Sunday, October 5, 2008


First: I haz a skill. I can determine the Exact Moment when it changes from Summer to Fall, and it rarely coincides with the calendar date. There comes a moment, an instant, when I feel "The Snap" that marks the change. It's a subtle difference in the fragrance of the air, the feeling of a cool day, an incredible itch in my fingers which matches an increase in my need, desire, yearning to knit (more than I have been). This also coincides with a strong urge to cast on something new -- which in this present case will have to be delayed because By Gum, I'm finishing the Dr. Who scarf first. Just so's you know, you know.

Now, when Mr Dearling goes away (as he did quite often when travellng to New York to care for his ailing parents - of blessed and fond memory) he sends me flowers. During his frequent forays east I enjoyed some popularity at work, as I enjoyed putting my beautiful bouquets where they could be enjoyed by the greatest number of colleagues. (Not to mention queries about if he had a brother, could I clone him, was I planning on dying any time soon.) (No, no, and NO!)

So as I write, I am sitting on my sofa. I'm watching "Chicago", and my kitties are sleeping beside me. My tea (Fast Lane by Celestial Seasoning) is close at hand, and my Dr Who scarf is right at my feet. I just finished a delicious braunschweiger sammich (with just a little mayo and sweet relish); therefore, I am warm, contented and enjoying myself.

And Mr Dearling is most likely stretched out in a sleeping bag, maybe on the ground admiring the stars, maybe in the car (if it's rainy). He's spending his days hiking and walking and stomping around his beloved Adirondacks and enjoying cucumber cheese sandwiches with potato chips. The potato chips are IN the sandwich, NOT next by. He loves 'em. We therefore are both contented and happy - and I have these beautiful flowers (delivered about an hour after he left).

In the intervening time I have gone to a going-away picnic for a Museum colleague who is moving to Oregon with his lady (BYE, KEV AND AMY, KEEP IN TOUCH!) Kevin is a science-geek type who spends time stomping around in Alaska and stuff, gathering Important Information. He also writes songs and plays a mean git-tar. And while we had the pleasure of his company at the Museum he kept mobs of kids transfixed about the artifacts and spun wonderful stories. I wish him and Amy the very best, and know there's a group of new friends who'll be lucky to have this merry couple in their midst.

Oh, it looks like Kevin is sort of a TALL dude, you say? Well, Amy took a picture of us together, at the picnic:
So yeah. He is. I come about up to his shoulder. See, I am an equal opportunity friend, and just 'cause someone's a giant doesn't mean I won't get along with him. Hmmmm....also, HE is an equal opportunity friend, on account of he consorts with short people of Advanced Age.

I settled at a picnic table and took out my Reliable Knitting (where I come from, *every* day is Knit-in-Public Day), and that - together with my Fibertarian button - led to pleasant conversations with folks there (none of whom I knew before that very minute.) In fact, Amy's dad was VERY interested in my description of the Fibertarian Party and Our Candidate Dolores, so much so that I believe I converted his vote to our side. Dare I say it? Dolores would be a better Commander-in-Chief than another candidate currently running for the VP.

I've been watching some teevee while I knit, in Mr Dearling's absence, and you know, you can learn a lot from off of the teevee. For example, I understand that, because it's now Fall, it's time to change our make-up for the new season. Damn nigh gave me the vapors -- what AM I to do? I don't wear any......

I'm also reading a wonderful book (after hearing about it on NPR): "Little Heathens" by Mildred Kalish. It's absolutely delicious! I haven't finished it yet, I'm reading it slowly, savoring every sentence - but until I have finished I'm not breaking open The Yarn Harlot's new book. Don't I have some will power? (The answer to that would be NO, matter o' fact, but nevermind.)

I am trying to nap here. Go away.

I couldn't resist, sorry - Evangeline crept into my little purple fringed lap throw to sleep, and this was just too terrifically good not to post. I could be wrong...but I think my cat is getting sick and tired of being photographed. Considering all the treats she cadges from me, I think her attitude is downright ungrateful. I mean, for petessakes.

And last, but absolutely not least! I am succumbing to a little unapologetic promotion for our new exhibit at the Museum, with the recommendation that all my fellow Hog-and-Bloggers and in fact everyone in Madison and Environs (you know who you are) make a point to get downtown to see it. In fact, I think the airlines should make special $10 round-trip fares from EVERYWHERE to come here to see it, so that, you know, Crazy Aunt Purl and the Yarn Harlot could come see it, and even I bet the Pope would be interested.

It's called "Odd Wisconsin", and is made up of some mighty exotic treasures culled from the ginormous collection in storage at our Headquarters building on campus.

For example, how many of you knew that Liberace was a Wisconsin boy from West Allis? This is his very own beaded and embroidered jacket, which weighs six pounds (!) I was always a fan of his, truth to tell, and I think he's at the lighter end of "Odd".

How about this? Oh, you're right, those are indeed brassieres. (Click to enlarge -- make the picture larger.) This delightful item, which I happen to especially love, was made by a fiber artist in the 1970s to celebrate Feminism and the freedom it gave us women -- and yes, the field of blue IS an image of a pack of birth control pills.

But not all of the items are light-hearted. We have a rock...and the note that was tied around it when it was thrown through the window of a black woman in Little Rock, Arkansas; the note, on a wrinkled piece of cardboard, reads (I'm paraphrasing): "The next time it will be a bomb. KKK"

There are some surgical tools from the Civil War - with a diagram illustrating amputation. There are some original letters in the hand of Abraham Lincoln....and a shawl, worn by President Lincoln en route to his Inauguration and for some years after (it was given to a black physician Lincoln befriended during the War, who later moved to Wisconsin and whose family maintained the provenance and now allows us to lay our very own eyeballs on the original garment). There is a typewritten script...for "Citizen Kane" - bet you didn't know Orson Welles is ours too, born in Kenosha!

And finally:

I'll end with some knitting. This is a sweater, all blown out at the elbows and ragged. It has an "X" drawn on the back in red. It was worn by a young man at Auschwitz - it had been given him by the Germans as he worked outside, and was marked to identify him as a Jew and a prisoner, as it was "civilian clothing". The young man survived, was liberated, and in time moved to Wisconsin where he regained his health and became a Professor at the University here in Madison.

There are more complete details accompanying each of these - and all of the items, in the exhibit; I wanted only to show y'all a hint of the sorts of wonders to be seen. If any of you unable to come this way would like more details on these items, please e-mail me (see Profile).

May I add: the privilege of laying my very own natural-born eyeballs on these items and in fact on all the items in the Museum is not lost on me, and if I can convey one-tenth of my own affection and enthusiasm for them to the students who visit, I'll count myself a successful docent.

Now then. Where's that Dr. Who scarf...........?


Alwen said...

Oh, me too! On the fall-is-here skillz.

But it helps that here we get the fall clouds, the heavy tall gray ones that look like a flock of sheep. They usually show up overnight, poof! One day, still summery, although the days are getting shorter, the next, SNAP! Fall.

yarndork said...

I loves me some fall. Makes me want to make some pumpkin raisin pecan cookies and sit by the fireplace. We already roasted/burnt marshmallows twice.

I love the historical things, but even better, I love reading the stories behind them. My 10 year old still talks about when we went to the Cumberland Gap and talked about Daniel Boone blazing the Wilderness Road, and he was only 6 at the time.

Marjorie said...

Fall has Fell, here, too, though *some* people don't think so cuz it's California and we "don't get" fall. Sure we do. It's just subtle, delicate, and likely to give way cheerfully to summer until November!

Love the oddities, on account of which I'm a big fan of such things. They make one think. Hugs from the West!

janna said...

Isn't Little Heathens a wonderful book? The author visited here and read from in, and I had to go out and buy it. And then I had to make sure my mom read it, since she grew up on a farm in Illinois at about the same time.

Hyacinth said...

What a delightful post...loved all the little tidbits that you covered in it...a hint of fall, some beautiful flowers, picnics and camping and a gorgeous cat...of course it also made me a little homesick for Madison!

By the way, Evangeline's expression is priceless :)

Lee said...

If one had a little time, say this weekend, how much time should one allow to see the Museum? That is assuming one does not get distracted by the lovely array of fall goodies at the Farmers' Market. The event which brings me to town is not until evening and there is only so much shopping one can do at the bookstores, since books do get heavy.

Chanter said...

Oooooh, I'm never quite that good at identifying the summer-to-fall change thing. For me, it's the smell of fallen leaves and wood smoke that does it, as opposed to summer greenery, campfire smoke and humid air. By the time I'm aware fall's hit, it's two weeks on. Ah well.

On a totally unrelated note, yes, I did surf over here from the IBKC. Yes, I've been sniffing around reading without commenting for a while now - never had the guts to say anything, if that's believable. I'm finally speaking up because I've just gotten both a job and an apartment. Guess who's lucky enough to have found work in Madison? :)

I promise I'm not following you or anything scary like that; it's a case of serious luck that I found this job. Either way, we now share a city!

kmkat said...

Tell Evangeline she cracked me up. Perfect caption.

I am coming, cast and all, to Wisconsin Dells next week (Sun - Tues) for the Wisconsin Counties Association conference. It appears that is the ONLY traveling to conference/seminar/whatever that I will do this year. No trips to Madison :-(