Friday, February 23, 2007

I mentioned a couple days ago that I brought Kiri as my travel knitting. I cast this on in the airport in Boise as we were waiting to get clearance to fly to Chicago, in what would become the three day adventure of getting to Maine. Unfortunately, I didn't get as much done during all that waiting as I would have liked, because of extreme tiredness and toddler chasing.

I did, however, manage to get Chart 1 and four repeats of Chart 2 done.

I've only knit a few rows since I've been in Maine, but finally picked it up again today. I'm halfway through the seventh row of leaves. It's an easy knit, once you get the pattern figured out and memorized. That's why I chose it for travel knitting- no concentration necessary.

Recognize the yarn? Yep, it's Urchin revisited. I had to get another skein to finish off the edging, so I had this mostly-full skein left over. I knew I wanted to bring just one project on this trip so as to reduce the volume I had to pack, and a lace shawl seemed to fit the bill. Fine yarn and small needles mean it takes a while to finish and doesn't need much space.

I'm knitting this on 2.5 mm (US 1) Addi turbos, and have ~90g (I think...need to check that...) of yarn. I plan to just knit and knit and knit, hopefully leaving enough to do the edging. Ideally, I would like to use up all this yarn and have none left over. The attraction of this pattern was that it's knit from the center neck out, increasing at the center so that you can stop at any point on a whole repeat. And the way it starts from a sideways provisional cast on, so that you have an unbroken band of continuous garter stitch along the neck edge? The elegance of that pleases me no end.

Also, fair warning for Kris: I really don't like the color of this yarn. It's an insipid baby blue. (When I bought the three skeins I used for Urchin they were on sale, and I bought them hating the color, loving the price, and knowing that I would overdye the finished product. I can't tell you how galling it was to have to buy another skein of this so-very-not-me color to finish Urchin.) I'll be overdyeing Kiri when it's done. Prepare yourself accordingly. ;)

Thursday, February 22, 2007

The visit with Dad is going OK so far, though it's still very strange to be here without Mom. Even after two years. I think what made her absence seem most real was when I opened the pantry closet and refrigerator. I very nearly teared up when I saw the entire shelf full of canned soup in the pantry, one vegetable drawer full of Jello fruit cups and the other vegetable drawer with wilted lettuce and dried out carrots in the fridge, and all the frozen commercially prepared entrees in the freezer. Mom was an excellent homemaker and cooked every meal.

I made fried chicken, steamed broccoflower with cheese sauce, salad, and cornbread from scratch for dinner last night, and Dad kept saying how good it was. He didn't even know he had cornmeal in the pantry. (Which means that the cannister was at least two years old. It was still factory-sealed, though, and the cornbread tasted fine.) I don't think he's eating very well. He eats a lot of sandwiches and soup, and occasionally cooks up a big batch of taco filling or chili, portions it out, and puts it in the freezer to heat up later.


We went to Jasper Beach today, which is one of my favorite places. When I was at school in Machias, we would go there all the time. It's a pocket beach in a cove, way out beyond Machiasport. It's not as isolated-feeling as it was when I was in college 14 years ago (there's now a gigantic house on the point where we used to camp), but still beautiful.

The beach is composed of mostly pebbles, with some sand on the eastern end. I love pebble beaches.

This is why I began loving pebble beaches. This specific beach, which my family first found while on vacation three decades ago, and continued to visit nearly every year. That was back when the access road was a single narrow bumpy lane, rimmed by alder and wild roses. Today, there's a two lane dirt road with a parking area, and the alders and roses are mostly trimmed into oblivion. The reddish stones are the "jasper" the beach is named for, though it's actually rhyolite. The pebbles are tumbled and polished by the waves, and are unbelievable smooth.

Emma was excited to go to the beach, and despite the fact that it was about 25 degrees out (though that's warm compared to the past couple days), she had to bring her bucket and shovel.

She had fun collecting shells and rocks, and making snowcastles. I had fun looking at the pebbles, watching the waves, and listening to the sound the pebbles make when the waves retreated. The search for the "perfect pebble" continues. I'll know it when see it.


....Jasper Beach

Monday, February 19, 2007

Our suitcase and carseat were delivered today! Yay! We have sweaters and boots! (and camera and binoculars and hairbrush and a change of underwear.....)

Our visit has been pretty low key so far, but we did go drive around the loop at Schoodic Point yesterday. The Maine coast is beautiful any time of year; winter is a highly underrated season, putting on a display that the summer crowd misses.

The recent snow and ice storms combined with the ocean spray to produce some spectacular ice formations on the rocks at the water's edge.

Maine always feels like home to me. Like this is where I belong, where I was meant to be. I like the cold and the bluster and the feeling of being alive. It's easy to love Maine in the summer, but loving it in the winter is what makes you a Mainer at heart.

I love all the moods of Maine.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Hooray! They found our suitcase and carseat! They flew to Portland today (or maybe yesterday, the website wasn't clear), and should be FedExed tomorrow or Monday! Yay!

I could have dealt with losing nearly everything that was in there (just clothes and boots and such) except for Emma's handspun handknit gansey and my binoculars.

Thank goodness.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Emma and I made it to Maine. The getting here? Not so easy.

You know that big snowstorm that pummelled the Midwest and East this week? The one that shut down all the airports? Yeah, that one. We were trying to fly during that.

We were delayed three hours leaving Boise on Tuesday morning, because of the snow in Chicago. We were a half hour late boarding, then we sat on the plane for half an hour, then they un-boarded us because they couldn't get clearance from Chicago, so we sat in the terminal for 15 minutes, then they told us to hurry up and re-board because they got clearance and had to leave RIGHT NOW, then we sat on the runway for another two hours.

We finally took off, and made it to Chicago fine. The landing was a little sketchy, because there was a 35-mph wind blowing and visibility of less than a quarter mile. I don't like it when the plane blows sideways when it's less than 100 feet from the ground. I like it even less when I can't even see the ground until we're less than 100 feet up!

Because of the delay leaving Boise, we missed our connecting flight to Portland, Maine. We were rebooked onto the 7:20 flight no problem, and went and got some lunch/dinner. I set Emma up with a movie on the computer, and pulled out my knitting (I brought yarn and needles for Kiri, as my travel knitting. More on that later.) We had about four hours to wait until the Portland flight.

So 7:00 rolls around, the snow in Chicago gets worse, and lots of flights at other airports are having delays, which means that O'Hare is having trouble getting the planes and flight crews they need. Our Portland flight is delayed half an hour while they try to find us a captain. We had a plane and a crew, just nobody to actually fly the plane. (Which is sort of necessary, you know....)

So we wait and wait and wait and wait and wait and wait. Lots of other planes are delayed too, and lots of people are milling around wondering if they are going to be able to go. They push back our departure time about every half hour. It turns out that around 9:00, they gave away our flight crew to another plane that had a captain but no crew, so now we were stuck with no captain and no crew. Still, they assured us that we were going to be able to fly out that night. One of the incoming flights had personnel that would be able to fly us. About 10:30, they told us that they found us a captain, and were working on getting a crew. Yay!

So we wait and wait and wait and wait. At 11:30 they told us they found a flight attendant who had enough hours left on her flight day to take our trip, and she was coming in on an inbound plane, and would be landing in 10 minutes, and would come straight to our gate, and we would leave. Yay!!!

So we waited and waited and waited. At 12:00, they called to the other gate to see why our flight attendant hadn’t shown up yet. They didn’t know. Our captain, who had been waiting with us for the last hour, actually went to the other gate to try and find the flight attendant. He never came back. He did call our gate and talk to the ticket person, who stopped smiling and wouldn’t tell us anything more, except that they were working on it. At 1:00am, an announcement came over the speaker, telling us that our flight had been canceled. The flight attendant had GONE HOME!

By this time, Emma and I had been up for 21 hours (no, Emma hadn’t slept at all) and we were exhausted. The airline said they couldn’t put us in hotels, because it was too late, all the rooms were booked (ALL rooms in Chicago were booked? I think not.), it wasn’t their fault it was the weather (hello, what about the flight attendant who went home?!), blah blah blah. They did, however, offer us very comfortable army cots in the baggage claim area. (Can you hear the sarcasm?)

We were tired enough to go to the cots. What they didn’t tell us was that the baggage claim area was approximately 14.8 miles from our gate, through three construction areas, down two flights of stairs (escalators were turned off), and was apparently unheated. We got there at 1:30am, after rebooking our flight for the following day. We settled down under our thin polyester blankets and coats, on our four inch wide cots (my shoulders were wider than the cot, and were bruised the next day from the metal frame) and finally got to sleep. Of course, the airport announcements went on all night, we were right next to a wall of windows looking out on the road, and they never turned out the lights, but Emma slept soundly, and I did sleep a little, in between checking to make sure Emma was still next to me and waking up every time the “Terror Level Orange” and “Please Keep Your Bags With You” announcements came on.

Then at 4:00 am (4:00 am!!!!), the security guards came around and woke everyone up and said we had to leave because the area had to be cleared for baggage. They were literally folding up the cots from beneath us. One of the guards physically picked sleeping Emma up off her cot and put her on the floor while I was putting on my shoes. I may or may not have yelled at him and told him to not touch my daughter. I ain’t sayin’, but I was on a short fuse at that point. What was the sense of offering us cots at 1:00, when we were going to be kicked out at 4:00?

We staggered back up to the gate area and tried to sleep some more, since our first possible flight wasn’t until 9:05. Emma got some more good rest, but I didn’t get much because there were more people around and I kept thinking she was wandering away or being taken or something. Also, airport chairs are uncomfortable and the floor is very hard.

And so Wednesday went by. Happy Valentine’s Day. By this time, the storm that had been in Chicago on Tuesday was bearing down on the east coast, and the flights into Portland were cancelled. First the 9:05, then the 1:23. They didn’t cancel the 7:20 flight until about 40 minutes before the supposed departure time, so we were really hoping it would go. I had to stand in line for an hour and a half to get my ticket changed this time, just to be told that there were no open seats until Friday morning, though we could be on standby for all three flights Thursday.

Meanwhile, my dad called some old church friends who now live in Chicago, to see if they would come rescue me and Emma. I hadn’t seen these people in 20 years, but by that point we were so tired I would have gone to a stranger’s house, just to get a shower and sleep. Dad said they would be happy to come get us, so I called them and told them which door we were at. The husband arrived twenty minutes later (I did vaguely recognize him, and he had told me what he would be wearing) and took us home, where his wife fed us roast chicken, stuffing, and asparagus. We took a lovely hot shower, got into some borrowed pajamas, and sacked out in a glorious king-sized bed. It was heavenly. They even washed all our clothes, which was very nice since we’d been in the same set for two days at that point. We stopped at a drugstore on the way to their house so I could get contact solution, toothbrushes, toothpaste, and deodorant. I hadn’t brought toiletries in my carry on, because of those new restrictions on liquids and such.

We got up the next morning and went back to the airport in time to see if we would get on the 9:05 flight. We didn’t get on, but wonder of wonders, the flight actually went! Woohoo! There’s actually a chance that we would someday leave Chicago!

I was resigned to spending all day at the airport, waiting on standby and probably not getting on a flight, but one of the other passengers who had been with us from the beginning did get called for standby on the 9:05 flight, even though she was confirmed for the 1:23 flight that day. She talked the ticket agent into transferring their confirmed seats on the 1:23 to Emma’s and my tickets! I don’t know how she did it, but I was so glad. I didn’t even know what to say to her, except thank you thank you thank you! I was flabbergasted, actually. That woman, her husband, and another woman were so nice to me and Emma. They played with Emma, bought us dinner at Chili’s so we wouldn’t have to eat yet another cold sandwich, offered to pay for a hotel room the second night (though we didn’t have to take them up on that, since we went to Dad’s friends’), and were just so nice. They all said Emma reminded them of their grandkids, and they hoped that if their kids and grandkids were ever in the situation Emma and I were in, that someone would help them out too. They did a lot to restore my faith in humanity. Thank you, Rose, Ginger, and Tom.

Anyway, we finally got on the plane! We left Chicago at about 1:45, and made it to Portland. Dad was there to meet us (he had been in Portland this whole time waiting on us), and we drove the three hours to his house. Whew- finally arrived! Only 48 hours later than we expected.

Emma was a fantastic traveler. The entire wait, she was a happy girl. She had maybe two small meltdowns the whole time, and that was only because I told her she wasn’t allowed to play on the escalators. I am blown away by how good she is. She played by herself, she played with other kids (and a couple times, I think she headed off those kids’ tantrums by sharing her coloring books and markers!), she talked to the people sitting near us and entertained them. It was amazing. I was inspired by her good-tempered-ness.

Unfortunately, our suitcase and carseat did not make it. The airline lost them, and now, 24 hours after Emma and I arrived, our baggage is still lost. Not just delayed, but lost. As in, even they don’t know where it is. Color me not happy. We’re still in the same clothes we put on Tuesday morning, and while they’ve been washed, I do wish we had something warmer. I have jeans and a long sleeved t-shirt, Emma has light pants, a long sleeved t-shirt, and a sweatshirt. One pair of undies each. A coat each. They better find that suitcase. I’m hoping that O’Hare is just really backed up and confused, and they’ll get it sorted out in the next day or so.

Also unfortunately, Dad had to postpone his surgery because he was waiting on our plane. He’s having it on March 1 and 15, the second date of which is after I’m scheduled to leave. Not sure how that’s going to work out yet. The surgery (lens replacement) seems to be fairly straightforward and easy to recover from (though it still gives me the heebie-jeebies when I think about it), but I don’t know if he should really be driving us to Portland. So now I wonder, should I try to change my return ticket? I guess we’ll see after he gets the first eye done.

Anyway, rant over. Congratulations if you read all the way through! We’re here, we’re safe, and that’s all that matters.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Just a quick post, because it's late and I need to be getting to bed. Emma and I are flying to Maine on Tuesday, because my dad is having eye surgery. Shaun's driving us to Boise tomorrow, we're staying overnight, and our plane leaves at 6:40 am. Urg. But at least Emma and I just get on the plane- Shaun has to drive 2 1/2 hours back to La Grande, in time to teach a class at 10:00 am. It's very strange having our nearest big airport being not only in a different state, but in a different time zone!

We're going to be gone for three weeks, and I'm not much looking forward to it. It will be nice to be in Maine again, but I'm not thrilled about three weeks with just me and Dad and Emma. I fully expect it to be exhausting. I'm not sure how Dad's going to feel after the surgeries (he's having each eye done separately, two weeks apart) and while it's an outpatient procedure, it makes me a bit nervous. Lots of cooking, lots of entertaining Emma and Dad, probably lots of trying to get Emma to keep the noise level down and leave Dad alone.

Lately I've been feeling like I just want to curl up with my head under the covers and not come out for about six months.

Friday, February 09, 2007

A question for the weavers:

How much yarn does an end feed shuttle (13" Leclerc or 15" Schacht, I'm assuming these use ~6" pirns?) hold compared to a 15" Leclerc boat shuttle with a 6" bobbin?

Just daydreamin'.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Seen and heard over the past few days:
  • At the indoor playground- A mother, to her son (~4 yrs), who is approximately 6 feet away, "STOP SHOUTING AT ME, DANNY! I HATE THAT!"
  • At the doctor's office- A mother, to her daughter (~5 yrs), who is hysterically screaming that she doesn't want to go in and get her tetanus shot, "It won't hurt at all, I promise. Now get your butt in gear and don't be a baby." Ten minutes later Mom is dragging her daughter out of the office by the arm, daughter is sobbing "It hurt, it hurt...." over and over.
  • In the grocery store- A father to his son (~3 yrs), who asked if they could buy apples, "If you don't shut the **** up, I'm going to smack you to next week." This said while Dad raised his arm with a closed fist. Son cringed and ducked behind the cart.
Is it just me or is there something very wrong with our society?

Monday, February 05, 2007

Seems like I haven't posted much fibery stuff recently, but I have been working on a couple things. I've been spinning the rest of the merino/silk I dyed in January- I finished the purple a while ago, and am about a third of the way through the Sapphire.

It's a lovely blue, like a tropical sea and a hot early autumn afternoon sky in New England and the inside of a glacier all melded together. Or, to put it another way, this color IS the essence of sapphire.

I've also been weaving, and have finished the second huck lace stole. I'm going to weave off the third one as well before taking them off the loom. I'm really liking this pattern, and think I may do another set of stoles to put in my shop after these are finished. It's easy to keep track of where I am in the treadling sequence, and the results are so elegant.

Friday, February 02, 2007

My contribution to The Second Annual Bloggers (Silent) Poetry Reading:


For Once, Then, Something
by Robert Frost

Others taught me with having knelt at well-curbs
Always wrong to the light, so never seeing
Deeper down in the well than where the water
Gives me back in a shining surface picture
Me myself in the summer heaven godlike
Looking out of a wreath of fern and cloud puffs.
Once, when trying with chin against a well-curb,
I discerned, as I thought, beyond the picture,
Through the picture, a something white, uncertain,
Something more of the depths--and then I lost it.
Water came to rebuke the too clear water.
One drop fell from a fern, and lo, a ripple
Shook whatever it was lay there at bottom,
Blurred it, blotted it out. What was that whiteness?
Truth? A pebble of quartz? For once, then, something.


Ever feel like if you could just sit still enough or be quiet enough or listen hard enough or see clearly enough, you would know the answer? Have a moment of clarity when it would all make sense and fit together? There have been two moments in my life when I thought I was almost there, but it always slipped away before the thought was fully formulated. Both times, the experience left me shaking, rather like the first time I watched the moon rise through tree branches and felt dizzy from the rotation of the Earth.


Of course, if you've read Douglas Adams, you already know that the answer is 42.