Knit the Dog

[...because if I ever run out of yarn--- I can just knit the dogs.]

Sunday, July 26, 2009

The Summer of '75

I drove down to Troy this morning to pick up Phil after he had ridden his cycle the 60 miles there, and as I watched 220 spool away into the heat I wondered if the current budget crisis has stopped a lot of roadside mowing-- things are looking pretty shaggy along the highway, and NCDOT generally prides itself on landscaping. Which made me think of my stint with a mowing and maintenance crew in '75. As a college senior (kind of an old one) I needed a summer job; I was hired as the Very First Female Maintenance Crew Member of Greenbelt Park, MD. Given the decades I grew up in, and being in the field I was in, I did a lot of Very-First-Female [fill in the blank] jobs.
I learned to sort of drive a tractor that summer, although after I almost put it through the back of the garage they mostly had me on the riding mowers. I painted a lot of buildings and fences with a mysterious tarry brown substance called "cooping oil" [later figured out it was Cuprinol, a wood preservative.] Whenever things were slow we'd take a trash bag and walk the trails and parking lots, "picking sanitation"--- their curious term for collecting trash. The low point was periodic weekend garbage collection duty, going in on Sunday with the big truck to clean up the messes made by Saturday picnicers. For some reason church groups were the worst. Actually anybody who had a crab feast was totally the nadir. Crab feasts are endemic to Maryland; you buy a bushel or three of live crabs, end their lives in boiling steam with a sprinkle of Old Bay seasoning, and dig in with beer on the side. Then all the shells and gooey bits get thrown into a thin plastic trash bag, the sharp shells poke holes, it sits in the hot sun fermenting, and when you try to pick up the (always too full) bag the whole mess gets dumped on the ground. Such fun!
When I left for the fall semester, the foreman 'lowed as how he'd likely hire him a few gals the next summer since I had worked out purty well. Oh, the progress.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

And one more bug

They're getting their revenge. Seriously. I was driving from Old Navy down to the grocery, and felt something on my leg-- yeah, a spider the size of a quarter. I slapped at it and brushed it away, freaking out in traffic, but thankfully keeping the Honda on the road. But now there was a Live Spider. In My Car. With full, unfettered access to my delicate person. I got to the grocery, jumped out, did a pat-down and shook out my hair just in case, and then took the car apart. Of course, no spider. So I talked myself down from the adrenaline party, did my shopping, came back and searched the car again (I fully expected to find it in the driver's seat waiting for me.) This time I spotted a somewhat condensed and probably dead arachnid and made SURE it was dead with a napkin. Whew. But you know what that means? It means I killed that spider with my bare hand. Ewww, gross. Bleh. Urk.
A few pictures to make up for the blankness of recent blogs-- the striped shrug, closeup of same, current potholder mania, and an incidental shot of backyard greenness.

Monday, July 20, 2009


The shop addition is fully sided and the windows and doors installed, and Phil's been working on the inside stuff. We had a lovely dry cool day yesterday, and I thought I'd get a start on painting the cedar siding. Now, understand that we live surrounded by woods-- urban woods, but still a habitat for lots of beasties. There is some law of nature regarding how long it takes for your house, or new parts thereof, to become part of the habitat-- probably a matter of nanoseconds. So I started to wield my paintbrush and can of primer, and came face to face with ecology. Our house has a ton of ecology: woodpeckers, flying squirrels, regular tree rat squirrels, carpenter bees, wasps, beetles, mice, blacksnakes-- they all aspire to be part of the family. I generally have a laissez faire attitude as long as nothing comes inside. Things with multiple legs are NOT welcome in my house, and will be squashed or sprayed (hairspray is pretty effective on spiders.) Don't even talk to me about ants.
So what do I find on the siding? Positive Roman legions of spiders. Brown ones, gray ones, striped ones, and daddy-long-legs dropping on me from above. I persevered. Also swatted, danced, and said impolite things. A few persistent arachnids are preserved for all time in the paint. Hey, it's not like they were paying rent.
I started Phil's sweater. It's a conventional knit, in pieces, from the bottom up. Didn't like the rib stitch that was described in the pattern; it was really messy looking-- maybe an error? so the body is done in a garter rib, one stitch of rib with 3 stitches of garter between. It's lofty and should be warm. It's also dark navy, and requires awfully good light to knit. Wish me luck!
The striped shrug is done, very comfortable and easy to wear and the knitting ladies on Thursday night admired it generously. [Phil's reaction was "What on earth are you wearing?]
The kids got their house sold, moved into a temp rental, and are looking for another house. Great weight off their minds, getting the old house sold in this market, even in Seattle. The rental is a beach house in West Seattle. I confess I didn't even know there was a beach; it must have been a summer getaway before the city grew out to engulf the area. Should be fun for a few months. I hope to get out soon.
Off to Monday knitting-- sanity reinforcement for the week.