Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Blooming Angora

Today's good thing is that I finished the skein of angora yarn for Sarah's mother in South Korea last night.  It's one ply of Andy & Genny fur and one ply of a luxurious 80/20 merino silk top called chocolate cherry (black, white, and red).  The result is greys and blacks with a pop of red every now and then.  It's not the most colorful skein in the world, but who knows what colors Sarah's mom likes, and this is fairly neutral.

You can see the lovely angora halo
already starting to bloom

On the way out of the gym this morning I made it a game to greet everyone with a cheery "good morning," instead of slouching by anonymously.  It's surprising the lift you get from being greeted by eight or ten complete strangers. 

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Catching Up

I've been busy since we got back from Florida!  Wednesday, Kate called all upset and sick and wanted me to come down to Danville -- so I got a room at Shakertown and went down to be a mommy.  Of course, by the time I got there, she felt much better and her cold and sinus infection are almost completely gone by now.  :) 

I took Sam with me to Shakertown because they have a few pet friendly rooms there and I thought seeing Sam would cheer Kate up.  It did.  He was so funny!  A cow mooed outside the window and he was so confused.  First he barked, and then he hid.  He had no idea what that horrible creature could be! 

Kate came home with me over the weekend and got some more rest.  In fact, by Sunday she felt well enough to sing a solo for the meditation after communion and received a spontaneous round of applause after the service.  :)

On Saturday, I got to go to The Wool Gathering in Yellowsprings, OH with Lynne and Kerry and Mary Anne.  It was a beautiful day and I had a blast soaking up all the wooly goodness and seeing so many of my friends.  The fiber people have their own community and I just kept running into people I know.  It was a good feeling.

Kerry, Mary Anne, and Lynne

This gentleman let us pet his beautiful French Angora

My friend, Lisa, was there with her
excellent Blue Faced Leicester wool.
It was great to see her in person, instead of
just through the Internet!

Lisa's hand dyed Blue Faced Leicester locks

Some of the many gorgeous offerings of wool!
Of course, I added to my stash.  First and foremost, I bought a takli -- which is a small support spindle -- and a bowl for it.  I also got a little bit of fiber to spin with it and, of course, two skeins of sock yarn (which doesn't count as stash, right?), some buttons, and some other odds and ends.  

Additions to my stash
Last, but not least, the caterpillars are growing by leaps and bounds.  Here is one a few days ago:
And here are two of them today: 

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Here We Go Again

Well, wouldn't you know it.  Yesterday's post saw the caterpillar's transformation completed and the beautiful butterfly flying into the sky.  This morning, when I went out to check on the rabbits and give Andy his regular parsley treat, I found more caterpillars on the parsley!  This time, I found them much younger because I knew what I was seeing.  The youngest caterpillars are mostly brown with a white horizontal stripe. The ones I found before had already grown out of that stage. 
So, I found three caterpillars:  two of the small ones with a white stripe and one larger yellow and black striped one.  I'm back in the caterpillar business again!  I figure it's a fair trade.  I save them from predators and they entertain me.  Everybody's happy. 
My high tech caterpillar habitat
Speaking of the circle of life, my sister-in-law Amy sent me a couple of prints of a picture she has of my great-grandfather, Daniel Frank Parker.  I need to scan the photo in and add it my collection and post it on   It's amazing how many old photos we've been able to turn up since I got interested in this project.  I wonder what kind of car/truck he's standing beside?

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


In all the excitement of our Florida trip, I completely forgot the Black Swallowtail butterflies!  When we left, they were all in their chrysalises and I wasn't sure when they were planning to come out.  The references said between one and two weeks, but that it could be longer if it was late in the season.  I figured that the basement was so cool that the butterflies might think it was fall. 

After getting home last night, I finally remembered the butterflies this afternoon and went down to check on them.  This is what I found:

It looks like two of the four caterpillars emerged while we were in Florida and lived out their short lives.  I found one on the desk and one under my chair.  The beauty in the pictures above probably emerged today and was still drying its wings.  There's a fourth chrysalis, but it doesn't look right and I don't think the butterfly survived. 

Sam and I took the little guy in the basement outside to meet the wide world.  It was great watching him take flight. 

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Last Day in Paradise

Today is our last full day in Florida, so I'm not going to spend a long time on the computer.  I just wanted to note two fun things that happened. 

First, the day we got here, we were in Orlando eating dinner and it occurred to us that Giles might have a show.  Giles Davies is a fabulous actor who was Ally's mentor at the Cincinnati Shakespeare Company.  He was with the company for about eight years and was one of the originators of the Groundlings program for high school students that Ally was a part of. 

After being in one place for so long, he decided -- in a way that only a true artist and otherwise unattached person could do -- that he needed to move on.  So, he put his necessities in the car and called over a bunch of his friends -- including Ally -- and gave away everything that didn't fit in the car.  She still treasures the tweed cap and a couple of well-worn volumes of Shakespeare with his notes written in them.  He had no real destination or plans.  He just took off.  He got acting jobs around the country, but eventually settled in Florida in the Tampa Bay area.  I think he likes the warm weather. 

So, sitting at the dinner table in Orlando, we asked ourselves whether Giles had a performance that night and, thanks to the Internet, we learned that he did. A new theatre company had just opened in the Tampa Bay area called A Simple Theatre and he was in the second night performance of their opening offering of "Death and the Maiden."  So, we drove over to Tampa to see it. 

It was fabulous.  Of course it was, Giles was in it.  The other two actors in the three person cast were just as talented though.  The story was riveting and the storytellers were superb.  As one of the reviewers said, I had a headache after seeing the show, probably because I had forgotten to breathe for an hour and a half.  In brief, it was about a woman who had been tortured in a previous political regime and was suffering post traumatic stress.  Her husband had a flat tire on the way home and was brought home by a good samaritan -- but she insisted the stranger was actually her torturer and took him captive.  Giles played the stranger brilliantly and I won't say more about the plot. 

The second fabulous thing that happened during our stay I've already discussed with Annette at length.  The Disney Vero Beach Vacation Club played host to a swarm of red darner dragonflies for two days.  They don't bite and they eat mosquitoes, so they were welcome.  They were actually very cool looking  -- hundred of dragonflies zipping around in a frenzy.  According to the locals, it's a common occurrence this time of year and it's probably a feeding swarm eating the plentiful mosquitoes and other bugs.  It was hard to get a good look at them because they were flying high and fast, but the resort naturalist thought they were red darners.  We couldn't capture any actual specimens without killing them and I couldn't find any dead bodies. Odd that, with so many of them flying around.  After a couple of days, they went back to more normal behavior -- flying low and sauntering along, just a few at a time. 

Last -- this is for the girls -- I took a bunch of pictures of the resort.  I realize that even though we've been coming here since they were babies, we don't have pictures of the restaurant or the lobby or some of the other common areas.  So, I took a bunch of pictures and I'm posting them.  Ha!  Ha!  We're at Vero and you're not!  At least, not until we come down again at Christmas. 

Friday, September 9, 2011

Fun in Florida

Jeff and I are having a wonderful time in Florida -- we're just relaxing and doing only what we want to do.  Well ... I'm relaxing, Jeff has been on the phone with work for a significant amount of time each day.  Still, he's been in a relaxed mood overall.

We started out in Orlando last Saturday and spent Sunday cruising Epcot.  I got some pictures of the various countries and picked up some small souvenirs. 
Here's Jeff acting silly in Canada
The gardens of Canada
An interesting artwork in Mexico -- Are there seriously no bathrooms
at Mexico?  That's what I was told.  I had to go to Norway.
The Viking exhibit at Norway
A lovely wood carving in Norway
The entrance to China
Lovely water gardens in China.
The US Pavilion -- sort of appropriate that it has
storm clouds over it.
I loved this bronze decoration in the US Pavilion
This would be a perfect Disney job for Kate.
  There's a chorus that sings before the US show -- they
get to be indoors in the air conditioning and dress in Civil War era garb.
Sounds like a very sweet gig.
After we looked around Epcot, we went to the Flying Fish restaurant on the Boardwalk and sat at the counter so we could watch the chefs work.
I had a wonderful cheese platter and took a picture of the menu so maybe I can find the cheeses when I get home.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Tomato Love and Other Things

Jeff and I are in Florida.  We got the girls settled at college and then took off for some quality empty nester time.  However, before we left I took several pictures that I want to share. 

First, Andy seems to be all well.  He had a recheck with the vet last Thursday and the vet proclaimed him cured.  Yay!!!  He's one tough rabbit. 
Second, here's a picture of Ally moving into her dorm.  It wasn't such a big deal for her since this is the third time she's done it.  She was happy to see her friends and get settled. 

Third, I got a cool picture of a strange mushroom clump that sprouted in our front yard. It's weird looking. 

Last, tomatoes are delicious.  Our backyard is full of them and I've been making wonderful caprese salads.  Something like this can make a nice dinner for me. 

I also grew some Principe Borghese heirloom tomatoes, which I later learned are not as good for eating fresh as they are for drying.  So I've been drying them.  After 6 or so hours in the oven on low, they turn out sweet and chewy and delicious.  I suspect we'll be enjoying them all winter.  Here they are before drying:
And here they are afterward. 

They look better before drying, but they are quite tasty dried.