Sitting on the patio. Morning latte. My beautiful homeysuckle transplanted this spring to a nice big pot all of a sudden is withering away. Sulking and drooping. Not sure what's going on. Photo to come. Must research.
Today's agenda includes the youngest nephews kindergarten graduation. Exciting. He Came over on Sunday to invite me. That was the day of the big fishing expedition. More of anon. And his elder brother saved his teams bacon by pitching out the best two batters in the month with bases loaded. Alas the younger and I were fishing off the shores of the Hudson while that momentous event occurred. (the younger not that interested in watching hours of baseball, the elder is in two leagues ... last weekend he had SIX games oi)
our May weather has been abysmal for weekend gardening for those of us working for a living... two weekends in a row very rainy and then this past last weekend EXTREMELY hot and humid - hi 80-90 and very humid coupled with a few weeks of CRAZY BUSY times at work.
no heat relief from this past weekend until of course today after a HUGE front moved thru last night drenching everything and making this morning's preparing for work like living in a sauna. leading to lots of crankiness in this writer who does NOT do well in high heat and humidity (having had enough of that in Louisiana thank you)
and its way too soon to put in the window a/c units - they block the fresh air and the cats' perches on the window sills (taking up two of the three windows they can sit in and watch the outside world, in particular, birds and squirrels and the occasional night visit by the local possum and raccoons). not to say the huge cost of running them - even as efficient as they are and as frugally as they are used. they dont go in until the long heat waves of July and August.
however, it was a huge waste of a weekend - temps in the apartment reached 90 in the study and bedroom - being the two interior rooms with no windows - and thus sleeping was a disaster both fri and sat nites. sun nite was better with the bright idea borne from desperation to put a window fan in the window in the hallway across from the bedroom and thus bring in the cooler air during the all night rainstorm - humid but a bit cooler at least - and supplemented with another strong fan in the loft bed, the night was marginally better than the previous two albeit very noisy - although right now am really craving a nap. supposedly the front moves in this afternoon (its only 70 with humdity slightly under 60% so hope springs that it will be cooler tonight - prediction is low 50s ... please gods and goddesses of weather).
so while there was not much to do in the garden in the way of landscape or hardscaping after last fall's event, there is always ongoing maintenance and dealing with the things that were moved around (plants were moved in haste and plants are waiitng in pots to be planted in new homes). way behind now due to the aforementioned weather problems from the last few weekends, next weekend threatens rain on sat (50%) but sunday supposedly clearer,
fingers crossed there will be time next weekend to attend to the remaining surviving perennials and plan the very reduced herb garden (half of the herbs were destroyed last fall or didn't survive the winter uprooted and huddled in pots, space has been reduced by 2/3). if it rains next weekend, a day or half day off may have to be taken to deal with these plants before they give up.
just looking at this week's forecast, maybe a few after work sessions to catch up... once i recover tonight from the sleeplessness of the past weekend.
one sad side affect of this very hot weather so soon is the roses - there were many buds and they were progressing nicely when BAM the heat wave triple acclerated the bloom process... so from a tight bud on thursday then to a very open bloom on saturday - cut many late yesterday before the storm last night destroyed them totally -- unfortunately due to the high temps in my apt they are all almost done. so sad as i wait all year for these roses to bloom only to have them last one day. sigh. not a great start to the month.
as is my method of learning - i have ripped this poor sock out at least three times (not that i am keeping count) but that is how i learn - by practice... i dont see the point of abandoning half socks or socks that dont work out... so photos taken and then rip rip rip.
i was rather unhappy with the feel of the fabric of the recent attempt - it just felt too flabby and smushy and not right. this is SOCK IT TO ME Puzzle (discontinued but was a gift years ago before sock knitting seemed a possibility) was already knitting on size 1.
so i ripped yet again and went down to size 0 and ... now ! a sock that feels like a sock - nice tight fabric.... still only getting 7 st but it could be the yarn (sock it to me puzzle) so i am now at the heel AGAIN (will have this method memorized by the time i actually complete the second scok!
i am forging ahead even though i am getting tired of this colorway - the stripes are nice but i am ready to try another sock yarn.
i have been limited at starting with another yarn because of only having one set of size 0 needles... but that has been remedied ... and soon will be able to switch between two different socks. which will hopefully help with the oft mentioned second sock syndrome i have heard about.
and also looking forward to just knitting the sock instead of all this restarting - although i know that it has been part of the process. in effect i just knit three gauge swatches and three technique swatches. i dont mind the time, its not wasted, just ready to move forward to the next stage.
its fun perusing a new technique and for items that are practical - i hate store bought socks and have never had a pair of hand knitted socks so am looking forward to this. and to actually wearing my knitting.
i adore shawls, and have made quite a few about half and half in terms of giving and keeping, and wear them as i like. love sweaters but work in a very warm (temperature) office with no regulation temp wise so for the foreseeable future, am not planning much sweater making ... would like to knit a fair isle sweater because of the technique (love stranded knitting) but have to plan for that budget wise.
sock knitting seems to fit the bill for now.
will try to post photos of the latest incarnation shortly.
(wherein i document the progress of my first sock knitting)
how a sock starts (toe up).
i have discovered sock knitting.
it has started innocently . an impending gift and out of ideas of things to make (and time) decided to surf my stash and found a pair of SOCK IT TO ME and thought .. why not?
had ventured in this territory once before - one sock of the HEDERA pattern and for some reason abandoned it and have since frogged it - maybe because it was top down and so you start with tons of leg and i must have become bored.
the thing about a new knitting method and me is that i will (and have) spend(t) hours surfing and reading all i can stand about as much of the new method as i can find... and then of course it took hours to find a pattern that appealed and then was not too advanced - even though i am jumping in with all five needles -
but well, i didnt like the way the colors worked on the heel
so i ripped and ripped and then tightened up my tension - and researched some more.. and found a heel that people whom i admire recommend.
and well, its a sock. so NBD . i ripped and reknitted up to the heel and then last night turned the heel. (really cool BTW)
ok so there is pooling but its less rows and because its the blue stripes, it looks better IMHO.
so first heel completely completed (rather than done and frogged) and an inch beyond. so now comes the great question of what to do on the legs. i think i am going to stop and do the other sock to the same point and then work away at both to the grand finish.
Kingdom (that wonderful but cancelled series) helped during the anxiety of the first heel turning [this must be my third time watching it] i alternate watching a bunch of series depending on mood - last night was Kingdom and Single Handed (first viewing - although i started dozing off so will rewatch the first episode tonight) also working way thru George Gently, Midsomer Murders, Inspector Lewis, Spiral(French crime) and Borgen with Kavanagh QC being meted out slowly as John Thaw is dead so as to savour them all. there is a long list of comedies and dramedys (like Ballykissangel) that i cycle thru. some nights a little comedy is the thing to relax after a long day dealing with clients!
and since i know you are longing to see the WIP as of today - voila!
In comments to my 1–4–13 post re Downton Abbey, the DUCHESS OF DUKE STREET was mentioned by several writers, as being superior to DA.
In my thinking, that is one of the very best British TV Dramas that was produced during that wonderful time in the 70–80's along with UPSTAIRS DOWNSTAIRS and a whole list of others – below is an incomplete list of my top favs.
To Serve them All his Days
Lillie (life of Lillie Langtry and the breakout role for Francesca Annis)
A Testament to Youth (with fabulous Cheryl Campbell)
MAPP and LUCIA (Prunella Scales and Geraldine McEwan
MULBERRY (Geraldine McEwan) not seen often in the states but available to order – do get it – the most quirky and delightful four person ensemble – created by the great team of ESMONDE and LARBEY (who went on solo to create A FINE ROMANCE (Dench and Williams and AS TIME GOES BY (Dench, Palmer etal) also created THE GOOD LIFE (P Keith, R Briers, F Kendal) and EVER DECREASING CIRCLES as well as a whole list of others
the Dorothy Sayers Harriet Vane-Lord Peter courtship triology – Strong Posion, Have His Carcase and Gaudy Night – with Harrier Walter (the perfect Vane) and Edward Petherbridge (still my first choice for LPW) too bad they ran out of money or time or whatever and didnt do Busmans Honeymoon.
the original Miss Marple series with Joan Hickson (while I admire Geraldine McEwan and Julie MacKenzie they were hampered with so many plot changes in their productions)
the unflappable and only Hercule Poirot which David Suchet has conquered so admirably – he only has four left to bring to production the ENTIRE CANON of Poirot stories!
other impeccable series – MORSE, SANDBAGGERS (Roy Marsden in a cold war thriller series about MI6), BERGERAC, POLDARK, the PD JAmes adaptations and yes, MIDSOMER MURDERS (while certainly formulaic they are all beautifully written each episode bringing to life another set of characters who need Barnaby to solve their murders and assorted problems)
the original SHERLOCK (with Jeremy Brett still the best SH)
ALL CREATURES GREAT AND SMALL (Robert Hardy and Peter Davison in breakout roles)
one must also mention I CLAUDIUS and THE FORSYTHE SAGA as groundbreaking early shows and of course BRIDESHEAD REVISITED.
other notables: FLAMBARDS, CAMPION, this is a frustrating post – it could go on for pages.
I am finally succumbing to the DOWNTON ABBEY craze... had watched the first two episodes sometime last year and was not impressed enough to continue; besides I had the first two seasons of FORBRYDELSEN (The Killing) to enjoy: unfortunately since the 30 episodes are subtitled, it put a damper on any multitasking – i usually have the laptop open and am knitting and watching TV… one needed all one”s wits about them to focus on Sarah and her escapades – still have to find a copy of the third season – why o why can we not buy it in the US – well, i know why but its stupid – anyway, looong tangent.
So however, with the third season of DA starting this weekend in the US, and it being the dead of winter and with several knitting projects in the works, I decided to catch up and see what everyone has been talking about in the media and elsewhere. (I do tend to save up episodes and then watch in several sessions... still have the last season of In Plain Sight to watch as well as a few other series to catch up. but moving on)
so last night I took the latest project (a fair isle tea cosy – maybe another post on that) and knitted and watched eps 3-7 of the first season .. plan to get thru the second season and the Christmas special this weekend to join the rest of the US for the third season.
observations on season one
- Mary is a twit. (i felt like taking her shoulders and shaking her MANY MANY MANY times, silly spoiled selfish girl) - Ethel is a twit (she and Mary deserve each other as sisters - although the reason WHY they are such bitches to each other should have been more explored) - Sybil shows signs of redemption (especially her aiding Gwen and, from what i can foretell, her inevitable relationship with the aspiring politician cum chauffeur) - love Cora and Violet and Isobel. - Lord Crawley - nice guy but doesn't "make the heart beat" for me - didn't like Matthew at first but well, he grew on me (he deserves better than Mary unless she matures in future seasons). - Thomas and O'Brien should be shot (not really but awful people they are) - LOVE Anna, Mr. Bates, Carson, Mrs Hughes, Daisy, Gwen.. actually all the servants except for the two bad apples.
Best actors: Joanne Froggatt(Anna), Brendan Coyle(Bates), Jim Carter (Carson), Phyllis Logan (Mrs Hughes), Elizabeth McGovern (Cora), and of course Dame Maggi Smith (Violet) (splendid role for her) and the two bad apple servants (its not easy playing a three dimensional bad guy)
Julian Fellowes managed to pack the entire season with lots of clichés from lots of different sources. the flower show episode - cant believe the Wyler heirs didn't sue (not really, but Blatant stealing). Gosford Park was absolutely perfection. love his language, but not sure of the arc of multi seasons ... except for the Turkish death a lot of what happened in the first season was "expected" in this kind of series. wish for more depth to characters - more insight to what makes these characters tick - esp the upstairs .
OTOH its a large set of characters to develop and juggle all the stories - maybe almost too much (although in GP it worked). For example, O'Brien and the soap caused miscarriage of the next heir - this is actually a rather tragic event - yet its glossed over in a few scenes...its a huge undertaking - all of these characters and an average 45 min episode to present the latest plot developments and develop characters.
The production values are incredible - clothes and decorations impeccable. However, it is rather genteel. Life seems rather wonderful at Downton - yes, the two bad apples are annoying but to be honest it really is a high brow soap opera. (and I watched GH for years so I know my soaps)
I agree with a FB friend - UPSTAIRS DOWNSTAIRS still is the BEST - it gave us drama and REAL believable stories and characters. and death and tragedy as the seasons went on , we continued to discover more about the characters. Its hard not to do compare/analysis against Hudson, Mrs Bridges, Rose, Sarah and the others downstairs as well as the lively upstairs family.
we shall see what transpires in the Second Season - from the little bits I have read it seems to take a rather huge turn - whether it will be for the worse or better, will be interesting to see.
NO SPOILERS PLEASE if you comment TIA
even tho its warm today, there is a cold front moving in saturday night. and all i can think about is knitting.
started back on a two year old project (oi) a lace shawl in a gorgeous red (long stewed in stash) last week - to give my hands something to do while watching season one of HOMELAND... now am almost out of yarn (and out of season one... waiting to get my hands on season two... torture)
this shawl pattern is one by one of my favorite shawl pattern designers - Evelyn Clark - this one is PRAIRIE ROSE LACE - here is the color... i LOVE it.
have wanted a red shawl for many years.. kept waiting for the RIGHT Red cashmere yarn. eh, life is too short. so i started this awhile ago (the last two years there has not been much knitting happening)
so the last week of september was rainy and chilly. inspiration enough to pull out this project - about half done - and get to it.
now i am feeling the old knitting yen percolating up ... and with a three day weekend (yah) have visions of sorting thru the stash (around the apt and in the studio in the basement) and gathering all the UFOs and WIPs that are in hiding - for a big sort and clear out to figure out what's worth finishing and what needs to be frogged.
may wait til sunday for this as saturday is supposed to be warmish as well... but once that cold front moves in... playing with wool wont be a chore.
now if i can only find a source of unedited* copies of the second season of HOMELAND without having to subscribe to showtime...
amazon is suspiciously quiet as to season two being available on instant video (purchase or rental). bummer. *CRACKLE is showing it with edits and VUDU which has the real version doesnt work with my ROKU box. yes i am obssessed with this show - and am figuring out when i can buy a new roku (mine is one of the originals).
will sign off with a photo of the garden with the crazy roses blooming...love that the begonias are still going strong.
lets start with this lively photo of Queen Elizabeth in her first official Diamond Jubilee appearance - this is the first time I have ever seen the Queen in RED and such a glorious red...and if you notice that hat - its KNITTED!!!!
and here is a closer look at that HAT! would love to see more .. but that is the best photo I could find.
* * *
some things happening finally for the better in this house... more to come soon as superstition reigns supreme ... until all is dotted and crossed and in place... suspense will continue.
* * * in other news, what a weird winter - i do almost feel as if i am living in Louisiana again - i did treat myself to using the heat over last weekend - the first time in over three years (yes really) - its a new furnace and hopefully the bill wont be too much more (penny pinching still rules) but i needed wanted to celebrate a bit and also had a few days off. so instead of a short trip decided to staycation and turn on the heat.
the cats were rather amazed that they didn't need to burrow under wool blankets or cuddle together (well, not really together - opposite ends of the sofa) how i envy them their fur coat sometimes - but not really this winter.
[side note - what happened to the Flickr app for chrome? its missing... I started this post using scribe fire and then went back to blog jet which never published the posts so now I am using windows live writer… and it seems to be pretty good.]
up there they are inspecting a new toy … which of course has disappeared… along with a few others
this week we are seeing temps in the mid 40s!!! in FEBRUARY!!! whew... i shudder to think of the summer if this is the winter
Remembrance Dayis this week (along with Armistice Day/Veteran’s Day) and here in Canada we wear a poppy to remember the sacrifices of those who came before, and to remind ourselves to look to the future in peace.
These knit poppies are super quick to knit and I love that we as knitters can make them with our own two hands (and pointy sticks).
my vista laptop had been getting slower and slower and crashing and finally -
WHUMP ! ENOUGH! Time for a cleanup!
last night copied off all important files to the portable hard drive and then WIPED the WHOLE DANG THING and ran system recovery set to "Fresh From the Factory"
of course one consequence is the time it takes to reinstall necessary and wanted programs - but am taking much care to install only what is really needed. part of the reason the laptop was falling apart and misbehaving so badly was an, uhm, propensity to try out new things - and after two years, things like file sectors and memory were a bit messy.
usually do a clean sweep at least once a year - somehow let it slide much too long.
its so nice to have a fresh clean laptop running fast and responding quickly
yeah so i havent posted in a while - well, truthfully - a loooooooooong while... why has to do with part of why i AM posting today (night?)
it was one of those days - where i spent two hours dealing with stupid and vindictive financial people (with a few reallllly nice and helpful ones in the midst) and then went to the place where i work (LPJ) and things went from bad to worse: a really good worker/colleague has given notice - the second one in three months - can we say rats and sinking ship?
then i come home to find the REALLY good pair of pants that i had to wear cause tmy work pants had not finished dryng before i had to leave - anyway - the REALLY good pair HAD F#*$(#G bleach stains down the front of one of the pants legs. not even not noticeable little ones - but huge splotches.
i am soaking that leg in a ton of SHOUT but the bottle even says it probably wont get out bleach - and i am SO F-ing FURIOUS... and feeling so impotent - dont really have the money to replace these GOOD pants and hate that they were ruined making such little money that i cant even replace them - well i could replace them and just not eat next week. or not feed the cats. or not buy gas - oops need to buy gas to get to the LPJ
i guess i will have to try to dye them ... or use a sharpie.. UGH UGH UGH
at least in the pouring rain when i came home i found a parking spot near my apt and didnt have to park/walk several blocks away.