I am beat! Worked all day in the garage. I’m a bad hoarder, but not ready for prime time TV yet.

The problem? Probably how all hoarding starts. Hmm, I could use that for something or other, and if not me then someone else. Sound familiar? That worked for most of my life until many years ago when I had so much, I never could find what someone needed. That’s when I knew I had gone overboard.

At this point in our life we actually rent a storage unit. That started a few years ago when we had a rat in the house. It took us weeks to catch the darn critter. At some point I slept at a friend’s house, at another point the rat was cornered but managed to run past everyone back into the house.

When the rat started living under the fridge we finally caught it. Not before trying every trap known to man or woman, even the unspeakable ones. We were desperate, OK? What did it in the end was one of the humane catch it alive thingies.

It was caught in the middle of the night and the noise this animal made at the moment of capture was loud, you would have thought we were trying to kill it. A kind of loud moan I’ve never heard a rat make. We released it at the closest park to our house and we have not seen it since. There were no babies anywhere nor any partners. And, knock on wood….

But back to the garage. The stuff that is collecting now or rather has been collecting over the years are things I can’t throw away that belonged to the children. Three or was that four? huge bins of books, childrens’ books. A box of toy cars, a box of stuffed animals, a box of toy horses, a doll house with all that accompanies such a toy, all wooden toys, clothing from when the kids were little and I find special…. You get the idea.

And then there is our old camping equipment, all the books we collected as home-schoolers and other paraphernalia that comes with the territory of homeschooling. Then there are the rejects from the board game collection we have. Games that should be given away or be sold.

A long time ago I started a board game lending library at our local library and kept lots of duplicate games so we could replenish lost game pieces. And we had games donated that were questionable at best. Well, all that is in the garage. And all the leftovers from previous garage sales.

And so much more that somehow a garage is able to attract. When I look at the garage and my house tonight it feels to me as if all I did was reshuffle but a full trash can and recycling container should give some hope.

There were absolutely no treasures. No long lost items found. And it serves me right that it is so much work and I feel beaten and will feel that way until all is done. Can it even be done?

I would like to move all our storage stuff back home and use the money saved for more  stuff, like yarn perhaps? So what is in storage? Old stereo equipment, my old Bose speakers the 901s. Lots of things from Stephen’s grandfather’s house that no one wanted and I felt sorry for. Tons of slides and old movies and pictures. The unsold copies of the book we published written by Stephen’s grandfather. If you would like a copy of “Tales of the Shtetl” the price is good right now.

This is getting depressing. Stuff is depressing. Except yarn stuff, and board games, and quilting stuff, and kitchen stuff. Somehow I have to keep my eyes on the proverbial prize. But what the heck is that prize in this situation? And do I have what it takes to get there?

I shall report back.

Sales and Socks and Shawls

Lately most days have been smokey around here, fires everywhere. When I was younger and invincible it did not matter what I was inhaling, but age has made me more careful and I use the gym for my exercise.

The location of the gym is dangerous at the worst times, but right now, we are in the best of times and resistance is futile. The gym is one block from our lys. Add to that: sale time! Our credit card is showing more wear, my stash has expanded, my mood is lifted, a post here unavoidable.

After making my selection of sale yarns, everything 50% off, she mentions that I took some yarn out of the $1 bins. $1 bins? Really? Just a moment please I’ll be right back. Sorry to all the folks that come after me, but I did leave you much more than I took.

A picture? Well, of course. Notice the addi circular lace needle in the one size I did not own, number 2. Yes, all is well worth the $38 I spent.


Spinning and knitting is still taking up most of my time. Times have been very difficult for me but I’m continuing to hang in there. Health has been fine, more or less, as can be expected, but things will never be the same. My life has changed after the massive heart attack, short death and bypass surgery. Every day as the one year anniversary creeps closer I’m dealing with trying to figure out this life and get back into synch. I have no words for what happened, at least not yet, but being out of synch works for now. Out of synch with my own life.

The only solace I have right now is the spinning and knitting. It was impossible for me to return to my old life of hosting parties and games and dancing and food. I’m missing all the ingredients to make that happen. And when I make it happen, it takes so much more than it used to and does not always work out. Sad for me is that nobody picked up my slack.

Happy news! Our son Toby just returned from the American fire for his mandatory 2 day rest period. My work for today: laundry.

Here is an exhausted and very dirty boy and a very happy dad:


Also finished since last post is an ashton shawlette made in silk for those allergic to wool.


The other yarn I would like to show off is one I will use in the dreambird shawl, perhaps. Still sitting on that one. I love the yarn so much I want to use it for everything.


In other news, I forgot how to sleep. Instead of keeping my bed mates awake all night, I got up and wound 870 yards of yarn, then started on a new shawl: Elizabeth. Bought on ravelry. Ravelry and knitty are the places I get patterns from. Spending hours there: planning and scheming.

Finally went to bed around 4 in the morning so today I am dragging a bit. Perhaps not the best time to work on a lace pattern. But with a frenzy in the last couple of days I’m also trying to overcome my second sock syndrome. I have 2 more socks to go and I might be caught up. A Elizabeth Zimmermann baby surprise jacket also done since last time here. Seaming is waiting. Did I mention I have a seam phobia? I have a sweater knit several years ago for myself that is languishing in a safe place waiting to be put together. Sigh….


The KAL shawl is on the kitchen table blocking away, hundreds of pins later. Not so happy with the color though at the time it was the right choice. I had never made a shawl before I started this one a couple of months ago. Somehow the first clue to this mystery shawl took me by surprise. I had no yarn ready and asked Stephen to take me to our lys. Since I was not assured of success I chose a cheaper yarn, some sort of cascade yarn. The color was going to be red or blue. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not unhappy, but I’ve learned so much I might make different choices now. And that is the point: I learned so much! Including at the end that it is important to tink and correct mistakes and not hope for the best. Size: 70 inches wide by 36 inches and that is the medium. Glad to have such a large kitchen table.


Close ups:



Our table usually looks more like this:


Then I made tons and tons of food and forgot to take pictures. But most people who know me can fill in the blanks.

Yesterday was my first spinning lesson. I came out of the spinning instructor’s studio dazed and full of inspiration. Mostly I’m doing fine with the spinning but all of a sudden I don’t have enough twist. I changed to a merino and am loving it. A bag full of kool aid is waiting. Now that I’m writing this it does not sound right. Gorgeous merino and kool aid? Kool aid never sounded right, but I want to play with colors.

If this were a letter I’d include a p.s. about having had two acupuncture sessions with a little success. I would mention in a p.p.s. that Toby after coming home from the Montana fire and mandatory two day rest is out at the American fire with over 1000 other firefighters in our neighborhood. And to follow that fire, here is the link: http://inciweb.org/incident/3624/

And for the hundredth time let me go check if the shawl is dry yet.

P.P.P.S. Surprise, I’ve started another shawl! Have done 2 socks but not of the same pair. Started another sock. Picking out yarn for two more shawls as presents. Life goes on for now.




Fire and Hotshots

This year our son Toby got his dream job with the Tahoe Hotshots. Not very relaxing for his parents, but he’s doing what he loves most: fighting fire up close.


Most of us are aware what hotshots do and what dangers they face after the tragedy of the Granite Mountain Hotshots this summer. And most of us have moved on to other topics. And that’s good because we can’t live in a constant state of sadness and tragedy.

We have more awareness and knowledge now. I would like to add 3 books and a song to this.

The Books

Most likely we will never read any books about fire, but that would be a mistake. There are three excellent ones out there. Hard to put down and very informative and page turning reading.

1. Young Men and Fire by Norman Maclean. It tells the story of the Mann Gulch fire where 13 firefighters died August 5, 1949. This date, just a few days ago, inspired this post.

2. Fire on the Mountain by John N. Maclean, Norman Maclean’s son. This is about the South Canyon fire in Colorado where 14 firefighters were killed, 9 from the Oregon Prineville hotshots.

3. The Big Burn: Teddy Roosevelt & the Fire That Saved America by Timothy Egan. This is more history than anything else. I would read anything by Timothy Egan he is so knowledgeable and informative on the subjects he writes about. The fire he’s reporting on in this book is the massive 1910 fire where over 100 firefighters died.

And here is the incredibly moving song about the Mann Gulch Fire:

The experience I have with hotshots is watching our son. They work extremely hard. The qualifications might not seem so daunting, but keeping in shape by running up mountains with gear on your back on a daily basis. And if this were not enough, push ups and pull ups right after. It is extreme, but has to be considering the situations they are facing. Toby works with a tool and trades off as a swamper. If you want to know a little more, wiki has a nice article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interagency_hotshot_crew

And if you are interested in the Tahoe hotshots here is an article from last year. Some of the personnel has changed but some are the same people Toby is working with now.