Monday, April 28, 2008

Banjo Dad

Last week I told you about the one song my dad always played on the piano. It's called "Jesus is Coming Soon" by R. E. Winsett and sung by the Oak Ridge Boys. Mom sent me the sheet music today, and also sent this great picture of my dad playing the banjo.

Click here to hear the song.

If you click on the above link you will be prompted to save the file or open it in the default Media Player on your PC. Choose to open it instead of saving it and the Media Player will download and play the file while buffering it. The file will not be saved to your PC.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

7 Random Things...

...about my walk tonight.

My good friend Chris from The Boiled Peanut tagged me for a 7 random things meme, and since I enjoy making up my own rules to things, I've decided to make my 7 random things about the walk I took tonight. See, I promised a friend that I would walk 5 miles this Saturday for the MS Walk, and so I've been "training" for the past few weeks so that I don't die from walking 5 miles. That would be SO embarrassing.

Tonight I took my camera along so that you could enjoy the springy fresh Ohio weather right along with me.

Random Thing #1
Lilacs are my favorite flowers. Absotively posolutely my favorite thing about spring is the blooming lilacs. I stopped to smell most of the ones I saw tonight, and I even snagged some from the last bush I passed to put on top of my piano.

Random Thing #2
You're going to have to trust me on this one. I didn't get a picture because the people across the street were taking out the trash when I wanted to get the picture. But I saw a statue of a dog sitting in a birdbath. It was priceless. I'll try to get a picture next time.

Random Thing #3
I found broken robin eggs. Robin eggs are the prettiest shade of blue. This reminds me of a story. I was about four years old.
My brother, two bolder, more daring years older than I took a whole robin egg and smashed it on his Dukes of Hazzard shirt while I was standing right in front of him. I thought for sure he'd killed the baby birdie and ran sobbing into the house. Hmm. It was either his Dukes of Hazzard shirt or it was a blue shirt with a sparkly horse on the front. I can't remember.

Random Thing #4
This one is something else you'll have to take my word for. I am prejudiced toward people who cut their lawns on the diagonal. I think it looks much better than a typical straight back and forth cut. I think it's my brother's fault that I like diagonal yard-mowning. I also love the smell of wild onions in the air after a yard is freshly mown. Anybody else have that where they live?

Random Thing #5
Bunny statues are scary. For example:
This dude WILL steal your tulip. And probably your wallet. And don't even think about hiding those Easter eggs. Give them directly to this guy and no one will get hurt.

This bad boy will throw your butt out of the bar if you start a fight. Is this not the baddest, buffest, bodacious-est bunny you ever saw? Next time I'll get a picture from the back, but the folks who live in the house he guards were home, and it was a stealthy photo shoot as it was. I will admit it is a little frightening to walk by this guy, and I would not dare to do it in the dark.

Random Thing #6
I love this tree. A lot.

Random Thing #7
Do you get the feeling that I'm not the only one who has walked this path?

In the theme of making up my own rules, I'm not going to tag anybody. But if you want to make up your own 7 random rules, you go right ahead.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Valentine's Socks

Okay, I know it's oh-so-close to the end of April, and it's not the time to be thinking about Valentine's Day, but I want to share with you a story. A sweet story. A sweet, darling, guilt-ridden story.

My niece and nephew are very cute. Evidence?

(This is an old picture... from 2006, in fact. But they are still very cute. Trust me. And look at those feet. Those are some fine-lookin' Valentine's socks.)

My niece and nephew have gotten Valentine's socks each year (Calvin's 2007 brown socks are in this photo), and the hand-knit-sock-wearing behavior is strongly encouraged by their mom (my sister-in-law Morgan), who, herself, loves to partake in said behavior (Mo's pink b-day Pomatomi in this photo).

This year, however, I had incredible difficulty getting motivated to knit... well... to finish Valentine's socks. I started them, but I'll save myself the embarrassment of showing them here. So, needless to say, they didn't get Valentine's socks this year. You would have seen them by now if they had. I felt bad about this, but thought it would probably be okay.

Then, I talked to Morgan. My niece Maggie is apparently quite the little chatterer, and they had a little conversation that went something like this:

Maggie (putting on socks while chatting about how socks don't have to go on the left or right foot, they can go on either...): "mama, when's valentines?"

Morgan: "what?"

Maggie: "when's valentines?"

Morgan: "valentines day, maggie? when is valentines day?"

Maggie: "yes"

Morgan (trying to decide if she has a mental disorder that causes such a strange question): "two months ago, sweetheart"

Maggie: (quiet for a while)

Maggie: "i bet annie grook is working very hard on my socks then. it's okay that i don't have them yet. i can't wait to get them!"


Oh my. So, they haven't forgotten. However, Morgan and I talked about how maybe it would be better if, instead of Valentine's socks, they got autumn socks, because then they could wear their socks all throughout the cold winter months, and how that would be nice, because then if the cold weather got depressing, they could put on their nice wooly socks and be happy and warm and remember how much their Annie Grook (Auntie Brooke) loves them. It seems to work well for Morgan, who gets birthday socks in November, so maybe we'll try that this year.

How well we knew thee, Valentine's socks.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Another Kind of Legacy

My dad's mom played the piano. She was amazing. She played for her church, she played for community groups, she played ragtime like it was going out of style. She could knock out "The Entertainer" like nobody's business. My dad knew one song on the piano, but he played a pretty mean banjo on occasion. He also had a tenor sax that he had lovingly restored a couple years before he passed away, which is currently being used at my mom's church, and belongs to me whenever I decide I need it.

My dad also passed along to me his mom's piano. My brother and I both had to take lessons when we were kids. I don't remember how many times Mrs. Payton made me cry during a lesson, but I do remember the kid-sized lawn chair she would bring out for me to sit in during my brother's recitals. After Mrs. Payton there was Bounce, a strangely-named, fun, yet short-lived piano teacher. Then Mrs. Copenhaver, then one more kinda creepy lady during my freshman year of high school who wasn't my teacher for very long. I continued to play throughout high school, but due to busy schedules, I stopped taking formal lessons.

In the summer of 2001, the piano officially became mine. I moved into an apartment big enough to keep it, and I've had it with me ever since. It's my official inheritance from my dad. He told me so. I'll admit, it's a bit of a bane... movers want three arms and a leg to move it from place to place, and don't EVEN ask them to take it upstairs. It has to be tuned; it takes up a lot of room. My cats think it's just one more place to sleep, and at times it can be a collector of everyday flotsam and jetsum when the other flat surfaces in here are all filled up.

I don't play it very often, and when I do, there are about a dozen songs that I pull out and play over and over again. "Canon in D", Bach's "Prelude No. 1", "Hallelujah", "Piano Man", "American Folk Hymn (There is a Balm in Gilead)", "Spinning Song", and so on. I've tried to learn a new song here and there, but I just don't practice often enough to make a new song sound good. But I do enjoy playing. It reminds me of sitting in Dad's office in the living room of our house while he worked and I practiced.

My plan was to make and upload a little video for you so you can hear the one song my dad played on the piano almost every time he walked by it. However, I can't find the sheet music for it. Mom can probably help me locate it, so as soon as I can find it, I'll share it with you.

My dad is remembered for a lot of different things... his love of sports, his drafting skills, his strange company name ("13"), the perpetual purple camouflage bucket hats sporting any number of decorative pins. But music is a part of his legacy, too, and I have a great big reminder right in the middle of my living room. Thanks, Dad. I miss you.


Blogger won't let me upload pictures, so I'll put those in later. In the meantime, you can go here to read my brother's post for the day, or here for last year's memories.

Edited to add: YAY! Pictures will finally post. Here are a couple I really like.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Captain Knack Sparrow: An Update

Remember this guy?

Last December I created a poll to determine which Knit Knack outfit was the fan favorite. The Captain Knack Sparrow shell was a clear winner with 31 out of 82 (37.8%) votes. Since then, the Captain has had some additional adventures I thought you might like to hear about.

First, did I ever tell you that after I send the shells to my mom, she writes stories about Knit Knack's adventures in his new outfits? So far, he has 16 different outfits, and I have 11 books. It's a trip.

One of the most recent books was The Adventures of Knit Knack: Captain Knack Sparrow in Pirates of the Vermillion. My mom has a collection of other stuffed and toy turtles that she dresses up to join Knit Knack on his adventures. They're quite the motley crew. For this particular book, though,

Mom built a pirate ship for the turtles. That's right. The Swift Purl. Shown here in dry dock on the back patio.

Here's Captain Knack at the helm.

There's even a figurehead named Myrtle. (She's a mertle, which is a cross between a mermaid and a turtle.)

(This is the part where you start talking about how we have too much time on our hands. And then comes the part where I tell you this is some of the best mother-daughter bonding ever.)

My mom's a teacher. She has high schoolers (bless her!) and she has told them all about Knit Knack. She even took him to school last fall to take pictures for his
back to school book, and got most of her students and a lot of other teachers involved in the project. So it's no surprise that she took Pirates of the Vermillion to school to read to her students once it was finished. A few weeks later, one of her freshman students brought her a present. A drawing. Of Captain Knack Sparrow. The artist, Bre, gave me permission to show you her pencil drawing. (click for big)

Captured him perfectly, don't you think?

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Lexington, For the Third Time

Since we all know it's all about me...

Saturday night I thanked the
Yarn Harlot for taking time out of her busy tour schedule each year to come to Lexington to see me. She seemed happy to do it, and we discussed the possibility of a "Drunk & Angry" tour next year. Sounds like a good time. Talk about inexplicable knitter behavior...

Anyway, Saturday was fantastic. I twisted
Kimmie's arm to get her out of helping with yard work, and we trekked to Lexington to spend the gift certificate I won last year at Magpie Yarn and visit the Yarn Harlot on her tour stop at Joseph Beth Booksellers. Magpie Yarn had sock yarn on sale for 20% off in honor of the Yarn Harlot's visit. Who could pass that up? I'd been trying to spend the $50 gift certificate for a year now, and I wasted very little time in doing so.

I got two skeins of Noro Silk Garden, colorway 245. I picked this up solely for the colors, and I have no idea what I'm going to do with it. It is astoundingly beautiful, and I may have to keep it as souvenir viewing yarn, and find a fancy display case for it on a wall of fame. Or not.

I also got two skeins of Crystal Palace Panda Silk. It's shiny, and oh so very soft. I was kind of thinking about Hedera for this yarn, but it might be too variegated. I'll keep thinking.

Lastly, I found some sock yarn from Rio de la Plata that is unlike any other sock yarn I've ever seen. To get the full effect of the colors, I'm sure this will have to be a plainer than plain pair of socks, but I'm really interested to see how this particular color pattern works up.

We left Magpie Yarn to head toward the bookstore where the event would take place, and, thanks to Yahoo Maps, got quite lost. However, my internal GPS kicked in and, at our lowest, most desperate point, we miraculously found ourselves on Nicholasville Road, right where we needed to be. And we were even going the right direction! We were a couple hours early, though, and we needed sustenance. We drove around a bit and decided on a suspicious-looking place that we knew would provide us with a memorable experience:

Sir Pizza! Who could go wrong with Sir Pizza?

Kimmie was particularly impressed with the idea of the Ding-A-Ling telephone for speedier service, although we never actually got to use it. I am eagerly anticipating Kimmie's full review of the restaurant on her blog. She was rather thorough in her documentation.

We finished our pizzas and headed back to the bookstore to grab good seats and wait for the Yarn Harlot's arrival. Kimmie went to browse the stacks and I made some lovely new friends (Hi Barb & Yvonne!!!) and got to share my Knit Knack pictures with some new folks.

The Yarn Harlot was brilliant and funny, just like we all knew she would be. If you get a chance, and you've never gone to see her, I highly recommend it. She's warm and funny and inviting, and you will walk away with renewed confidence in your knitterly abilities and a big smile on your face.

Here's a little behind-the-scenes photo of the photo of me that can be found on A picture of the picture-taking, if you will. It was great to earn the stalker moniker one more time and even better to have a few minutes to renew and continue a friendship. Good times, y'all.

Barb and Yvonne thoughtfully guided us back to the interstate and wished us well on our way home. Yet another knitterly show of generosity. That's something else that I've enjoyed about these excursions to see the Yarn Harlot or attend fiber festivals or anything else yarn and knitting related... there are a lot of great people to meet that I wouldn't get to know otherwise. Thanks to everyone who made it such a great Saturday for Kimmie and myself and so many others.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Duck Duck Goose

Actually, it's Goose, Goose, Cat.

Here's the outside of my apartment building. That's my window in the middle there. Looks like I have guests!

Thankfully Chaka was in the window to greet them. This is what I saw when I got home a couple nights ago.

Chaka played staring contest with (I'm assuming) the male goose almost the whole time I was taking pictures.

They've since moved into the corner between the wall and the steps to build a nest. Who knew Airhead wrappers make for good egg insulation? I snapped this picture at lunch time today when neither bird was in sight. I'm well aware that Canadian Geese are cranky creatures and will attack with very little provocation. I tried to call my landlord to get them to call animal control, but apparently the new management isn't any better than the old, because I haven't gotten a call back. This is potentially a really bad place for a nest, because people are in and out of the door to the building tons of times a day. However, the nest-sitter has always been rather subdued when I walk past, and I don't get too close. And it ought to be good entertainment for Carrot and Chaka just outside the living room window, as long as I keep it closed.


In other news, there's been knitting. (Isn't that always the way?) It involves the box of yarn I showed you the other day and a super secret design project. So I can't show you anything yet, and that's the only thing I'm really working on these days. Well, actually...

I did start a new sock at the last sock club. It's Berroco Sox yarn, the Dublin Bay pattern, and size 2 needles.

But that's about it.