Thursday, September 25, 2008

On the run....

First - Janna! what a great thought, putting the sheets inside a pillowcase, I am SO going to try that. Second - my opinion is that fitted bottom sheets are the result of an argument between Good and Evil. Good said "Hey, cool, these won't come out at the bottom and get all rumply!" and Evil said "Yeah, and just TRY to fold them neatly so they look all tidy in the linen closet, MWWWAHAHAHAHAHA!"

OK, so some of you say you can do it, and Mr Dearling sort of can do it. Me? Waddumup & throw'em in. I have decided I may to a "before" and "after" picture of my linen closet.......after, of course. And even I'm going to try some of y'all's towel-foldings, and maybe I'll put in pictures of my way too (which, as I didn't say, is to fold each side in slightly overlapping, lengthwise, then once down so that the nice edges are at the bottom and they look nice on the towel bar).

NOTE: "Look nice on the towel bar" is relative. You've heard it before: Martha Stewart doesn't live here. I'm not one of those match-y towel & shower-curtain type gals. In fact, the FULL sets of biffy stuff that match (you know, soap dish, toothbrush holder, drinking glass, tissue cover &c &c &c) give me the creepies. Usually (don't want to offend anyone who goes for that look).

Next, a Shocking Opinion: I looked at the new Mason Dixon gals' book at Barnes & Noble the other day, and (are you sitting down?) I don't want it ! Now, don't get me wrong, I think it looks terrific, and it's as loaded with their delicious personalities and humor as the first one, but none of the patterns in it look like my kind of....anything. I don't wear things like that, don't knit like that (or that well, at least), and I admire but don't want it.

Furthermore, I'm not even going to put in any more here or even any darling kitty pictures or ANYthing because my copy of the new book by the Yarn Harlot arrived today. Watch this space for future developments.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Potpourri, you might say....

I admit it. When your knitting project, your "WIP", your "on the needles" consists of a 47-mile long width of gartergartergartergartergarter &c &c -- there isn't much to say about knittin'. So I'm rambling. Digressing. Surprised? Like I've never done THAT before.

First - I just found out, via Cute Overload (you probably go there, no need to link) that the 44-year-old man who was solely responsible for the loving care and nurturing of the polar bear cub, Knut, was apparently found dead in his apartment in Berlin. No other facts were given, but I find it very sad; however, in his tribute they posted a seven-minute video from You Tube about Knut, and here's the link for that: Thomas Dorflein and Knut . My love ...uhm... passion for bears, which frankly does more than tinge on the worshipful, is no secret, and I think there's a special place on the Other Side for people who have cared for, nurtured and saved bears and other animals. I'm hoping that Mr. Dorflein is sitting, even as we speak, with his feet up, enjoying a beer with Steve Irwin and Henry, the fellow who took care of Chief, our wonderful polar bear at our zoo who met an untimely end some years back.

On Sunday the Lovely Daughter and I had lunch at a Chinese buffet. We love those. They're usually pretty inexpensive, you can eat yourself into a stupor, all the while convincing yourself that it's real healthy, all those vegetables and all. Yes, I DO know how it's cooked and all that stuff, and that there's probably enough sodium in one plate of kung pao whatever-it-is to replenish the Atlantic. Nevermind. It did, however, catch my attention that there were some offerings on the buffet that struck me as lacking any sort of Asian connection: quesadillas, for example. Pizza. French fries. Oh well.

SAY! I just discovered, in my amblings around the innerwebs, that there is a "Day" coming up which I can celebrate a LOT...I don't know if that'll redeem me from missing Talk Like a Pirate Day (I know, I KNOW, I feel terrible about it too!). Come to find out, November 15 is STEVE IRWIN DAY!! There's even a website: Steve Irwin Day . I don't have much khaki I can wear to mark the day, but I DO have a tan apron covered in animal tracks, that will do nicely!

FURTHERMORE, that day is one of high extreme merriment around here anyway because it's also my Lovely Daughter's birthday! So we'll be having treats and snacks and stuff for her and can easily tack on a tip o' the hat to hisself the Crocodile Hunter at the same time. I'll remind y'all; in fact, now is not too soon to start finding presents for the daughter plan to knit some blankies or kitty beds for your local shelter in honor of the day! (I'll take care of the presents.) Either that or, if you're swamped with holiday projects &c (which I never think of until the day before Chanukah - it's a tradition and we Jews are very into tradition) you might consider making a donation in Irwin's name......

OK, I'm heading away from that because I feel a big dose of verklempt coming on about heroes and infant daughters, and I won't go there.

I'll wrap up with a question, something I really AM very curious about. (And to the Lovely Daughter, who is even now muttering "Mom, you're curious in your own right", nevermind!) Here goes:

1. How do you fold your towels? I am VERY particular about how I fold my towels, and I'm due for a complete purging-and-refolding in my linen closet. Not much bugs me, but that does.......

2. How do you fold your pillowcases? I fold mine inside out, so you can just reach inside, grab the two corners, grab the corners of the pillow, and with a dramatic shake the case goes right over the pillow, right-side out. Clever, non?

I got those from my mom - those and knitting lessons. I'm raising to her my glass of tea ( the silent partner of Cats, Sticks and Books ).

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Like the Sands in an Hourglass.....

Would you believe I don't even watch soaps? However, that's what came to mind as I realized how many days I've been back from Michigan without which I posted anything. Scandalous and inexcusable...oh great, blogging has the potential to be Something Else to Feel Guilty About. Well no, by gumbo. I do this because it's fun and I like it and it's a good writing exercise, and I will therefore carry on. Pfftht.

First, a synopsis of My Days at the Cabin. There could be pages and pages of exquisite description, but they'd be insufficient to the experience. So I'll let these do, and remember that each is worth 1,000 words.

This is the view of the cabin, from the sofa. I saw this view quite a lot during my days there, because the sofa was comfortable, was next to the glass door, had a bright light at the end, and had a coffee table in front of it. As a result, it was the ideal spot to curl up and read. I finished two books on that sofa. What were those, then, Dale-Harriet? "Harvest Home" by Thomas Tryon (usually available at used book stores) and "Pyramids" by Terry Pratchett. I read Tryon's book every fall, I like it a lot. Oh - and of course always accompanied by my cup of tea.

NOTE: I have to make an observation here. I drink a lot o' tea. I have tea in the morning, tea while I read, tea while I knit, tea while I watch television. While I sometimes enjoy an herbal, I prefer the "real stuff", and am not to proud to say I likes me a good cup of Lipton. I enjoy cream in my tea and sometimes sugar, although I'm as likely to use Splenda (which you can get in a cute little dispenser - the teeny tablets plop in quite literally going "tink tink") and of course when I'm feeling really luxurious I use agave nectar, the dark stuff.....oy, a digression from my digression.

However, all of this has led to a little homily quoted by Mr Dearling in a sing-songy voice, and never for the rest of my life will I be able to mention, hear of or think of tea without hearing it. He says: "TEA - the silent partner of Cats, Sticks and Books." I just think that's really cute.

This, then, is the view from the table seen in the earlier shot. You can see the door, the lamp - yes, even the cup of tea ("The Silent Partner of Cats, Sticks and Books"). Also the Small Knitting Basket, from which issued a total of four dishcloths, all left at the cabin.

NOTE: For 300 years I've made dishcloths from Sugar'n'Cream cotton; I have an embarrassingly large stash of dishcloths made from it. I read in the first Mason-Dixon knitting book that they used PEACHES & Creme cotton, so I bought some and tried it. MY OPINION, based purely on my personal experience and totally what-I-think, is that the "Peaches" really does come out softer, and another cloth I've made from it for myself seems to be holding its shape a little better and really is softer. END OF DIGRESSION.

Knitting and Tea = Contentment

Another day, another dishcloth!

Of course, there were a few other pursuits while we were there. Mr Dearling read:

And he danced:

In fact, he TRUCKED! (this is one happy guy)

Furthermore, we ate - and actually....
I did go out one day, and we looked over the breathtaking vista that is Lake Superior:

I've mentioned before my passion for the Lake, and although I didn't actually dip the toe this time, even seeing her from here and being in the area, restores me.

So I'd have to say that all in all, every element of the week was a delight. It was "away" - "something different".

And in the days since we got home, I've resettled, snorgled kitties, polished the story I worked on up there, added a few inches to the Dr Who scarf, gotten reestablished at the Museum -- and I'm feeling Prepared. Interestingly (well, to me anyway) I find these to be my feelings at present:

I loved the summer and enjoyed it, BUT....with the tenuous beginnings of Autumn I find myself feeling like dusting off my hands and settling down to Where It's At. Like it's the time to list the projects, prepare for the Indoor Time of Winter, and sort of hunker down and Accomplish. I attribute this to two factors: 1) the feeling that "school is starting again" and it's time to work; and 2) when I ate that tiny morsel of bear it really did change me, and more than ever I'm a hibernating sort of creature. Today begins my Time of Accomplishment. Welcome Home.

And now - I'm going to have a cup of tea (the Silent Partner of Cats, Sticks and Books.) Join me?

Thursday, September 11, 2008


When something saddens me I cry; as I cry, I become overcome by the memories of every tear I've shed for every sadness, marching backward through time.

Today - with all of America - I think back seven years and I cry. Then I think of the JFK,and Bobby Kennedy, and Martin Luther King, Jr., and cry. Then I think of lost friends, lost pets, and cry.

Then I remember 1963, when the submarine Thresher sank, all hands aboard; that year the Pope died as well, and I lost my beloved father, just after midnight on Christmas Day.

Today, for me, a day of retrospection and tears. I do believe they make us all stronger, these tear-filled memories. I'll carry on. Tomorrow.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Window of Opportunity!

I am writing from the (very nice) Public Library in Munising, Michigan, where Mr Dearling kindly bought me and Daisy for a couple ...well, a few --OK, sort of a LOT of hours, to catch up on e-mail (nope, still don't want Viagra, nope not looking to enlarge ANYTHING, particularly something I don't have thenk yew) and read my favorite blogs, or some of them (can you believe it? I've gone four days without once seeing Cute Overload, I Can Has Cheezburger or Itty Bitty Kitty Committee). Actually a LOT of the real blogs I DO read, I AM reading.

However - quick synopsis: the cabin we're at is perfection; it's just exactly the model I'd have if we were suddenly able to afford one. It's in the quiet northwoods surrounded by ferns and trees and tranquility. It *lacks* cell phone service, television and innerwebs. I am not viewing this as a shortcoming.

So what am I doing? far I've finished two dishrags (I'm leaving them, as a contribution) and read quite a few pages in my Pratchett book AND entirely reworked one of my stories. I've also napped, dozed, and rested.

Yesterday (Wednesday) Mr Dearling went on a long hike, some four hours, during which time I rotated between all of the above. Today we've come into Munising, wandered through the grocery store (VERY nice, might I add, and Mr Dearling pronounced the potato wedges from the deli "not bad"); we also went to Pamira. Get this: Thursday is SENIOR DAY!! So our purchases were all 15% off, and we didn't even have to show the clerk any proof of age.

Waitaminnit. We didn't have to show the clerk any proof of age . Well now - I guess it's time to look into Senior Care Dove Soap. Although, as I'm sure I've mentioned here before, I REVEL in my Advancing Age, and one of the coolest things is this periodic little bonus of discounts and free coffee and cookies and so on. HEH!

I discovered that our hosts like GREEN - the delightful lizard-shaped door pulls on the kitchen cabinet are green, there are a couple green hot pads....the two dishcloths I've made so far are blue-and-white and white. So I bought two balls of Sugar-n-Cream at Pamira in greens, and I'll crank off a couple more dishcloths. We DID bring another nice guesting gift, but honestly they cannot know the pleasure we're enjoying in their little retreat, truly.

There will be pictures. I don't know if we'll get into Munising again before heading for home, so if you don't hear from me before Monday, it's not because I don't care.

OH! One parting thought: to my good friend Marjorie in California - MAZEL TOV!! She has, since we came away, become grandmother to a pair of tiny, perfect twin grandchildren, about which I expect more details in future. (She sent their glowing description, their petite but hearty weights - but failed to mention gender. Well, Great-Auntie Dale-Harriet doesn't need that to begin knitting Little Somethings, but it's a testament to her flubbertiness that she omitted that little fact.)

Monday, September 1, 2008

A Week Away....

Like many of my fellow Upper Midwesterners, such as certain other Wisconsinites & Minnesotans, we're going Up North. Ever notice how we in the northern and central states vacation northerer? Anyway, a friend at the Museum offered us her cabin for a few days, before the school tour season starts - and we're going.

I do believe that there's no innerwebs to speak of in the portion of northwoods to which we journey, so there'll be muteness here for a spell. (How does this differ from prior mute periods here, Dale-Harriet?) Well -- it's announced in advance is all. Therefore I am going to leave you with some pictures to look at in my absence. No cats (!) no books (!!) but there are references to knitting. These are illustrations from our foray to New York last May: the first are at St. Marie Among the Iroquois, a wonderful historic site (aaah, you guessed that!); the second are of Mr Dearling having a Religious Experience, fondly remembered from his college days; the third is the serendipitous discovery of a yarn shop, and the last shows how dull we really are - we LOVE going to grocery stores away from home to see what they have that we don't. You wuz warned.

Mr Dearling gets information about the site from a local guy

Admiring the rush-lights - very feeble light sources!

This is hand-embroidered goldwork on the priest's vestments from Ste-Marie-Among-the-Iroquois. Think on it - probably the work of 17th century nuns, these flawless stitches are as beautiful today as when they clipped the last threads.

This is a detail of the same piece. Not only is the work eye-wateringly beautiful - gold thread is not, I imagine, as easy to use as your standard DMC cotton. The pure devotion in every stunning stitch of this work held me transfixed. I spent a LONG time looking at this piece and consider it a privilege to have been able to lay my very own eyeballs on it.

A word of explanation here: Mr Dearling spent part of his college career in Buffalo. While there, he and his roommates ate pizza...prodigious amounts of pizza. Specifically, THIS pizza. Bocce's. This is his gold standard for pizza - he says "Even lousy pizza is delicious, it just goes UP from there"...and at the top, the pinnacle, the ultimate? That would be your Bocce's. Nothing for it, on the way home, being as we were in the neighborhood, we stopped for a Bocce's pizza & ate it then and there, in the car.

Look in the dictionary under "Anticipation". You'll find this.

And this? "Rapture"

Now -- fair's fair, yes? En route, we passed through Snyder, New York. (If you're map-savvy, and it seems this must have been out of the way, my recall for the exact order of our adventures that day could be off. Nevermind.) And my recollection is that I shouted "STOP STOP" but actually Mr Dearling might've seen it first....I was knitting. However, we did stop, and found it to be a CHARMING LYS! I believe this was where I bought the delicious Great Adirondack sock yarn which will be displayed here in future - it's becoming a sock. It's aging nicely while I do that Dr Who scarf. And what is the name of the dear proprietor, Dale-Harriet? Uhm....OK, our nephew is sleeping in the den at the moment (LOOK at the time, will you?) so I can't go get her card, but I WILL post it in future. P'raps with the sock picture. Suffice it to say, I had a wonderful time, and so did Mr Dearling, who is becoming quite conversant as we say in French. He delighted her with such things as "She has a blog, you should read her blog, mind if we take pictures for the blog?" What can I say, I love him.

This is me, HAPPY! Truly, if you're in the area, you would do very well to stop at this comfortable, well-stocked and very friendly little shop, and I'm saying that entirely on my own: it's the plain truth and not a word of a lie.

OK, by the time you've ploughed through all of this, I may be home from Michigan. Let me 1) apologize for wonky picture placement - I *am* still working on it; and 2) let me end with a picture of Your Humble Blogger, which is a way of saying ME -- and a confession.

We're Very Boring People, Mr Dearling and I. One of our chief delights in life, when travelling out of our own area, is to find a grocery store, and walk up and down the aisles. We look to see the kinds of stuff they have (a lot of stuff is regional, did you know that?) and sometimes they have tasty samples (you can have yourself a light lunch or small supper if you hit the right day). One of our favorites is exclusive to New York and maybe Pennsylvania, in fact I've mentioned it here before. (TWICE you're talking about a grocery store, Dale-Harriet? Well I swan, you ARE boring!) It's the ever-popular Wegman's. Very upscale-looking, the sort of place you wash your face before you go in there. The sort of place with a fancy-olive section, and a fancy-cheese section (which had WISCONSIN cheese in it, so you know it wasn't just talking the talk) and...remember, this is a grocery store -a "Literary Acquisition" section, and I don't mean just a magazine rack with newpapers full of alien two-headed kangaroo-platypus babies. I wish we had a Wegman's.

Could WOULD I make this up?