Monthly Archives: December 2010

Peace in our time

I am wishing and hoping for peace on earth, as always.

 

 

Since that may not happen quite yet, I am also wishing you and yours peace and joy in your corner of the earth.

Mississippi Eye Candy Friday

Two short weeks ago, when I drove up to the Twin Cities for my uncle’s memorial service, I had to pull over just before the road veered away from the river, and take a picture.  The Mississippi was just starting to ice up a little, and the very late fall/early winter colors were gorgeous in the late afternoon sun.

early December Mississippi

Mississippi early winter panorama

That was two weeks ago. That was also forty-plus degrees F, three snow storms, and 24 plus inches of snow ago.

I’m thinking it looks rather different now.

The Blink of an Eye

Saturday Sky

Sunday Sky

(If you’ve spent any time in a Midwestern winter, you know that particular look to a winter sky means it’s brisk.  Not to say, frigid.)

And the annual Nutcracker Ballet is done, just like that, in the blink of an eye.

That Saturday Sky meant logistical problems for Saturday’s Nutcracker audience.  In my family, my aunt, my cousin and her family, and my father-in-law all had to (separately) cancel.  Darn!  Well, there’s always the DVD that will be made, I guess.

I could not take pictures during the performance, of course, but here are some dancer photos from Saturday, when we saw the ballet:

My teenage RockStar is on the right as a Reed Pipe (aka Flute Dance) dancer, here with one of her friends who danced in the Chinese variation.  She was also in Waltz of the Flowers, here posing for a picture with a fellow flower:

Flower & Reed Pipe 2

And, as you know from a prior post, she was a Snowflake. The Snowflakes and their queen were on the front page of the local paper!

The Gothlet took her bows as a Rat: here at rehearsal, with an askew ear (later fixed)

and below talking to her adoring public (i.e. old friends) after the show.

And as a girl in the party scene before the Battle, she needed ringlets.  Lots and lots of ringlets.

Beauty is pain

(actually, the foam rollers aren’t too bad, mostly a pain in the BUTT to put in and take out in a ringletty fashion)

but the results were grand, and very boingy!

Despite being still convalescent, the Gothlet pulled through and performed very well.  She was exhausted afterwards, though.

It was a quiet day yesterday, post-Nutcracker.

Well, other than shoveling out from the blizzard (no hyperbole, it really was an official blizzard by Saturday evening)…

Not that I didn’t do my share — I shoveled those steps twice the day before, and a good part of them the last time also — but may I say that child labor does rock big time.

Sunset Shoes Eye Candy (Saturday)

One more photo from my sunset walk along the marsh.

Today’s the final Nutcracker ballet performance for the girls. I’ll be helping them with rather different shoes than these today!

Eye-ce Candy Friday (again)

It snowed again since I posted last, and today it got up around the freezing (or melting, depending on your perspective) mark with sun, so some of that snow melted off the dark roofs.  But it was still around freezing, with beautiful results.

(Click to see bigger.)

A lowly weed, now rivaling any crystal chandelier or necklace.

Though you have to get close to see the beauty.

Close enough to get your camera and yourself sprayed with dripping water, and to fall on your rear in backing hastily away from a cold ricochet in the face and subsequently getting tangled up in your coat.

In other news, the sick Rat is almost all better, enough to attend part of the last dress rehearsal and to perform today. I’ll get to see her and her big sister dance tomorrow. Pictures to follow!

Setbacks

My Rat has the stomach flu.

Here, yesterday before the onslaught, with her sister in Reed Pipe costume.

I just had a tooth pulled today for a failed root canal, and the timing could have been better for that.  (Could have been worse, too, though.)

And I am not going to have enough yarn for the edging of my Aestlight shawl as written.  One repeat took 0.8 grams.  I have 14.8 grams of yarn left.  There are 30 repeats needed. Nope….

Though I do like Astrid the dyer’s idea of ordering more of this absolutely gorgeous yarn, I also want to get this done, AND I confess that the edging (which is more complex than the rest of the shawl, being ‘knitted lace’ worked on both the right and the wrong side) took me longer to do even one repeat than I would like, and required a surprising amount of concentration comparatively — thus I will probably first try changing the edging to a smaller and easier edging.

I have to come up with one first, though.   Which will take me a bit of time that I currently don’t have, between Nutcracker, work, recovery, and all!  So in the meantime, I’ve picked back up a project that was dormant, but that I should be able to finish by Christmas:

A Chevron Scarf (Ravelry link to pattern) in eye-popping colors requested by the RockStar.  I don’t have a decent picture yet, but soon, I hope.

Speaking of Nutcracker, thankfully the Rat is feeling better tonight and should be able to make final dress rehearsal tomorrow, as well as play percussion in her band concert.   Whew.  Now to hope and pray that no one else gets the flu….

Aestlight on the Edge

My Aestlight shawl is all done except the edging!

It sounds as though it’s almost done, then, doesn’t it?  Except that a knitted-on edging takes a surprising amount of time.

Also, more yarn than you’d think.  So now begins the exciting time of the shawl:

Will I have enough yarn??

I have weighed the yarn remaining before I started the first repeat of the edging, and I will do so again after the repeat is done.  The small scale I have is good to within 0.1 g, so works well for situations like this.  I should be able to estimate soon whether my yarn will hold out.

If worse comes to worst, I have the same yarn base dyed by Astrid in a deeper color that I could use as a contrasting rather than matching edging, I suppose.  It should be enough, by all rights, but we will see!

By the way, I am agreeing with Kat that this blue is unquestionably Caribbean.  Or at least tropical.  (Hey, Kat, here’s your white sand beach!  Right?!) Despite the fact that I started it at dawn by ‘the lake’, no Northern lake was ever this shade of turquoise.  I think I need a new name for the shawl!

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Speaking of tropical, as I took these photographs on the new-fallen snow, I heard honking and looked up to see these somewhat belated travelers:

I don’t know why they waited so long, but at least they were heading south.

Give my regards to those turquoise waters, geese!

First Snow

Yes, we had those flurries before….but yesterday, Saturday morning, I awoke to the first real snow of the season.

The Saturday sky started out cloudy, as it continued to snow in the morning, and then gradually cleared up as we dug out.

I had snow on my lap inside the house, too.

No, no roof emergency, nor open windows.

This snow.

My older daughter, The RockStar, is in the corps de ballet in the Snow scene in the Nutcracker ballet this year.  (Yes, ’tis Nutcracker time again.  The performance is next weekend.) She volunteered me  — when I was not there — to sew her Snow tutu.  I needed to hem the bodice and sew it to the skirt, then fit the bodice to her and sew alternating hooks and eyes.  I haven’t really sewn since middle school, and my teenager doesn’t sew at all, more than sewing ribbons and elastics on her ballet shoes.

Mom?  I’m  sorry about that Madrigal singers dress with the train that I volunteered you to hem in high school.

Really sorry.

Late Fall Eye Candy Sunset

I promised you the spectacular sight that met my eyes when I turned around, on my walk through the marsh Sunday night.  As I faced east to the bluffs, there were just pink clouds floating.  But when I looked back over my left shoulder to the west, where the sun was already down (and I had already seen and photographed this sky,

and thought the sunset show was about over):

The sky suddenly lit up.

And by the moment, started to blaze with more and more intensity.

About a quarter mile north of this spot is the La Crosse River. (In between are some singularly unphotogenic power lines and poles.)  I ran.

And was rewarded.

(Click to embiggen if you wish.)

My fingers were going numb from the icy wind (and no gloves), but I felt as though I were in the heart of a fire.

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and then it was gone.

Flurries

Flurries on my blog, courtesy of WordPress (I love it when they do this!).

And flurries outside.  (Hmm.  I may not love those so much.  Still, it IS December now, so I need to suck it up, I guess.)

The rain and open water of a few days ago are a memory, courtesy of a 20 degree F drop in temperature.  Winter coats are retrieved from storage, as are all the accoutrements.  (Though the RockStar — teen daughter — and the Gothlet are strenuously resisting frostbite-inducing reality, in the way of adolescents.  What is up with that?  It’s almost universal at their age, though.)

I went outside to photograph a shawl which actually didn’t make it into the Shawl-apalooza blog post (so that should have been SIX shawls and two socks! — silly me).  I had put this aside temporarily for other projects that needed to be finished, and now am happily working on it again, so needed to document progress: for my project page on Ravelry and for you!

This is the Aestlight Shawl designed by Gudrun Johnston, a Shetland-style garter stitch shawl.  I am knitting it from gorgeous Damselfly YarnsSterling Sheep yarn (a blend of superwash merino, silk, nylon and silver).  The colorway is called ‘Prospero’s Sea’, which is so very apt.   After seeing the yarn sparkle in the summer sun, back in warmer times when I began the shawl (and being a long long way from Prospero’s or any other sea), I dubbed my version of the shawl “Dawn at the Lake”.

And in taking the first two photos above, I found little bits of sparkles, besides those silver sparkles in the shawl; even though the sun is hiding at the moment.

It’s very pretty, fluffy and snowflake-y snow.  Though cold.

The hackberry above and mystery plant below are remembering warmer days of yore, I think.

Maybe it’s just my memory, or maybe it’s that winter is so long here, but it seems to me that all the deaths in my family happen in the winter.

Today, very shortly, I leave for a quick back and forth trip to the Twin Cities for my uncle’s funeral.

Our lives are as ephemeral as snowflakes, aren’t they? in the bigger picture.

Do you remember the Little Prince learning the word ‘ephemeral’?  Right now, that scene makes me pretty misty.  (Not that “The Little Prince” doesn’t do that all by itself.)  A quote from the author of “Le Petit Prince”,  Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, therefore seems especially appropriate:

He who has gone, so we but cherish his memory, abides with us, more potent, nay, more present than the living man.