Sunday, April 30, 2006

New Orleans! Ms. B arrived at our house around 12:30 yesterday, and I flew her through the 1st time babysitter ritual: Here's the food, here's the phone numbers, keep 'em alive, see you tommorow! Then we were off.

There is no way to talk about a visit to New Orleans post Katrina without addressing the bitch herself. The drive was sobering. We live about 2 hours north east of NOLA, and our town was damaged by Katrina, but obviously not as badly as NOLA or the MS Gulf Coast. As we drove down the interstate, it felt like we were gradually moving backwards in time. The damage alongside the road, and to the towns we passed got progressively worse. I'd think," I remember when our town looked like that", and then we'd drive a little farther, and I'd remember a little farther back, and so on.

Once we got near NOLA, it was eerie. The surrounding suburbs are abandoned. Large shopping malls are boarded up, and the streets are empty. Mile after mile, neighborhood after neighborhood. Many houses are still standing, most look perfectly livable from the outside, but what the interiors are like, I hate to think.

The storm affected LA much differently than MS. When we went to the MS Gulf Coast after the storm, it was shocking how many of the houses were simply gone. It was as if entire neighborhoods had been put in a huge blender, pureed then poured back on the ground. New Orleans was different, more buildings standing, but everthing was empty. People had to leave and so many haven't or simply can't return.

We arrived in the French Quarter around 3:00. The Quarter is the highest point in NO and most of it wasn't flooded. Jazzfest, which is the second largest event in the city (Mardi Gras is the largest of course!), was this weekend. Now, in the past, just about any nice weekend in the Spring would be a good reason to go to the Big Easy. It would be difficult to find parking, there would be lots of folks walking around the Quarter, and there would be all kinds of street performers and characters everywhere. The weekend of Jazzfest would be even more crowded, all kinds of things going on, people everwhere all day, and all night.

We returned to a changed city. The closest thing I can compare it to is a week or so after Mardi Gras. The huge celebration is over, and the city is pretty beat up, and somewhat deserted, but there are always some people having fun. That's how it was this weekend. There was lots of parking, no huge crowds in the streets, lots of businesses were closed. It was disconcerting. We checked into our hotel, put our things in the room and went out for a walk.

All I really cared about was getting to the Quarterstitch. It was opened and the very helpful Michelle lured me into buying some beautiful mohair/silk blend: Douceur et Soie, Knit one Crochet Too. It's silvery blue and destined to be a webby wrap for me. I also bought 2 hanks of Koigu KPPPM to make myself some socks with. Hey, when it comes to the good stuff, it's all about me.

We were supposed to meet some other folks for dinner and drinks around 4:30. We were on time and they were not. Around 4:50 our waiter asked us if we wanted to order, because the kitchen was closing at 5:00. Another casualty of Katrina. We ordered an appetizer and when everyone arrived we changed our plans. We caught dinner elsewhere then went to the House of Blues where we saw Keb Mo' and The Subdudes. Keb Mo' is a youngish blues man, more melodic than gravelly, and the Subdudes are a kinda Blues/Zydeco band. A great time was had by all. I was worn out and talked hubby into taking me back to the hotel around 10:00. I'm so old.

Slept until 5:59 am. Five Fifty Nine AM! No kids, no responsibilities, what's wrong with me? (See last statement of previous paragraph). I realized I wasn't getting any more sleep, so I got up and waited for it to lighten up outside. It was rainy, gray and dark. Hubby slept until 7:00, and once he was up, we decided to wait out the rain and have breakfast at the hotel. Fantastic breakfast, fantastic view. The sun came out and we went for another stroll.

This time I just wanted a cafe au lait and to take a look around. Yes, there fewer locals and tourists. Yes, many of the shops were closed, and there was repair work being done on every street. But everywhere I looked I saw not only the destruction of the storm, but the toughness and humor of the people of New Orleans. There was no shortage of Katrina T'shirts with obscene sayings, like "Katrina gave me a blow job I'll never forget". There were lots of other ones I can't remember, but the basic ideas were: Katrina was a bitch, FEMA is Fucked Up (their words), The president, governor, mayor and police force aren't worth a damn. The T'shirts were much cleverer than I, but you get it. Every bar had a Katrina drink guaranteed to knock you down. The general message: she was one tough gal, but we're tougher, and ain't nothing getting in the way of our good time!

What a great city!

Friday, April 28, 2006

Yay! I'm going to New Orleans tommorrow. With the husband, without the kids! Double Yay! We're just going for a quick over nighter. This has something to do with his work, but what, I don't know. All I know is we're staying in the Quarter and going to The House of Blues. Gonna eat me some good food, do me some good people watching, probably drink me a few drinks.

The main thing I'm looking forward to is going to The Quarterstitch. It's a neat little yarn shop on Chartres Street in the Quarter. I discovered it last year when the family went down for a weekend. It's small, but it has lots of great yarn. I'm gonna splurge. I don't know what I want, but I'm thinking a couple of hanks of something nice just to touch while I make a scarf out of it, and maybe some nice sock yarn.

I'll post some pics once I get back.

I'm so excited!!!

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

OK, folks, I'd like you to meet Lilith. She was a joy to knit and an utter disappointment to try on. I swatched, I measured, but it turned out just too big. My fault for substituting yarn (cotton for rayon), and picking a pattern that wasn't modeled by a person, but by a hanger. That should have been a clue. Also, I am now determined to learn how to customize a pattern. The time I put into reading and experimenting would be worth not experiencing the let down of a failed project. Do you think I could just wash it in hot and try to shrink it some?

Check out the gaping armhole!

This is the sweater I made last summer. I used Sinfonia 100% cotton. The pattern called for another brand, but this one worked out fine. Cotton for cotton is OK I guess.

Nice fit in the arms:

What I've learned?

I don't like Classic Elite Believe for knitting. I think it would crochet up nicely. Also, it's pretty heavy. Maybe for a spring sweater with sleeves, but for a summer tank in southern Mississippi? I don't think so.

Never make a sweater from a pattern that shows the FO on a hanger.

Learn how to customize.

Well, on to my next project. (undecided). If I was really motivated, I'd reknit this one and learn from my mistakes. I could customize it. Make those armholes smaller, cast on fewer stitches. Hmmm...

Monday, April 24, 2006

Well, here it is Monday again. Only 2 more weeks of classes, then exams. My students are doing great. I know they are as ready for summer as I am. I swear I'm going to get some painting and drawing done.

The Lilith sweater is getting close to completion. I'm shaping the armholes for the front, and getting close to the neck shaping. I hope to finish it before this coming weekend. I want to wear it on our trip. Husband & I are going to New Orleans for an overnighter. No kids, just us. And his entire office. The boss is taking us down for some reason I haven't exactly figured out. But who am I question? We're going to the House of Blues. I don't know who's playing, but it should be fun regardless. The main thing I'm looking forward to is going to a little yarn shop in the French Quarter called The Quarterstitch. It's such a great place. Beautiful yarns, nice folks. I plan on buying something decadent.

This week will probably be busy. Tonight #1 has a baseball game, and Husband has PINKEYE!!!, so I'll probably be in charge of transportation, etc. Later this week there is a birthday party for #1 to attend at (of all places) Chuck E Cheese. How I despise that place. It is just awful. I can't even look at the driving games without wanting to vomit.

So, I'm teaching, knitting, trying not to get pink eye, herding kids, and wishing for summer break.

Friday, April 21, 2006

I'm about to reveal something personal. For as long as I can remember (maybe 2nd grade or earlier) I have had an uncanny ability to find 4 leafed clovers. I don't even have to look for them. Sometimes I'm just walking and I happen to look down, and right there is one. Sometimes, I'll just get a weird feeling like one is around, and I look down and there it is. I've stopped picking them, because I've found so many. I just figure I'll leave them for someone else. So, today I found the first 2 four leafers this year and I took pictures:

In other yard news: The zinnias and basil are getting bigger, but may be a little sun starved. They're somewhat leggy. I guess I'll just slowly harden them off and put them in the ground in a week or so:

The Easter lilies are budding up nicely:

The pink roses are blooming:

Oh, and I'm really excited that my first tomato has formed. Here it is, in all it's blurry glory:

My mom gave me this astilbe and I put it in last year, and its doing great:

The orange mint is almost ready for its first harvest of the season:

And, finally: my lovely neighbor Miss S., who has given me so many plants from her garden, gave me this agapanthus about 4 years ago. Last year was its first time to bloom for me. Can you see the little bud?

Well, I know this is hesira knits, but this time of year, hesira is pretty obsessed with planting and watching the progress of all her green babes. I am continuing on the Lilith sweater aned making progress. I'll post photos of that project soon.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

I'm still working on the Lilith sweater. The back is finished and I've begun the front. The CE Believe knits up to look alot like raw silk. I'm hoping to have it finished in a week or so. I'm not sure how to block it because the yarn label says dry clean only, but it is over 60% cotton. Maybe I should lightly steam it. I'm afraid to submerge it in water. We'll see.

I'm fighting a monster headache...Ughh!

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Happy Easter! The kids got us up early (6:30) and then tore into their baskets. It's been beautiful all day, and kind of quiet. Easter dinner is in the oven, DH is alseep on the couch, and the kids are off doing who knows what. Earlier today we made homemade Peeps. What a mess!

There was lots of mashmallow stuff left over and we tried to made plain ole marshmallows, but that was a fiasco. Gooey white stuff everywhere. I just pitched it all in the trash.

Tomorrow is back to school for me. I am ready for the semester to be over. I know my students are as well. Only 3 more weeks to go.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

So I have been working in the yard:

These are brave little guys who seeded themselves and are blooming now:

These are going to be light pink roses.

My littlest babes: Zinnia & basil seedlings

These are the first of my rose blooms this season.

These are lily seedlings I've been tending for a couple of years. I just separated them from one pot into 5. Their mom is a 6 foot beauty who blooms lots of white flowers in the late summer.

Friday, April 14, 2006

I'm so tired. The little one was up all night. His eyes were glued shut from pink-eye goop. You'd think that wouldn't be a problem if you were asleep, but Son #2 thought differently. Anyway, his wakefullnes was mine. Now I'm paying for it. Daddy & Son #1 took off for JXN for a going away party for some friends. I had to stay here with S2. He's busy with Thomas the Tank Engine right now. Thought I'd take a moment & write.

Planted some more impatients today, and transplanted some lily seedlings I've been tending for a couple of years. I'm really proud of these little guys. I received their mother by accident. She piggybacked in a clump of garlic chives my neighbor gave me. I kept the chives in a pot and a couple of years later, a huge lily sprang up. Cleaned some pots and fertilized some perennials. My Easter lilies are multipling and budding up. The astilbe has buds, and 2 of my roses have their first blooms. It's been another gorgeous day, with no rain in sight for days. That's good for now, but I'm hoping the summer isn't too dry.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Today. Second day of spring break. All I've done is go to the salon for foils & a cut. It looks alright. After my appointment, I went by Hobby Lobby & Michaels in search of #7 circular needles. Found them at Michaels, and transferred my current projecct onto them. I was sick of getting poked in the armpit by my long needles when I carried my knitting from place to place. I decided to begin another Berroco pattern, Lilith, using CE Believe. I think this one will work out.

Monday, April 10, 2006

This is my first attempt at posting photos on this blog. These are pics of hats I knitted for my sons using patterns from a Columbia Minerva Beehive pattern book for kids from the 1940's. the yarn is Patons Classic Wool Merino. You can probably tell that it was hot as all get out when I took the photos, and the sons were not too happy about wearing wool that afternoon.
It's the first day of my spring break. For some reason, the powers that be decided to schedule the break a month later than usual, and incorporate Good Friday holiday into it. I really need this time. I have so much grading to do: papers, exams, quizzes. And the house looks like 4 pigs live in it. Really, with all the dirt on the floor, I could start an indoor garden! I hate house work, but even I can't stand how disgusting it is around here.

Last night, I finished a scarf that had been laying around for a while. It is out of some Classic Elite yarn that is mostly silk and some cashmere (can't remember the name). Just a K2 P2 rib. It was my project I went to when there was nothing else going on. Now it's finished, so I have to start something else. I started to make the Jenna sweater from the Berroco site, but after about 10 rows, I had a feeling it would be too skimpy for me, so I frogged it. I am still determined to make a summer sweater. I am going to use some Classic Elite Believe (Cotton/rayon) I scored at a Hudson's Salvage Center about 5 years ago. Now I just have to find a pattern.

Things I am going to do this week: clean my house, find a summer sweater pattern & start knitting it, plant seeds & bedding plants, grade stuff, play with the kids.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

My first post. I created this blog because I needed a place to be honest. I guess there are so many instances in my life where I am not exactly completely honest, that I just wanted a place to speak my mind. So, here I go. I am 41 years old, and live in the Deep South. I have a husband and 2 sons who are 6 and 3. I teach art at a university. I used to paint and draw every day, but pregnancy, motherhood, and renovation of an old house (ongoing) have slowed down my output. So, I knit.

I knit because I have itchy fingers. I knit because I am a person who needs to make things. I knit because I need to keep learning. I usually knit in the winter, but have been known to knit in the summer. I knit in the car, in my chair, in bed. I have a lot of crappy yarn and some good stuff. There is no LYS around here.

Non-knit stuff: I am currently thinking about Freddie Mercury's performance with Queen at the Live Aid concert some 20 years ago. We have the DVD. Probably the greatest live rock performance in history. Unbelievable! And I'm not even a Queen fan. I just can't stop thinking about it. I'm also thinking about the Spring planting I need to do. It's late, but I'm going to plant tomatoes, basil, marigolds, zinnias, sunflowers, and impatients.

As for this blog. I don't know anything about blogs. I plan on figuring it out. I know that it's not much to look at. I want to figure out how to improve its appearance. I'll start posting photos soon.

Well, that's all for now.