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Many moons (many, many, many……many, many moons) ago when I was nearing the end of my second decade, I worked as a receptionist for a talent manager who managed the likes of Pete Seeger, Arlo Guthrie, Mary Travers (of Peter, Paul and…) and other artists. I knew of Pete Seeger from the folk singing we did (it was that time in history, you see), and was in awe of his gentleness, his convictions-lived-outloud, and his intelligence. I still have a lot of his music and vinyl from those years. He is 88 now and still doing what he does so well… communicating through the power of music, advocating ecological responsibility, human fairness and awareness.

More and more mounds of snow keep falling. This is the wintryest winter I have had in a very long time. Each fresh coat of snow reminds me of a song he wrote called Snow, Snow:

Snow, snow, falling down;
Covering up my dirty old town.

Covers the garbage dump, covers the holes,
Covers the rich homes, and the poor souls,
Covers the station, covers the tracks,
Covers the footsteps of those who’ll not be back.

Covers the mailbox, the farm and the plow.
Even barbed wire seems — beautiful now.
Covers the station, covers the tracks.
Covers the footsteps of those who’ll not be back.

The haunting melody plays through my mind as I watch the snow drift down, putting a fresh coat of “clean” on the scenery. Dirty snow is depressing. Fresh snow is beautiful. It sparkles like diamond dust in the sunlight, and softens the stark landscape. Snow doesn’t discriminate between fancy streetlights and utilitarian ones. It frustrates the struggling commuters, and clogs back roads alike. The best you can do is admire it from INSIDE, preferably a warm “inside” with a book close to hand and an assortment of soft knitting to keep you occupied as you wait for spring to melt it all away.

We (the royal “we” — DH was driving) drove home last night in a swirling whiteness. We slowed to doing just barely the speed limit, accommodating the travel conditions. By this morning’s commute the windshield reservoirs were empty. It was another kind of “whiteout” condition created by not being able to see through the windshield because road spray destroyed visibility.

Unfortunately, I still have to go into an office, even if DH does not. Until I receive permission to remove the boot for driving, DH is still playing chauffeur.

I’ll be humming Pete Seeger’s song this weekend as well. Another snowfall is scheduled to freshen up the landscape with a new 4-6″ layer of white fluffy.

I have lots of soft yarn and new books at hand, fresh music and music remembered to entertain me. The new snow won’t arrive until I am back home from work Friday evening. It’ll be a good weekend. Maybe I’ll even (finally!) create a snow something over the the weekend…

Grace Potter & the Nocturnals

I haven’t been to a concert like that since the Fillmore East closed. It was reminescent of the earlier Earth Day concerts in Central Park (ah, my flower child bohemian youth!). The audience ages ranged from high schoolers to octogenarians (or better) with no one group outnumbering any other. Everyone was totally into the sound and the energy and the contact high of being inside the music.

Literally inside the music. I could feel the vibrations thump through my chest and that is a seriously weird feeling. The beat pulsed up through the soles of your shoes, vibrating rhythmically inside your bones. Magnificent sense-surround sound! They were loud enough, in fact, for an outdoor arena. The Music Hall in Portsmouth is practically an intimate theatre with nary a bad seat in the house, sound-wise. Frankly, if they didn’t sound so damn good, the sound level would have been uncomfortable, but somehow it wasn’t. It wasn’t all loud. It was a lot of crisp sound and clear-as-a-bell vocals. Just a lot of it.

Crowds of bobbing bodies moved down the aisles to surround the stage, reaching to be as close to the musicians as possible. On the stage were several owl figurines (the Nocturnals–get it?), a gnome ala Travelocity, and an Animal (of Muppet drum fame) muppet nestled at the base of the full drum set.

Next to us one row up was a man shouting conversational gambits to his date in obvious attempts to impress her. What he did accomplish was pissing off the people around him (me!). We were civilized. We occasionally glared but otherwise ignored him. He eventually shut up. Or moved. I forget which.

The opener band played for about 45 minutes. After a 30-minute intermission Grace Potter and her band took the stage for a full two hours, rocking the house down. This was the last night of their tour and they were pulling out all the stops.

One amazing set near the end had all four band members playing the drums together in an incredible drum riff set. I wondered how many bruises they had during rehearsals before they got it down. Mostly I was just amazed and delighted in results of their efforts.

Sunday morning I discovered just how not-young I was/am. My knees were in worse shape than my broken foot…hot and swollen from bopping and swaying to the beat half the night. Oh, but it was SO worth it!

Today is Monday. I lined up a slew of errands for after work for DH to chauffeur me around to. I made it through three-quarters of the list before deciding I could put the last two stops off for another night.

I’d do that concert again in a heartbeat!

snow-covered tree face and on…

and on…

and on…

A winter such as this has been really makes it hard to believe in the global-warming threats out there. PBS has shown us that the difference of only 2 degrees changes the climate enough so that tree eating bugs swarm two weeks before their natural predators wake up, devastating whole forests in a single season.

view from the front porch

Granted, a couple extra degrees warmer wouldn’t have saved us much in this snowfall except to make the snowflakes bigger and for some bizarre reason, heavier. It’s a physics thing. I never got the hang of that, even with the wonderful help of MacGyver reruns.

All money allocated to snow removal was used up before the end of December. The plow people are probably going to be paid in Monopoly money.

Duncan pops up

Duncan and Dixie are having a ball with it. They flounce and bounce through the snow and come in to show off their snow puff-ball covered legs and snouts scattering clumps of snow thither and yon inside and then bounce back out again. (“Are you watching me? Can you see me? How about now? Are you watching me now?)

DH went out and joined the gladiator sport known as “Suburban Snow Blower Chorus” where anyone who has a snow blower is called outside to see who can move the most snow, make the highest arc, the highest wall, the most chiseled path, and special points for “accidentally” spraying the snow plow that just pushed your snow back in on you, sealing your driveway yet again. (Considering they are probably going to be paid in Monopoly money, this is probably their idea of payback.)

I am glad the roads are being plowed however the drivers are being paid because tonight is a long-anticipated Grace Potter & the Nocturnals concert at the Music Hall in Portsmouth, NH. I love her bluesy, funky vocals and lyrics. They were featured in Vermont magazine last spring as native Vermont talent on the rise. Her riffs on “Nothing but the water” are a joy to wallow in. Her CD of the same name came with both a CD and DVD. The CD is designed to hook into internet extras. That kind of interactivity is disabled by default on most Windows PCs. In deactivating that feature, they also make it impossible for my laptop to auto run the music CD so I have to open iTunes or Windows Media Player first, and then select the album. This is a case of high tech overboard IMHO…or my 4-year-old laptop is too old for that kinda thing.

Mobility is something I take for granted. Planes, trains, and automobiles are everywhere. And walking, that old standby, is also something I take so much for granted. Just get up and GO. Estimating distance not by speed, but by length of time it takes to get there, is commonplace.

Except when it is not.

It takes me longer to get anywhere with my foot in this blasted air cast. I do not stride purposefully down the halls, I lurch and hobble in an uneven gait, never truly picking up speed. It is not graceful. It is not feminine. It is tiring and blasted inconvenient.

My normal routine involves a great deal of running around by car…to and from work, errands to the post office, the food store, choir, chorus, dry cleaners, bank… Things I would run off and do at the drop of a hat I now need to think about, plan around, and get a ride for.

And that is difficult for me. Asking for help. Inconveniencing someone else. Being dependent is horrid. I lack the patience, the grace, the humble attitude. I much prefer to be on the giving end than the receiving end of favors. Ye gads, when I finally really AM old, I’ll be in for a serious culture shock of adjustment!

Today’s x-ray showed healing but not enough to remove the air cast to drive myself to and from work. The break is too serious and the healing too new and fragile, the doctor said. The healing bone fracture looks lumpy. The doctor insisted that the bones themselves are in alignment so the end result will be perfectly fine. I am supposed to be icing it still (?). I go back in nine days for a repeat x-ray.

I am still bumping over the wastepaper basket I rest my leg on at work. I haven’t tripped on or stepped on the puppies…yet. There were a few close calls, though.

Non sequitor #1:
There is a total lunar eclipse tonight. I was watching it through the moonroof as we drove home from dinner with the kids and grandkids.

Non sequitor #2:
Men reach down to adjust their crotch.
I reach in to adjust my cross-eyed boobs.

Not yarn See the jewel-bright colors? Like a magpie drawn to the sparkly stuff, I purchased a bag of SIX balls with visions of a lacy something for summer…a wrap, a shawl, the Coachella racer-back shell top…

I want you to know that I have tried no less than THREE projects with this yarn. I frogged them all.

It felt smooth enough when touched while still on the ball, but actually knitting with it revealed that the edges of the ribbon are scratchy, it tends to torque rapidly, and it will not hold a stitch shape, making casting on a very slow bear.

The first pattern to go frog was the Coachella. Next up was a ruana-style wrap. That one never got through row two of 132 stitches. Still determined, I cast on a shorter row only to have it slip off the needles near the end of row three.

All right, I admit neither of these patterns called for this fiber-string. But they were not rocket science or fitted patterns. I should have been able to use whatever the blazes I felt like using!

This is ridiculous. I will NOT be defeated by string, I tell you! Last up…locate a large crochet hook and do a simple crochet banner/scarf-style.

head heat by vogue casual glam DD Susan was kind enough to share pix of recently-completed items to prove I have actually completed projects. I bought one of those spool-knitter-on-steroids things and used it to make a tubular scarf. The model wears it well and evokes the varied moods of it.

Selbuvotter mitten Selbuvotter mittenI was inordinately pleased with how these mittens came out. My first ever attempt at two-color mittens used a pattern from Selbuvotter. I swear, the Yarn Harlot can knit just about anything and convince me that I, too, can create such fabulousness. I mixed up version #3 with the wrist of #14, learning how to do a rolled hem in the process. Seriously fun finishing technique. Well, I started with it, but you know what I mean!

Insideout Socks Insideout SoxThis last set totally crack me up. The pattern is from Sensational Knitted Socks. You pick your sock pattern from a series of pattern repeats which go from super-easy to seriously are-you-crazy??. These were were pretty much towards the beginning of that pile. DD is modeling them INSIDE OUT. I am so impressed and proud she feels my knitting is clean enough to do that. Think of all the ends I wove in. Is she not the best, most wonderful daughter, ever??

I have another pair recently finished but in the wash (I checked. No, you do not want to see it dirty), and a new pair of the popular monkey socks OTN.

See? I have *so* been knitting!

I know what Love is

Love is roses on the table.

Love is making pizza for coworkers for lunch…and there’s nothing left of three large pies to bring home.

Love is getting chauffeured around to and from work, doctor appointments, and the outpatient clinic (where I left one shoe so we had to make a return trip for it) in the foulest, mostly beastly pouring rain and slushy ice by a DH still suffering/recovering from a gout episode. And choir rehearsal, too.

Love is a gift for no reason at all.

Heart Wings

Love is visiting mom, raiding her fiber stash, and enjoying time together.

visiting mother

Love is the toothless triumphant grin of an infant looking smack at you.

Aidan Grins

Yes, I know what love is, and I am truly blessed.

It does NOT go with anything in my wardrobe.

It looks like a cross between the storm troopers foot gear and a ski boot.

It beats surgery.

I cannot drive while wearing this thing. I am supposed to wear it at all times unless I am sleeping, in the shower, or have my foot elevated and not in actual use. I have to go back and have my foot re-x-rayed next week to ensure that the healing alignment is acceptable. If not, my foot will have to go under…. the knife!

DH agreed to be my chauffeur for work…provided I managed to work at home more.

I seriously need to report on my knitting next time, including the fiber that looks loverly but has failed three attempts to use it.

As the Northeast continues its love/hate relationship with winter and everything icy-cold and snowy, DH and I jetted to Florida (la-de-dah!) for a quick pick-me-up of sun (YES!) and a visit with my mother. She moved into a new house last summer and I hadn’t seen it yet.

It is very nice, and much more spacious than her last place with lots more cupboards and storage space, but that wasn’t the most memorable part of our trip.

I had been threatening to raid her ever-growing fiber stash for ages. She finally said “okay” so I had to quickly dive before she changed her mind. At the end of the fiber review, I prepared and mailed home three boxes of fabric and yarns. There was a mite more crammed into our luggage, as well. Every piece I culled from her bins has a plan and a pattern already in mind. I should have stashed the yarn in the luggage. Yarn is lighter.

Such yarns! How my mother manages to find all these “going out of business” deals just amazes me! Knowing that I am currently in a yarn/knitting phase (I cycle through my various hobby addictions) she offered to assess the value of the most recent “going-out-of-business” opportunity. I gave her a budget. She exceeded it. She found some NICE yarns for socks. She also decided to try felting at some point and stocked up on those supplies as well.

Of course, this is how she has managed to amass such an extensive mountain of fiber (mostly fabrics). She accumulates because it is a “good deal” or because she just KNOWS she has (or will have) a use for it…some of the bolts I scarfed have been with her through several moves because she hasn’t had the time or the space or the something-or-other to work on the envisioned project.

While all of this went on, the sun shone. The skies were a clear blue for the majority of the weekend. I went outside sans coat, sans gloves, scarf, hat, sweatshirt, galoshes, or even a sweater! THIS is why I come to Florida in February. It restoreth my soul. My face beams back up at the sun in the sky. My eyes closed in pure sensual pleasure of sun on bare skin, gentle breezes keeping the warmth to lady-like levels (no sweating like a racehorse…a mere glisten at most).

And still, the most long-lasting memory of the weekend was yet to come.

Such delight made me cocky. Such abandon made me take the trash out to the curb Saturday after dark. The temperature was still moderately warm. Squeezing between mother’s KIA minivan and the low concrete edge of her front patio, I dropped the back of my head to gaze upwards, searching for moonlight and stars…and promptly lost my balance.*

This is not new. Gravity and I have a connection, loose though it is. Gravity wins when I forget that.

toe break toe closer

And that, dear readers, is the most long-lasting of the memories of my recent frolicking in Florida.

As DH’s swollen foot (gout, poor dear) is steadily recovering after being plied with medications that over time become toxic, my foot ballooned up to gargantuan proportions. I could hobble. I could *not* put on shoes. Shoes are required at airports, if only to make you take them off and put them on again for the TSA. Hmmmm. Have you ever noticed how close “screen” sounds like “scream”? Try taking off full-laced shoes designed for a two-pound foot, and then putting them on again on the five-pound foot you managed to get it into after staying off it for most of two days, and icing it beforehand.

Actually, please don’t. I am not that mean.

DH commented to my mother that wine may have been a factor in the tumble. Heartless beast. I cannot lie. There was wine. But everyone knows I do not need any intoxication to be a klutz. It’s natural.

Sorta like gravity.

*The details:
I broke the 5th metatarsal. It is a common enough sports injury for SPORTS people. (Me? HA!) And dancers, Lauris says. Tomorrow I see an orthopedic surgeon to see if anything can be done about or with it. The most common is to wear a “boot” which is a type of air-cast for the next 6 weeks or so. Since it is a radial break, there is a slight possibility of surgery to insert a screw or pin to hold it together and in place while the bone heals. I have osteopenia, so this might be considered a stronger option. Because it happened Saturday evening, and I didn’t get around to the x-ray until after we got home, it was Tuesday (today) before I knew for sure. The aforementioned lace-up boot was probably the best thing I could have done for it, said the doctor, as he wrote up the referral to the orthopedic surgeon.


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