I’m just plain glad and just plain good, I guess. As always, I’m glad for nature. When I stepped out of the house at 6:45 am to drive to Austin, I discovered we had a visitor. We looked at each other, I took her picture and bid her a good morning. Kathleen said she was still there when she came out to go to the gym, so I sure hope she found someone else to visit before the dogs woke up!
As I drove down the side road to US 77 (to avoid the potholes of our road), I saw a deer jump across the road. Thinking that if there was one, there were probably more, I slowed down. Yep, another one jumped by. When I got to them, I saw that they were both mature bucks with beautiful racks of antlers. I’m always glad to see the deer population recovering in our area.
All that nature love fit right in with my new license plate, which came in yesterday. It’s even prettier in person, and has my nickname surrounded by hearts on it. The plates raise money for our organization, and look way prettier than the standard one. Those are some good goods.
I learned a lot at work meetings today and got to hug various people who I missed very much during the pandemic times. At one point, my cheeks hurt from smiling at old work friends. That’s way better than my back pain from all the shoveling and Drew wrangling I did over the past few days! All good, though. Goodness.
And in addition, I got to enjoy good vision, finally, because I was able to pick up my two pairs of glasses at the optometrist. They are still very serious about their masking and such. It’s a very clean office. Anyway, the round ones are transitions lenses, which I know aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, but work great when I’m messing with horses and having to go in and out of the sun.
I hope you enjoyed that tour of my lip wrinkles and saggy jowls. Both glasses look much better in reality than they do in these photos! But, what matters is that I can see better; good vision is good. I am curious to see how the ones I ordered online came out. They should be done soon for which I will be glad. That will certainly do for glasses for a few years!
That is just about all the goodness I can dredge up right now, but I’m sure something will come up. Are you good? Any goodness to share? Do you hate it when people say “Are you good?” to mean “Are you well?” Are you glad I’m moving on from the topic of goodness and gladness?
This is the fourth book in the series of books by Michel Pastoureau that detail how colors have been perceived and used through European history that I’ve read. It’s convenient that I was reading this along with the Greenlights book, which has all the green print and green pages. I find the color series really interesting and entertaining, so if you like colors, check outGreen: The History of a Color. A lot of what I learned surprised me.
You do begin to feel sorry for green, like you did poor yellow in the book I read most recently. It really didn’t get much mention in historical texts, and wasn’t even used in paintings for a long time. One reason was that it has always been difficult to get a green dye that wasn’t made of copper or arsenic or some other poisonous substance. The safe ones were pretty dull. Another was that people just didn’t divide things into colors the way we do now, so a lot of what we would call green was blue or brown to the eyes of people in the past.
Then, poor ole green had a bad reputation of being a color of evil, deceit, and treachery (green knights were never up to any good), unless they were very young men, who were “green” in the untested sense. As time went on, it came to symbolize young love (not necessarily faithful love), peace, and fairy folk.
People just didn’t like to wear it, other than a few brief fads where various rulers decided green was their color. Then the sickness came…apparently from covering walls with paint and wallpaper that was green. Some even think that’s what actually got Napoleon.
Green and nature do go hand in hand, though, so there is a lot of green in landscapes and such. A lot of it wasn’t very stable, though, so some landscapes that look brown were once green. And natural objects like the sky, sea, lakes, and rivers were often painted green, not blue. I found that interesting.
Since this book dealt primarily with European history, Pastoureau didn’t bring up the color green in other parts of the world. From my studies, I know that Japanese didn’t have a word for green for a long time; aoi meant both blue and green. And the number of colors languages distinguish vary from three to dozens. It just depends on what’s important in a society. For Europeans, Pastoureau notes that texture and other tactile features were more important than color in describing objects (also, apparently in the Middle East when people were writing Biblical passages), which I found pretty interesting.
In addition to all the history stuff, the illustrations in the Green book are just as gorgeous as in the others in the series. These are majorly great coffee-table books (in fact, mine are on the coffee table!) and they are just fun to page through.
Your friends will be green with envy if you display this one, with that fine smoking Jane Fonda on the cover!
It’s been an interesting few days of social activities since I came to the Austin house Tuesday evening. I got my hair turned back into my preferred whiteness yesterday, and that always makes me feel better…prettier…fancier. It makes that last month or so with the extensive roots worth it. I think adding the silver worked well to make the roots less obvious, so I may do that again, especially seeing that the bleach made it go away.
Working on hair seems like such a privileged thing to do, but I save up for it. Yesterday I even got a nap while sitting under the hair dryer. And it’s always fun to listen to the stories my hair stylist tells about his life and adventures. Well worth the time and sort of worth the money.
Getting pretty isn’t very pretty, however. My hair looked like worms when I came out of this dryer. I felt like a butterfly undergoing metamorphosis.
As soon as I was released from my cocoon in the salon, this social butterfly ran next door to participate in our first vaccinated people’s book club meeting indoors. All of us were so happy to be able to both see and hear each other! We did have to keep steering the conversation away from topics that might lead to strong words (Did you know none of the homeless people in Austin are willing to work? Neither did I.). One of the women there lives in the alternate world, and said she’d not worn a mask except the few times she went to Austin last year. Wow. I kept waiting for Anita to jump on her, but we were all good and decided not to cause a book club scene.
I took myself, my PRIDE! shirt, and my giant rainbow earrings (I wonder why that one lady wouldn’t talk to me?) home just before yet another bad storm rolled through. Those are so hard on poor little Pickle the dog. Anita and I tried to distract her by watching weird shows about people with weight and skin issues, and she did eventually calm down.
Today I am back to feeling pretty and social. I was feeling so femme that I suddenly painted my fingernails and toenails this morning, and put on ALL the makeup I haven’t worn in a year. It worked out, because the office had more people than I’ve seen since February 2020 today. It has been so much fun seeing old coworkers, meeting some in person for the first time, and eliminating misconceptions (one coworker is much smaller than her large Zoom personality would indicate).
I may not be gender fluid, but I sure go from tomboy to lady-like in a flash. Hey, you just take fun wherever you can get it, right? I like wearing my “costumes” and looking different every day as much as my hair stylist likes to wear a white t-shirt and khaki shorts every day!
By the way, today I tried out the new “columns” functionality in WordPress. It looks pretty good on the computer, but let me know if it looks weird however you view the blog.
And yes, I will podcast again. I’m just really low on time these days (or bone tired) and can’t get to a lot of my volunteer and optional activities.
What. The. Heck. Have I no shame? Can’t I just keep stuff to myself? Why yes, I have shame, but not about this. And yes, I keep things to myself! Not this, anymore.
I started thinking about growing up with the modern feminist movement. One reason I love jeans so much is that girls weren’t allowed to wear pants at my elementary school! The minute that changed in sixth grade, I refused to wear dresses for a LONG time. Can you imagine?
One reason I liked pants is that teen girls HAD to shave their legs (white girls; black girls didn’t back then). I had pretty darned hairy legs, so I spent more time than I liked with the shaving. Yuck. But I had to do it. The one Orthodox Jewish girl whose parents didn’t let her got whispered about. Poor kid.
I aged into college and tried my best to be one of the cool radicals. But, “real” feminists and fans of being “real” women read The Joy of Sex and didn’t shave themselves. Check out that book’s illustrations some time. Teen Suna did.
I just could not stand my hairy legs. I felt feminist guilt, but I just was too brainwashed by my culture to go against the norms. It still baffles me why that was so. It’s not like I was conventional in other ways.
Fast forward. Rather than becoming more accepting of natural body hair, the US went way overboard the other way. Women got Brazilians, which appeared to be making little stripes on their privates. Then they started going hairless, except on their heads. Not for me. I thought that all looked painful, itchy, and expensive. It did make a nice tattoo canvas (another trend I prefer to observe rather than participate in).
Now trendy men shave all over, too. I keep thinking how prickly day-old arm stubble must be for the Property Brothers’ partners. Day old beards, though, that’s still trendy. Um, enjoy trendy celebs.
Then I began to notice young women bucking the trend. I sure admired that. The partners of both my sons, who are gender fluid, don’t shave, far as I know.
And as I thought about how femininity has never been my favorite mode, and how no one looks at blue-haired old ladies anyway, I gave myself permission to stop with the shaving and rashes and all that.
As they grew out, I realized they are a lot less hairy than they used to be. I’m okay with them. The first time I went outside with leg hair, I felt the breeze on my legs. How strange! I’d not felt that since age 11!
I’ve been swimming in the hot tub and pool here, and no one seems to have noticed. There are even a few other people in covered bathing attire, even men. And there are the deep tanners. But, I enjoyed hot tubbing with a Muslim woman, because I’d always wondered if they got to enjoy pools. Yes! All covered up and happy.
So, hooray for my legs and freedom of choice. It’s making me feel happier.
Here’s a quick one for you. Have you ever just been standing around, waiting in a line or a queue, when something about yourself hits you like a lightning bolt? I have, and it happened this morning when I was checking out and back in for another couple of days in South Carolina (more on that later).
I was just looking at the people in the incredibly echo-filled check-in area at the resort, and I realized I was the only person there wearing jeans and a t-shirt. Whoa. I am no longer the typical American wearing the typical American uniform.
What were people wearing? One couple had sweatpants outfits on, top and bottoms the same color. They looked comfy, but to me looked like they were wearing their pajamas.
Two other groups were decked out in what I guess are track suits? I don’t know much about those. People tend to wear very bright ones with the names of shoe manufacturers all over them, along with giant shoes with the manufacturer name or symbol on them. I just don’t feel authentic in those outfits, not being a runner. Of course, many people I see in those outfits do not appear to be runners, either. On the other hand, these could also be warm-up outfits from other sports, since a lot of the people so attired look like they could be basketball, baseball, soccer, or lacrosse players (depending on accessories and hair, I guess).
I’m at the beach, so others were wearing shorts (even though it is not hot outside), and still others were in bathing attire, which is a whole other topic. The see-through pants and tunic is very popular here. I am not going to share an image of these, because they tend to hurt my eyes, but I’m sure the wearers and their partners enjoy them.
Back to jeans. I’ve always worn them, pretty much every day unless I am going to a fancy function, wearing a dress to work in the olden days (with leggings; no one is to see my legs), or wearing shorts around the house. I do wear yoga pants to do yoga, and have one pair that passes for dress pants (I used to own a lot of non-jeans pants, but I no longer need them for work).
I have come to the realization that I have never worn sweatpants outside my house, at least that I can recall. It could be because they make me look like a pile of crumpled laundry. I’m not sure, but that does not make me “average” these days! I think, perhaps, it’s time for me to go back to rural Texas, where at least ranchers dress more like me. Oh my gosh, I’ve become rural.
Sadly, or maybe not, we extended our trip two more days, so that we can be more sure to have enough gasoline to get us home. I will be doing a lot more work from the car next week, but I can handle it. I think I can even plug my laptop in and use my phone for a hotspot. Rock on, me.
So, is anyone else stuck in the 70s like me? Or is it the 60s? I did always want to be a hippie as a little kid, so that may explain my attachment to good old jeans and t-shirts!
PS: I do own a few, but I am not fond of hoodies, either. All that material in the back is uncomfortable when you are sitting in a chair or couch, in my humble opinion.
PPS: Subsequent boardwalk observations revealed that there is a group of people who wear jeans and t-shirts here: women in their 60s. Oh. That’s me. Old.
I’ve been diligently knitting away on the Tangerine Eyelet Wrap that’s half entrelac and half lace. It took longer, because I doubled the lace part. Today I finally bound off!
I am glad I’m done, because toward the end there, my recent inability to concentrate really caught up with me and I kept making mistakes in the lace and having to go back down and move a yarn over (that’s what makes holes in lace). I was really frustrated, because it was not a hard lace pattern at all. But, here it is, hot off the needles.
I really love the colors of this yarn. I also enjoyed working with it so much. Anything with silk in it makes me happy, I think. If you want to see the details, I took a closer photo.
The instructions said to block the wrap before adding the crocheted border, so I filled the bathtub with tepid water and dunked it all in there. It didn’t change the water color as much as my CBD bath bomb last night did (ahh), but there was some orange in it. I swished gently, and was reminded of that special smell that silkworm thread makes (the negative side of silk). I squeezed as much water out of it as I could by hand, followed by rolling it up in a towel to remove more moisture.
Then I laid the sad looking mass out on towels, and did my best to arrange it to have smooth edges. It would have been easier if I had blocking pins, but I figure I can re-block it after I add the edging and get back to my terribly disorganized knitting supplies.
I turned the fan in the spare bedroom on high to help the drying process go faster. In the meantime, I evaluated my options, and in a surprise, even to me, I decided to frog (unknit) a cowl I didn’t like the looks of and re-do it into an interesting lace-striped shawl called Lines and Lines that one of my knitting friends shared on Twitter. I got the pattern and am ready to start. Whee. Way to spontane, Suna.
I can work on this and dishcloths the rest of the trip. Good car knitting, and maybe I can manage to concentrate on it. Darn my brain.
On Another Topic
Lee had promised me a trip to the restaurant we enjoyed so much last year, the Café Old Vienna. We didn’t want to eat in a crowded restaurant, so we went early, only to happily discover they had an outside dining area. Well, I was happy until I remembered that it’s still Bike Week, so we got to enjoy them, fire trucks, ambulances, and the arrival of a giant Cisco truck making as much noise as possible while delivering.
Nonetheless, I enjoyed my happy-hour dark Hefe beer very much, and found the red sauce my cabbage rolls were covered in divine. There were no complaints to be had about the food. Even the salad had extra-good cucumbers (thanks to the Cisco truck, I guess). Lee was feeling out of sorts, but did love the butter sauce on his chicken.
We’re taking it easy today, and hoping the weather isn’t so horrible that we can’t go to the last State Park tomorrow. It’s at least fairly nearby. We’re also keeping an eye on the news, which says the weather is really bad at home (it keeps saying that, but then we get no rain, according to the family).
And here’s a question for the Trickster Gods: why does there have to be some disaster that comes up every time we go to Myrtle Beach that makes us wonder if we’ll make it home? Last year they were shutting the doors to the country as we passed through each state, at the start of the COVID crisis. This year some hackers with nothing better to do messed up a pipeline and now people are panicking over getting gasoline for their cars. I do hope we can go back to Texas at the end of the week!
I mean, really, Trickster Gods, this is nice, but I miss my family, equines, dogs, chickens, and large monitors!
There’s a reason you haven’t had any book reports in the past week or two, and that’s because it’s taken me a while to get through Yellow, the History of a Color by Michel Pastoureau (2019). This is one in a series of works by this French author, all of which detail how a particular color has been used in European history. I’ve already done his book on red and his book on blue (apparently before I started this blog), and I still have green and black to go through. Not only are these books fascinating to read, but they have rich illustrations, are on thick, quality paper, and look darned good on the coffee table.
The cover of the book shows a painting called “Study in Yellow,” I think, and it depicts a man sitting in a wicker chair, dressed in a yellow robe, holding his finger in a yellow book to keep his place, and dangling a cigarette out of the other hand. He is looking right at the observer as if to say, “Leave me alone in my foppish revelry.” It’s a good image for the color yellow, which has seldom been a popular color, no matter how cheery yellow flowers are.
One of the most important issues surrounding yellow is that its association with gold at least got it some popularity in ancient times. And, it was one of the earliest colors humans could draw or dye in. So, it did okay, especially with the Greeks and Egyptians.
As time went by, yellow got more and more negative associations. Judas, who betrayed Christ, always wears yellow in paintings (though the Bible didn’t say anything about that). Countries made Jewish people wear yellow hats, insignia, or clothing, long before World War II. Yellow was associated with liars, cowards, prostitutes, and other people of questionable morals, including musicians. It got pretty depressing for a long time. Protestants didn’t help, with all their modesty, dislike of adornment, and fondness for black and grey. Fun times.
Thank goodness for the 18th Century, because everyone was happy and people could wear yellow for fun. Then came the 19th and 20th Centuries, which were somber and drab. And thank goodness for painters who used it more and more. There’s a lot of useful information on pigments and dyes, and Pastourneau theorizes that one reason people didn’t wear much yellow is that unless you used expensive colorants like saffron, most yellows were drab and dreary, and not very colorfast.
What’s the good news? Yellow is back in this century, and it’s used more in clothing, homes furnishings, and other areas. I know I personally have a yellow bedroom, and it cheers me up. I’m not down on yellow! Living on the ranch, surrounded by yellow flowers, golden hay and grass, golden autumn willow leaves, and such, I have come to love yellow. So, I’m glad it’s back!
There is so much more about yellow in this book that I can’t summarize well enough to include; it’s worth getting or borrowing from the library. It’s not a good audio book, because the illustrations are half the enjoyment. I’m happy that I still have the green book and the black book to read later.
But, now I’m going to finish my knitting project or ELSE, and do some serious work on what’s going on with my mental health. At least I can ruminate with an ocean view!
Someone surprised me by asking how my knitting project was coming along. Sure, I’ll share.
I’m close to getting through two repeats of the lace pattern. I’m also awfully close to finishing the first skein of yarn, which means this will be more of a mat than a table runner. So, I’m going to see if there happens to be any of that yarn out there in the world. Who knows?
The black part of the yarn makes the lace pattern not show up as well, but that’s a risk I took by not doing this in a solid color. I’m not a perfect decreaser but I’ll smooth some of them out later.
Just because a yarn is dark doesn’t mean you can’t make a lace project out of it. One of my favorite shawls is this beautiful one made from natural black sheepswool from American Shetland sheep. The shawl was made in 2010 and still looks new. No evil moths have attacked it.
The style is Faroese, a traditional British Isles style. The way the center pattern and border intersect is so elegant.
The wool is spun a little scratchy, but that makes it stay on your shoulders and drape beautifully. I had Lee take a few pictures of me wearing it, since Ravelry only had pictures of the shawl alone.
It’s very light, but warm. I’m so glad the dogs are old enough that I can wear shawls again. Anyway, dark lace can be lovely.
Those of you wanting to make one can go to my Ravelry page for the project, which lists the source, yarn, and other details. Gosh, I still remember the day I bought the yarn and how helpful the shop owner was. We both kept patting the beautiful wool.
Memories. I do have something percolating in my head to write more seriously about, so I’ll be back later. Now I must go on an adventure!
There’s so much in life you can’t control. You can’t control whether people like you or not, whether you’re treated with respect, the actions of faceless government agencies, or groups of people who think differently from you. I can’t control those things, either, but, I made myself better by totally dominating my Hermits’ Rest house closet. It has bent to my will and now can be used with ease. It’s like a rural version of those fancy closets you see where ladies (or others) sit around and sit champagne while gazing at their shoes. Sorts.
Does that photo scare you? Well, if you know me, you’ll know the story of the immense closet in my house, but let me share with the rest of you.
The deal is that our house is based on a floorplan for a 3 bedroom 3 bathroom house I found online and ordered the blueprints for. I did ask for some modifications, because the kitchen was really small and I knew there would be lots of cooks. I added an island with a second sink and the cooktop on it. OK, so yes, that made the second floor a bit bigger, too. I also added a laundry room/mud room, so the original laundry area could be a really big pantry (and safe room, long story). That added another few feet.
Then, when the dudes started building the house, they asked if they could simplify the second floor. This turned some space that was attic storage into full height closets, and made the upstairs even bigger (also, now Lee has two large closets of his own for his stuff, do don’t jump on me for taking this whole thing).
What ended up happening was that our bedroom is ridiculously large, and has a sitting area and a coffee-drinking table and chairs. And my closet, which started out as a perfectly reasonable walk-in closet became as big or bigger than many bedrooms. It was sort of embarrassing.
On the other hand, it was great, and I could organize things and find them. Our contractor did a GREAT job making this a great closet without spending too much money on it. The storage cubbies are lined with cedar, for my hand knits, he built me a jewelry holding area with cork to hang things from AND a chest of drawers for non-hanging things, plus the mirror and the chandelier. It’s nice, but not California Closet crazy.
As years passed, my organizational scheme went awry, and I ran out of clothes hangers. I do probably buy too many clothes. But I do wear them! By a couple of weeks ago, there were piles of things that needed sorting all over that pretty quartz island, I couldn’t find any of my jewelry, and those endless shoe boxes made the room look just awful. I did NOT take “before” pictures.
So, I was sad about things going on that I can’t control, like COVID, my family issues, a person I was trying to help but wasn’t able to, things at work. But by gosh, I could make that closet do my bidding. All I had to do was order 100 coat hangers, some drawer organizers, and 16 storage bins. For less than $50 I was ready to tackle the mess.
It was a lot of fun collecting things to donate to charity, organizing other things, dusting, vacuuming and even putting in decorations, so it didn’t look quite so boring.
Sure, no one needs a closet this big, but if you DO have one, the least you can do is make it usable! I can find all my clothing, including pants, dresses, shoes, winter things, summer things, etc. And wow is that jewelry under control (um, now I have to organize the jewelry at the Austin house, sigh…I also have way too much costume jewelry, as part of my coordination obsession). Chaos has departed this one tiny bit of my life, and when I want to breathe, I can go into my closet, spray some rose room scent, and relax. Ahh.
To all my friends with small closets (including me at my other house), I hereby promise to keep the ranch closet organized and usable, even suitable for visitors. When we are pandemic free, you can come over and see it.
What do you have under control where you live? It could be something big or small. It could even be in your mind!
I’ve interrupted my planned cadence of knitting projects to finish with the leftover yarn from the afghan. I have a long-time friend who’s transitioning from male to female, and I wanted to make her something to feel cozy and loved in while recovering from surgery at the end of the month. The yarn happens to have colors pretty close to the trans flag, which is a nice coincidence.
I figured a shawl would do the trick, and that it would work up quickly in the bulky yarn. Ha ha, that WOULD have been true if I hadn’t started the darned thing three times. That’s to be expected if you’re making something up, of course. The first time, didn’t like my cast-on, so I ripped out a few inches.
The second time, I set off to make a stockinette stitch (smooth on one side, bumpy on the other, for those non-knitters who made it to the third paragraph) triangular shawl. I got into the third stripe, but started doubting myself, and thought maybe I was increasing wrong, because the straight side didn’t look like it was straight. I ripped that all out (it’s called “frogging” because you rip-it, rip-it).
All annoyed at myself, I looked for a pattern on Ravelry for a simple, triangular shawl, so I’d be sure to make the right shape. Of course, when I found them, I realized I hadn’t screwed up before. Sigh. But the good news is that I found a pattern with a little texture in it that might look good with the stripes, called LaLa’s Simple Shawl. I knew I’d have to adjust the pattern, since as the shawl gets bigger, the stripes will get more narrow. Here’s what it looks like so far:
Sure enough, by the time I got to the white stripe, I was having to add more yarn from the other ball. That’s just fine, because I have the yarn. Once I finish the next color, the purply-pink, I will switch it out and do one stripe in stockinette and one in garter until it’s the right size.
I am hoping to have enough yarn left by the time it’s long enough to bind off in a cute picot (little sawtooth kind of shapes), which will look nice and make sure the shawl is flowy. We’ll see.
My goal is to get finished by next weekend, which is plenty of time. I hope to see the recipient in a few weeks. If not, I can mail it to her.
I hope this description of trial and error gives any of you who are not very confident knitters the courage to just give things a try and start over again if they don’t work out. Sometimes you get something a lot better than what you started out trying to do!
This isn’t enough for a whole blog post, but I wanted to share that the roads in Milam County were fine, and I made it to work. We lost a big tree limb at the office, but it didn’t hit any cars or the building, so that’s good. The power was out at the Bobcat Lair house for 7 hours, but Anita and Pickle survived.
Getting in touch with your emotional truth, by processing feelings to improve the human condition in the 21st century. Living out loud by my motto,"Triumphing over Trauma" 🌈
In light and in shadow, always with ❤