Chitchat and the occasional in-depth analysis about fiber, knitting, spinning, crochet, cooking, feminism, self-image, and a modicum of personal blathering.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

'Cause your eyes, they light the night

Phoebe Snow died this week. She was a singer, a unique, unpretentious, pure vocalist. Nobody sounded like her. Nobody could sound like her. Her voice could not be mistaken for anyone else, and the first note was recognizable as hers, every time.

Phoebe Snow got big on the radio when I was in that place in life between childhood and adulthood, a good kid who wanted to be bad, a bad kid who couldn't figure out how to be good. Finding and fighting the wild girl inside, sometimes letting her win. All these years later, I can't hear her voice without remembering the poignancy of those years, without feeling a little bit of that thrill and that sting again.

I had lost track of her. I knew, vaguely, that she was still around, still making music in small ways. Her life was all about her daughter Valerie, born severely brain damaged. Phoebe chose to care for her child at home and not put her in an institution. This made her career as a musician much less than it would have been, had she chosen another way. I doubt she regretted it. Valerie died in 2007.

From time to time I'd hear her voice in a commercial or in the background of a movie or television show and I'd get that chill and that memory of the potential of my life rolling out in front of me, the future bright and exciting and scary. A flash of the mistakes I made and regretted, and the mistakes I made but was never sorry for making.

There is no voice so evocative, so capable of bringing it all back like hers. Not for me. Her voice was like her, not beautiful, not flashy, not glamorous, but complicated and important and one of a kind and so, so, so much more than met the ear. Ever try to imitate her? It's nearly impossible.

Phoebe had a stroke last year, and had been in a coma since. It's nice to think that she's with her daughter again. And that she has, of course, no regrets.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Throw out the hardware, let's do it right.


Another week or so has come and gone here in Buttercupia. Things go on. Younger daughter will be making the trip in after all, arriving late Friday and leaving Sunday after family dinner. I'll take it, it's better than nothing. She's hoping to get here for a week or so sometime this year, hopefully while we have decent weather, though in Pittsburgh, you never know when that will be. We've been between snow and freezing temperatures and torrential rain and 80 degree heat this past week and a half.

is starting another knit-a-long on Ravelry for a new shawl design. I have enough warning ahead that I'm spinning yarn for this one. Out of this fiber.


I'm doing a three ply fingering weight and since the pattern will require under 800 yards of yarn, I should have enough left over for a pair of socks.

Not sure if I ever posted this but I did get pictures of the last knit along shawl when I wore it to the opera.


The tickets were a gift from my mom to us and the opera was Turandot, my favorite opera, despite the many many wrongnesses of the story from a feminist viewpoint. The production from Pittsburgh opera was outstanding and the voices were excellent. As always, the show was a standout for the chorus, and our chorus did us proud. One of the sopranos is a woman I sang with in high school, every time I go to the opera and see her name in the program and see her on stage, I have another opportunity to browbeat myself for screwing up my future, back in my past. Just part of what makes my life fun.

I saw a nurse-practitioner at the Midwife center for a "menopausal issues" checkup earlier this week. It was about the best-case scenario for me for that sort of thing as I have not had my bits checked in over 15 years. They were very nice, listened, were gentle and explained everything. I felt very out of place but they put me at ease pretty much. I was only moderately panicked by the time the actual exam took place and it was over fast. I'm going for a mammogram and a Very Special Sonogram next week, to make sure there is nothing untoward going on before we decide what course of action to take regarding my hormonal dysfunction. I am also getting a blood test to make sure my thyroid is all there and working, since I have family history and symptoms.

We managed to keep the wolves from the door this week with my destash sale and juggling some bills. Bob has found a second job with one of those companies that does inventory in stores after they close, so once he starts getting paid for that, that should also help. I've also paid off two credit union loans in the past month, so my paycheck will get a small amount bigger. Not for long, if the governor has his way, he wants to take back our last raise. The wolves are away for now, at least, though the despair is never far.

Speaking of despair, still no word from daughter #1. I continue to have dreams about her. I really wish that would stop.

I've made a project of photographing old family photos to preserve them electronically. I have a huge bag of them from my mom's collection that I need to go through. I think it's better than scanning, because I can get a higher resolution with my camera, plus use the photo editing program on the high-res images to make them sharper and better. I have some doozies so far.


That's my grandmother, possibly at her wedding. She looks just like my mother, and just like my older daughter.


My favorite ever photo of the girls.


and the moment I knew my older daughter was an artist.

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Quick Hit-A bit of a destash

Those of you who know me know that I regard my yarn and fiber stash as an investment against times I may not be able to buy yarn and fiber. That being said, sometimes, things get so lean you have make sacrifices. So I'm having a small destash. If you're on Ravelry, you can find it here.

I may add more to it in the coming days. There are some lovely yarns and fibers there, and all include US shipping.

Monday, April 04, 2011

Think twice, that's my only advice


I spent some time this weekend doing a cheater digital conversion of some of my old photos and I found some bittersweet gems, let me tell you. My kids were some cute little ones. (of course) Younger daughter asked me if I had any old photos of them I could email her, so that's where this all started. I have more, I just have to dig them out and have appropriate weather to take them outside and photograph them. Not today, today is apocalyptic rain and thunderstorms and fit for nothing but ducks and future gardens.

Speaking of future gardens, we went to the Phipps spring flower show this past weekend. Might as well use the membership because we're on a very tight budget from here on out.

As always, the orchids were some of my favorites. There weren't as many daffodils as I expected.

Here's a couple of favorites in case you don't want to sit through the whole slide show.

I really dig the Longfellows.


These colors, ahhh. So pretty.


LOVED these.


And of course, buttercups.

My leg was completely stiff by the time we got home, leaving me in misery and woe for the remainder of the evening. It's still not right, and no matter what I do it doesn't seem to get any better. Very, very frustrating. I feel like things ought to at least be getting somewhat easier but they're not and I'm still totally dead from mid-calf down or so at the end of a work day.

Every part of my life seems to be tinged with sadness any more. I don't know how to change that. I am not sure it can until the situation changes. Probably not a good idea but I did send my older daughter a text message over the weekend letting her know that I miss her and I hope she is well and that I love her. Of course there was no response.

Still knitting, I'm concentrating hard on a cardigan out of lace weight yarn. It's boring, miles and miles of stockinette, but should look good when it's done.


One spinning project I'm concentrating on right now-a BFL/silk blend on my favorite spindle.


It's also a gradient dye job so I carefully split the whole length of the roving in half so I can keep the change consistent, like I did before in the purple to yellow yarn.

One of the spinning groups on Ravelry is having a spin along in April and I want to spin some cashmere for that-I have a two ounce bag of cashmere roving and a two ounce bag of cashmere/silk roving. I thought one ply of each would make a nice yarn. So I'll probably do that too.

Mostly I feel like I'm in a holding pattern and waiting, waiting, waiting. I need to get past this and move along into life more but how. How. My thinking goes circular and I can't get answers to any of my questions, or I only get answers that are mine so are probably not true.