Friday, September 23, 2005

Retired Blog

As of September 23, 2005, this blog has officially been retired. The archives will be maintained for any who wish to browse them, but there will be no new posts.

My adventures continue, however, and you can keep reading them at my new blog, I Knit Around.

Thank you for reading, and I hope you'll stay with me on the next leg of my journey.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

It's About Time

As of tomorrow, this blog and four others will be retired. They will be replaced with my new blog, I Knit Around, to which I have been cross-posting this week.

The blogs that are retiring are:
I have found that under my current reality, I want a single blog that presents an integrated view of these aspects of my life, since any given day may see several of these subjects mixed together.

If you are a regular reader of any of these five blogs, please join me at the new site. It will contain all the topics you've been reading about until now, only they will be presented in context as a part of my whole life, not just one aspect. The URL to bookmark is:
Three other blogs will remain separate. They are:
The first of these is my beading blog, and that subject still has enough life of its own to merit a dedicated blog. The last two aren't entirely used as blogs - they are more like project-specific databases. And so they stay as well.

At some point, I'll be changing my homepage as well. It has served as a central hub for all my blogs, and obviously that purpose changes somewhat now. I will likely be using a blog format there, with links on the sidebar and current news and updates listed in the posts.

My thanks to all of you (it's what, at least three, right?) who have been reading my oft-times odd posts. I enjoy what blogging does as it helps me examine my life and strive to find better focus and understanding.

Friday, September 02, 2005

All I Can Think About Today


Give what you can, how you can.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Extra Security on Duty at Souhegan Bank Branch

(As always, click on the pictures to view a larger image.)

I went for a walk down Main Street in Wilton the other night, and found that the local office of Souhegan Bank had installed an extra layer of security on their Night Depository. They hired staff to guard the installation, too.

Wide-reaching Security Net is Cast

Diligent Guard Doubles as
Maintenance Staff for Security Net

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Plant Identification

No Fotos to post today - I'm having issues about the capacity of my hard drive to hold them, and have had to spend a lot of time today eliminating unnecessary files from my computer to make it run better. Like both versions of The Sims that I haven't played in months, and am not likely to play any time in the future.

The capacity issue is entirely the fault of the fun I'm having with picture-taking. Having the larger memory card for my camera makes it all the easier to snap images everywhere I go. My 40 Gb hard drive, which once upon a time was huge and not likely to ever be filled up (my husband and I have not succumbed to the lure of downloadable music), started groaning and bulging at the seams from the sheer volume of pictures I've been taking.

All that aside, I do have news relating to the previous post to mention. The great thing about putting stuff out on a blog is you can solicit opinions from many, many people as to what they are. The plant in the first pictures in that post, with the brown berries, was an unknown to me. Two of my friends reported back with the identity - one said "Solomon's Seal", the other said "False Solomon's Seal."

Clearly, further research was needed. I looked on the web, and found that true Solomon's Seal wouldn't have the clusters of berries at the end of the stem the way my plant did. Almost at the same time, the friend who said "False Solomon's Seal" wrote back with further description of the two plants and which was which, matching what I'd learned.

Isn't the Internet wonderful?

Monday, August 15, 2005

Color Stories, and Mystery Wood

Emerson Park in Milford is turning out to be a frequent source of interesting photos for me. Gryphon and I were there again recently, and as small as the park is, we keep spotting new things.

I don't know what this plant is, but I was drawn to the magnificent mix of colors. Green, chartreuse, yellow, and brown, all combined with those wonderful, speckled berries. I suspect this is a colorway that will turn up in some beadwork or knitting or something one of these days.
It looks sickly - on death's door, even - but what a color set!
Eye-catching colors
Speckled berries - great texture!
The berries tie the whole thing together

While I was taking the berry pictures, Gryphon noticed something up high in the trees.
Look, up in the sky! It's a's a's a board nailed to a tree trunk!
What were they thinking?

A board without a cause.
A Closer Look

Later in the day, we took another ice cream outing. I found these pokeberry plants in the field by the ice cream stand. The bold purple-pink color of the stems amazed me, and it went perfectly with the bright chartreuse unripe berries hanging profusely over the plants.
Doesn't look like much here, but oh, the color in person.
Boring Field Plants...
What a combination of colors
...Surprising Color!

I suspect these colors will find their way into my crafting, too.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Family History, Part Two: My MorMor

I've told you how my mother's father (which is what the Swedish term MorFar means in English) came to America from Sweden, and shown you what a handsome man he was.

Today, it's time for the story of my MorMor - my mother's mother - a woman every bit as beautiful as my grandfather was handsome.

I know less about my grandmother because she really didn't talk about her life. Also, she lived several hours away (until she moved to Denver to be near my aunt and uncle), whereas my grandfather lived in Syracuse near us. (They had divorced in the 70's.) My grandfather was very involved in our lives growing up, and frequently would take one of us kids out alone to have lunch, see a movie, or go window-shopping together, and he'd tell us stories about his life.

Even though they were separated for so many years, in death, they were very much together - we were preparing for the trip to Syracuse to see my grandfather in the hospital where he was in a coma dying from a heart attack, when we got the call from my mother telling us that Grandma had suddenly passed away. My poor aunt and uncle, who lived in Denver, were on their way to Syracuse to be with Grandpa as well; they actually got paged in the airport where they changed planes on the way to be informed that their mother had died back in Denver.

Grandpa died two days later. Personally, I felt that he somehow held on until everyone who was going to be able to make it to Syracuse got there. And then he passed the next morning, when no family members were with him. I hear people often do that, even if they're in a coma - wait to die until the family isn't there.

I don't know Grandma's maiden name. Her married name was Astrid Frodin. She came from Sweden sometime in the 20's, I think. I know it can't have been earlier, because as a young woman in Stockholm, she was a catalog model for a major department store.

One of our family treasures that is in my keeping is a set of pictures of Grandma, clipped from that catalog. We found them in her apartment when she was moved into a nursing home in Denver. The clippings were tucked into a fragment of an envelope with some faded blue writing on it in Swedish. None of us read Swedish, and it was a long time before I found someone who could translate it for us.

I arranged the clippings - even the envelope - on my scanner, and this is what I got (click on the picture to see the detail):
Astrid as a Young Model in Stockholm

The little names beneath the pictures are the names of the fashion items she is wearing. The scan came out well; you can even see the envelope turned on its side in the bottom right-hand corner. A few years ago, I ran across a woman in the artists' studios here in Wilton who was able to translate it for me, at least roughly. It reads "Here are some pictures I found of a woman that I thought were funny." Or words to that effect. I suspect that a friend or family member may have clipped them and sent them to my grandmother, wherever she was at the time.

These are a rare treasure, and after my grandparents both died, I tried to think of a way to share them among the family members. The clippings are very fragile, but one of the pleasures comes from handling them in much their original form. I put my brain to the puzzle, and came up with creating sets of photo magnets. I bought sheets of magnetic ink-jet "paper", printed out the page several times as you see it, and cut around the clippings.

The resulting thin magnets, on handling, felt much like playing with the clippings in your hand does. I packed the sets up and sent them along to my mother. She was leaving for a trip with her brother and sister to take Grandpa's ashes and scatter them on the Pacific Coast, as he had wished. She was able to give them each a set of the magnets for their own.

I do need to re-do the magnets one of these days. I found that the set I made for myself has faded badly, even in normal household light. Technology (and the rise of computer crafting) has improved the options available. I just have to get around to it.

The other picture I have of my grandmother is a professional portrait. The folder the picture is mounted in reads "Martel-Howlett Studios", which makes me suspect she had this picture taken after she came to America. Judging from the style of her clothes, I'd guess that this was in the early 1930's.

A Stylish Young Woman

The folder is inscribed, I believe by my grandmother, "Best of viches (sic) to my friend, Astrid". My guess about the odd spelling is that it may have been a joke based on her accent when she first learned English.

Growing up, "going to grandma's house" was a summer ritual for us. We lived in an apartment in Syracuse; she lived in a country house surrounded by fields and streams in Akron, NY (near Buffalo). As a child, Grandpa was there in Akron, too; it wasn't until my teens, when we stopped going each summer anyhow, that they separated. Grandma's House had a huge willow tree in the yard with a split in the trunk at just the right height to help you start climbing - Grandpa built a little platform somewhat above that for us. With the platform to continue from, I was able to climb high enough in that tree to look down on the roof of their two-story house.

My grandmother was a professional seamstress, and her sewing room off the dining room was one of my favorite places in their house. You couldn't walk barefoot in there - there were pins everywhere! She used to help me sew clothes for my Barbie doll, and I used to watch when her clients came to be fitted for dresses. My mother knit and sewed and everything, too, but I'll bet a lot of my love for fiber crafts came from getting that close a look at someone doing it all the time.

My grandparents obviously had their issues, but who doesn't? Each of them was involved in our lives in the way they could be, and each of them had an influence on who we are today. Some of my treasured possessions are seemingly trivial things that remind me of them; a construction paper valentine that I gave my grandfather as a child, which we found among his possessions after he died; kitchen towels with crocheted tops that my grandmother made, which I used until the fabric literally started falling apart, and which I still keep because, well, she made them; a stuffed cat that my grandmother sewed; a teddy bear that my grandfather gave me for my collection. I mean, really silly things, too - I have one large bath towel in the most unusual pea-soup green that used to be my grandmother's. I don't know what I'll ever do if it wears out enough that I can't keep using it.

Somewhere in my heart, though, I know that my grandparents aren't in these trivial things.