Friday, December 29, 2006

Old Friends!

I just re-read the phrase I used to describe Karen - oldest best friend.

OK - she's not the oldest of my friends, but the best friend I've known the longest!

We met in the 6th grade when I changed schools and felt like an alien in my new school. She tried to teach me how to play Greek Dodge so I wouldn't be so pathetic in the schoolyard. It is rather pathetic to keep your hands in your coat pockets while someone is throwing a large ball at you.

My buddy Norman is probably my Oldest best friend...

These are meant to be honorary rather than perjorative titles.

Thursday, December 28, 2006


I forwarded an email around today about remembering the Holocaust, and I got back some positive responses. One was a real surprise - an old photograph from around 1982 of me with my oldest best friend Karen. I was playing the sousaphone in the Bread and Puppet band for their annual Resurrection Circus, and Karen and I were talking between shows.

That's the circus bus in the background. It would have been August in Northern Vermont, and I'm wearing an Aran style sweater that I designed and knit. (Fiber content!) It was a fairly successful design, except that the ribbing stretched out after a few washings, and I discovered that rural life with a wood stove is not compatible with white sweaters. Oh, and the sleeves are too short!! I still have it in the attic, and someday I might add on to the sleeve cuffs.

Karen's brother Steve sent this to me in an email that just said - Memories - of all types. As the picture appeared, scrolling from the top down I started laughing as I recognized the photo. My workmates came over to see what I was laughing about. The combination of the time and place and what it felt like to be alive that day; the unexpected return to that moment was simply delightful.

Thanks, Steve.

We've been kind of busy with collecting and returning our older relatives for the Christmas holiday, and getting back to work to continue preparations for First Night Leesburg and First Night Warrenton. December 31st is a very busy night for Bluemont, and all five of us are actively involved.

I will be singing at First Night Leesburg, in the St. James Episcopal sanctuary which has simply gorgeous acoustics. I'm performing 2 sets with my trio - Sine Nomine, and then one set solo. Sine Nomine is Linda Conti, Maggie Siner and myself and we perform a cappella early music, mostly European sacred music. We rehearsed at St. James this afternoon and it was such a pleasure to sing in that space, like playing a really good instrument.

My solo set will also be a cappella, old traditional songs from England, Ireland and Scotland. I'm looking forward to the evening.

I still need to take some photos to post about my holiday knitting, but hopefully that will come soon.

Friday, December 15, 2006

The Best Possible News

Some of you who know me already will know that our Lily has been undergoing treatment for ovarian cancer this fall. We've had a really challenging year.

Lily had her last chemo session the weekend before Thanksgiving, and had a cat scan on December 12th. We arranged a conference call with her doctor today so that her Dad & I and Lily could all talk to him together, and he told us that her scans were all normal. Normal.

It's simply the best possible news we could have. A tremendous and welcome gift.

Our heartfelt thanks to all our friends and family who have offered up prayers, white light and good wishes. Love to you all.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

A Lily poem

My first born daughter is working on her poetry portfolio today and we've been emailing about a poem. She said I could share it with you here.

The Art of Simple Life

July Fourth I come home
to a light brown linen tent, set
into the backyard, with heavy
sides that sway only a little in the wind.
The tent hugs a big barn loom, five by five
by six feet, built a hundred years ago, rebuilt
a hundred times by my mother;
in Connecticut and Vermont

and Virginia. Often she spins the thread
for the warp, the big wheel in our house
facing west towards the blue
mountains where I was born. I eat cold boiled potatoes

sliced in half, with salt and pepper, and drink a tall dark
Swiss beer. Nothing big happens. There is enough time. Moving
from upstairs to down the air pushes weightless layers of my
skirt to my elbows, suspending my heels mid-air in the moment.

This is such a welcome addition to my day. I was driving in to work this morning and thinking about Grace. I feel like I've been looking for more grace in my life, and this morning the phrase "Give us grace for today, feed the famished affections" popped up in my mind and I savored the feeling of famished affections. Grace. And here comes our Lily, with a poem that speaks of grace.

The photie is of my Fiber Pavilion, which Peter & I set up on the 4th of July this summer so I could weave on one of my big ol' looms. The warp was a wool blanket woven in the old style, half width to be seamed up the center. This warp has a pattern of 7 blue stripes that run up the sides of the blanket. The design comes from the time of box beds in Scotland, where the weaver did not trouble with pattern except where it would show, hanging out the side of the box bed.

Miss R still has my camera, but I promise a photo of the finished blanket soon.

Monday, December 4, 2006

Well, here goes... I have a very specific reason for wanting to start a blog. I have previously thought that I didn't have time to keep a blog, but I have decided that I must take control of my online yarn buying habit and so I will blog when I would have been shopping. And I hope to do some serious destashing while I'm here - and elsewhere.

So. I am a weaver, knitter, spinner and I teach all these things as well - when I can squeeze it in around my job, my family and the rest of my life. I'm also a singer: I sing unaccompanied traditional songs from Ireland, Scotland and England along with a little American shape note music, and I sing early European music with a trio called Sine Nomine.

I live in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley of Virginia with my husband and our three daughters. We have cats and corgis.

More about this and more, in the days to come.