You are currently browsing the monthly archive for July 2012.

Some kind of force field in here is preventing the fans from having any effect.  That’s the only reasonable explanation.

But it was a good day.  I sold more bags — all right, I sold them to my mother, but she had a legitimate use for them.  We met lots of people.  I decided to make a variety of string bag with an attached solid pocket or pouch, or pouches, for small objects in danger of falling through the mesh.  The Korean beef just gets better every week.  Chris told us about a special kimchi refrigerator they sell in Korea that replicates the temperature of the soil throughout the seasons, except on a faster cycle, so your kimchi is done sooner than if you buried it in pots in the ground.  It’s a real thing.  Samsung makes them, among other firms.


I watched this show on PBS; it’s about a pickpocket and whether he’ll go straight or keep on picking pockets, but really about whether he’ll become a police informer and to what degree.  “Completely, arbitrarily, out of nowhere, stop stealing anything from anyone” is never an option.  And “become a major, evil criminal” is probably not either; he keeps mailing people’s wallets back to them.  In their set, or guild, this is the expected thing to do.  They only take the big bills, they don’t bother with cigarette money.  I had to look up the exchange rate, because I have to admit, I didn’t even know what ballpark they were in.  If people are carrying tens of thousands of rupees on them, that’s still some major cash.  The pickpocket said it was like a bucket out of the sea, but if that were true people wouldn’t have started carrying ATM cards.  That was becoming a new frustration for them.

The pickpocket guild offered lots of training.  Things like touching a spot on a wall blindfolded; taking a coin out of water without causing a ripple; slicing open a cloth pocket placed on a piece of fruit without cutting the fruit’s skin.

All the pickpockets talked about doing with the money was seeing movies.  Fifty thousand rupees (that is a lot of cash to be carrying around on you) just meant so many more movies.

Did he really believe the police would pay him more for information than he could make by stealing?  Forever?  How would that work?  Granted he was only 22 but did he really believe that or just want to, pretend to?

What would be some legal jobs you might be good at, if you were a very skilled pickpocket?  More than a pickpocket:  a pretty good teacher of pocket-picking.

Fly tying?

Bomb defusing?

Bobbin lace?

Just a mild, peaceful sense of well-being involving two pillowcases full of clean laundry, nice leftovers for lunch, and miles upon miles of good yarn at very low average cost.  Because yesterday after the board meeting I went to Phyllis’ house, which is a temple of peace that bestows happiness on everyone who enters, and looked through the forest of cones of Harrisville yarn showered upon us all, collectively, by someone who recently died, and took a modest amount which still is a lot.  And today some other stuff came, and the average of (ton of free stuff) and (half ton of not at all unreasonable stuff) is really pretty good.  And now I can open my factory.

The front seat of my car is full of yarn, and the back is full of snow tires.  Because they belong in the barn with a family of skunks, and it’s unfair to bother crepuscular animals with young children.  Yeah, because that.


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July 12:  To mark the 330th anniversary of the death of French astronomer Jean Picard, the customer with the best guess about the length of an unlabeled skein of yarn wins the skein.

July 13:  Feast of Saint Clelia Barbieri — 20 percent off all spinning supplies and yarns containing hemp (for us, basically Hempathy).

July 14:  Bastille Day, duh, bring back the discount on red, white, and blue yarns.  But also the birthday of Rosey Grier:  76 percent off all wool (wool? sheep? the Rams? get it?) embroidery floss.


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July 15:  Elderly Men Day in Kiribati — all elderly men get a free whatever.  One free thing off the notions wall.

July 16:  Elderly Women Day in Kiribati, but the shop’s closed Mondays, oh well, suck it up, you can always borrow an elderly man’s free thing.

Four (?) years ago — that sounds long, maybe it’s three — I planted two or three strawberry plants in the tiny square of dirt I have as a garden.  The first year there were only five berries or so, and I had also planted peas and had a couple of pods.  That winter everything lay under a four-foot bank of ice that was compacted with gravel and repeatedly shoved against the side of the building by the snowplows.  But the strawberries came back.  There were more plants; they had put out runners.  This kept happening.  They always survive, and each year there are more plants and each plant is bigger, or let’s say the largest plant is always bigger than the previous year’s champion.  This year there were “lots of berries” by the poignant standards of the years before.  Then the building needed a coat of paint, and even though he was careful the painter spattered most of the plants with white.  A couple of days later, all the berries were gone, as if they’d been sucked through their stems by something underground.  So there was nothing for me.  I didn’t really want fruit with paint on it, but something must have.  Just this past week, though, another berry grew apparently out of nowhere and turned red at the right time for me to see it and pick and eat it before anything else could.  So that is the extent of the people food I’ve grown for myself this year, unless I get some coriander seeds.  I love cilantro, but I didn’t get around to picking any of it before it shot up like a tree and blossomed, and I figured it might not be any good after that.

The end.

There is or was a snake in the living room.  Early Thursday morning it was resting in a pile of yarn, probably recovering from the uncomfortable sensation of being stared at by a cat.  You would think yarn would be good camouflage for a snake, and you would be right in my case, but shouldn’t be, because most of what I have is fingering and laceweight.  The garter snake, although slender, is a considerably heavier gauge than those.  This one was dark with a pale green stripe and large eyes.  It went behind the baseboard heater somewhere.  I found a cat-toy fishing pole and was hoping it would come out so I could capture it deftly as seen on TV.


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It probably found its way back outside again.  This building is not well insulated.  I guess the roof is, the attic/crawlspace anyway, which is certainly why we don’t have eagles getting in here and lounging in people’s yarn.

at the Farmers’ Market!  I sold two things sold two things sold two things.  Actually they sold themselves and I received the money.

One was a string bag I made from nettle-fiber yarn, and the other was a soft little pink wool bag that closes with a lens-shaped button made of bone, and a white ribbon.  I was not interested in buttonholes at the time I made that one.

The stinging nettle (Urtica dioica) is a friend to mankind.

We listened to the National Guard band, and I finished another string bag, a strangely-proportioned little one made of Elsebeth Lavold Hempathy.  In the future I won’t use that for any more string bags, although it’s strong enough.  It should be a real fabric so it can swish around and say, look at me, I’m so drapey, I’m so shiny.  That bag, I think, would make a good hammock for a toy.  I have a toy shark that would look just right in it.  Maybe if I actually make some little toys for next week they can pose with it.  Not thinking particularly of typical amigurumi, just maybe it’s time to use that Jelly Yarn and make some sea anemones.

And more nettle bags.

And more colors of cotton bags.

And more cellphone sleeves.

And let’s not forget to finish that thrice-cursed shop sample sometime this century.


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This morning I was sitting by that window between the two large doors, spinning (at times) Icelandic wool and (at other times) mohair on two of my favorite drop spindles.  Our spinning group was demonstrating our share of  long-ago-stuff to tourists at the Calvin Coolidge Historical Site, his homestead, where he was in fact born 140 years ago today.  There was also a parade and a chicken barbecue, but I think people were very interested in what we were doing, too.  The other women brought their wheels and serious, pointy, blood-drawing fiber prep tools.  If I had a wheel I would never use it; it would have coats piled on top of it.  But because I’m surrounded by all these little spindles, I’ve been spinning every single day since I learned in 2010.

The wool and mohair were both local (the sheep owner I actually know), and undyed.  I enjoy spinning all kinds of things, any color, any fiber, I’ll try it all.  But at these historical things people tend to ask if the wool is local, and if it is, are they your sheep? and if they are, well, but did you raise them from lambs?  And if the fiber is any unnatural color, you did dye it yourself, didn’t you? and with natural plant dyes, of course? that you planted and harvested yourself?  It’s not possible to be authentic enough for some people.

We show people how the spinning wheel is essentially a spindle on its side, driven by foot power, assisted by angular momentum.  The spindle isn’t the original string-making method, of course; I roll a bit of wool on my thigh until it turns into something like yarn:  behold, the incredible artificial vine, or sinew substitute.  A spindle is a machine too.


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Quisition is a flash-card site that somehow knows how to test and retest you at the optimal time intervals for long-term memorization.  You can make your own flash cards or use sets compiled by other people.  To try it out, I compiled a deck with two subjects I sort of know (periodic table and Cyrillic alphabet) and two about which I hadn’t an inkling (Vietnamese food words and Tagalog vocab chosen for some reason, dunno, might be pairs of confusingly similar words).  It freaking works.  I know them.  I know them all.  I can’t necessarily pronounce them, but I will know until the heat death of the Universe that, for instance, peas are đậu Hà lan.  Literally, beans of Hà lan:  Holland peas.

I’ve only been crocheting and spinning obsessively for two years, not three.  That makes me even more awesome (I love people who type “allsome,” bless hearts) because the quality of everything I do is staggering.  But really, I’m getting pretty good.

Teaching is kind of … not.  As of next semester, anyway.  They don’t even fire you, or lay you off.  They just unscrew you from your socket and throw you away.  Because it’s their socket, not yours; a resource, even a human resource, can’t own things, after all.   I temped for a couple of months; now I would like to assume I’m “between assignments,” rather than “at the end of all hope” or “at the onset of penury.”

If a place posts instructions for applying for positions, and they tell you to send (for instance, email) a resume and cover letter, and farther down the page is a link to an application that isn’t a fillable form, it’s one that would have to be printed out, filled out, and scanned in order to be emailed, and may I stress that the instructions just say “resume and cover letter” …they don’t really expect to see this application, do they?  Yeah, I didn’t think so.

It’s always saddening when you have to hide a person’s update from your Fb newsfeed because their tendency to try to speak for their entire generation (and what the hell is a generation, really) ends up annoying you too much and stands out like some garish belligerent sign on a quiet residential street, even though you like the person’s less pompous side.  People with 950 Fb friends need not worry about this kind of thing, I guess.  Or a smaller number of extremely talkative friends.

My age cohort salutes you.



The Ratel Motel