Wednesday, November 30, 2011

When I went to the supermarket yesterday, I passed their array of fresh flowers and was blown away to find this huge bouquet of peonies. I miss my US peonies terribly so to have these to admire is brilliant. I don't think I have soil suitable for them here. I don't think thay will last long; they've already gone from bud to full blown in 12 hours.

In the process of researching 17th century America for genealogical purposes, I am reading American Jezebel by Eve LaPlante, about Anne Hutchinson. I'm not a very religious person. I was raised in the Congregational church, which was my choice for my family, made when I was 7. Since this denomination is descended from the original Puritans, I expected to find some chords to resonate in the story. I cannot say that today I am a Christian because I no longer believe in many of the basics of Christian faith but I do try to follow the ethical standards. I am now totally dumbfounded to find that the founding fathers of Massachusetts, who left England for religious freedom, became totally legalistic and narrow in their beliefs in the new world and prosecuted Anne Hutchinson for her differing opinions on points of theology. Of course, much of it boils down to the fact that she was a woman, who was supposed to be silent and obey her husband. Anne was brought up as an independent thinker, and one who believed at a deeply emotional level about how "salvation" is achieved. I don't believe in heaven or hell and I'm not sure what I think about what happens after you die. Sometimes I believe in karma; sometimes I think you just die. Of course these are the same legalistic ministers who banished my ancestor Roger Williams, so I shouldn't be surprised, but I was. The original society of Massachusetts in the 17th century is not quite how we were taught in school. I'm not sure those controlling ministers should engender the respect that they get as "founding fathers."

Canberra's weather continues to confuse me. We got 90mm (almost 4") of rain last week. Last night the thunderstorms started around 6PM and are still rumbling and raining at noon the following day. I have a small lake in my back yard and I would love it to stop raining long enough for me to pick strawberries, etc. The garden loves it and the weeds like it too. I need to get my gutters repaired but the guy can't fix them until it stops raining!

The cataract problem continues to bother me. If I read too much or do too much close work in the evening I often get a headache. Apparently cataract surgery is a simple process so I'll go ahead with the weaving course. I continue to have a weak back, but I'm doing exercises to strengthen the muscles. I have a weak lower back originally because I am missing part of a vertebra. I am told this is an extremely mild variety of spina bifida; it just means my lower back hurts when I lift things the wrong way.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

It's 2 AM and the Imp has woken me up twice since I turned the light off. It's our first really warm night this summer and I think she thinks I should be awake to share it with her. No thank you. I may have to eject her from my bedroom (and lose air circulation) if she won't settle down. Aside from walking around on me and demanding to be petted, she yowls.

The knee progresses but the back is still weak. I walked three city blocks on Friday and was barely able to keep upright at the end. But I also worked an hour in the garden mulching and weeding and was sore but managed to actually accomplish something. I'm getting good returns of strawberries but the spinach has given up in the heat. One of the varieties of pea has finished but another is still coming in if this hot spell passes.

My city visit was to see my optometrist because of semi-constant headaches, especially when I try to do close work. I feel like I'm straining to see. The verdict was unexpected: cataracts, when I was expecting new lenses. I see the surgeon in Feb just before the next weaving course. I hear the recovery time is short so I may be able to do both. The next weaving course is on textural weaving like waffle weave and seersucker, both of which I wanted to learn, so I really want to take it. I can drive now but don't trust myself in locations like city traffic (I know you who snort that Canberra has city traffic but we have sufficient concentrations of bad drivers). I think D doesn't want to relinquish driving my car but it's nice to have somebody there to take up the slack when I tire myself out. It's only been a month since surgery so I am entitled to longer recovery time.

I'm reading Martin Cruz Smith's Three Stations on my Kindle and have downoaded Steve Job's autobiography. My BBBB is American Jezebel about Anne Hutchinson, She co-founded Rhode Island with my ancestor Roger Williams based on radical ideas about freedom of religion and payment to the the Indians for taking over their lands,

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

I am alive, I'm home, I can walk and I am sitting almost comfortably at my desk with my feet flat on the floor and knees bent. The right leg is still relatively weak after not being used for 6 months, but it gets stronger every day. I can walk without support but I still do my exercises. At the strong encouragement of the physios in the hospital (including the physio from hell I met on my first knee replacement), I made an appointment with a physio closer to home and got some additional exercises from him. Since I've only been home a week I think I am doing well.

At right is the only knitting I can show for the last month, a pair of socks from Noro's Kureyon sock. The colours are obviously a knockout but the yarn itself is rather harsh feeling and is spun no better than my handspun. If the wow factor of Noro is the colours, I can dye yarn just as striking. I've started a new pair of socks out of Opal Cotton in greys and soft pink.

My spinning output has been the one pound of 50/50 merino & tussah silk in a deep forest green. I got 4 hanks out of the pound from Yarn or a tale which cost all of $21, but I haven't counted yardage yet. It's very soft and is a sport weight. I've been thinking of knitting one of those long skinny scarves that people seem to wrap around their necks these days and this silk mix would be a good candidate. The next spin will be some superwash merino in hot pink, neon green and turquoise for the sock hoon, D.

My other preoccupation since I've been home is the release of Coldplay's new album. I am a very devoted fan of theirs and would love to see them perform live. I'll have to keep my ear closer to the grapevine to find out when or if they are coming to Australia and try my best to get a ticket. I know nobody else my age or younger who shares my musical tastes so I'll go alone if I have to. I've been watching a lot of their Youtube videos and phrases from their songs are running around my head 24/7. Any Sydney folks out there who would go with me?

Speaking of which, while I've been home, I've been thinking a lot about this blog. The person for whom I wrote is no longer here. I know I have a handful of devoted readers but they are not interested in knitting and spinning for the most part. This blog may have passed it's use-by-date. Facebook connects me with a lot of my friends that wouldn't read my blog. This platform may become more irregular and be confined to crafts, books, movies and such. Once again I ask for feedback altho I know who most of my readers are. Anybody anonymous please let me know why you read?

Book reports: I finished In Siberia by Colin Thrubon and it was just as interesting as all his other travel books. He goes to places ordinary travelers wouldn't and seeks out unusual people. This was a picture of post-Soviet Siberia, which is crumbling like many of the other bits of the Union. He visits prison camps and Old Believers, Lake Baikal and the Amur River. I am now reading both Language Death by David Crystal, which invigorates those latent linguistic routines in my brain, and Will the Boat Sink the Water? about the plight of the peasant in rural China. For regular reading, there's Steven Saylor's Judgement of Caesar, and on my Kindle some ripping space opera.