knitters, and it's such fun!

Friday, May 28, 2010

A Quickie

Just because you know you like them. :-รพ I know I owe you some yarn and such pictures, but I've been pretty busy, as you'll see.

Every year we do a major dance studio's costume and action photos. And every year, we select an image we consider really good, like an incredible jump caught in mid-air, we blow it up, frame it, and unveil it when we sell the action photos at recital. It's become something people look for, and each year we try to outdo ourselves.
This year, the studio has their youngest soloist ever. She's ten. We got this shot of her. I really liked this picture, and felt that the youngest soloist deserved recognition. So I tossed a new sort of effect that I've been playing with at the picture, and came up with this.

I think she'll be impressed. And I'm hoping that I blow the ballet slippers off all her classmates!





Thursday, May 13, 2010

Scotties Rule!

At least in my house, they do. I've been owned by at least one, usually two, and occasionally three Scotties since August of 1981. We'd recently been posted to England, and rather than quarantine the six-month old mixed breed we had, we gave her to the ex's mom. Given that he was a fighter pilot and prone to many and sometimes long absences, I wanted a dog for company. I was living in a strange country, and I was very young.

With some friends from our squadron on the same mission, we visited a breeder of several types of dogs. Our friends ended up with a Westie. I wanted a black dog, since through happenstance all my family's animals had been black, and the ex wanted a male. And he was waiting for us; the last of his litter, and wagging his tail off...but not raising the racket other dogs were. He was for us, and brilliant boyo that he was, Mackenzie knew it.

Mackenzie set an incredible standard. Bright, loyal, stubborn and loving, he was inspirational, literally. Mom fell in love with him, and has owned several Scotties since. By pure luck I'd stumbled on the right breed for me. And smart! Mackenzie knew I was pregnant with the eldest DD before I did.

Now as part of my Scottie-love, the DH and I run a list dedicated to the breed on Yahoo. The link is below. The DH has a wee Sheltie that suits his personality more, but he loves the quirks and foibles of our two Scotties, Jack and Benny, too. When a knitter friend of mine mentioned she was getting a Scottie, we invited her to AngelScots. A little over a month ago, she asked if it would be alright to post and ask for a knitter to test a Scottie scarf pattern from a booklet of same that she would be selling to raise money for Scottie rescue.

Do I need to tell you that the request didn't ever go to the list? I hopped on that. The friend is Liz Lovick, and you've already seen on here the brilliant patterns she does, including the Fair Isle Scottie hat I knitted, and the vest she knitted for me. Both, I understand, to be in the booklet. Liz sent me some ColourMart yarn in a yak blend, of all things - very soft and a gorgeous muted lavender. We agreed I would knit it testing the written instructions, and the DH would provide photos. Here are few that we sent.
For the record, this is a fingering weight, I used about 58g of yarn and the scarf ended up being about 5.5 ft long and 7.5 wide. The scarf is knitted in two pieces and grafted in the middle. My graft is imperfect, but no one will know but me unless they get WAY too close to me for their comfort.

I did attend Maryland Sheep and Wool on May 2nd. I only stayed a couple of hours, and I didn't make it to all the outlaying vendors. It was killer hot, for one thing, in spite of the fans going everywhere. Your Goddess does not do heat. I didn't buy much, but I'll take a few photos and post them next.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

The Nerve

Sometimes, even your Goddess cannot believe the gall of people. Truly. And today is one of those times.

Back in December, another area photographer called me. A client/friend had asked him to do a restoration job, and as he got into it, he realized it was beyond his admittedly limited skill set. He brought it to me. This was supposedly the only copy of a woman's mother and son together. This picture mattered, a lot.

The photo had adhered to glass in a frame, and then the glass was broken. Gentle Readers, do NOT put photos behind glass unless you have the photo matted so that the glass isn't touching it. The least moisture, the photo emulsion turns to glue and you'll never get it unstuck. Then you'll be calling me, and I'm gonna have to charge you because I have this nasty habit of eating.

Ordinarily, I give an quote and require half down, but since this was a friend of a colleague, I didn't. Idiot me. I quoted two hours work...and as always put in a lot more...and the cost of a print. And I did the work, and was very pleased. I called the photographer and told him the job was done.

That's when he told me that another family member had given her a copy of the photo for Christmas. I was screwed, and so was he, for the time he'd put in on it. I've stewed over it a bit, but figured I had no recourse.

And now today. I posted a new photo on Facebook of some image enhancement I'd done. I'll show you in a minute. I tagged a friend in the photo because it was done at her dance studio. And turns out, SHE has a friend who looked at the photo in my work album, and also saw the before and after of the broken-glass-I've-been-stiffed picture. You guessed it (or should have!) - it was her mother and son. So she has the nerve, gall and presumption to ask me if she may tag herself in it!!!

Un-flippin'-real. I know my eyes bugged out because there's mascara on my monitor screen! I politely wrote her back, saying that since I hadn't been paid for the work she referred to as "beautiful" and "amazing," I was uncomfortable allowing her use of it. She says that oh, gee, she was never told by the other photographer that it was ready. :::head to keyboard::: I replied with an oh, gee back at her that since he knew she'd obtained another copy, he probably figured it was fruitless. I added that I was not too happy to be out my work and the print cost.

Now, this woman KNOWS she didn't pay for this work. Can you imagine her having the cojones to ask me to use it? Especially given that SHE HAS HER OWN FREAKIN' COPY OF IT????

I've said it before, I'll say it again, people are idiots. Including me doing the work on spec. :-(

On a happier note, here's the image I played with. Kind of a grunge/fantasy light thingy!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Laughter

About 18 years or so ago, the ex and I purchased a home in the town in which we live. It had been a three-bedroom rancher, but a previous owner had been a builder and added a two-story brick attachment with a sunken family room and a nice master bedroom suite upstairs. It was a good deal, and I liked the house...not the neighborhood so much, but the house.

Until. We had a serious gully-washer come through, and our house received a lot of run-off from the hill behind us. The rain started pouring in and the sunken living room lived up to its name. The ex, of course, wasn't home as he never was during a crisis (up to and including Hurricane Hugo!), and I frantically tried to save furniture and carpet.

Long story short, this builder didn't bother to waterproof the outer wall. We had one more deluge before we could have it fixed, and we couldn't save the carpet a second time.

What does this calamity have to do with laughter? I'll tell you. You knew I would. Around this same time, the British series of "Who's Line is it Anyway" was on Comedy Central. If you're only familiar with the Drew Carey version, that was limp and pale in comparison. The Brit version was hysterical. Rolling on the floor stuff. And I watched every single day throughout the mess. I'm not too sure it wasn't the only thing that kept me in my usual semi-sane state.

I'm a firm believer in the healing power of laughter. The DH and I have had some serious rocky times - almost all, I hasten to add, from external sources. We get along exceptionally well, mainly because I know how lucky I am, and he because he doesn't realize how heavily I keep him drugged. But there has never come a time when we couldn't laugh together, and if at times the laughter was a little bit on the hysterical side, well, it was still cathartic.

Almost two years ago, it was the last time we saw my father-in-law. We all knew he was passing, and only a couple of us could be with him in his hospital room at once. I stood in the hall with the DH and his older brother, and listened to them reminisce about their dad. They told camping stories, and house painting stories, and car trip stories, and throughout all of these warm memories was the thread of laughter. When I think of that day, I think of holding Dad's hand, telling him I loved him and trying to quiet him...and I think of that laughter.

Now, to quote Bill Cosby, I told you that one to tell you this. I stumbled (gracefully, naturally, as befits your goddess) across a blog today that had me laughing. Not just laughing, I should say. Guffawing till I was breathless, wiping away tears, and struggling hard to sober up when the phone rang. Now, I know humor is subjective, and what I find funny you may not, especially if you're a conservative about adult language and situations. I'm a bit like that in public (when did it become okay to drop the F-bomb in the middle of a crowded store?), but to read or watch as humor, I'm okay. If you are too, enjoy.

If you don't find her amusing, feel free to say so. I need a good laugh, and you'll do. :-)

Friday, April 16, 2010

Green...the color of Earth's life

I'd appreciate it, if you like my design best, if you'll go vote for it on Bloomingdale's site. Ta!


Green...the color of Earth's life: "

Country view of trees and birds, all in green, with the word GREEN descending on the right, and "...the color of Earth's life" across the bottom."

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Gifted

No, for a change I'm not talking about myself, except in the sense that I was the recipient of an unexpected gift.

Not but what I should have expected it, but I am a true blond and occasionally have to act like one so as not to completely explode the stereotype which so comforts all you brunettes out there. I should have expected it because, at the beginning of the year, my new Terrier Twin requested my bust and hip measurements. And if you don't think taking them at the beginning of a new year is depressing, you have not been paying attention to just how abundant your Goddess is.

To back up a smidgen - if you've been following this blog at all, you know I own (or am owned BY) two Scotties. Jack is black, and almost nine. He has only one eye due to an accident that we think was caused by another puppy's claw (wince) poking him in that eye. It had to be removed. It doesn't faze him, other than he walks to the non-traditional side of me because that's where he can see me. He is a very devoted dog, one of the most so of all the Scotties I've owned over almost 29 years.

Benny is what is known as a wheaten Scottie. Most people think all Scotties are black, but that's not so. There are brindle Scotties, which are mostly black with sort of striping of various shades of brown or silver or red, and wheaten, which are never white but may be anything from a light silver to wheat to something like Benny's lovely coat, which reminds me of nothing so much as creme brulee. He has a fairly deep wheat cast, but the tips are pure cinnamon. Benny will be 8 this summer.

Once internet groups really took off, I joined one for Scottie owners. I didn't care for it. The group owner played favorites, was very autocratic and the group was too large for my taste. A new group, AngelScots, formed in memory of the owner's dog who'd recently gone to the Rainbow Bridge, was more to my liking. I joined it a few days after it was formed, and that was over 10 years ago now. Eventually, the DH and I were asked to take over ownership, and there it stands.

A few years ago, I got the idea of doing a secret pal program to foster members getting to know one another better. Being prone to alliteration, I named it Terrier Twins. The idea is to learn about the other person, send a few cards and a present or two, and be supportive when they need someone in their corner. For the most part, it has gone very well.

This year my friend Liz Lovick drew my name. You've seen her mentioned here many times before. She is an extraordinary font of information on knitting and spinning, specifically as found in the Scottish Isles. Liz is very generous in teaching others, and was doing just that on one of my knitting lists, when she happened to mention she was about to rescue a Scottie. She had owned one before and was involved with the local rescue program. I am sure you won't be surprised to hear that I pounced and invited her to join AngelScots. She's been a great asset to the list.

Now to the present, and the present. Liz had warned me a few weeks before Easter to watch for a package in the post. I was startled to receive the vest you've been seeing here...in fact, I was blown away. She used yarn from a company with which she is affiliated and one that is very popular with knitters, Colourmart. It is incredibly soft, and as you see, has wonderful Scottie motifs. It's part of a group of patterns Liz is creating to help raise money for her Scottie rescue group. We're helping by providing pictures of some of the items, like the hat
which I knitted from a previous gift. And as of yesterday, I am a test knitter for a lace Scottie scarf for her. Liz sent me the pattern, some scrumptious yak-blend deep lavender yarn, and some stitch markers she made for me, and I cast on last night. I got 27 rows in and found a typo, so I feel very useful. LOL.

Liz had my name for Christmas when she sent me the hat pattern and yarn. She also sent me an incredible spindle by Michael Woods, and some silk hankies and roving to match that she had hand-dyed for me. I spun a singles of each and plied them together recently for about 160 yards of two-ply yarn in what I would call a heavy laceweight. I have a lot more to spin, but this first skein is really pretty, and as soon as I get a picture I'll post it for you.

Anyway, two weeks ago we did a fundraiser day for the local no-kill animal adoption center, Briggs. We did pet pictures and donated part of the sitting fee to Briggs. I wore my vest that day, got many compliments and had the DH do some photos for Liz. The shirt I wore under it is, I know, big on me, but I figured I'd better wear loose clothing if I were dealing with dogs all day. It was a lot of fun.

Meanwhile, a gentleman just brought in two photos for me to restore, so back to it!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Limberlost Luna

That turned out to the name of this gorgeous shawl that was the MMario MMystery knit. You may recall I posted earlier that I was working on this, and shared a few pictures. Now you may see it in all its glory:



I will say this was a bit trickier than many MMario designs. I could almost hear the single brain cell he claims to possess firing off repeatedly.


The yarn was Blue Moon's Laci yarn in the colorway "Bleck." I have no idea where the name generates, but it does not, in my so-not-at-all-humble opinion, suit the lovely grayed lavender that it is.


Many have said they wished it were a bit bigger, and I admit, I had to block it very hard to get it as large as I did. The edge points were my own doing...if anyone did it, and they may have, I just haven't seen it. It simply felt right as I was blocking.

A really lovely, challenging knit. Many thanks to the DH for his wonderful photography.

If my mother ever appreciated anything I knit for her, this would be her mother's day gift. As my ex used to refer to her collection, she is "infested" with butterfly items. I don't know. Maybe I'll take it up at Easter and if she seems covetous, she may have it. We'll see, but don't hold your breath. :-)

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Gone to the Birds

I'm reminded of those essays we had to write as kids: "Here Is How I Spent My Summer." This blog is How I Spent My Blizzard.

Knowing that the bad...okay, intense, since I don't consider snow bad...weather was coming, I decided to get prepared. We got bird seed, and I took home a camera with a very long - and heavy! - lens.

Then I went semi-insane. We've had a bird feeder in one of the trees in our back yard pretty much since we moved in 16 years ago, and I've gotten a few good pictures over the years, but hey, nothing like a blizzard to drive the birds to your feeder! I perched myself in an open (!) window in our dining room, and began shooting. For hours. And hours. And days. And I've never been happier. Half-frozen, fingers stiff, DH bringing me the occasional hot beverage, bless him, and me with no idea of the amount of time going by.

Obsession? Check the dictionary. I think my picture is there.

But oh, gentle readers, how I think it was worth it. I culled literally hundreds of images down, then sorted out some more, and I was still thrilled with the number of images I felt were good. Then I showed them to DH, and got his opinion, pulling out a few more. The rest he felt were good enough to offer for sale, and I put a few in my Etsy store.

But he did me one better than that, opening a gallery with all the images. We sorted them by type of bird (mostly cardinals - at one point I had over 20 in one tree!). If you visit the gallery, there is a drop-down menu on the bottom right you can use to view different birds. If you're interested in ordering...and I hope you will be!...click on the cart button under any image to view options and pricing. We can do standard luster prints, fine art linen paper and even canvas wraps. The prints are mounted on strong art board, and the canvas wraps are ready to go on the wall. Of course, we can frame and mat them for you, either separately, or with multiple images in one mat. I have one up in the studio that I love that is a male and female seated together in the center, flanked by the facing male and female you see above. Just ask, and we'll work with you. And soon, we plan to have note cards and other items available.

Then the DH blew me away. He has a blog for his work at our studio, and he featured me. To quote a bit, and stroke my ego more:

"I’m going to go out on a limb here (pun intended), and tell you about Diana’s nature photography. (snip) The results, quite honestly, are stunning. Diana’s eye at capturing wildlife has always been spot on. But the nuance she shows in this gallery is pretty much the eye of a years-experienced professional."

Can you imagine how moved I was? Understand, I don't just adore this man, I truly respect his opinion and admire his work. His words meant the world to me.

I hope to get several more types of birds up too, so keep the site bookmarked. These make great gifts. That's a subtle hint.

Comments are most welcome, but remember, your Goddess is sensitive. ;-}




Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Livid

I know I haven't posted for awhile. Yes, we were socked in by multiple snow storms, and you'd think I'd have written something then, wouldn't you? But I was actually very busy with something else, about which I'll share more presently. We're also thankfully busier at the studio than usual.

I knew you all were simply panting for a PAI (People Are Idiots) rant and since a prime example came up today, I thought I'd share.

We have six local high schools, and a few private schools, in this area. Many of the seniors, whether the school has a contract photographer or not, choose to come to us. Without bragging, we have the best facility in the locale, and with bragging, the best photographer in my DH. The kids come here knowing that we go the extra mile for them. We even take care of digitally submitting their yearbook photo to the various advisers, usually via email attachment.

Today we were told by one senior that her adviser, whom I'll call Ms. Lint Licker (LL for short), informed said senior that her photo would not be in the yearbook. Naturally upset, she posted on DH's Facebook page, asking why. He immediately emailed LL.

She responded by saying she'd never received the 13 senior photos we'd sent....btw, well before the deadline. Now, doodoo happens. Other yearbook advisers have not received or lost an image. You know what they do? They ask the kids, "Where is your picture?" They call the local photographers and ask if we have any to submit. They are conscientious, knowing the importance of their senior yearbook to these students.

Not LL. When the DH called her, she informed him - yelling so loudly I could hear her from about 10 feet away - that it was "Not her job" to call photographers. Even after she admitted to him that she sometimes has email difficulties at her school account! I guess it's not her job to talk to students, either, because she didn't trouble herself to ask them about their images. The DH got her to finally admit that the pages could still be changed, but essentially, it would take too much effort for her. Thirteen seniors won't be in their yearbook, and she can't be BOTHERED?!? What could BE more important when you're taking money to be the yearbook adviser?

DH offered to take his time to help with the layout to get it done. No, LL responded, that would violate state law about privacy. Really? For images that are being published in a public forum like a yearbook?

Two minutes. That's all it would have taken for her to call or email the area's top photographer. She knew she had email issues, she knew we would have images for her, she knew she had at least 13 seniors for whom she had no pictures...and she did nothing. I cannot fathom that level of irresponsibility. We are, of course, taking this to the principal, and failing resolution from that source, we'll be contacting the parents of the students. One has been a client for years, and a friend, and saints preserve LL if we sic this lady on her!

As a last note, I'm the daughter, niece and the sister of teachers, and proud of it. The DH has taught at the local university. Teachers are some of the best of people doing a job that should pay a helluva lot more than it does given the importance of it. If my kids got in trouble with a teacher, I took the teacher's point until I knew any differently. Bottom line, I admire teachers. A lot.

I hate having found a teacher that doesn't hold to the high standard I grew up with.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

And the Knit Goes On.

First, a quickie little project from Through the Loops by Kirsten Kapur. It's called Laurie's Beret and is in a lovely honeycomb pattern. There's also a pattern for matching mittens. I used Noro Kureyon from my stash, the first time I've used this yarn. It overshadows the pattern a hair in this photo, less in real life. The plum is actually a bit deeper, otherwise the colors are pretty true. It's fresh off blocking, so I expect a bit more drape as the yarn relaxes.



Now for the MMKKMMystery on Yahoo. This is a spin-off from the MMarioKKnits group, set up just to host the mystery shawl. I'm not working mine with beads. I like beads, I just wasn't in the mood.
I'm using Blue Moon Laci in Bleck, which is a much more grayed lavender than this quick snapshot shows. I didn't try to block it out or anything, just laid it on the chair. I've thought the same thing as my dear friend Olivia-Lee since clue 1...it's a luna moth. Especially since MMario gave us a suggested color list and at the top was a green with hints of yellow. NOT a good color for your Goddess; my greens are forest-y to match my eyes. (batting same) I dove in the stash and pulled up this extravagance that I allowed myself a year and a half ago at MD Sheep and Wool. It's just gorgeous.

Anyway, this is up to clue 3. I'm love the results, knit on a size 5 Knitpick Zephyr circular. I'm using the circular to hold the anticipated weight; the shawl is worked flat, with lace and cables. I'm in heaven.

At least as far as knitting goes. Business is good for this time of year, but I'm worried about my daughter and grandson. Her soon-to-be-ex, aka Dorkey, is doing nothing to help provide for his son, and lied about paying some bills, leaving her stuck with them. He's shacking up with someone else, and driving on his rescinded license. Such a peach, hmmm? Then DD's home was broken into (IMHO Dorkey did it, but that's only an opinion) and several items stolen - camera, computer, jewelry, and worst of all, my grandson's saving jar. Photographer friends of the DH have been sending him amounts from $1 to $50 to replace it, and it's all going into a child's saving account at the bank for safety. Bless them all.

And now, my daughter just lost her job. She's an incredibly resilient young woman, and I KNOW she'll come out on top. But I'm a big one for doing my duty, and right now, my duty seems to be to try to help as much as I can...and to fret. I'm way too good at it.
To end on a happier note...this will be a Valentine's gift for her hubby. I just love this image. The DH did a fantastic job (as always) with the lighting, and it just cried out for spot color. These Days of Beauty we do are so much fun - hair, makeup and photography, then my touch afterward. And it doesn't hurt when friends are there to egg one another on and bring their own champagne!


Saturday, January 2, 2010

Glad THAT'S Over!

By which I mean 2009. One of the lousiest, if not the worst, I've ever had. Not all of it, of course, but more than enough for me. More sick days than I've ever spent. More deaths touching me, worst of all being Witt's. Not a day goes by that I don't think of him, usually when I'm knitting, but sometimes just when I am finding something ridiculous, and wishing I could share it. And almost everyone struggling to make ends meet.

The year finished up carrying on the theme.


My eldest DD and her creep husband are divorcing, and one of the attorneys for whom she works is helping her, which is a blessing. The not-so-dear SIL’s done nothing to find work, she’s struggling to pay off bills that he was supposed to have paid and didn’t, and he’s sponging off mutual friends. He’s not giving her any money to help, but he’s paying them rent. I know she’s very hurt that her best girlfriend is basically taking food out of Cameron’s mouth. Oh, and he's driving the car of a girl he's apparently fooling around with AT the friend's house, but his license has been revoked. He's already been jailed once for that. What an ass.


Then DD’s trailer was broken into on Monday, and her laptop, camera and some jewelry stolen. Sadder still my grandson’s money jug was stolen, with all his birthday and allowance savings...over $50 just from this last birthday, and she doesn’t know how much more than that. Poor little boy was bawling his eyes out. And to tell the truth, I suspect the soon-to-be-ex. He knows her work schedule, and conveniently returned the key to the place that evening. Hmmm. Another place in the neighborhood was burgled a couple days later - he having not worked in a year and a half knows all the daytime patterns. He's also allegedly out of unemployment insurance, although I'm not sure if that's true.


Then worse. She told us that the jerk had promised to pay the electricity bill so she could buy gifts for Cameron for Christmas. The bill was due the 21st, and she just found out it wasn't paid. This time of year, it's all we can do to pay our own bills. BUT...my MIL heard about it, and sent DD a check to cover it. And DH told his photographer’s forum about Camo, and they set up a Cameron’s Jar fund to give him money...which they’re sending to us, since the dweeb has access to their PO box. My DH had mentioned $1 each, but some are sending more. We got five envelopes just today. So this year's already started out better. Thank God, and I say that most fervently.

Another happy bit...I finished the Verdigris gauntlets I was making for the younger DD. I made them out of Louet Gems yarn Witt gave me, and one skein on size 2 dpns was enough to do the shorter set with about a 2" diameter ball to spare. She's thrilled with them, and I've actually had someone offer to pay me to make her a pair! Given that I'm pretty sure I spent about 80 hours making them...well, she understands the time involved, but I really couldn't begin to charge her fairly for that much time. The cost would be astronomical. She's left the offer open if I want to quote her...any suggestions?

Here's hoping 2010 will be a banner year for us all. If it isn't...well, you know I'll have something to say about it!