Thursday, June 29, 2006


That's what Lovely Laconia is and here is the picture that proves it. The hitching post is brand new. Must be the gas prices (2.89 regular, 2.98 premium) - no word on how many miles the horse gets to the bale. In the background is the Laconia General Store and the 4-way stop sign.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006


Little Murgatroyd got her first haircut last week; beautiful tawny wool with a great crimp. She was such an adorable fuzzball that I hated to clip her but it was hot and she was very fuzzballish. And because of her fuzzballishness, I was Shocked! Shocked, I say! at the extent of her mother's appetite. She's missing the toes and a bit more on her left front leg but she's missing her ENTIRE RIGHT PAW and then some! Her two front appendages sort of splay to the sides, especially on a smooth surface. The little baby looks rather like a seal, front part on the ground, butt sticking up, scoonching along but also with her front legs paddling back and forth ineffectually. Or maybe a water skimmer is a better description. Definitely not bunny-like. On grass or carpet, she still looks odd but hops all over the place - awkwardly and not real fast - but she is motivating over the hill. What is so endearing about all this is the fact that she has no clue. She is so unbelievably sweet natured and curious about everything and scared by nothing.

Last night, I decided that Murgatroyd will be a House Bunny from here on out. I've even been thinking about making her a little peg leg, if only to even her out since one leg is an inch shorter than the other. I obviously have too much time on my hands.

I found this link today for Deutchland Cats Uber Alles. Be warned that there are a lot of pictures and will take a while to load.

Monday, June 26, 2006


Today's blog is brought to you by the Laconia General Store in beautiful downtown Laconia. Russell Grubb says that if you have a hankering for a tasty summer treat then come on over to the snack bar. This week's special is Mayonnaise on Wonderbread and Pork &Bean Milk Shakes. Mmm, Mmm, Good!

Fuzzarelly had a visitor!

It was last weekend and it was Randy Bob. How can I describe Randy? When I met him, he was a newly divorced, bankrupt architect that rode a vintage Harley. He ended up selling the Harley and pretty much everything else that he owned and thus became a free spirit that lived in the old concession stand at the ball diamond behind the old school. He kept that place neater than a pin. Now, several years later, he's divorced again but with two little girls to show for his effort and a job as a truck driver. He even lives in a house.

Randy Bob had spent the evening tossing back a few cold beverages with our friend and neighbor, T, and as he was leaving he saw me on the porch knitting or some such. After a few pleasantries, he up and asked if I would leave Sweetie and run away with him.
"Are you sure?"
"Yes I'm sure. It ain't gonna happen."
"Well, I thought I'd ask."
And he shook my hand and drove home.

I saw him a couple of days ago and he asked me, "Did I ask you to marry me last week?"
"No, you asked me if I'd leave Sweetie and run away with you."
"Oh. (pause) I'm so sorry."
"Well, it never hurts to ask, now does it? Sweetie thought it was funny."
"You told him?? I mean, I'll take him on in a fist-fight but I don't want him hunting me down. He's not gonna shoot me, is he? "
"Most likely not."

Saturday, June 24, 2006

"It takes only one drink to get me drunk. The trouble is, I can't remember if it's the thirteenth or the fourteenth."
  - George Burns

Don't worry - I am still sailing on Loch Nondrinkyness!

The fiesta yarn turned out SO COOL! I plyed it with a fine spun yellow/gold angora single which was a stroke of genius, if I do say so myself. Here, look for yourself.

I have been dyeing up a storm. During the Great Studio Clean Up, I emptied two large plastic bins and I promptly filled one with all my angora seconds, i.e., wool less than two and a half inches long, matts, leg and belly wool, and dirty bits. When life gives you a plastic bin full of seconds, make first quality spinning fiber! I mean, that's what the fiesta yarn is. Why don't I use my prime stuff? I don't have any left, that's why. Traded all I had plus the next shearing to Jean for bunny cages . Won't have any prime for my own use until fall. I have always said, though, give me limitations and I'll do my best work.

I found out that there is such a thing as doggie dementia. (Thanks, Nancy.) There are four indications and Bonnie has every one. Change of character, inappropriate pooping, disorientation, and changed sleep habits. Sigh. There is no cure but I did get her some new food for senior dogs which is full of all the things she needs. Probably too little, too late.

I can't help but think what is in store for her. And us. She is already not the girl of six months ago. She is so affection hungry now, always wanting her muzzle and ears rubbed. Nuthin' says lovin' like a good muzzle rubbin'. Bonnie was always above that sort of behavior, being more of the "Don't touch me" sort. This has all happened so quickly and I have to wonder if the rest of the journey will go as fast.

Let me leave you with this thought: Approximately 1/10 of your life is spent in February. Make it count!

And also, here is a shot of Percival helping me spin.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Watermelon Grass

In spite of the 9000 degree heat, I mowed the lawn today. In spite of my allergies, I love the smell of cut grass (and in our case, also cut weeds.) It reminds me of the taste of watermelon rind. You know, when you are so intent on getting every last bit of red juicy and you get a bit of green juicy, too.

Made progress on the Studio of Shame and found the sewing machine! Hosannah! On which I hemmed a polar fleece blankie the Sweetie picked up over the winter. Sure, honey, I'll get that hemmed right away. I wonder if he's forgotten about it? I removed two bags of garbage and have several bags for Goodwill and vacuumed a year's worth of dog hair and dust. Still quite the mess, though.

AND I spun a Louet bobbin's worth of yarn. When I was selling my angora blends on eBay, I saved the leavings from the drumcarder. I found lots of little bags of dyed angora in a dozen or more colors and spun them in random order. I plan to ply it with black, maybe light blue sewing thread. Or yellow/gold. Festive!

Bunnies are all holding up in the heat so far. The babies are weaned and in their own cage now - I think Kelly Bob is glad to be shed of them.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006


From “Random Thoughts on the Passing Scene” by Thomas Sowell:
  “The beauty of doing nothing is that you can do it perfectly. Only, when you do something, is it almost impossible to do it without mistakes. Therefore people who are contributing nothing to society except their constant criticisms, can feel both intellectually and morally superior.” Discuss…

A hot day here in the Ohio Valley! Time for a road trip! Lynne and I attended the Barefoot Spinners meeting near Stamping Ground, Kentucky. The only picture I took was of the notorious Maryland Lambs, shown here with Kathy. One is a Harlequin, the other is a Finn and they are named Ellie May and Jethro.

I am tired. Was up until midnight working on Fuzzarelly's Fibers. I'm going to a little fiber gig on July 15 and need to get some product together.

And lastly, in order to get my ass in gear, I'm posting a picture of the Studio of Shame. My bricks and mortar store closed almost one year ago and IT IS TIME to get it behind me. I have made some progress but now I really believe that I have enough emotional distance to either give away, sell or throw away the detritus. Stay tuned for progress reports.

Monday, June 19, 2006


Back at the dye pot. Today, it is more Silky Al Gora and the colors are cherry red and spring violet. It will be another berry color, but a different kind of berry.

Finally finished drum carding the last Silky Al Gora last night and spun a bit of it this morning. 2800 yards per pound for a two ply, according to Mr. McMorran. This stuff just begs me to spin it fine and the silk makes it easy to do. I'm beginning to get a hankering to spin enough to make another shawl. Crazy. That's me. What does one person need with three shawls? I don't even have the second one finished yet! (But I have been working on it. No pictures - too boring - but it is up to 35".) You know how it is - you're in a comfortable groove with the current project which allows your imagination to wander ahead. I'm glad that I'm an excellent project finisher. I will not start #3 until #2 is done.

Saw the movie Prairie Home Companion over the weekend. It's a fictionalized account of the radio show - in an alternate universe. I enjoyed the singing and storytelling and the inside joke concerning penguins. The cinema was in the newly built and already sprawling suburbs of New Albany. A landscape of concrete, pavement and strip malls but no sidewalks or trees. Ugh. It was a relief to come home to the country where the temperature was a good 10 degrees lower.

I do want to show you a photo of our dog Bonnie. We got her from the Atlanta Animal Shelter 5 months after we got married. She was 5 months old so it's easy to remember her age - almost thirteen. She's a blend of chow and probably Australian cattle dog and she's always been a smart, energetic and over all great house dog.

Since winter, she's lost much of her eyesight and hearing. She's gotten weak in her hindquarters. Until recently, she would rather chew off her leg than pee or poop in the house. Now, when the urge to poop comes upon her, she can't control it and just goes. She seems demented, too. She'll start slowly, painfully, pacing at 3 am and keep at it for two or three hours. She'll go into the back room and just bark. (I used to be able to distinguish her various barks. The "Bug" bark, the "I want to Play" bark, the "Someone's at the Door" bark. No more.)

This downward spiral has been gradual but quick and I worry about her. Sweetie and I are both agreed to take care of her no matter what. She's our baby, our girl, our firstborn - so to speak. She's been such a good dog to us.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Fuzzarelly's Amazing World of Non-Drinkyness

It IS amazing how much a person (me) can get done when one is not knocking back 8 or 12 Coors Light every day. Also, when one isn't constantly pouring depressives into the bloodstream, one's depression gets better. Hello. I am Einstein. When I started drinking again it was like the times I started smoking again - I knew that I was going to quit with the only question being when. I quit smoking for the last time in 1996 and maybe now I have quit drinking for the final time. I satisfied my curiosity and also got to enjoy ice cold beer on a hot, sweaty summer day once more.

Yesterday, I drumcarded several batts of lovely brown alpaca. I knit on the pink mohair shawl and it now measures 33" square. I also got out the pot and dyed 4 ounces of white angora, 4 ounces of white alpaca and an ounce of tussah silk. Used burgundy and navy blue to get a yummy berry color. It's almost dry this morning and I hope to get it blended later today.

Spun a sample of the brown angora and achieved a single that measures about 2400 yards per pound. The alpaca is really easy to spin. I can barely wait to spin the silky Al Gora (har har) blend.

Kelly Bob and babies are thriving - touch wood. They grow so fast! At three weeks, they are eating solid food and drinking from the water bottle. Here's a shot of little Hopalong. If you look closely, you can see fur growing on his slightly deformed right front leg. He keeps up with his siblings, running around and playing.

Murgatroyd had a play day in the front yard yesterday. With a girl around, Percival stays close. Sometimes he will run back to the barn to hang out and mark his territory. (As far as he is concerned, everything is his territory.) He let's me pick him up and take him back to his cage - no problem.

Heizen, on the other hand, has had a taste of freedom and he loves it! Screw that cage, he says. He stays in the yard but he runs away when I try to gather him up, the little shit. I'm going to have to get a dip net to capture him. Here he is relaxing around 9 o'clock last night.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006


I came up with an environmentally friendly blend of alpaca and angora. I call it AL GORA.

Har har.

Monday, June 12, 2006


The only good thing about hot weather is eating ice cream right out of the carton. creeeeaaammmm.

In my opinion, the best part of summer is over with by the 4th of July. After that, it's all about hibernating in a dark room with the air conditioning on high. Sweetie, on the other hand, just recently took off his arctic long johns (like last week) but is still sleeping under either the sheepskin or the polar fleece quilt with the sheep fleece batting. By the beginning of July he's just getting thawed out.

However, it wasn't hot today. It was perfect weather - high of 75, partly cloudy with a northerly breeze. But I'm still eating ice cream right out of the carton. And not drinking beer.

Sunday, June 11, 2006


Today's blog is sponsored by those good vinyl purveyors at Blue Moon Records who bring you "ALPACA YO BAGS AND KICK YOU OUT THE HOUSE" as recorded by the Lapin Chanteuse, Fuzzarelly. Available on 78 or 33 rpm wherever fine music is sold.

Had a busy day! Lynne came by to visit me and Murgatroyd, who has settled in with her bun mates, and to pick up my Fanny. The LeClerc loom, that is. Then went to visit Kristen at Flatwoods Alpaca Farm. I'm going to try to hand process some alpaca fleece for her. What we're going for is free range, organic, minimally processed fiber. Crank crank crank goes the carder...

Here's a shot of just a few of her gentle, odd looking creatures.

Then I splurged and went to Goodwill for some new clothes. Found 4 cotton, rayon or linen dresses for $17. One was a real find - a vintage hippy dress in perfect condition! It's a One Size Fits All (HA HA) made in Bangladesh from what I have always called Indian Bedspread Cotton. Note those lovely 70s earth tones! I am totally delighted. I mean, this thing is practically an antique! Just like me! I would have killed for one of these back in the day.

The other notable one is a beautiful pink linen/cotton sheath. Just wait until Laconia sees me walking the dogs or bunny wrangling wearing one of these. Summer, here I come!

Oh, my eBay vinyl came yesterday - School's Out by Alice Cooper. I gave away all my Alice Cooper albums to Chipmunk Alice back in 1974. Why? I don't know except maybe I thought I was too cool for him anymore. The music has held up remarkably well.

Saturday, June 10, 2006



Har har! (I crack me up.)

Sweetie has had a couple of days off - meaning that I have had no access to the computer. (Note to self: Add to the honeydew list and get him out of the house next time.)

Went to the Friendship Spinners meeting today and had a great time! Lots and lots of people there and exceedingly excellent food, and I would love to show you pictures of it all but someone forgot the camera. I have issues with cameras. My first husband, the Pyg, was a professional photographer, (among other things to which I may refer from time to time,) which means that he spent a lot of money buying film, taking pictures, developing pictures, renting equipment, renting a studio and so on and sometimes he got paid in return. Anyway, he had a way of intimidating the crap out of me whenever I would try to take a photo on my own. (He also made fun of my singing and tap dancing efforts.)(And my poetry.) It was years before I would even use a simple point and shoot camera. Three years ago, Sweetie got a digital, hoping I would "get into it" and take shots of my art. (Yes, I am or was an artist. I'll share on that later.) The thing gathered dust for ages until last year when I began selling fiber on eBay and HAD to use the digital. Turns out that it is not so scary and I am not so bad at it. Still, it isn't second nature to grab for me the camera whenever I go to places of interest.

I have been knitting on the shawl. Here is a shot of it on a string and laid flat with a yardstick for scale. Unblocked it is 30" square - 900 square inches done out of the 2304 needed. You can see an inch or so around the edges where I began the second skein, the one with fuchsia and red. Subtuttle but effective.

I am liking the pattern and have decided to stay with it throughout, only switching to a shale pattern for the last 6" or when I begin the third skein.

Fuzzarelly came out for a romp yesterday and this evening. She and Percival had a rendezvous.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006


All God's children are not beautiful. Most of God's children are, in fact, barely presentable. - Fran Lebowitz

I'm feeling better today. Took a shower, washed my hair and put on clean clothes. I know this must sound routine for most of you, but for a depressive personality, doing these things is sometimes most remarkable. Recycled cans and cardboard and bought groceries - lots of good-for-me food and no beer. I exercised on the elliptical trainer and did some push mowing. (That used to be how I kept my squirrellish figure, before the shop and before Sweetie bought the lawn tractor.) (Before beer.)

So. I've been making steady progress on the pink shawl and with cooler, less humid temperatures, have been able to sit on the porch to knit. I love my porch. I love watching the bunnies play. Sometimes the cats play with the bunnies. Sometimes the dogs play with the cats. It's endlessly fascinating, like an aquarium. Okay, girl, FOCUS - you were writing about the shawl. Yes. Here is a close up along with the pattern and the last bits of the hot fuchsia. Like you can tell anything about it except it is pink. I'm up to about 320 stitches, meaning if it were laid out flat it would measure 27 inches square.

Are you impressed with my skill? My tenacity at keeping to a large project? My clean table?

Here is the wide shot. I ask you, how can two grown people create such clutter? And this is merely the kitchen table. I can assure you that the rest of the house is more of the same. No wonder I'm depressed.

Murgatroyd is doing well. She enjoys running around the yard with Percival. Percy likes it, too, I think. The back story as to why I was so taken with the Toeless Wonder is that one of the new babies, soon after he was born, got a piece of Kelly Bob's wool wrapped around his front leg. By the time I found him, the leg was a swollen, pink, sausage-looking mess. Crap. What to do with the little thing? The book says to cull (read KILL) the kit but if you know anything about me by now, you know that killing it was not an option. I left him alone for a week, dithering, then began massaging antibiotic ointment on it twice daily. Lo and behold! The foot is healing! Looks like one toenail is lost, but the pad of the foot is healthy pink and there is the slightest bit of white peachfuzz growing in. I am loathe to name babies when they are so young, but Hopalong, if he makes it, would be good.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006


Today is June 6, 2006. Some folks are associating the date with 666. Come on people! Enough with the Da Vinci Code, numerology, Revelations crap. IT DOESN'T WORK! IT IS A POINTLESS EXERCISE IN VANITY! Ahem.

Anyway. Today is the 62nd anniversary of D-Day. What an incredible horror that must have been for those poor soldiers. I can not even imagine it.

Today is also my mother's birthday. If she were alive, she would be 74 years old. I can only imagine what she would look like. White hair, maybe dyed blonde but certainly styled, and slim as always. A little frail but still active and dancing and socializing. But in my mind's eye, she will forever be my mom from when I was a teenager. Tall, slim and blonde. Smoking, slightly profane, and funny. Wearing those cat eye glasses with painted on eyebrows and drinking a cold beer of an evening. I miss her so much. Still. Even after 32 years.

She must have been so unhappy, so depressed, so extremely without hope to have taken that overdose of pills chased down with liquor. To have planned it the way she did in order to have the time alone to accomplish the deed. To leave not only me but my seven year old brother and two older brothers without her. For many years I blamed myself. I should have seen some sign - I should have been a better daughter - I should have done something differently. I was in my thirties before I could admit how angry I was with her for leaving us. Me. I needed her. It was also at that time that I was able to view my parents as just plain, regular people, and not some bigger than life, sacred icons - MOMMY and DADDY writ large. The towering presence that SEES ALL and is PERFECT. They were, after all, just people like me, dealing with their own demons and doing the best they could. Still, I wish she hadn't done it. I wish she were here now so that I could call her or visit and hear her voice and laughter. (Wish in one hand and crap in the other - see which one gets fuller, faster.)

I still grieve for her and all of the 'what might have been.' I love you, mommy, but I know you are okay.

I , too, am okay. I turned out pretty well, all things considered. (All of your kids did. You'd be proud.) I sought help when my depression was urging me to follow in your footsteps to end the pain. Your lesson to me was that I didn't want to leave my loved ones to deal with the grief and aftermath of a suicide. Here I am all these years later still crying because I miss you. I couldn't do that to my Sweetie and brothers and friends.

So, not to end on such a downer, let me share a memory of days gone by. My period, the "curse," started when I was 12. It was 1969. Mom took me to - I think it was Bob's IGA in Huntington, to get me a "sanitary belt" and "sanitary napkins." How quaint. Here is a very informative history of tampons and napkins.

Monday, June 05, 2006


Back and almost recovered from the Hoosier Hills Fiber Festival. Firstly, Franklin, Indiana, is a delightful small town. Tidy lawns in front of nice homes. Very close to Indianapolis. The management of the festival was great, the facilities were above average, being in large, clean, cement-floored 4-H buildings. There were maybe 60 vendors in two buildings and outside.

Lynne and I were in the second, un-air-conditioned building. We set up on Friday afternoon and having had practice, it took only two and a half hours. We're getting better! The Quality Inn where we stayed, well, I would grade them a C overall. Not great, not awful. Rather pricey for what it was, what with the generally awful "continental breakfast," a noisy air conditioner, and a smelly refrigerator. The service, however, was just fine. Yes, I filled out the comment card and left it at the front desk.

The weather on Saturday was absolutely perfect! Highs in the upper 70s, with mostly clear skies and a nice breeze. Attendance was meager until about 11 and was steady until 3, and then it became, shall we say, dead. Lynne and I broke even and then some, so we were not unhappy but we did converse with other vendors who were not so fortunate. WTF? Is it the economy? The sudden plethora of fiber festivals? Graduation and wedding season? Lack of publicity? The bottom line was that the folks that came just did not spend much money.

We met a lot a great people, as always at such events, and made contact with other vendors and collected business cards.

Lynne and I became captivated with a little fawn colored, English angora bunny. Her owners at the Timbre Ridge Farmbooth were sort of cattycornered to us and we observed the fuzzy darling for some time. I, of course, was missing my babies, and made many rounds petting all the lovely angoras that were there. When I inquired of Marlene the particulars of this sweet little ball of fluff, I knew she was coming home with me. The bunny, not Marlene. Although Marlene was certainly nice enough to bring home.

The story is that when the litter was born, mother Katie, in her nervousness, chewed off the front toes of this one particular kit. Marlene was advised to cull (read KILL) the worthless kit. Being of kind heart, she didn't, and two months later, this little girl has adapted to life just fine, thank you very much. This little baby, if fully toed, would have been of show quality. Her parents, Katie and Steely Dan, are both papered show bunnies. But because of this defect, she was valueless in the show world, no matter how wonderful her wool. Within nanoseconds of hearing this sad story, two suckers named Lynne and Fuzzarelly stepped in to offer her a loving home. She is not handicapped, she is handicapable! She gets around just fine and has a lovely, inquisitive, and sweet disposition.

The next step was to name her. At first, we thought she was a he and we were thinking of appellations like Wellington and Buckingham. A little bitty bunny needs a big name, we thought. But when the taco/donut test was done and it was determined that he was a she we were stumped for awhile. We still needed a big name, but what? Heavens to Murgatroyd, What Happened to Your Toes! That's it, Murgatroyd! So now, dear Murgatroyd is sitting in my lap whilst I type this out.

Bringing her home with us was certainly less trouble than two lambs in diapers. Here's a close up of the little darling.

And here she is with her future mate, Percival.

Thursday, June 01, 2006


Neighbor Kermit has been hacking away at the maple corpse for two days now. He brought reinforcements today, one of whom said, "This tree is a whole lot bigger than I thought!" Yeah, well, DUH! I do not know how old it is yet, but I'm guessing at 60+ years. When it was first cut, the rings were not distinct but as it dries I'm beginning to see them. It's raining at the moment or I would rush out and count.

From what I understand, there used to be two of these sugar maples on either side of the sidewalk leading up to the house. One fell on the porch roof way back, maybe forty or more years ago. And once, there were five linden (basswood) trees lining the driveway but now there is only one pitiful survivor. Part of him fell on the shed two years ago, so his time is also nearing. The only thing holding his guts together now is a whole mess of english ivy. When this basswood blooms, (which it didn't this year,) the flowers smell so lovely and the scent hangs heavy in the humid air. At the moment, the northern catalpa trees are blooming. These trees are native to this area - southern Indiana and southwest to northern Arkansas - and they are also known as the cigartree because of its fruit. We are lucky to have several of these catalpas close by.

I didn't attend yesterday's Barefoot Spinners meeting, and now I am sorry because Nancy and Lynne (among others) were there. But it was very hot and I knew I would be miserable and no fun. I heard that Kathy has suffered numerous weird injuries over the weekend and that Carol and Debbie are both dealing with bad mojo. My heart goes out to you all!

Tomorrow I will be leaving for lovely Franklin, Indiana for the 2nd Hoosier Hills Fiber Festival. Lynne will be selling her hand dyed rug yarn for felted bags and I will be shilling knitting needles and assorted angora blends. Guess what I need to be doing this very minute instead of nattering on -- yes, getting my shit together and packing it. This is a sample shot of my blends.

In the morning, I have to attend not only the regular Laconia town counsel meeting at 9 am, but also a special executive meeting at 8!!! You all, I am barely coherent, not to mention civil, at that hour. Some of you may know why I have to attend - I AM THE CLERK/TREASURER OF LOVELY LACONIA. (Tell me, who thought this was a good idea?) I tried desperately to resign over a year ago. The rub being, though, is that the clerk/treasurer needs to reside within the town limits and there was no other sucker willing to take on the task. Remember our huge population? I don't want to go into the details of WHY I wanted to resign from a position that I initially loved and tried to do well for practically no pay. Let's just say that my perceptive doctor told me that I needed to. My workaround has been to hire a deputy to do the actual work and I mostly just sign the checks - and attend meetings. Sigh. I don't even want to think about it.