Thursday, July 31, 2008

I'm working, I'm working ...

Boy, give me an office and I go nuts!

I've been pining for this, aching for a place to sit quietly alone and work. Did I ever NEED this!

I'm so much more focused, more productive and HAPPIER than I've been in months. It's hard to feel that you don't have a place - harder to feel that you have to earn the mortgage and have no place to DO so!

There are minor things; I have to move a bunch of stuff up to the office, I have to get the printer to work.

But I've finished one article and two patterns in two days. Red letter, baby!

Max is in heaven in his new office, Hannah now has her computer in her room to do homework (yes, I know it's not the best idea, we're keeping an eye on her) and we'll be moving the computer OUT of Max's room to the basement where we'll set up a new 'electronics center' in what might have been my office. We have our worked cut out for us.

It's very good to have a husband who's good with electronics and computer stuff. The down side is that he has a penchant for bringing home orphaned computers and bringing them back to life, so we're lousy with them.

When we had one room where they all lived, it wasn't a big deal. Now that we have to farm them out to their respective users, it's a dicier situation. Especially with the kids involved... We want them to have access, but controlled access.

I also have an air conditioner in my office - and it's heaven. For the 2 months when it's necessary off and on, it's worth it. I'm so much more productive when I'm partially frozen.

Family Road
We're gearing up for a road trip to NJ for the Multiple Myeloma Convention next weekend. House sitters are arranged, the cats have already started complaining, but we're taking Atticus with us so he'll be happy. We got a very nice rate at a Marriott suite near the airport in Newark, which is close to our friends AND the convention in Short Hills.

It will give the kids a week to visit old friends, me a chance to see some familiar faces and Gerry a chance to visit with his new niece. Originally we'd planned on having Max and Gerry fly, but it's become hard for Gerry to travel if he's not sitting in exactly the right way (which is ironically easier to do in a car than in a plane - plus we can stop whenever we want for a stand up rest)

It was a hard choice, and we're not sure if it's the right one, but Gerry feels better about it so that's okay with me. In a small way I was looking forward to some down time, all the driving may get old, but this is an important convention for him to go to and the family / friend stuff is worth all of the effort.

I'm also half expecting a call to go down to West Virginia for a large part of August - which I am more than happy to do. Once again, I wish there were two of me.

Baseball Finale
Tonight is Max's last baseball game of the year, and I made his coach a scarf. Useless in the summer heat, but I know it will be used when winter rolls around. I crocheted it, because it's fast and worked well with the yarn.

Thoughtful, but a little lazy, that's me!
Bookmark and Share
posted by Annie at 6 Comments Links to this post

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Magic & Curses

What a weekend.

It was such a blend of beauty and fun and love and also pain and fear - I'm totally mixed up. I joined some knitting friends up at Peggy's cabin on Lake Ida, and it was a sublime weekend.

We knitted, ate, laughed a LOT, drank a bit and overall rested. REST! Here's Peggy (center) with daughter Christina (left) and Ellen (right) working on some fine knitting!

I was in heaven, and I'm so grateful to Ellen, who invited me to the group, and Peggy and her wonderful family who put UP with a group of nutty knitters all weekend!

I was up for Friday night, then Saturday I came back to the Twin Cities to see Maxie at his piano recital, where he wowed the crowd and made me cry. Oh, heck, I would have cried at a mosquito bite this weekend. And at one point I did, alone.

Hannah was supposed to take part in the recital, too, but she had a camping trip with the Breakthrough program, which definitely took precedence! She took some wonderful photos of her friends, here's a nice shot of a cat that was hanging around the camp.

Then I took Max back up to the lake where he immediately donned his bathing suit and jumped in! Gerry stayed home to pick up Hannah on Sunday in case I didn't get back in time, and also to work on my new office (we've decided to give Max the larger office room as his bedroom, I'll be taking his small little bedroom as the office - a much better solution!)

I had no small amount of guilt at leaving him behind, but he insisted and in some part I think he kind of relished his time here alone. Maybe I'm projecting that.

Max had never skied before, and I had my doubts, but with a friend's help he gave it an excellent shot and succeeded!

Annie took such patient, loving time with Max and helped him get up on water skis the third time he tried! She's an amazing teacher, and that was miraculous to me, who took a whole summer to get up on skis when I was 14.

Max showed me how much he'd learned at kayak camp last year. Another knitting friend, Kathy, accompanied him on a sunset kayak adventure (going farther than this mom would have ordinarily allowed him to go alone - he was in heaven!)

But with all of the joy this weekend, I felt that I was carrying around a 500 pound weight.

On the way up I got a call from my cousin. Her breast cancer has spread to two vertebrae and possibly her kidneys, more tests to come. I keep shoving this back in my head, and when I drive it comes bubbling out, welling up, tumbling out. So much good and fun and wonderful this weekend, so much bad and troubling, too.

I drove home today and my cousin's pain, along with news of another [young] family member who's begining his fight with the C word, left me feeling so bereft.

I just need to knit alone for a bit.

The weekend was a welcomed reprieve - yarn was most excellent, and the loons were lovely.
Bookmark and Share
posted by Annie at 10 Comments Links to this post

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

A Room Of One's Own

Whenever I travel I feel like it takes me so much time to get some semblance of control back in my life. Everything feels surreal, as though I'm looking at my family and my home from the outside.

It generally takes me a few days to get my 'land legs' back, but eventually they come (this time with the help of some lovely wine from my hostess, and a gift bottle made by the husband of one of my students, Tina!)

I got home yesterday, read a few emails, then crashed until Max's ball game. Then home and right to bed again, the whole room felt like it was moving (car, boat? who knows...)

I open my computer, I see the amount of work I need to get done, and I just want to close it and walk away. But I don't. However, sometimes it does take me a few days to get back to folks while I'm still in 'road mode'.

Part of this 'out of body' feeling - which has been with me ever since we've moved here - has to do with Gerry's health and the fact that I seldom permit my mind to focus 100% on my work (other scenarios are always playing in the outdoor theater that is my brain.)

But I'm convinced that a large part of my unsettled-ness is that I haven't found a good place for me to work, and it's been making my job much harder than it needs to be.

It's rough to feel like a transient in your own home, and carving out a corner of the living room to store my current work / books / paperwork / notes just isn't cutting it. I need an office. Perhaps this is why I've enjoyed my car time so much recently - the chance to be ON MY OWN and think all by myself!

We - well, to be honest, Gerry - had thought that the basement would be the answer, but I'm not feeling it.

I moved much of my stuff down there, but perhaps because I have to duck every time I go down the basement steps I don't really run to the basement to get my work done. It's not feeling right to me.

However, I was in the upstairs office a few weeks ago finishing up a DVD for Gerry and I thought, "You know, THIS is exactly what I need - an OFFICE!"


When we were looking for a house, we rejected out of hand any home that didn't have a 4th bedroom. Why? Because that was going to be my OFFICE. With my own little secretarial pool.

Oh, how soon we forget...

But then life took a sharp left turn and setting up the office as a retreat for Gerry (a retreat near a bathroom - we had no downstairs bathroom for our first 10 months here) was much more important.

The room has evolved into a computer / video playroom for Gerry and the kids, a place for them to do homework and email friends and a haven for Gerry to keep on top of his MM paperwork.

Unfortunately, it means I'm constantly wandering the house with my laptop, a high-tech Marley, looking for a place to get a little inspiration and juggling 15 balls of yarn as I wander. The chains I drag behind me are crocheted.

This must change.

I feel terrible, but I'm kicking them out. Today. See, give me a new camera and it entirely goes to my head...

The kids can take over the redone basement (I'll keep a lot my stuff down there as storage for finished projects and yarn supplies) and Gerry can set himself up in HIS chair in the living room. I am taking over the office. Mortgage trumps homework.

There. The foot is officially down. Now lets see if it stays there...

I'm going to break the news to Gerry (perhaps by writing it into a blog...?) and then I'm fleeing to the Textile Center to do a little research on some articles I'm writing on shaping and colorwork.

While I'm gone he can start phase one of the office switch; making Max move his 10,000 bionicles and lego parts to the basement. This should be interesting, n'est ce pas?

Boy, do I need this. I'll tell him it's all that I want for our anniversary (8/21) and my birthday (9/3).

BTW, here's a little movie I made of Max's baseball game yesterday with my little Canon G7 camera.
Bookmark and Share
posted by Annie at 7 Comments Links to this post

Monday, July 21, 2008

Long, Long Day

Yesterday (Sunday) was a LONG day! A very nice day, but incredibly long!

I taught in the morning and afternoon at Nautical Yarn (excellent classes, smaller than the first two, but more intimate!), then I headed off to the SS Badger for my return crossing from Michigan to Wisconsin. I did not get ill this time - I think it was because I spent the entire trip in the air or near a window, and I felt pretty good.

The view of the moon rising was phenomenal - THAT was worth the whole price of admission (that plus the lightning off to the North)

It was a lovely evening, but I couldn't get a good shot of the moon with my cell phone. I won't forget it, though.

I also knit on the boat - here's a photo of a lace project I'm doing with Buffalo Gold's bamboo blend (taken with the cell phone), it's been a fun little take-along project as I travel, and I ADORE how this yarn knits up ...

Once I got off the ship I thought I'd drive as far as I could before stopping to rest, I made it to Wausau. Up this morning at 8:30, and on the road and home by 1:30. Life is good!

Waiting for me was the aforementioned Cannon G7, so I took it along when I biked over to Max's baseball game this evening and took some photos. I call this one, "Laceball"

It was the Dodgers vs. the Cubs, and the Dodgers lost. We were very sad.

Our first loss of the season, and next week are the playoffs. Max was tagged running home from third by the best player on the Cubs, which I told him was sort of a badge of honor.

He wasn't buying it...

But now I'm home, and here I'll stay (aside from personal trips) until I go to teach in Portland in September. I'm looking forward to the unbroken time with the family!
Bookmark and Share
posted by Annie at 2 Comments Links to this post

Sunday, July 20, 2008

New Camera

I'm not home yet, but I have a new camera back at the house waiting for me!

We went to National Camera Exchange and looked at a few models. I fell in love with the Canon G9, but it was just too pricey ($500).

We looked at other Canon models, and found out that the G7 was very similar to the G9, and definitely good enough for my needs.

Luckily there was a used one on sale at National Camera ($290), so we had it sent to the NCE location where we'd seen the original camera (and where the salesman had been so helpful!)

Gerry picked it up Friday and got it home just in time to capture this photo of a hurt bird that Hannah found. I'm very impressed with the wing/feather detail - that's exactly what I was looking for in terms of stitch detail.

It's wing is damaged, so the plan is to let it rest overnight then take it to a wild bird spca (Gerry's frantically looking for one) tomorrow morning.

I'm away, of course, so I'm missing the excitement. I'm sure the cats are beside themselves.

I've had such a lovely time here in Ludington - Nautical Yarns is a wonderful yarn shop and this is a truly lovely community!

I was admiring the petunias planted in the town and along the main street meridian, and who should be in one of my first classes but one of the movers and shakers of the gardening club! It was nice to be able to tell her how lovely the extra touch of the flowers was.

The students have been so much fun, it's obvious how much they love being here (and their knitting!) There's a big fishing tournament this weekend here in Ludington, one of my student's husband was in the boat that won the amateur prize last year, so we're all waiting with baited (ha!) breath to see if he's in the lucky boat again.

Five classes in a weekend is a lot of teaching, but I've had such a wonderful time with Carole and her staff and customers. Today I'm teaching lace and the mitered bag class, both of which are lots of fun and full of tips. And then off to the boat for a sunset cruise back over to Wisconsin - This is fine living, baby.

White Lines
It's been such a joy to do my last two teaching trips in my car. Yes, I know it's not as environmentally friendly as flying, but these were both locations that I couldn't really fly to (without spending a GREAT deal of money, AND rent a car to get me around...)

I was starting to feel pretty raw and I think I needed some driving time to focus on things that I needed to think about. For whatever reason, it's harder to focus when I'm at home, consumed with the day to day events and duties. But after 4 days away from Gerry and the kids I'm VERY ready to get back home - I miss them like NUTS!

Instead of staying over in Ludington, I decided to take the ferry back over this evening and then drive back to MN, stopping on the way if I feel tired. I'm going to spring for a private room on the boat so if I'm ill, at least I can be so in privacy!

No beer this time.
Bookmark and Share
posted by Annie at 17 Comments Links to this post

Friday, July 18, 2008


Today I'm better - yay sleep!

I just had a nice cup of tea and a roll for breakfast, and I'm going to visit a local CVS to get some grooming product so that I'm more beautiful than ever for this evening. Sort of a low bar, but I try to crawl across it every now and then...

I'm in that stage of hair length when I think I want it to grow out, but I'm arm wrestling myself not to get it cut off short, short, short.

And once again, here is the kind of hard-hitting, high excitement content that keeps you coming back for more.

Further update:
A walk over to Walgreens (not a lot of walking going on, no sidewalk or crosswalk and I've determined that the SUV Slalom should be a new Olympic event...) and the purchase of some Root Touch-up dye and I'm a new woman. Literally - I'm shiny!

And now to explore Ludington!

I switched my trip out from Monday morning to Sunday night because the internet here at the Holiday Inn is SOOOOOO slow (even with a bridge) that it doesn't make sense for me to stay another night just to do work. So I'll get home sooner - yay!
Bookmark and Share
posted by Annie at 6 Comments Links to this post

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Lake Sick

I've never, EVER, EVER had a problem with any kind of seasickness.

[da, da, DUHHHHHHH]

Until today.

Maybe it's because I'm still listening to the Outlander books and one of the main characters is seasick? Sympathy sickness?

Could it be that my cruise today started with a beer?

Possibly it was the 5 hour drive to the ferry (so I still had that "is the car moving...?" buzz going on when I walked onto the ferry?)

Or perhaps it was the heat? [or some rare disease? or maybe it's fleas?]

To the left is a photo of the harbor in Wisconsin as we left. Below is what the same scene looked like to ME.

At any rate, I spent most of the trip (after the beer) in the women's lounge, which is a stateroom with a permanently propped open door and a padded bench. Mmmmm, good times.

I peeked into the men's lounge to break the monotony, and some guy there had a rag over his face, which made me feel less alone...
I did get some embroidery work done. For some reason focusing on that made me feel better.

What made me feel worse (MUCH worse) was when I made the mistake of going to the movie room, sitting in a reclining chair and watching the movie. Eeesh, even thinking about it is making me a little queasy...

to do with being in a darkened, window-less room watching a wide screen and feeling the movement of the boat up from my legs through my body really got to me. I don't think I felt as ill when I could actually see the water. Air was good. It was a long 4 hours.

I did take a minute from my busy schedule of trying not to lose my breakfast to photograph this humorous sign.

No running. Apparently that doesn't mean the paint...

Tomorrow I teach, but not until the evening so I'm going to sleep in.

I have tums, and I'm not afraid to use them...
Bookmark and Share
posted by Annie at 9 Comments Links to this post

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Yeah, I jumped on the bandwagon...

Send a JibJab Sendables® eCard Today!
Bookmark and Share
posted by Annie at 5 Comments Links to this post

Tuesday, July 15, 2008


My cousin fell.

She's been battling a recurrence of breast cancer, and while on vacation in the Outer Banks of NC she took a spill at a lighthouse, splintering her thigh bone.

Apparently there was a tumor hiding in there, so the bone just shattered. I cannot begin to imagine the pain, but every day as I speak with her she sounds better and better. The goal is for her to become well enough to travel home, where she'll be in rehab for a while, and I'll probably go down and stay for a bit to help her get organized to take on this new "adventure."

I told her she was courageous. She said she's just doing what she has to do. But she is brave.

We talked about how courage is when you have a choice, when you can choose not to be brave but you still are. She feels she's just doing what she has to do, but I know that she's made a choice to be funny and strong and honest about this new tsuris. That's courage, in my book!

The question is whether the tumor was from her breast cancer, or from the skin cancer she had about 10 years ago... Here's a portion of an email she sent out to friends and family:
The orthopedic surgeon at the first hospital would not touch it, so I took a 2 hr squad ride from Hell to Virginia Beach, VA where Dr J.W. was waiting for me.

He did a 3 hour surgery on it Friday night and put a 22 inch titanium rod from my knee to my hip. The bone was shredded, it looked like 2 scruffy old paint brushes laid end to end, with about 1-1/2 inches between the edges!

Now the pieces are back together, but the bone has about a 1 inch hole in it.
More C
I've just heard that my nephew is undergoing a biopsy for Ewing's Sarcoma, poor kid. We're waiting to hear the results, and I'm trying to think of silly things to send him to make him smile.

I think a visit to the Archie McPhee website is in order today.

Have I mentioned how sick I am of the C word?

Be warned, to be related to me evidently means you'll need to increase your major medical coverage.

Book List
I'm working on two chapters for an encyclopedia type book of knitting, and I'm developing a bibliography to include with my chapters.

My two subjects are Shaping and Colorwork. If there's a book on either that you feel is an absolute necessity for any knitting bookshelf, I'd love to hear about it. I have a nice list already, but it's always good to hear about books I may have missed!
Bookmark and Share
posted by Annie at 12 Comments Links to this post

Sunday, July 13, 2008

The Fish Came Back

Saturday was an amazing day.

We went to Snail Lake, just north of us here in St. Paul, and spent the day fishing & swimming (kids) and just sitting and talking (adults) and had a wonderful time! Thank you, Amy, for suggesting it!

It was a windy, cool, wonderful day - warm in the sun, but breezy and lovely. The sky and water were so blue, so clear, and Max caught an amazingly huge bass (which broke the weenie fishing line on our $10 pole we got at Fleet Farms.)

Could this be the return of last week's fish that got away? Probably not, that lake was 100 miles away...

Noah, Max's friend, leaped in the water and grabbed that fish like a football just as the line broke. GO NOAH!

Look at the size of that fish! I hoisted him at one point (that's my hand in the photo) and I swear he was between 4.5 and 5 lbs. He filled the cooler diagonally from nose to tail.

We named him "Dinner" and after we'd admired him a little bit, we took a vote and in a 3/1 decision he was tagged and released to the wild. He still had the red hook in his mouth, his badge of honor.

Smaller sunfish were caught and released, it was a very fun day. Maybe not for the fish, but they all ended up home for dinner.

Then home, some grilling on our deck and just relaxing. It was a perfect day, we all had a splendid time and Hannah knew exactly the best way to end it –

On the back deck with a book.

The photos in this entry are from various cellphones - not bad, huh?

I'm still out of commission as far as cameras go, and would love to hear from anyone who has a lightweight digital that they love.

Self-Sponsored Class
Today I taught a class at the central library in Minneapolis, which is a BEAUTIFUL space!

My friend London put it together (thank you, London!) I think the participants had fun, I know they learned a lot, and we laughed quite a bit, too. But I was late, dang.

When I travel from time zone to time zone (and change my location in my date/time function of my computer) sometimes the calendar 'helpfully' updates my engagements. That's all I can figure happened this time. Or I may have just put the wrong time in the calendar...

I left my house early - or so I thought - and was so proud of myself that I would have time to get there and set up the classroom, settle in, put on makeup. Not to be...

By the time I FINALLY arrived, almost 30 minutes late (I wandered around the library for a while trying to find the room...), I had a bunch of eager knitters patiently waiting in a high tech board room with lots of glass walls.

I talk a lot in class, I chat through the chart and the lace and how to intuit a stitch pattern before we really do anything fun. But this class was SO kind and accepted it graciously, even after the enforced waiting at the start of the class.

THANK YOU, LADIES! You were a terrific class!

Moving Forward
This was my first attempt at a non-shop based class. Sometimes when I am in an area and want to teach a class, I can't find a shop that wants to host me (either one's not around, the shops in the area want an exclusive, or my fee is more than a local shop feels it can cover).

So I've been toying with the idea of sponsoring my own classes, renting a local conference room and offering a set of workshops. I'm still kicking the idea around, but would also love to find a way to promote local yarn shops when I'm in an area as I do this.

Often folks will write that they'd like to take a class from me in a certain area, but I can't find a local shop that wants to sponsor a set of classes. If I find that I'm teaching 100 or so miles away from one of these pockets of potential students, and if the prospects seem good for a well sized class, I may begin setting up my own classes (deducting a proportionate amount of the travel expenses from the accompanying shop visit...)

I may try this a few times in the coming months - it might just work. If only I had a London in every town!
Bookmark and Share
posted by Annie at 20 Comments Links to this post

Friday, July 11, 2008

What Makes A Medium?

Sizing makes me nuts.

Women's dress sizes (4, 6, 8, 10, 12, etc.) mean quite a different thing from manufacturer to manufacturer - and even from decade to decade! [Image from]

For instance, the standard size 6 waist measurement in 1984 was 23 inches. The Gap's size 6 waist measurement in 2002 was 29 inches.

When I hear a woman describe herself as a "Zero" it makes me sad (why would ANYONE want to be a zero? It's part of the not-so-subtle message from society that a woman should take as little space as possible, and a man as much space as possible... But I digress...)
Vanity Sizing is insane.

There, I've said it.

I've felt for years that the best way to size something is BY THE ACTUAL SIZE. I know, inconceivable, right?

Men's pants are sized to the waist and inseam. Men's jackets are sized to the SIZE OF THE MAN!

Some women's jeans sized for waist / hip measurement, too, but most women's pants are sized either in Missus (6, 8, 10) or Juniors (7, 9, 11) and every manufacturer has a different idea of what an "8" or a "7" actually is.

I once overheard a woman say, "I was a size 16, but now I'm an 8 - I'm HALF my original size!"

She would have gone down about 6-7" in her bust. Unless her bust was 14" to begin with, she did NOT halve her size.

But this is an insidious way for the one-ups-womanship among us to continue, a way to compare ourselves using an impossibly flawed scale.

I'm not crazy about S/M/L/XL either, but for many articles of clothing with elastic waists or loose fit, they work fine.
However, if we - especially as knitters! - have a chance to be more exact in our measurements, why not do it? Why rely on S/M/L when 34" / 37" / 40" bust measurements are available?

I size my patterns and usually provide a "to fit bust" size, AND a "finished bust" size. For instance, on a garment with about** 5" of ease, the measurements might be:
To Fit Bust: 31 (34, 37, 40, 43, 46, 49, 52) '' /
79.5 (87.2, 94.9, 102.6, 110.3, 117.9, 125.6, 133.3) cm

Finished Bust: 36 (40, 44, 48, 52, 58, 62, 66) '' / 92.3 (102.6, 112.8, 123.1, 133.3, 148.7, 159, 169.2) cm
And I count on the knitter measuring her bust, determining which size she's closest to, and working up that size.

**The actual measurements change from one of my designs to another depending on the number of stitches I use, which in turn depends on the stitch pattern repeat. I also need to make the pattern 'size-able' up and down, and throw in some aesthetic choices which may differ from size to size.

I just received an email from a magazine which asked to run one of my patterns. They want to take the seven sizes I've provided and telescope them down to five sizes(!)

And they want to remove the numbered size designation and replace it with S / M / L / XL, etc.


I just can't come to terms with an editorial "consistency" that would make a pattern weaker.

And this, my friends, is why I don't like to design for magazines very much. They change a lot of the designer's input, they put the text in their own verbiage, and the designer is the one who will be answering the questions for the next 10 years.
I just got a question yesterday on a piece that was published 6 years ago.

Here's what I wrote to the mag:

I would very much prefer that you DID NOT change the measurements to sizes (SML) but would prefer you keep them as the size numbers.

Size numbers are a more exact way to determine which size a knitter should make, and will ultimately lead to happier knitters and readers.
S/M|/L is an unhelpful and VERY inexact way of determining fit.

A knitter can quibble about whether she's a M or an L, but she can't argue about her bust size. Most knitters have a measuring tape available to them, and measuring their bust is the first step in getting a sweater that actually fits.

Serious minded knit magazines that are interested in a good FIT for their readers are moving toward representing patterns in measured bust sizes.

I, myself, refuse to use S M L any longer in my sizing as it allows so much room for fudging and miscommunication.

I feel very strongly about this. As I teach around the country I bring this subject up with knitters in almost every class I conduct, and I have yet to find one knitter who prefers S/M/L sizing over instructions that are written to specific bust sizes.

It's not a good policy to allow an editorial format to supersede good fit in a knitted pattern. It may seem easier at the outset, but the follow up to correct knitter's misunderstanding of THEIR size is time consuming and heartbreaking for the knitter who miscalculated and thought she was a "S" when she's actually an "M".
I haven't heard back yet, but I'm not hopeful that the pattern will be running with size numbers. Dang.
Bookmark and Share
posted by Annie at 43 Comments Links to this post

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Fishing Lessons

Max and Hannah fished all weekend, catching several sunfish and Max has had his first "one that got away..." story involving a very large Bass and an eye witness (more than most folks have...)

B, our friend's husband, was incredibly generous with his time and skill in showing Max fishing tips and adding a new dimension to both kids' love of tossing hooks into lakes.

I tried to repay a tiny bit by setting up a webpage for Myrna with a link to her book, Stahman's Shawls & Scarves, and contact information.

Gerry's dad, Sydney, who died when Max was 2, was a great fisherman. He used to go out on Long Island Sound and fish all day, layered with years of burn/tan/burn. I can see Max moving in the same direction, and he never seemed more like Sydney than he did this weekend.

Hannah also loves fishing, but was less involved than she has been in the past. She's disconnecting herself from certain childhood passions, whether as a function of being a pre-teen or for a deeper reason, I'm not sure. I think it has a lot to do with the amount of homework she's handling, and her passion for the Breakthrough program.

She's beginning to look at her physical self more critically than she has before - which is something every woman goes through and few are able to conquer. I want to ease her through this in a better way than I was offered.

As much emphasis as there is on body image, I also feel there's been no better time to be an 'unusually' or 'unconventionally' beautiful girl. I feel like I paid for decades for my awkward early-teen transition, but I know it doesn't have to be that way.

Having parents who see her beauty, and tell her, is a good start. She's also building some good friendships (with both girls and boys) and has a clear sense of her importance in our family. Much beyond that I feel like we're just improvising as things come up, which may be the best way to handle the upcoming years.

But I'm hoping she wants to fish again soon.

Max loves fishing so much that it's time for Gerry and/or I to get licenses so we can take the kids more often. We just sat and watched this weekend, but when kids loves something in such a strong way, it's only right to encourage them.

I received an email that a Kiva loan I'd made was paid off this morning, which also made me think of fishing;
Give me a fish and I'll eat for a day, teach me to fish and I'll eat for a lifetime.
I love working through Kiva because I think of it as encouraging folks to "fish" through micro-loans (for all kinds of businesses, not just fishing...) and, in turn, that helps the overall local economy. Which helps the borrower's country's economy; etc. etc. One fish at a time.

Here's the text from Kiva's website about my recent loan:
I just made a loan to an entrepreneur named Tita Charles in Dominican Republic. They still need another $325.00 to complete their loan request of $750.00 (you can loan as little as $25.00!). Help me get this entrepreneur off the ground by clicking on this link to make a loan to Tita Charles too.

It's finally easy to actually do something about poverty - using Kiva I know exactly who my money is loaned to and what they're using it for. And most of all, I know that I'm helping them build a sustainable business that will provide income to feed, clothe, house and educate their family long after my loan is paid back.

Join me in changing the world - one loan at a time.
I can't think of a better use for $25 (which I will get back).

Foot Thanks
Thanks to everyone with your excellent advice about the stretching and ice and shoes. I've been doing the excercises, icing when I can (the coke bottle thing is a great tip!) and am now wearing my Keens around the house as well as outside. If you know me, or have taken a class with me, you'll know how awkward it feels to me to have my shoes on all the time (I enjoy being barefoot...)

This seemed to have cropped up VERY quickly, while I was at TNNA, and after a full day of wearing my birks. So, as wonderful as they may be for many folks, I think in this case it was a perfect storm of hard concrete floors, lots of walking, hard concrete sidewalks back to my hotel and the wrong shoes for my foot.

I just ordered another pair of Keens from Eddie Bauer, where they're on sale, and I'll talk to my doctor tomorrow about either getting inserts or seeing a podiatrist.
Bookmark and Share
posted by Annie at 12 Comments Links to this post

Monday, July 07, 2008

Such a Lovely Weekend!

Our family had SUCH a wonderful time this weekend - we are very grateful to our wonderful friends, M&B, who put up with 2 electronically-engaged kids, 1 aloof poodle, and a couple of adults who limped their way around the lake.

Gerry forgot his major pain meds, his oxy, which we didn't realize until we arrived. Dang. I had brought the hydro (less big-deal pain med) and, although Gerry usually doesn't even use it, I like to take it with us just in case. Good thing I did.

Every 4 hours I dosed him, and he did beautifully. So beautifully, in fact, that upon arriving home he announced he was going to try to STAY off of his oxy. Fine, I though, tomorrow's Monday and we have no plans for a few days, why not...

This morning he was suffering. By lunch he'd decided to return to oxy. I am trying to explain to him that it's not a sign of failure (and he DOES get that) but he developed some high hopes after two days off the oxy.

My personal feeling is that two days probably wasn't enough to get the benefits of the drug entirely out of his system, but I'm speaking from an entirely ignorant position.

PF Not-Quite-Flyers
I was limping because the plantar fasilitis (which I seemed to have developed at TNNA) worsened dramatically this weekend. My doc told me last week that wearing Birkenstocks are supposed to be better for the pain, but - perhaps because I'm just different - wearing the birks makes my pain worse.

The Keens I bought this Spring are working beautifully for me, though, and make the pain almost totally gone. But I left them at home (next to Gerry's pills, evidently) and spent this entire weekend either barefoot or in the only shoes I brought, Birks.

After being home and in my Keens for a few hours, the pain had lessened appreciably. I guess we all have different feet!

I've made an appt to see the doc, though, because she told me to come back if the pain worsened. As much time as I spend on my feet when traveling and teaching, I can't really afford to let this become a chronic condition.

This weekend our host had one of the splints that hold the foot in a flexed position during sleep, which she graciously allowed me to use (and which seemed to help). But wearing those darned birks are the kiss of death for my own, personal plantar problem.

Buffalo Gold
I was given some beautiful Buffalo Gold yarn - I fell in love with it last TNNA - and already it's inspired me to work up a hood/scarf laceweight thing. I don't generally work in laceweight, but it's been a sheer delight. When I acquire a camera, I'll post some photos...
Bookmark and Share
posted by Annie at 20 Comments Links to this post

Thursday, July 03, 2008


I'm up visiting Myrna (kvell) and her wonderful husband at their lake house. Yes, Gerry and the kids are here, too. Finally, a trip with ALL of us on the road! And the dog. Woof.

So far we've been wined and dined, and while Bob took Hannah and Maxie out in the boat for some evening fishing (catching a 3" Walleye, and throwing it back...) Myrna and I had a lovely knit and chat together. Gerry tossed a ball around for Atticus, who is already torn between Gerry and Bob. Poor Atticus - so much love to give...

Driving North from the Twin Cities on the day before the 4th of July is like sitting in a parking lot. A drive that probably would have taken 2-3 hours on a 'normal' day took us over 4 hours today.

But we were giddy with the delight of a road trip, and had a wonderful time in the car. We are simple folk, nothing like the burning of some fossil fuels to raise all of our spirits. And we ate in the car - it's hard to get much more American than that for the 4th, n'est ce pas?

I'm not sure how I've missed this - but a friend turned me onto the Knitting Scouts badges this morning, and I'm well on my way to earning them all (and inventing some new ones...) I love you, Brenda Dayne...
The "I've Knit Items With No Conceivable Practical Application" Badge - Recipients are those "special" campers who have knit items which somehow missed the mark of their intended application. There are probably more who are deserving of this badge than one would expect.

The "I've Written a Knitting Book" Badge - The recipient has written and published a book in which knitting patterns and beautifully photographed knitting feature prominently; Or, the recipient has written and published a book in which he/she writes eloquently about the knitting experience. No extra credit, but proper snaps if the recipient actually makes any money at it.
I swear, I'm always about 15 years behind any loop. But at least I'm happy back here!

And now, to bed, in a beautiful room overlooking a lovely lake. Let's see if I actually get up for a nice, long walk tomorrow...? That's my intention, but bed may just feel too darned good...
Bookmark and Share
posted by Annie at 3 Comments Links to this post

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Feed Me, Seymour

I'll be the first to admit when I'm licked, and I just cannot figure out the RSS / Atom / Google Reader feed thing to save my life.

If anyone can explain it to me, in lay-woman's terms, I'd be very appreciative.

Right now I create my blog through blogger, and host it at There's no path or directory to the blog, it's the index page of modeknit.

And that's about where my extensive (!) knowledge of blog feeding begins and ends.

PS - Heather, you da bomb! Thanks to you my RSS blog readers all over the place are getting 22 updates from the past month or so. Thank you!


I'm in a thinking part of my design / writing / living process right now. Yesterday a great deal of the day was spent in the hammock, thinking. Then I knitted a bit, thinking. And finally there was Max's baseball game. Yep, I was thinking all right!

So today will be spent number crunching (yes, Michelle, I'm finally redoing Bel Canto!) and catching up on stuff that I should have done weeks ago. Quarterly taxes come to mind. And emails I haven't answered. Life's been a bit of a blur with the teaching and TNNA and traveling, but I'm home for a bit
(except for our much anticipated fishing and visiting extravaganza this weekend!)

I'm not looking forward to the work - onced again it's "My brain hurts" time - but it's a coolish day and after breakfast with my guys at the Louisiana Cafe (Hannah's at school) I'll come home and settle in for some time in Math Hell. To be followed by Charting Purgatory. Heck of a place for a Heretic, no?
Bookmark and Share
posted by Annie at 15 Comments Links to this post

Alison's Scarf
Link to pdf file of cable/trellis lace scarf

Hannah's Poncho
Link to pdf file of multi-sized poncho


advanced web statistics