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This week’s Sunday Images are here.

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I took that walk down by the river that I waxed poetic about in my last post. Half way through the hour long trek MONA (Mother Nature) straightened me right out. A strong wind was blowing down river from the north. If a wind is coming from the north at this time of year chances are it’s cold. Froze my eyeballs at the halfway point in the walk and realized I really wasn’t properly attired for a constant, cold wind. So I turned around with my back towards the wind and continued walking only backwards. There’s a bit of cosmic irony in that, but let’s not plumb the depths. By the time I finished, my hands were frozen, I couldn’t feel my face, and my brain was numb. In short, it worked out well.

Today I am determined to pull together this lace shawl design. I’d like to be knitting swatches in earnest by this evening, photographing them by Saturday night, and sending the pictures out to the company Sunday evening. I get a low throbbing in my left temple each time I run that schedule through my mind. It’s either a blood pressure warning or an impending migraine.

The swatches I’ll be knitting are Shetland Lace designs. All will be in the form of lace knitting in that wrong side rows are not rest rows of purl from one end of the circular needles to the other. No, the wrong side rows are patterned too and one must remember to reverse what is on the charts. Thus it is important to remember whether I am on a right side row and knit the chart as is or a wrong side row and reverse those directional decreases. I can’t have myriad interruptions and work on Shetland Lace at the same time without messing up. In fact, the ideal place for me to knit Shetland Lace is a cloister where the occupants have taken a vow of silence. The least ideal place for this type of knitting is where I am currently living.

I need to have 4 to 5 swatches of 25 to 35 stitches and 20 to 30 rows each. I have searched and for the life of me, can’t find my lace needles; the ones with the extra sharp points. Blunt points don’t work well with this kind of lace. But blunt points is all I can find in the needle cache. It sounds like it is going to be a long, tear filled night, but I am trying to stay positive. It’s still very cold and windy out. The river has whipped itself up into a fine froth and I think I may be coming down with a head cold. But I must stay cheery and positive because I don’t want to take another walk.

Here’s to getting things done. Have a great weekend.

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Need I say it? Yes, it’s snowing. It seems as if it’s never really stopped. I managed to make the rounds to hardware stores in the area looking for a roof rake, to get at least some of the snow and the 4″ /(10) cm of ice off. I am seriously worried about roof damage at this point. My search was an adventure, vexing at times, but an adventure nonetheless. In short, it was like looking for a unicorn.

In some stores when I asked for a roof rake, the workers just stared at me as if I no longer was speaking English. For them, I just turned and walked away. No sense in explaining, they were not going to understand. In other stores, the workers were happy to yell to each other in their grating New York accent only lifelong New Yorkers have “Hey Louie, you got rakes? The lady wants a rake!” And then the worker inevitably looks back at me with a look on his face that says he so wants to ask “Hey Lady, you gonna rake leaves?” Yuk, Yuk, Yuk. For them, I roll my eyes, turn and walk away.

The snow is thigh deep. It is impossible to walk the yard save where we shoveled for Yarn Rascal. The piles made from snow that has been plowed almost reach the lower branches on our trees. Driving is a crap shoot. Every intersection is blind. You can’t see if cars are coming or not because the snow piles are so wide and high that they block your view until you’ve eased out enough to get hit. “Hey lady, you gonna rake leaves?”

Last night the local news channel had a segment on how to remove the snow and ice from roofs. It was worthy of a Saturday Night Live skit. At first, I really thought they were kidding. According to the segment the solution was taking a regular ball peen hammer, climbing up a ladder and hammering the ice and snow off the roof without hitting or destroying the roof shingles. The snow that is wrapped around the house comes up to my chest because of drifting. Where, pray tell, am I going to get close enough to safely plant a ladder without digging out the entire perimeter of the house? By the time I finish digging out the perimeter I will: A) be dead of a heart attack; B) if I’m not dead, I certainly will be too exhausted to climb a ladder to hammer my roof; C) have gone insane.

This, ladies and gentlemen is why I knit, especially while watching TV. The movement of my hands, wrapping the yarn around the needle, adjusting the knitted fabric, knitting some more, adjusting some more, is soothing to my soul. I feel it’s comfort and relaxation in my heart and soul first, and then my mind has no other place to go but to follow. It’s why I won’t be out there with a ball peen hammer and ladder. It’s why I can embark on a journey to find a unicorn and return with mind intact. My knitting is there for me. No matter what, my knitting is there.

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Mother Nature’s Anger

The people who name winter storms for The Weather Channel have a strange sense of humor. The latest one to blow through here, Pax, the Latin word for peace, was the exact opposite of its name.

Gentle, peaceful, orderly, none of these words apply to this latest angry rant from Mother Nature. In fact, only the completely brain-dead could miss this latest message from Nature: she’s really angry.

When I was younger, there was a commercial that ran incessantly on US television for a margarine that came in a tub. The point was the tub of chemicals tasted exactly like butter. In the commercial they had Mother Nature dressed in her soft Spring finery tasting the margarine and agreeing it was butter. Then the snide voice over came in with the name of the product. The next shot contained a bolt of lightning, thunder, wind and rain with Mother Nature saying “It’s not nice to fool Mother Nature.” I couldn’t get that tag line out of my head yesterday as I watched the weather deteriorate.

The snow fell at a blinding rate. Visibility went down to pretty near zero. On top of the snow and ice already here, it quickly piled up, covering the bottom third of the first floor windows. Let me repeat that. The snow fall was so great that it reached and covered the bottom third of the first floor windows. It wasn’t a light fluffy snow either. It was heavy and wet, the kind they call heart attack snow. It’s impossible to shovel. The Skipper and I took turns keeping a small area open for Yarn Rascal. The storm was so bad, even Yarn Rascal got the message. Yesterday was the first time in his whole 1 year existence that he had fast and short business transactions.

At dinner time it grew uncomfortably warm outside. After spending most of the winter in below freezing temperatures 34 degrees (1.1 celsius) feels like 70 (21 celsius), positively balmy. Enter lightning and thunder.

The thunderstorm was quite a show. The lightning was like watching a light show put on by someone strung out on speed. Even the thunder couldn’t keep up. Though the thunder was exceptional in itself. The rolling sound never seemed to stop and the concussive blasts shook the walls, rattled the plates in the cupboards, and was felt through the floor. The lights flickered, threatening to go out. Yarn Rascal was a model of good behavior because he was so scared. The rain poured down, then sleet and then white out snow. It was awesome to watch.

Today, the sun is out. Tomorrow another storm is coming. More snow. It’s not nice to fool with Mother Nature.

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The full spectrum of this year’s winter fashions was masterfully exemplified by the House of MoNa and its preeminent designer Mother Nature, last night. The runways, streets, highways and byways, in dales and villages and city, nothing was left untouched by her serene palette of whites, greys, and browns re-imagined and reinvigorated for a true 21st century look.

brocade of silver ice

Whether gown, jacket, or casual dress, brocades of silver ice decorated it. Peeking out from beneath a jacket of ombre colors of burnt sienna, ecru and burnt umber

grey green brown ecru

or encrusted on the top half of a gown, silver ice brocade is the fashion update this season.

front in ice

MoNa made her traditional greys, browns, and whites in many varied shades pop with surprising splashes of color. Turquoise,

turquoise snow shovel

orange,

orange

and glints of copper provided a fresh update to MoNa’s neutral palette.

bird feeder in snow

MoNa’s greens ran from lively

greens of winter

to dusky beneath silver ice brocade.

tree snow

The good news, MoNa is repeating this show 2 days from now. Tickets are available from the Weather Channel.

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Snow fell again yesterday. The Weather Channel and local forecasters said it would be a quick storm starting at 7 am and ending at noon. No more than an inch (2.5 cm) or three (7.5 cm). They lied. It snowed the entire day covering all the crucial areas I dug out for Yarn Rascal. As the snow storm lingered and the day grew later my concern over Yarn Rascal’s lack of business transactions increased and I realized no amount of relaxation techniques can halt a migraine that comes from nerves stretched to the fraying point. For while The Skipper and I had no food in the house, Yarn Rascal’s pantry is always well-stocked. Thus, I spent yesterday watching crucial bare ground disappear under heavily falling snow, while Yarn Rascal packed away the food. Yes, he spent yesterday eating like there was to be no tomorrow.

We have 2 acres of yard. When Yarn Rascal wasn’t eating, he was outside with me. Every 30 minutes we walked every inch of that snow and ice landscape to no avail. Even though the roads were not fit for driving (New York state, to my constant amazement each winter, is unable to clear snow from its roads) I called our vet to find out how long can a 13 pound dog last without a business transaction. But they had closed early because of the storm. I toyed with the idea of leaving a message with the answering service. Was this enough of an emergency to bother the vet or should I wait until the sound of my blood pressure gently pounded in my ears? In the meantime, Yarn Rascal scampered back and forth with his toys and eyed the Shetland Yarn on top of the desk well out of his reach. (Yes I started the Shetland Baby Shawl and completed 20 rows of some 400 rows needed for the center.)

Bedtime came and still no business transactions. Yarn Rascal slept straight through the night, very unusual for him.

Up with the sun, Yarn Rascal bounded out into the blinding white snow this morning and viola! A grand business transaction. Honestly, I don’t know if I’m going to make it through the winter sane.

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Four inches (10 cm) of snow and two inches (5 cm) of ice, not bad if I’m a penguin. But I’m human walking an 11 month old Bichon who is experiencing winter for the first time and…well…I’d rather be a penguin.

Even in the best weather conditions Yarn Rascal needs to walk the equivalent of half the length of the Appalachian Trail before getting down to business. In snow, ice and cold it’s a walk that seems a whole lot longer. I got ready for our “little” before bedtime trek by putting on all my knitted equipment: socks, cowl, hat, mittens. Then I readied Yarn Rascal by wrestling him into his new winter jacket. I tried and failed to put boots on his flailing little feet. I’d get one on, he’d chew it off before I could finish shoving on the second boot. After struggling to put the same boot on the little octopus three times I gave up.

Out we went for what I hoped was a quick business transaction. While Yarn Rascal twinkle-toed it across the top of the ice-covered snow, I kept falling through the ice cover. My gait resembled Frankenstein’s first steps as the monster comes alive. Yarn Rascal ice danced for 28 freezing minutes without performing one business transaction. Slowly, my frozen brain realized the problem. Yarn Rascal was looking for, but not finding, the scents he needed in order to get a business transaction moving. The wonderland of snow and ice had covered everything. I returned Yarn Rascal to the warm house.

It took some digging, but I hit bare, albeit frozen, ground. I took Yarn Rascal back out and showed it to him. Ten minutes later and still nothing. I put Yarn Rascal back in the house and headed out with the shovel again. I scanned the smooth, white surface trying to recognize the spots Yarn Rascal particularly favored. It was amazing how difficult it was to pinpoint favorite spots with everything covered so thoroughly. I lacked reference points. One of his favorite business centers was five paces to the right of a fallen tree branch with moss growing on it. The branch was memorable because somehow it had landed in the middle of the yard well away from any tree. Where the heck was that branch in all this?

In the daylight the yard looks like a shelling took place. Frozen, bare patches of land pock mark the yard in no apparent order. Yarn Rascal still takes forever to conduct business but at least he has choices. And, I am proud to say, I did find that tree branch after all.

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