Friday, May 15, 2015

A Making Kind of Weekend

Mayfest and the Blue Dome Art Festivals proceed apace in downtown Tulsa this weekend.   I could go wander through booths and booths of things other people have made and eat something fried on a stick


 I could 

make stuff myself

No contest there, really.  Since it's Mayfest weekend, rain is pretty much guaranteed off and on all weekend.  So, instead of dodging rain, I plan to closet myself in the house with a few gallons of sweet tea and sandwich fixin's  and make a few batches of soap, make bread, make biscotti, and sew.  

So, maybe the house will smell of yeast, and citrus-y lemongrass-y soap rather than wet dog.  And maybe I'll have to buy new pant and skirt hangers instead of refolding and storing the linen fabric I've been hoarding.  I'll let you know.  



Sunday, March 15, 2015

Sea Change

I've been battling "bad" knees for years.  (A hard fall on my kneecaps caused arthritis there).  I've managed doing most things by taking a prophylactic handful of Advil and soldering on and capping my activities with another handful.  Years ago I was told I had knee replacement in my future, albeit at a distant point.  

Sometime last year the left knee got so painful, I had to just about quit doing anything.  I figured the time was up on my original equipment and  I needed a new knee.  I ended up seeing 3 different orthos:  1) you need a knee replacement, but you are too young (HuH? do I just sit on the couch and fester until I'm old enough?); 2) why do you think you need a knee replacement, lets try PT and I'll send you to my colleague for arthroscopic surgery if you still have pain; and 3) I'll be doing your lateral release surgery (cutting tissue to allow the kneecap to get back in place).

I did PT--it was magic, the knee was lots better, but still very painful.  Now, almost 4 months after the lateral release surgery (and cleanup of a big meniscus tear and removal of arthritis from kneecap), I'm waaaaay  better than last year but not as good as new.  By which I mean, I CANNOT ride my beautiful nearly new Trek Madone (bicycle).  She's the prettiest thing I own, I love her in a way you are NOT supposed to love material things.  After convincing myself I could ride her, I spent an afternoon crying because I couldn't make a single revolution. 

Yesterday afternoon, my husband bought me a used recumbent ('bent) from a pawn shop, a Rans Stratus LE.  Its wheelbase is easily as long as our bikes were when we rode the kids across the state of Oklahoma around on AlleyCat Shadows (one wheeled trail-a-bike devices that attach to the seatpost and enable the kid to pedal along).  The wheelbase is longer than either of the tandems that we owned at one time.  Compared to the Madone, it's a ship anchor.  

I spent the day cleaning her chain, adjusting her brakes, and making micro adjustments to the seat (it is definitely a seat--NOT a saddle) to enable me to pedal.  This afternoon I went for a ride--and I was able to ride.  

Except for this last year, there hasn't been a time (unless I was pregnant or had the flu or some other affliction) since the early 80s when I couldn't get on a bike and ride 50 miles. if I chose to do so.  Today I rode maybe 2 miles, maybe a little more.  I was worn out:  out of shape; recumbent uses different muscles; steering is funky; and knee not completely rehabbed, it was a bit stressed.  


I may spend this afternoon crying because I can ride.  

And, my conception of what constitutes a beautiful bike may have just changed entirely.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

They Call Me The Plant-Killer

Hey you!  You say you're hardy, but Troops, you've been selected for hazardous duty. I'm pretty good with kids and dogs even though mine smell like they've been rolling in something dead (dogs, not kids).  But plants?  HA!  You'll be lucky to live until June.  

There!  The challenge has been issued--let's see what you're made of.  

Wednesday, January 1, 2014


How'd that eye-popping headline grab you?  

If you've somehow stumbled into AnnWorld, that must make you want to read on and anxiously await as the snappy thoughts just tumble from my fingertips to your eyes through the magic of electrical impulses. 

In the vein of snappy original thoughts, I ask: 

Is it a New Year and therefore a clean slate, or just another Wednesday?

Well, no choice but to wait and see.

In the meantime, here's a thing for you--
                                a knitting pattern thing--
                                          a V-E-R-Y C-O-O-L knitting pattern thing.


a hat of Olympic proportions
Admittedly, that's a bit overdone--you judge.

 This is the Team USA 2014 Sochi Winter Games earflap hat--FREE   pattern on  This hat is NOT to be confused with the 2010 Team USA hat, which is also very cool.  I only knit 4 of the 2010 hats, with the last one completed on December 27, 2012.  Maybe my plans to knit 6 of the 2014 hats before the February 7 opening ceremonies is a little ambitious?  Again, we'll wait and see.   




Bye Now

Here it is, the last day of 2013 (well, it was when I wrote this) and, very unoriginally, I'm taking stock of the last 353 days (I took a few days off).  

The year started ordinarily enough that nothing stands out until February 26th when we got the alarming news that my mother had advanced pancreatic cancer.  What followed was a whirl of appointments, procedures, and rapid weakening.  As awful as that time was, and it was awful, I was privileged to observe my mother meet her short future on earth with class and extreme patience for the rest of us who struggled to meet her needs, and ours.  An even bigger privilege was having the opportunity to observe Dad patiently and tenderly take on the role of caregiver for Mom and to watch them together.  

For 30 years, at least, Mom has had a magnet on the fridge that says:  "Life is a grindstone, whether you become worn or polished depends on what you are made of."   In the grindstone that was 2013, my parents both shone.  Thank you for that.  

Thanks too, to my many friends and those of my parents who stepped up to help should our troubles this year.  And thanks, especially, to Beth who helped in uncountable ways, up to an including delivering Mom's eulogy.  

There was other loss too, as Uncle Pete, Aunt Leoba, and Beth's father also died.  

HOWEVER, all was not doom and gloom for our clan in 2013 as Kelly and I had the unparalleled experience of traveling to Italy to visit Sister-Daughter (Sister Divine Providence, SSVM) at her convent in Tuscania.  For nearly two weeks she shepherded us around Italy.  We went from coast to coast listing to her speak Italian for us as we looked on with pride.  And in August she moved back to the US after her year in Italy.  

Alex moved back to Tulsa from Los Angeles, accepted a scholarship at the University of Tulsa in the MBA program, switched to Masters of Accounting, and received a graduate assistant position for the duration of his time at TU.  

And, I got to spend a week with Sister-Daughter at the convent in Maryland.  She went on with life there and I busied myself sewing habits for the new novices, and a surprise habit for the Mother Superior.  It was an absolute blast to be folded into her world for a time.  

There were basket conferences (two) and a weaving workshop squeezed in as well as two trips to Lawrence, Kansas for spinning and weaving supplies.  The kitchen was painted, we got a new heating and air conditioning system, and Kelly and I both got 4 new pairs of socks and 2 t-shirts each.  (HA!).

Pardon me if this post reads like a stereotypically bad Christmas letter, but I really need to put 2013 away in order to get started on 2014.

And so, 2013 ends.  Tomorrow I'll wake up with the same mess on my bedside table and the same to do list taped to my mirror but nothing will be the same because it will be a New Year.  I wish you a happy one. 

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Oh that rascally . . . Pumpkin?


 I happened into Whole Foods sometime in mid-October and what should I see, but acres of stunning non-standard pumpkins.  There were Cinderella pumpkins, and Fairytale pumpkins (maybe they were the same), white pumpkins, and green pumpkins, but the very best ones were the Rascal Pumpkins.  I picked out the best Rascal.
The best feature of the best Rascal was the great stem and curlicue.   

 Alas, October came and went and so did Thanksgiving and Rascal Pumpkin's time as a decorative item came to an end.  And that's when my kitchen became a killing field.




I'm thankful for you Rascal Pumpkin, you looked cool and your sweet meat will be soup and bread and muffins and maybe even a pie.  I've saved a few seeds and maybe I'll grow you a cousin next year.  
 p.s.  the Rascal Pumpkin is very very tasty. 

Sunday, May 26, 2013

How dishtowels are born

Sometimes people say, "Oh, weaving is sooooo interesting--why don't you tell me EXACTLY how you make that?"  About an hour into my explanation the questioner tends to drift off, feign death, or engage in some other artifice to make the explaining stop.  

So for the curious I offer this pictorial essay about weaving.  

Start with an idea--here a scarf pattern found in an issue of Handwoven Magazine

read the instructions and decide to make dishtowels, not a scarf, and further decide to use cotton, not the fibers used in the scarf

Rewrite the pattern (draft) in Ann-speak to accommodate the changes
Select hopefully appropriate thread from the shelves in the workroom

Measure each of the 400+ threads to an exact length, here 6 yards
Move the threads to the loom and HOPE this doesn't happen--it does.

Wind the threads onto the back beam keeping them in order and untangled as they are here, even though it doesn't look like it. 

Thread EACH of the 400+ threads through the eye of a metal device called a heddle without crossing the threads and whilst keeping them in the correct order for the pattern

Heddles threaded--THIS is so beautiful, it brings tears to my eyes.  The nonsense you see at the left of the frame is  a correction for a couple of threads that were missed in the measuring and threading--thankfully there were only two such threads and they were next to each other.

Another shot of the lovely threaded heddles

Thread each of the 400+ threads (in order and without crossing any of them) through the slots in the reed.  This is known as sleying the reed. The reed is used to beat the weft threads into place.
Wind yet MORE thread on bobbins, insert bobbin into shuttle and  . . . WEAVE

Cut the towels off the loom and hem up the ends.  At this point they are stiff and somewhat disappointing--not at all dishtowel-ish.  They need to be washed and dried.

Here they are all washed and dried and ready to be used.  They don't look much different than the unwashed ones, but ohhhhh, they are sooo much softer.  

That's it, except it takes hours and hours to dress (thread or warp) the loom.  The weaving goes really fast unless you discover threading errors that have to be fixed or threads break

Yeah, I know Walmart sells dishtowels.  And, I was lying -- People don't really ask me to tell them how it's done, I just offer that info, but they do really glaze over and run away, can't understand why. 


My Tattoo

My Tattoo
A bike chain tattoo, that is It's chain lube ya know