Sunday, July 27, 2008

Pulley System

I haven't wanted to blog lately. I don't know why, it just feels pointless and narcissistic. But here I am again blogging. I want to blog about something practical, but again it is practical for me. Like always the view finder is set to as I see it.
My friend, Rachel was over the other night and, as most who visit, liked the basket storage system set up in the house. She like many of us has a storage problem and thought the idea was great. Of course the system only works if like here you have high ceilings. The ceilings in this house are 12 feet. I must admit that despite the impracticality of high ceilings and having half a room you never use, I love them. Also, in houses with close ceilings I start to feel a bit like I am in a cave. I have contributed nothing to this storage system when I moved into Natalie's house she had already put up the basket/pulley system and I have enjoyed it every since.
When we were in college Natalie and I knew a lot of engineers, because, well we went to an engineering college. One of these guys married one of our history major friends. He was a very practical kind of guy who had not only a mechanical engineering degree, but rope experience from his days as an Eagle Scout. He knew his wife needed more space for her pot lids and he came up with this idea to help. He installed a hook from the ceiling, ran a pulley with rope from the hook. Put a clip on the end of the rope and through trial and error figure out optimum location for hooks on the wall. One low hook for high position and one high hook for low position. It is actually more technical than I could do without guidance, but with the right installation you can have yourself a stashapalooza situation. I would be lost if I didn't have the baskets for pot lids, container lids, napkins, etc. Lately, I have been scoping out my front room for possible ancillary yarn stash locations.
The only warning is to always secure the rope, if you let go, you could have a mess. Once the container lids basket got away from me. It dropped on my foot (many expletives were needed) and lids went everywhere. Otherwise there have been in the last 12 years no other incidents worth mentioning. However,sometimes I do play toss the lid in the basket because I am too lazy to lower it, I am a terrible shot so I would not recommend this type of entertainment.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Not dead!

Sorry, not dead, just I have no time. I promise will update soon. In the meantime I will post a photo from my archive of shots. Ahhh! This is a good one to show you a bit about myself! Yes, lets talk about ME!!!

This is the controlled chaos which is the inside of my wardrobe. Strangely it is much like my mind, a huge amount of useless crap that is about to leak out at any minute. Some days I have to shove things into the wardrobe and close the doors quickly. Who knew pressed sawdust could hold this much? Anything beyond this would be blah, blah, blah!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008


The tribe of knitters I have been so fortunate to fall into had one of our now long distance members, Transplantmom(TM), visiting. TM is photographed below between her mother and daughter looking radiant in pink. She is in town and her birthday is tomorrow. It is funny a thing about TM a year ago I didn't know her, not even a little. I didn't know that I would make a space in my heart for her that would feel a little empty these days.
TM and her daughter came to St. Louis last year about this time. Transplantdaughter(TD) needed a pair of lungs and as I have blogged about in the past, TD got a new pair in January. But in the months before and after I got to Know TM fairly well. It was about the time my life was unraveling she (along with a others from the tribe) stood around trying to help me knit it all back together again. She bought me lunch or made me dinner in her tiny kitchen at her hotel suite. And always, no matter how bad her day had been, she had a smile and hug just for me. After awhile I got to a point where I needed those hugs more than she did to function.

And then in May after all the surgeries and time spent in waiting rooms, knitting and knitting, she was gone back to Chicagoland from whence she came. I saw her from across the room tonight, looking beautiful and serene with our tribe of friends around her and I needed that hug to function again. It is as if she has never left and the little hole in my heart from her absence is filled. Amazing me that a year ago I never knew how much I would need that piece which is so uniquely her to be whole. Happy Birthday Transplantmom, love you.

Photograph of TM and her dad doing a jig on Mother's day.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Laura Ingalls Wilder and Rose

Like most little girls I grew up loving the Little House Books. One summer I read through them voraciously wanting to know what adventure Laura was experiencing next. I was also convinced beyond a doubt that my grandmother was the real Laura Ingalls. She grew up in a cabin on a farm in rural Missouri and walked through the woods to school while playing stump tag with her brothers and sisters. They all bathed every Saturday night and rode in a wagon to church on Sunday. The irrefutable proof of her secret identity was she had taught in a one room school before she married my grandfather. She even told me once that she went to work early to earn 5 extra bucks a month by lighting the wood burning stove every morning before lessons. How could she not be for me the embodiment of everything I had read about in those books?

As I grew older and became more aware that my grandmother was not the author of the pioneer narratives I begged her to write her own books. I was convinced that my grandmother would be as beloved as Laura. My grandmother, as so many matriarchs before her, left only an oral tradition behind that my cousins and I still share with one another when we are together with the classic first sentence, "Remember that one time grandma..." Those words are like magic when all 25 of the first cousins are assembled. We hush and look at the storyteller waiting for the jewels of our childhood collective memory to be retold.

For some reason my psyche bound the character of these two women together. This inexplicably connection made me feel protective of the reputation of the amazing woman who wrote books that I love to this day. This idolizing of Laura Ingalls Wilder was then shaken when at a university lecture a visiting professor suggested that Rose Wilder Lane was the actual ghost writer behind the books. Somehow, it felt like he was throwing rocks at the integrity of my heroes. The man, William Holtz, did eventually publish a book, The Ghost in the Little House: the Life of Rose Wilder Lane ( His end thesis was less strident, suggesting instead that Rose, strongly edited her mother's work and developed the narrative to the stories we all know and love. I am still finding this to be a large pill to swallow. I want to believe in the romance that Laura Ingalls Wilder did her own writing, but I think there is some truth in Holtz argument. A truth apparent after I read Travels with Zenobia: Paris to Albania by Model T Ford, the journals of Rose and her friend Helen Dore Boylston as they traveled across Europe in 1926, edited by Holtz. Rose's writing is indeed worthy of the epic Little House series. And in the end I console myself with the thought that it is unimportant who is responsible for the actual written word. What is important to me is that Laura Ingalls Wilder lives and walks in my imagination and is often accompanied with the spirit of my own much loved and much missed grandmother. (A dignified photograph of an elder Laura Ingalls Wilder at top on left, A young Rose Wilder Lane at the bottom on right of page)

Sunday, July 6, 2008

From the Burbs to the Sticks!

After a weekend in the Burbs I had to out do myself by going to the country. Leasburg MO to be exact. My family had a birthday/graduation party at my cousin Jean's country estate. Okay, it was a house on a largish pond.

I love this photo of supposed bucolic bliss, the recliner on the banks of the pond. What you can't see is less than 50 feet away is a sewer pipe from the house. It isn't the septic tank, just the dishwater and such, but still it was fragrant. The kids fished on the dock right next to the drainage. But we can pretend my cousin spends her leisure hours reclined in this chair smelling only clean country air scented with roses. Okay these roses are in the front yard, but since I am spinning a yarn of rustic bliss, I might as well use the photo.

My family was out in in force and we all had fun visiting and eating. If a vote was taken I would say the eating part would win. The mosquitoes did their share of eating too. My arm has a few itchy spots.I am including a photograph of my cousin who is getting ready to go to college at Purdue. He is the young man talking sitting next to his grandmother. Not the best shot of him, but worthy enough to put on my blog so my co-work Cherry, who is also off to Purdue in the fall can get a gander at him. I want her to get an idea what boy looks like. I want the two of them to be best friends at Purdue and this way I can show him off to her at work.

Anyway, the country was actually better than New Town, at least here I wasn't worried they would try to re-make into some stepford version of myself.

And there were lots of dogs running around. My brother's dog, Pecker, kept peeing on people's bags. It was kind of cute to hear my little niece calling to the dog, Pe-cha. I also loved that my brother showed up in his 1950s, green dump truck. He assured me it gets 15 miles to the gallon which is actually a little better than a hummer. I meant to snap some shots of the dump truck, but just didn't get to it. So instead you will have to settle for photos of Pecker.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008


Sunday was my suburban day. I like being an urban dweller and I never want to live in the hinterlands of St Louis County, but I do know some cool people who have chosen to live out that way. So with a paycheck's worth of gas I went to a birthday party in Eureka for a friend turning all of 6. After watching the pony rides and eating a sprinkle laden cupcake it was off to the height of the suburbia, New Town at St Charles. Eureka is one thing, but the concept of a planned burb that is suppose to look like an old fashion town is very odd to me. But hey, it takes all kinds. My friends who have moved there love their new house with its big rooms and I admit beautiful front porch. They love the concept and all the amenities of the neighborhood. They say that at night everybody sits on their front porches and talks to the neighbors sitting on the next porch. Everyone walks their dogs around the designed lakes and well manicured parks. In some ways it is down right eerie to me to see how perfect this place is. I kept expecting to be confronted by suburban Borg forcing me to assimilate.
But just when I was about to look for the zombies locked away in buildings with the paint still drying on the exterior walls. I ran into some old friends. The critters from the old Noah's Ark Restaurant that greeted me when I went there as a child were hanging out in a park. The elephant and the giraffes were smiling down looking very sharp with their newly painted and repaired surfaces. It was reassuring to see them there. I thought they had been scraped with the old restaurant they had once decorated. I think like my non-plaster friends, they are very pleased to be relocated to such a perfect place.
I did make a new friend while at New Town, Muffin, the rag mop wannabe dog of my friends. Muffin also seems to like his new home. He is reported to like all the multitude of other dogs that live there. He also likes all the walking he is doing on the well ordered green space. But his favorite thing is all the posts and fences he gets to utilize as he walks. All that perfection affects him not at all. He just goes and pees all over it, that gives me pause to think, hmm.......... maybe it is good to be a dog.