Saturday, January 31, 2009

Two Left Hands

My regular readers know that I am left-handed. All the lefties have figured out how to get along in a right-handed culture, and I don't know of any that would want to change hands. Of course, the older you get, and the more things you do, the more you learn that you were born with a PAIR of hands, and while one is, so-called, dominant, most tasks take two hand cooperating. Lefties don't have a dominant left hand, so much as their 'control center' for two-handed operation is not in the same brain real estate as the righties.
Lefties are 10% of the population, but are way over-represented in sports (go Rafa!), politics (lot of left-handed presidents including Obama), and science and engineering. I think part of a Lefty's success comes from being in the minority nearly anytime they are in a group. Lefties adapt.
Lecture over.
I had a treat of a day last Tuesday, when K came for the day, and we quilted ALL DAY! K is also a lefty. We had the pleasure of sitting side by side at sewing machines, and sharing cutting space and an ironing board. A lefty and a righty teaming up for this would have a different dance to do. Odds are, the lefty would have been a bit hypervigilant to keep out of the righty's way, and the righty would not have noticed. Ah, but TWO lefties - it's all good.
K finished an adorable quilt top in crayon colors. I made another tote bag. (Quelle surprise!)
Wait- I know that THIS will impress you- the bag is finished! Totally!
Now, since the sun is shining on the several feet of brilliant snow that we have, and since, while the temperature is bitter (0 degrees), there is no wind, we will be taking the dog out for a romp while we haul in firewood. We will have to shovel our way to the woodpile, but it's fluffy, sort of. We have not had any warm weather, so there will be no icy layer to make the shoveling interesting.
We have definitely arrived in the pit of winter. The bird feeders in the side yard are bracketed by two knife-edge drifts. The birds are hanging out in the deep valley between the drifts, under the feeder. They are cozy and out of the wind, with free food all around them. You can't see them on the ground, unless you look down from an upstairs window.
But now, at the end of January, the sun is high enough that it will warm you, even on a 0 degree day. Spring will come. It is inevitable now.

Friday, January 23, 2009

It's up to 40!!

Degrees, that is. that's the first time over freezing since Christmas time. I went out in the sunshine, with a shovel and cleaned off the steps and the walkway. Such a treat to see the packed snow peel up on the shovel, and the steps and bricks reappear. We have not been able to keep the walk bare- too much snow, and no place to put it, really. With a little above-freezing weather, the top of the snow crust melts a little and slumps, so that what was 27 inches is more like 15. And, you can finally see what slobs the birds are! Under the feeders, the seed hulls and chaff are appearing out of the snow. The dog wants to stay outside. She curls up on the snowbank by the door, and snoozes with her nose in her tail. It's quiet outside, but a very alive quiet. I shoveled out the end of the driveway, where the plow has shoved the road-scraped packed snow and ice. It is heavy work, but I went at it slowly, stopping and leaning on my shovel and giving a neighborly wave when any car passed.
Inside, I watered all the plants. Great news! The Amarylis is preparing to bloom! The flower bud has emerged from the bulb and is headed skyward. It's about 4 inches tall this morning. It will be 8 inches tall tomorrow. The amarylis is another of my houseplants with birthdays, though she is only 5 years old. She was a marked-down-to-50-cents after-Christmas purchase in 2003. I brought her home, where she bloomed in February. Then, I put the pot outside under the lilac branches, and forgot her. In the fall, I noticed the bulb was showing good green color under the brown husk, so I repotted her and brought her in. She bloomed in February again. I have repotted her annually since, though I have not really put her in a bigger pot. She bloomed twice in 2007, and once in 2008. Each time she blooms, she gives me 4 or 5 big blossoms. I have no idea how long this can go on. Does the bulb ever divide? And who cares? Come February the first, there will be big red blooms in a south window, looking out over the snow. I can never repay her.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Alternate Bowling Arrangements

So, I got picked up by another team at another bowling lanes on a Friday night league. It's a little like being adopted- There's loss and guilt to deal with, and not as much joy as you'd think. However, when you gotta bowl, sometimes you are going to feel dirty. I'll get over it.
I wasn't thinking about bowling today. When the snow finally stopped at noon time, I headed out to unbury the vehicles and get some firewood in. Two hours later, I was stripping out of wet jeans, and I had been through three pairs of heavy wool mittens. The wood was in, the cars and the driveway were cleared. That is the moment that the plow came by, winging back the bank, and filling the end of the driveway with heavy, chunky road snow. I took some tylenol, and after it kicked in, I booted up again, and put in another 30 minutes clearing the driveway. The banks are high, so each shovel-load had to be flung up, over the banks. I was so aerobicized today I made Mark get those Pepperidge farm raspberry turnovers, and some really great vanilla ice cream to help reclog my arteries this evening.
The rest of the fun I had today involved entering several months worth of bank transactions in Quicken so I can start the taxes. Mark has been handling Quicken for the last couple of years. He stopped putting in transactions a few months ago. Surprise.
Oh, well. As Scarlet says, "Tomorrow is another day." I hope its not like today.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Oh, No! Not the Bowling Alley!

I awoke this morning to the news that my bowling alley is gone- burned down last night. I am is shock and in mourning. Once again I find myself a member of a very small set: bowlers whose lanes have burned down THREE TIMES! What are the odds? I mean, this isn't Baltimore, or some other fine bowling city where people actually insure their bowling alleys for what it would cost to rebuild them if, god forbid, catastrophe strikes.
The first disaster was January (I think) 1991. Okay, the alleys burned, but they were able to save the outer walls, and we were bowling again by September. The second time was '99. The alleys were not rebuilt. So, I bowled a couple seasons at Pine Plains, and then went to Lewis Lanes. I can tell you this: there is no joy in Lowville (or Carthage) today.
As it happens, I AM bowling today- at Pine Plains with the Senior Citizen league. The mood will be glum. Every person in that league bowled in one or the other of the lanes that are no more.
You know what? I bought a new ball on Friday. So did 3 other members of my team. My ball is with me. Theirs are all at the bowling alley. Pass some more kleenex, please.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Getting back to knitting (spinning, quilting)...

It's January 2, and 2009 is spread out before me. I want it filled with knitting, spinning, and quilting. Prospects look good for January. The calendar reveals a spinning gathering on the 14th, a roadtrip the 16th - 18th to pick up a new (to me) knitting machine, and a January 27th day of quilting with Cousin K.
I had planned to forego resolutions, but I think I was just reluctant to name my true resolutions, as they had nothing to do with self-improvement, and everything to do with bliss. Mine.
The mice were in the kitchen again, which resulted in a New Year's foray - drawers were emptied, implements put in the dishwasher, traps were put down. An execution occurred sometime during the night. While reassembling the kitchen, I sorted out some items to be discarded. Wooden spoons. We don't cook with wooden spoons. DH said he could use the kindling. I noticed that each wooden spoon had a groove or knob at the end of the handle, just right for a half-hitch if you had a mind to use them as drop spindles. Spoon number 1 had a wildly eccentric spin, which I could have predicted if I had looked at how warped it was from tip to tip. Spoon number 2 spun well, and was heavy enough to produce a decent yarn. DH and I discussed the merits of spoons a spindles. I recalled Ruth Allen's demonstration at the Finger Lakes Fiber Arts Festival last September. I described to DH her insights, which she shared while demonstrating spinning using a twig and a rock. DH suggested that the spoon would spin as well as a drop spindle with a conventional whorl.
I don't think so. I think it works. A 'twig and a rock' works. A drop spindle with a whorl works. But one works better than the other. One reason the spindle with whorl may work better is that it would be less affected a breeze- just in case you spin outside - and if you spin and walk, that spindle and whorl might just keep spinning better when you swing it, or when the camel you are riding sways from side to side. I'm just saying. But you know I will check this out as soon as the snow melts. And I get a camel. But the other stuff, sure.
Advice for all my friends: Bliss is where it's at. Don't wait. Make your resolution.