Saturday, June 30, 2007

Everyone is home again

Steve is back from Virginia. Jacy is back from Honduras. Sarah and Joan are back from Pennsylvania. Mom and Dad are back from Greece. And we have Peter, David, and Grace with us for the next ten days or so.

While David and I were on our super-speedy trip to Virginia to get the girls and assorted friends we stayed with Penny and her family. Penny and I got to spin together. The last time we did that was before we moved to Alabama - over eighteen months ago. It was so nice to be able to spin in company with Penny, and to be able to talk - about spinning and knitting and fiber - while we spun.

Then Meg came and we all had lunch together and knit together in the afternoon. It was very relaxing and such a special "friendly" time. And very kind of the two of them to indulge me by allowing me to stay put at Penny's for the few hours we were in Virginia.

We all knitted on socks for a bit. Meg has finished two of the many pairs she has in progress and we took pictures of them.

And Randy (no, I think it was Kate) took pictures of us all knitting.

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Wednesday, June 27, 2007

The Bride's House

The Bride's House by Dawn Powell is a story of a family destroyed by lust and adultery. The ironically named Truelove family is made of people longing for what/who they don't have. None of them finds contentment or fulfillment in the marriage he or she has.

Sophie Truelove, the 22-year-old daughter of the family, longs for a husband who will meet all her desires and needs. She finds such a man in Lynn Hamilton. At the same time, she finds herself attracted to Jerome Gardiner, a married man and infamous philanderer.

Sophie marries Lynn, hoping that marriage will "save" her from Jerome. When Lynn has to travel for business reasons Sophie meets Jerome - not once, but often. Their affair is discovered and disclosed. Sophie, pregnant with Lynn's child, leaves Lynn and her home and travels across the country to Jerome. He promises to divorce his wife and have no more other women, to marry Sophie and be true to her.

Even as he speaks the promises of faithfulness to Sophie, he's thinking of other women he desires.

It's a sad story that brutally depicts the unhappy ending of an adulterous affair.


And more travel

Today and tomorrow Mom and Dad are in Athens, Greece. They'll fly back to Atlanta Friday night.

Jacy is in Honduras at Orphanage Emmanuel and will fly back to Atlanta on Friday night.

Sarah and Joan are in Pennsylvania at White Sulphur Springs and they come back Friday night.


Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Travel update

Mom and Dad are in Thessaloniki today. It's afternoon where they are, and the temperature is 102F/39C. (And I was thinking we are hot here at 90F!)


Monday, June 25, 2007


This week Mom and Dad are in Greece. I hope they're having a wonderful time and will bring back great pictures.



Today at the lake Marley found this huge frog. It's bigger than my hand. I would have held my sock knitting next to it for scale, but I was too afraid that I might inadvertently touch it. As it is, I was reluctant to put my cellphone down in the bucket to snap the picture, but I preferred that option to keeping the frog in order to show everyone how big he was.


Friday, June 22, 2007

The Natural Knitter

Penny loaned me her copy of The Natural Knitter by Barbara Albright, and now I want a copy of my own.

Mrs. Albright did a magnificent job of describing different fibers and explaining how to use them, and included patterns to knit for each fiber.

A large part of the charm of the book is the photography by Alexandra Grablewski. I knew I was going to enjoy this book when I saw the picture of onion skins and thought it was beautiful.

All the information about different animal and plant fibers made me anxious to start working with the sheep fleece Penny gave me for Christmas. I told David he had to help me, so he took it out to the front porch and we skirted the fleece. (David was extremely reluctant to get near the fleece once he smelled it and looked closely at it. First he murmured, "Jason and the golden fleece... ." Then he yelped, "Ewww!! That's poop!")

It was huge, and I didn't do a very good job of cutting away the icky parts. I tried to get rid of the parts that were matted, but after washing (and I'm only a fourth of the way through with the washing of the fleece) I'm finding too much matted stuff in with the good stuff. But I'm learning as I go.

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Thursday, June 21, 2007


Because we are in a drought I have to water quite a few plants in the yard and on the porches. I usually water the hanging ferns every other day, but very carefully, because we have little tenants living in them.

A few weeks ago this nest had three eggs in it. The eggs hatched, the birds grew, and finally we enjoyed a day or two of watching wobbly "teenage" birds test their wings and become adept at flying - and landing.

I just noticed this pile of "trash" in this fern yesterday and realized that somebody is doing a little nest constructing.

And this one had four eggs in it, but I could only see one baby hatchling when I watered the last two times.

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Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Not so dull and quiet now

Glenn and Amy and the girls arrived safely. Jacy came home for a brief visit yesterday, and said she'd be back again today.

We went to the lake yesterday for about an hour, and plan to go again today for a bit longer stay. Both the children and the dogs had fun in the water.

And Mady was happy to play in Amy's lap.


Monday, June 18, 2007


I recently read Ann Hood's novel, The Knitting Circle, and The Friday Night Knitting Club by Kate Jacobs. While I enjoyed both books, I don't know if I'd ever re-read them.

Unlike the knitting mysteries I've enjoyed, these novels avoided any light-hearted frothiness. They don't contain much happiness or contentment, either, just a grim determination to get through this life. In both books, women face difficult times in their lives - deaths of loved ones, dire illnesses, divorce, etc. - look for some kind of salvation, and find knitting as their savior.

I do enjoy knitting. I have even found knitting to be helpful in certain stressful situations. But it's not my god, and it has never given me even a fraction of the peace and contentment that praying to God has done.

For more satisfactory knitting reads, I think I prefer histories of knitting or books of knitting patterns.

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Summer doldrums - and it's not officially summer yet

I've never seen this movie, but the title describes our home right now. No one is here. Well, only a few people are here. It's very quiet, empty, and at night, very dark. Sarah and Joan are at camp in Pennsylvania. Jacy is housesitting with friends this week, then leaving for Honduras to work at Orphanage Emmanuel. Tom and Karin are still in Virginia and won't be here until later in the week. Even Mom and Dad, who pop in and out several times a day and occasionally in the evening are gone - they left today for a tour of the early church sites in Greece and Turkey. Steve is busy with work (and I am glad to be able to eat and have shelter) and is on the road or working long hours in his home office. It's kind of boring to have so little activity here at home. On the other hand, having only one load of laundry a day is nice. And there are few dishes to wash after meals.

Thankfully, a reprieve is on the way in the form of Glenn, Amy, and the girls. They'll arrive this afternoon and stay until the end of the week - hurrah! And this time, they're bringing their golden lab, Dixie, so Cocoa will have company, too. (Would Dixie be considered Cocoa's "cousin" since Cocoa is Marley's dog and Dixie is Glenn's dog? And why do questions like that even pop up in my head, anyway?)


Friday, June 15, 2007

My 25 favorite under-appreciated children's novels

Sherry recently asked about favorite under-appreciated children's novels and I was able to narrow mine down to 25 - certainly it's more than the one implied in her question, but (thankfully) less than 100 (or 1000). Jacy and I worked together to write one summary sentence for each book.

1. Winterbound - Margery Bianco. A group of siblings snowed in without their mother manage to competently care for one another until the snow melts.

2. The Secret Summer - Ruth Chew. A brother and sister run away from Brooklyn to spend the summer at a lake.

3. Five Dolls in a House - Helen Clare. Elizabeth discovers that the dolls in her dollhouse are alive when she shrinks to visit them.

4. The Trolley Car Family - Eleanor Clymer. Mr. Parker, a trolley-car driver, moves his family into his trolley-car after losing his job.

5. One by Sea - Scott Corbett. Nye, a ship-wrecked, motherless boy, must race over land and sea to rescue his father.

6. The Family from One End Street - Eve Garnett. An English family without much money, but with lots of children have many adventures.

7. The Great House - Cynthia Harnett. Historical fiction set in late 17th-century England involving a brother, a sister, and their architect father.

8. Vinegar Boy - Alberta Hawse. A scarred boy has a life-altering experience with Christ during the crucifixion.

9. No Children, No Pets - Marion Holland. After three children, their mother, and their pet cat move into an apartment complex in Florida filled with elderly residents, the children solve several mysteries.

10. The 69th Grandchild - Mabel Leigh Hunt. Susie Henrietta is the youngest of 69 grandchildren in a warm and loving extended family.

11. The Hidden Treasure of Glaston - Eleanore M. Jewett. Hugh, a lame boy left at a monastery by his knighted father, seeks and finds Arthurian treasure.

12. The Golden Name Day - Jennie Lindquist. Nancy comes to stay with her Swedish grandparents while her sick mother recuperates, and learns all about her family's heritage.

13. Storm over Skye - Allan Campbell McLean. When several sheep are stolen, Niall and his brother seek to discover who is behind the crime.

14. Me and Caleb - Franklyn E. Meyer. Buddy and his younger brother, Caleb, have hilarious adventures in Missouri.

15. Dangerous Island - Helen Mather-Smith Mindlin. Three children are accidentally swept out to sea and wash up on a mysterious, sinking, island.

16. The Zero Stone - Andre Norton. After the man he is apprenticed to is murdered, Murdoch teams up with an alien creature named Eet to discover the secret of the Zero Stone.

17. David and the Phoenix - Edmond Ormondroyd. David climbs a mountain behind his home and finds and befriends a phoenix.

18. Tom's Midnight Garden - Philippa Pearce. Tom, staying at his uncle's house, finds a clock that enables him to travel in time in his uncle's garden.

19. Henry Reed's Baby-Sitting Service - Keith Robertson. Henry and his friend, Midge, spend the summer baby-sitting for a variety of clients.

20. The Velvet Room - Zilpha Keatley Snyder. Robin moves to California with her migrant family and discovers a beautiful retreat in an abandoned mansion.

21. The Winged Watchman - Hilda Van Stockum. A Dutch family, living in and maintaining a windmill during World War II in Nazi-occupied Holland, find a way to fight for their country.

22. Peppermints in the Parlor - Barbara Brooks Wallace. Newly orphaned, Emily is sent to live with her rich aunt and uncle, only to discover that evil has taken abode their home in the form of Mrs. Meaching.

23. They Loved to Laugh - Kathryn Worth. Orphaned young lady moves in with large Quaker family in North Carolina and learns to enjoy life.

24. Patterns on the Wall - Elizabeth Yates. Journeyman stenciller Jared Austin travels about New England during the year "Eighteen-hundred-and-froze-to-death."

25. The Mystery of the Great Swamp - Marjorie A. Zapf. Jeb discovers a secret island in the Okefenokee Swamp.

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Thursday, June 14, 2007

Dancing Crayons - completely finished

The I-cord edging made with my homespun yarn is done and I dug through the button tin and found a number of button candidates. Decided to go with the four on the left, sewed them on, tried on the poncho, and am very happy with it.


Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Eight things about me

Jennie C. tagged me last week while I was away and I just found out.

First, the rules: For this meme, each player lists 8 facts/habits about themselves. The rules of the game are posted at the beginning before those facts/habits are listed. At the end of the post, the player then tags 8 people and posts their names, then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know that they have been tagged and asking them to read your blog.

1. I am a news junkie. I prefer to start the day (after reading from a devotional and plugging in the coffee percolator) by reading a newspaper. Or two. Or more. If I can't get them in the morning, I'm content to read the papers later in the day. While we were in Virginia last week I had several blissful days in which I was able to procure 5 newspapers to read each day: The Washington Times, The Washington Post, The Free Lance-Star, The Wall Street Journal, and USA Today.

2. I prefer vanilla over chocolate.

3. I really like rules, directions, and maps.

4. Until I married Steve, I slept in a full-size bed with books covering all but a narrow space on the edge for my body. Now the books are stacked beside the bed and at the foot of the bed.

5. I enjoy going to the lake, but I rarely get in the water.

6. My "default mode" is sit-around-reading, so I'm thankful to have friends who invite me to do things with them.

7. I think of colors like numbers: cool colors (like blue or green) are odd-numbered; warm colors (like yellow or red) are even-numbered.

8. Being a Marine wife was one of the best things that God used to shape and refine me, and I would have loved for Steve to have stayed in longer. I miss it.

Hmmm... tagging others for this meme: Jeannine, Dy (I think Jennie tagged her, too), Marla , Meg , Tammy , Tracy , Jan , and Donna .


The Birth House

For months I have looked forward to reading The Birth House by Ami McKay. The blurbs on the dust jacket made the story sound so delightful and warm. I was looking for a book that celebrated love, marriage, family, and childbirth, friendships among women, and enjoyment of domestic life and the role of wife and mother. Instead I read a tale that wallowed in the nasty side of life - most of the male characters were cruel, selfish, and violent. The women were conniving, miserable, and angry. The children were beaten and abused. The "birth house" of the title and the midwives did deliver a few babies, but more often they helped the wives of the area abort their babies.

The main theme of this book is that women, down-trodden and ill-used for centuries, finally turned their destinies around and fought the established order in the early part of the twentieth century, thus securing better lives for all women. (But those "better lives" look pretty tawdry and thin.)

Lovely book cover - sordid content. I do not recommend it and am sorry I put it on my reading list for this year.

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Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Late night summer storm


running down inside


~Inahata Teiko

We just enjoyed a brief, but flashy, thunderstorm. First rain in months. And I'm the only one awake and enjoying the sound of the rain against the window and the flash of the lightning and the deep shaking of the thunder. And I found a haiku and a picture to go with it!


Bad dog

On Sunday evening I went outside to water the azaleas, leaving Glenn and Sam inside with Cocoa. They eventually came out to Steve's office, leaving Cocoa alone inside. She went back to my room, grabbed a ball of cotton yarn, and had a blast with it all over the family room floor.


Summer Knitty is up

The Summer 2007 Knitty is up and ready with great patterns and articles - including one on spinning yarn for a sweater. (I already read that one. Now I need to go wash and card the bag of fleece Penny gave me, so I can get started spinning the yarn for a sweater someday...)

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Monday, June 04, 2007

Uncommon Carriers

Had I known a month ago that John McPhee had written Uncommon Carriers I would have planned to read it along with The World Is Flat. As it is, McPhee's book caught my eye as I was browsing the new books at the library.
This is a compelling book about how goods are transported. I know how odd that sounds, but after reading this book I'll never look at 18-wheelers, trains, or barges the same way I used to. With the exception of one chapter which retraced Henry David Thoreau's trip with his brother, John, up the Concord and Merrimack Rivers, this book was so fascinating, I couldn't put it down. (I have no love for Thoreau - he puts me to sleep, and I don't read to go to sleep.)
There's even a chapter about UPS, and one about a pond in the Alpine foothills where skippers learn to manage ships in tight situations - amazing stuff.


Cabaret Raglan

This sweater is done, and I modelled it sans make-up on the front porch in the rocking chair as the sun set - how old and decrepit can I look?!
Cabaret raglan is a boxy sweater, but the pattern was fun to knit, despite my repeated mistakes on the lace and cable section. I finally sat and knitted with no distractions and finished the front section for the third and final time. Today I finished seamng and weaving ends in, ironed the finished product, and packed it to - maybe - wear this week in Virginia.


Saturday, June 02, 2007

Miscellaneous knitting

A couple of weeks ago I finished the socks I started knitting on the way to Cancun. They're made of Plymouth Sockotta, which is perfect for warm weather socks.

The squares for the Greensburg Project are ready to be boxed and mailed on Monday.

A few days ago I went with all the children to see Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End. While watching the movie I started knitting a pair of socks using yarn I bought two years ago at Knitting Addiction while enjoying a knitting weekend at Meg's parents' home on the Outer Banks. Meg, Penny, Laurie and I visited the shop twice that weekend, and one of the times I bought what Penny referred to as my "Girl Scout sock yarn." It doesn't look so bad knitted up. And I think since I started knitting it while watching the movie, they should hereafter be referred to as my Pirate Socks. (Got that, Penny?)



Jacy's back from Camp War Eagle with a dozen T-shirts and a fall schedule that looks... interesting. When I registered for my first quarter at Auburn 29 years ago, it was cheaper, faster, and I got real classes. Things have REALLY changed.


Shower stall - delivered

Wayne delivered the shower stall for Tom's cottage, and Tom and Steve carried it inside after I took this picture. It is LARGE.