Tuesday, August 29, 2006

A Year Ago Today

A year ago Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans, parts of southern Louisiana, and the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Most of the media focus is on New Orleans, so perhaps, the rest of the country does not realize how badly hit Mississippi was. This is due in part to the fact that the recovery of the Gulf Coast is progressing more smoothly than the recovery of New Orleans. For that we can thank the gaming industry, which has poured large sums of money into rebuilding the area, local and state governments that cooperate with each other and with the federal government, and the many volunteers and locals who set forth to rebuild.

But Mississippi was hit hard. There are towns on the coast that were completely obliterated. Nothing left except the roads, and sometimes, even these were washed away. A 30 foot storm surge does that kind of thing. Entire neighborhoods swept away. This goes on for miles and miles. I've seen both New Orleans and the Coast first hand, and both sadden me.

I live 60 miles north of the Mississippi Gulf Coast, and although we made preparations to stick it out, we evacuated at the last minute. I'm glad we did. It would have been hell on our children. We went to Jackson, 160 miles north of the coast and stayed with my folks. Even there, tropical storm force winds lasted 7 hours. A tree fell on my parents' house while we were in it, and the city lost power for 4 days. All the businesses closed, so no supplies could be purchased. The water had to be boiled or chlorinated in order to drink it, and bathing was out of the question. This in 90 degree weather, no air conditioner of course.

When the power returned in Jackson, my husband & I went back home to check out the damage . The eye of the storm passed directly over our town and everything was a mess. Miraculously, our house was OK. We lost 2 trees, but they fell in the road, not on our roof. There were trees in every road including the interstate and the highways. Every other road was closed.. The grocery stores weren't open yet, but there was nothing in them. No gas for cars, no electricity, no clean water, no ice. Once ice was shipped in, a man killed his sister over a bag. Another man was carjacked and murdered over the gas in his tank. We had intended to stay and clean up the mess, but decided it was too risky, and gave our supplies to our friends who were staying and went back to Jackson.

For 2 weeks, we drove back and forth, cleaning up our neighborhood, and helping friends. Gradually, school reopened, and we brought the kids back. Gradually things got cleaned up. There are still blue roofs, and still trees on houses. The landscape has changed tremendously. There are great patches of blue sky where there was once nothing but tree tops. The population of the town has changed. Lots of evacuees relocated here.

I know there are stories more dramatic than mine. I am one of the lucky ones. It's just hard to believe how devastating the storm was 60 or even 160 miles inland. There is a peculiar feeling I get when I watch the news footage marking the 1 year anniversary of Katrina. It's like I'm remembering a dream, where everything seemed primitive and all the people were angry or stunned. I remember at the time thinking I'd never feel normal again, that things would never be normal again. But, somehow, here I am, living my life, normally. So many others aren't there yet. My heart and prayers go out to them. I hope that they can have their normalcy soon.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006


You're cheesy Phil, but I've grown fond of you....

Don't have much to say about knitting. The sock I'm working on is brown.

Here's some photos of my studio. First I just wanted you to see the space. It's pretty amazing, but it wasn't always like that. It started out as a dirty, dusty, dark attic. We painted it and cleaned it up and I work in there when I can.

Here's a picture of a the studio itself. The ceilings are mostly about 10 feet high. They get higher on the ends of the house where the high window is. They get lower on the sides where they taper down. You can see the stretchers and canvases I've been making on the floor.

Here's a shot of a naked stretcher. I'm making a corner brace. I can't wait to get this one stretched and primed. In the foreground is some unbelievable Arches Watercolor Paper I scored a couple of years ago. The stuff is so fine, I'm afraid to use it. USE YOUR SUPPLIES!

I know this probably boring to my knitting friends, but this stuff thrills me. I appreciate your tolerance.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Stretcher Progress

Yesterday my husband cut my quarter rounds and today I'm glueing and nailing them onto the bases of the stretchers to form a curved transition. I have 3 stretchers in progress, 2 are about 3 x 4 feet, and 1 is about 2 feet by 4 feet. The 2 x 4 one is for restretching an unstretched painting a friend gave me. The other 2 are for me. They are looking great and I should be finished with them by Wednesday. Then I can stretch & prime the canvases and probably can get to painting by Wednesday or Thursday. I feel so much better getting this moving. I haven't painted much since the boys were born and I have been pining for it.

I'm not feeling so blue about my knitting. I really don't like the color of the yarn I'm working with and I think that is the problem. It's a manly brown/black/cream combination for my husband. Also, I'm used to knitting for women's feet and his big ole' clodhoppers require many more stitches. Sobeit!

#1 started 1st grade this morning. It was surprizingly easy for us all. He is sitting next to a little boy he idolizes for his soccer skills, so he's happy. I smell trouble ahead, though. They will probably talk and fidget with each other.

I'm just so glad to get those stretcher going!

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Accentuate the Positive

One of my worst traits is my pessimism. I have tried to write this post several times this morning and it keeps coming out negative. Let me try to spin this in a more positive light.

I am losing interest in my knitting. Is this a permenant condition or just a slump? I am not going to worry about it. So what if I don't like the sock I'm making? It can sit a while until I feel like picking it up.

In the mean time I can do the thing I really want to do: Paint! I am not going to worry about painter's block or set up unrealistic expectations for myself. I have a painting I want to make and I have the supplies. The stretcher isn't ready, but I should be able to finish it and stretch a canvas next week, after #1 starts 1st grade. I may get a little painting time in as well. I start work the following week, but I'll have Tuesdays and Thurdays to paint and draw. I'm not going to defeat myself by saying I also have cleaning, shopping, grading, and prep work to do on those days as well....drifting into pessimism, must steer clear!

If I say it here, then I have to do it.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Pink Cable Socks

Here's what I've been working on. I used Opal solid in "Orchid", and #2 US dpn's. The pattern is from an old Bear Brand Socks pattern book. Here they are blocked:

Here's how they look from the front:

And here's a side view:

I'm really happy how they turned out. I hope my sister in-law likes them. I've started another pair using the same yarn in a blue color for my other sister in-law. I'm so glad to get these Christmas presents done before the stress of the season sets in.