Friday, August 29, 2008

The week in review

This has been one lonnnngggggggg week.  First, having to have our sweet cat put down.  Then, the anticipation of the announcement of the closing of our retail store.  Then, well...there's some stuff I'm worried about in my family right now.  It's just been a week I'm happy to see be almost over.

It's pouring rain right now, with lots of thunder and lightning.  I love it.

I hope you've all had a good week and are going to have a better weekend.  I plan to sit in my rocker as much as I can, knitting or hooking...with maybe some time at the spinning wheel.

Thanks to all of you who have sent me such wonderful e-mails about our closing the retail shop. Shopdoor
It's folks like you who made it such a pleasure to be in business these last years, and the decision to do what we're doing hard .

For those customers who were nothing but a pain in the you know what, let me go down on record as saying you are high on my list for what I won't miss. I am tired of being polite to you while you can't return the favor.  If you have never owned a retail business and been treated the way you've treated us, I hope you have the chance someday to know how it feels.  You know who you are, if you're reading this (and I suspect at least a couple of you are).  Remember that what goes around definitely comes around.  If I've learned nothing else these last six years, I hope I've at least learned how to be a gracious and considerate customer.

Last, but not least, my heart felt thanks to all the condolence messages I got about the loss of our beloved Maynard.  It really did help me get through it.  ---Martie

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

A time of sadness

I know I've been remiss on posting but frankly, my heart hasn't been in it.  There are several things happening in my world right now that have given me a heavy heart, a sort of convergence of endings, if you will. I know touches of happiness are glowing around the dark clouds , and  I know things will be better soon, or at least more settled...but for now, it just plain hurts.

Yesterday was one of those endings.  Our cat Maynard, the senior feline member of our family, left our world for one where, hopefully, he'll be happily lounging in the sunshine with his brothers and friends who went before him.  He was a "feral" cat in my yard when I lived in Chimayo in 1993, one of six I fed, caught, had neutered, and re-released.  Bobmayneblurry

I first saw him one morning after taking kitchen garbage out to the little screen bin in the front yard.  I had no sooner gone back into the house than two cats were out in the yard...Whisper was head first, in the bin, looking for food.  Maynard was sitting nearby, acting as sentinel.  It was a few more weeks of observation before I finally figured out that Whisper, who I always imagined was his brother, was deaf, and Maynard was his guard.  It remained that way until Whisper passed quietly in his sleep, almost three years ago.

When I moved to Taos in winter of 1994, it took me two weeks up here to
realize I couldn't live without them, so I went back to Chimayo
(luckily, the house was not yet re-rented) and trapped them.  They were brought indoors with our other three cats, with nary a hiss or scratch.  He has been one of my best friends since, never wanting for anything more than someone to snuggle with for naps, and tucking himself inside my arm in bed on cold winter nights.  As I told him yesterday at the end, the part that hurts is for us to bear, not for him. 

Here is a photo taken about five days ago.  Bob (at almost 20 lbs.) looking out for his best buddy, Maynard (at 5 lbs. at the end).  The love between them was something I'll not soon forget.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Another sweater gone wrong

One would think that sooner or later I'd get my act together and either become proficient at gauging yarns or just flat give up trying to knit things that need to fit.  My sweater project I so enthusiastically decided to share with you was (once again) starting to look like it might fit a line backer when I took the time to pull out the tape measure and discover that indeed, it probably would.  Since it's no longer 1980-something, and shoulder pads large enough to qualify as bed pillows are no longer in fashion, I knew my goose was cooked.  With heavy heart and practiced hands, I ripped that puppy apart and it took me most of the week to face starting it all over again. Yarnsonfence
I am determined to have this be a success!  I want to wear it when I meet my new internet friend Shawn (visit her wonderful blog called Island Sweet if you have time) in Newfoundland this fall...

I didn't have the courage to face it again immediately, so I did the only thing I knew would be comforting, short of inhaling a package of Paul Newman's Ginger-O cookies...I started a new project.  Fun!  I've been wanting to knit another of Kate Gilbert's "Clapotis" scarves (see the archives on Knitty for your very own copy).  Clapotisofanne
I grabbed a couple of skeins of Schaefer Yarn's "Anne" (560 yds. of 60% Merino superwash, 25% mohair, and 15% nylon), an Addi Turbo Lace Needle size 1 (gulp) and off I went.  It's been a couple of years since I have knitted this pattern, and I'd almost forgotten how intoxicating it is. 

What I haven't told you is that I left Taos last week and have been hiding out in Southern California, visiting friends and family.  My buddy KayKayatbeach
came with me this trip, to escape the heat of Dallas, be my exercise captain and knit with me at Starbucks' every afternoon.  It's been a blast.  Yesterday we walked about 3-4 miles, almost half of which was on the beach.  The water was warm and the tide was low.  Did I mention I am now officially the color of the row counter in the photo above?  So much for remembering sunscreen...

Sunday, August 10, 2008

What's on the needles?

I have decided that rather than waiting until January to wish I had a nice, new sweater, Sweaterrphandspun
this year I'll do something totally out of character and knit one (or two?) this summer.  Monte and I are planning a trip to Canada this fall, and I'm planning to make good use of a couple of sweaters while we're on the road.

So I snorkeled around in the stash last week and found a bunch of skeins of hand spun Sweaterdetrphspun
I had purchased from Robin Page (Pagewood Farms) when she visited us last year during wool festival weekend.  They are heavenly...two ply, hand dyed and hand spun  Merino superwash roving.  While I'm not a fan of superwash products, I'm in love with the yarn enough to overlook this factor.

I had enthusiastically started a triangle shawl with them last fall but ran out of yarn.  Robin had a couple of skeins left, so I ordered those through the mail. Then I found two more at my friend Kara's shop, Yarn, in Durango last fall.  I got them all together this past week and discovered the happiest of things for me:  they are all very different in color.  I love when this makes my project more like painting.  I thought I'd show you my progress so far.  Please note how I always knit the same sweater over and over...I love it...Pure & Simple's Neck Down muss, no fuss, no sewing.  When you're finished, you're finished.  Hallelujah!

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Film of the week: King Corn

This past week, we finally made time to sit down and watch this film,  sent to us from a friend in Iowa.  Perhaps you've seen it?  If not, I highly recommend it.

This story started out when Ian Cheney and Curt Ellis, two young men who met in college in Boston, decided to find out where and how corn is grown, and more importantly, follow its trail into the many products it is grown to support.  They spent a year growing an acre of corn in Greene, Iowa, and along the way, learned more than they had ever dreamed they would...and so will you.

I know there are always debatable facts in any story.  Just this morning, as I was looking for their web site, I found a long list of rebuttals to their claims about corn fructose syrup from the corn industry.  I don't purport to understand the science behind all of this, nor all of the politics (although that's probably much clearer and obvious).  I only know this film has given me more to think about than I probably wanted.

I will share a tidbit I learned:  did you know that the cattle who are fed corn and corn by=products (silage) would die from this food if not slaughtered for market?  Their systems are NOT meant to eat it; their stomachs ulcerate terribly from it.  Cornometer_2
As an enthusiastic carnivore, this has left me extremely upset and armed with plans to seek out grass fed beef.  And worse:  I was sharing news of this movie this past week with a friend who is from Iowa...he shared with me having visited a feedlot that, because of soaring corn costs, is now feeding their beef (hold on for this one) old Wonder Bread and Mars bars, products that have no shelf life left and are being sold cheaply by their manufacturers. 
Now there may be one of you out there who has information on this, or maybe wants to dispute it.  I can't vouch for second hand information.  I only know this is a very honorable man who grew up in corn country who shared this with me, with no reason to have dreamed this up on his own.  (And really:  could you have dreamed that up?  I sure couldn't have.) King Corn if you can, and think about it the next time you're wondering where those few (or more) extra pounds have come from.  You may be as surprised as I was...

(And P.S.:  the King Corn web site is chock full of information...about both the film and what we can all do to try to get some changes made if we're interested.  I really encourage you to check it out.)