Thursday, February 23, 2006

Clapotis(Clap o TEE) N: Modern French Torture Device Made of Yarn

It's still ugly here in Atlanta. I can't remember the last time I saw the sun. In fact, there's this suspicious green patch that's appeared on my shoulder that I think may be moss...

Last night I was the first to arrive at the Library for Stitching for Sanity. Does that tell you anything? Usually I come skidding in sometime after 7:00 and everyone has to do the "clean cup, clean cup, move down, move down" routine for me.

We were supposed to have a meeting room last night. Apparently the word didn't get out to the Five Forks HOA because when I arrived there was a man in there setting up chairs in neat tidy rows. I wandered into the main part of the library and there was nary a table to be had. I finally plunked my bag on a chair in the "Teen Scene" area and shot anyone who gave me the hairy eyeball a defiant glare.

There is strengh in numbers...eventually there were enough of us to squeeze out any interlopers by sheer force of will and we had the area to ourselves.

It was a Red Letter night for me, too. I've decided to make the Clapotis (loud applause please). This will be my very first attempt at following a pattern. I know, I on earth can you possibly knit without a pattern??? Very easily...there are just some things that are just DO THEM and they come out. Like scarves... and hats.... Socks are a little more difficult, but if you know the stitches for your basic sock, you can get on fairly well without having to follow a printed pattern.

It's those danged abbreviations that kill me. PBF. WTF??? I had to go online and look through THREE different knitting abbreviation sites before I found one that had that little nugget and I still couldn't figure out what the heck it meant. So, I took the yarn and needles with me last night and had the experts (Stephanie, St. Janice) show me exactly what Purl Back and Front of same stitch meant. Geez.

So, now that I've got that figured out, I'm making a test clap before committing to the expense, time and energy to make one out of silk for that VIP I mentioned a few posts back.

Heck, I have until July!

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Signs of Life

Febru-Ugly can't end fast enough to suit me. Once the fun of the holidays are over, I'd just as soon dispense with winter, thank you.

To my grateful relief, there are early signs of spring popping up all around Atlanta. The redbuds are blooming. If you've never seen one, you've missed out.

Just yesterday morning, I looked outside my bedroom window, and sure enough, the forsythia bush is budding out, as well. Even the branches of the silver maple outside the front door are starting to swell with leafbuds.

In my other life, back when I lived in what my late Aunt Bertha called “God’s Country”, I didn’t really appreciate spring because I lived in the best climate on the planet.

Sure, in the fall, the deciduous trees drop their leaves, but that isn’t a big deal because there are also palm trees and Norfolk Island pine trees and eucalyptus trees which are green year round.

The ugly brown-gray of winter is one thing San Diego need not ever worry about.

Here in Atlanta, however, I suppose the stark, muted colors of winter serve to give us appreciation for the colors of the rest of the year.

Soon, the azaleas will begin blooming and the entire southeast will be awash in color ranging from white to the most shocking of pinks. Then come the wisteria, both domestic and feral, a climbing purple fantasy amongst the dormant kudzu vines.

This is the time of year when I start fantasizing over plant catalogs. I have visions of creating a woodland glen in my yard where I can quietly repose with my spinning wheel (or laptop, depending on my mood) and do what I do best…spin yarns. Pun most definitely intended.

And every year I forget that my back yard is one hundred percent Georgia clay and when it’s not a mudpit, it’s about as easy to cultivate as your average concrete.

In my fantasy I also forget that beneath that clay lurks the larvae that strikes fear and loathing in the heart of every gardener east of the Mississippi:

Popillia japonica Newman or Japanese Beetles.

Until I moved into this house, I’d never had a problem with the little iridescent marauders. I could grow a tomato that could induce drooling at twenty paces.

Not anymore. Now, before my poor tomatoes even have a chance to turn that ambivalent yellow-pink that indicates it’s thinking about ripening, the blasted beetles invade much like Attila the Hun and before I can even get outside with my bottle of insecticidal soap, nothing is left but a hollowed out husk.

Another problem I discovered was this scary Morticia Aadams-inspired plant called bindweed, or wild morning glory. This stuff is un-freakin’-believable.

You can’t pull it out, because much like gray hair, doing so will cause twenty new plants to sprout. If you spray it with an herbicide, it reacts as if you’d given it a shot of Miracle Grow mixed with B-12 and Fish Emulsion. Even two years under black plastic didn’t do a damned bit of good—ask me how I know!

So, as a gardener, on this property, I am thwarted. And frustrated. At best I can only be a voyeuristic gardener. I must be content to look at other gardener’s handiwork and sigh with discontent and look forward to the day when I can get the heck out of here and find a place where I can sink a shovel into the earth and not break my foot. A place where I can actually see plants growing that don’t have bitemarks in them and that aren’t sporting flowery boas made of morning glories.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Sunday, Muddy Sunday

After getting a good soaking here yesterday with the threat of more rain, today, we're once again bogged down in that famous red Georgia MUD.Had the poo scared out of me this morning. Let the dogs out when I went down to make coffee. They came in while I was busy. I ignored them as usual. Then I heard this "scuffling" sound coming from the living room. That never means anything good.I turned on the dining room light and looked. Roxy was shaking the snot out of "something". I went over to investigate. It "looked like" a giant, hairy bullfrog, but could have been--well...anything, and since we live near a creek, God only knows what she could have found. ”Roxy, what do you have?” I asked in my quiet, “Mom voice”. She promptly dropped The Thing. I observed it for a moment, noticed it didn't twitch, so I got closer to investigate. It was once upon a time a stuffed toy, probably belonging to the kid next door.

Roxy said "Finders Keepers" and quickly regained possession of her newfound booty and hauled it someplace safe.