Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Project Spectrum--Green

In honor of the last green day for Project Spectrum, a photo essay.

How does my fiber garden grow?

Very well, thank you.

Sprouting flax

Sprouting hemp

Green cotton (hydroponics works!)

Brown cotton

White cotton


Tuesday, May 30, 2006

For my bookmark swap partner


1. What genre of books do you enjoy most?
Just about anything but horror and fairies-and-wizards fantasy. And books that say Israel and/or the settlers are responsible for all the evils of the world.

2. What sort of bookmarks do you like best?
Long enough to stick out both sides of the book; other than that I'm open for anything.

3. What are your favorite colors?
Intense, saturated hues of any color.

4. Are there any colors you don't like?
Muddy colors (but pastels are all right).

5. What sort of "theme'' would you like your bookmark to be?
Handmade. Other than that, I'm easy.

6. Are there any "themes'' that you wouldn't like??
Religious (except Judaism).

7. Can you send internationally?
I'd have to!

8. If your partner wants to send along extra goodies (like tea, candy, cocoa, etc), what do you enjoy? And is there anything you don't like/can't have??
Any food must have some sort of kosher supervision. And nothing religious except for Jewish stuff.

9. What crafts are you going to use to make your bookmarks? Is there a particular craft type you would like to receive? (knitted bookmarks, plastic canvas, etc)
I'll use either knitting or crochet, and I'll be happy to get anything.

Those 250,00 Israeli teens I wrote about yesterday? They're all complaining that the tests were too hard. Even the Middle Teen, who never complains about hard tests, is planning to redo it during the summer.

Monday, May 29, 2006

250,000 Israeli teens can't be wrong

If you were in Israel today, you may have noticed increased numbers of teens on the streets, looking to hitch a ride, looking hopeful, sullen, scared, worried... A quarter of a million Israeli teens between 10th and 12th grades are taking their math bagruyot today. The Oldest Teen is gloating, the Youngest Teen is laughing, and right about now The MIddle Teen is sharpening her pencils.

Now, I don't know much math, but I do know that 1+1=0.
One Broadripple knit, plus another Broadripple knit equals no projects left on the needles!

Can't have that, can we? So Team Moze started the lobg summer trail that is The Amazing Lace. First a quick morning warm-up
and then off we go--2.5 repeats down, 20-odd to go. What have I learned so far? I hate mohair-y wool.
(Odd--this looks much better in the picture than in real life.)

The stress about my mom is still here, of course. When stressed, I revert to old bad habits. The worst? Hooking.
We'll be staying by my father's cousin in Las Vegas, and the only thing cuz's wife can't do is crochet, so I'm making a checker set for their 4 year old twins. (Yes, my father's cousin is only about The Spouse's age.) Finally a chance to use up the horrible fuschia acrylic I bought when I first moved to Israel. What was I thinking? Oh, yeah--it was the best of the bad lot of yarn they had in those days.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

First off, thank you all for the good thoughts. Dad says Mom's been doing better over the weekend (which in her mind validates her decision not to go for dialysis), but since it makes Dad happy, it makes me happy. Anyone who's got the time to say a kapittle tehilim, her name is Mecha Esther bat Sosha Sora.

Scout asked about our knitting/crochet spots. I'm almost (but obviously, not quite) embarrassed to show mine. Click on the pic to go to Flickr, where there are descriptive notes.
The spinning/weaving/fiber stash corner of the living is a little better. Then again, it's not where I spend most waking hours, like the knitting/crochet/office space is.

Oh, look--the cotton's taking. :::happy dance:::

Thursday, May 25, 2006

My mother is dying

My mother's health has deteriorated drastically since her visit to us. I guess those three weeks refusing to take one of her meds led to damage much more serious than she thought it would. On Tuesday my father called, just as we were heading out the door to a wedding, to tell me that the doctors are giving my mother four months to live. She could extend that a little by going for dialysis, but so far she refuses to.

I go between just sitting around, sick to my stomach, head buzzing, to gulping down tochoclate, to coming up with stupid questions like "what do I wear for the shiva--if they cut one of my usual tricot shirts, will it run over the week? Should I buy a rip-stop type shirt in preparation?", to selfish concerns like "what do I do if the funeral/shiva are the same time the government plans to move me into a ghetto?" I'm losing my mother, losing my home--and neither of them is any fight I can make on my own.

It's odd, being at a wedding where you'd like to be happy and leibidik  but having no energy to, trying not to break out in tears. It's hard, keeping all this from the kids until finals are over because there's nothing they can do to make any difference. It's strange, knowing that thiis is how my summer will be, this limbo, these random thoughts, this listlessness and fear and anger and denial.

Another stray selfish thought. How will I go a week of shiva without knitting? It helps the stress, keeps the buzzing in my head down.
Sixth Sense socks from the Six Socks KAL.

And finally, it's May 25. Do you know what May 25th is?

Even rabbis are doing it!

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

A whole new meaning to p'ru ur'vu

According to Olmert's adviser for settlements, Uzi Keren, I'm going to be replicated! Is that anything like cloning? Are they taking me off to a high tech factory, or are they going to bring the machinery to me? And what will the world do with two Mozemen?

Oh--you mean I'm going to have my house destroyed and be forcibly resettled in a different location. (Isn't that what happened to my father in Hungary? Any similarities must just be coincidental...)

Gotta love the government. "Convergence." "Replication." Was there a new translation of 1984 that I missed?

The Amazing (Relay) Race

When I was in high school, I was on the track team. (Don't laugh. OK, go ahead, laugh, I'll wait until you're done. And wait. And wait.) Mainly, I was a miler, but I also did the middle sections of the 4x110 relay, somewhere between the first sprinter and the last sprinter. So I know the value of good teamwork and choosing the right team member for the right slot.

Summer is long, no matter how you measure it. Daylight hours? We get so much daylight here we might as well be in Norway (except their Eurovision entries are so awful. Then again, who am I to talk? We usually manage to have at least 2 representatives in the contest, and neither of them are worth the time). Miles? Let's see, there will be NYC, Las Vegas, San Diego, West Palm Beach, Port St. Lucie, the Israel National Trail... Relative time? Summer with three teens off from school--it'll feel like at least 4 or 5 years. Things to do? I work full time from a home office (see above, relative time), have to start preparing for The Spouse's fall convention schedule, possibly move to Athens in mid-summer, get the Oldest Teen ready for college (probably Machon Lev, but we're still waiting to hear from the Technion), and possibly get the Middle Teen ready to go off to do her senior year in a development town, through B'nei Akiva (link in Hebrew only). And supervise the Youngest Teen and the ManBoy. Summer of KALs? There's this Amazing KAL, 6 Socks, 2 dishcloths a month, the sock Trek, and socks to count all summer long. If I'd been faster on the email, there would have also been the pomatomus along, but between last nigth and this morning it was closed to sign-ups. [sob]

All in all, at least a 4x220 race this summer.

And now, the moment none of you have been waiting for: the team members!
  • Sprinter: Branching Out is a fast little scarf which is familiar with the track. Since it's for the Middle Teen, who's a shrew in the making when waiting for her knit goods, BO should get the team a nice lead before the altitude portion of the race.

    Dji Dji by Berroco, part of the Great Stash Haul of 2005

  • Altitude aka travel knitting. This team member needs to be able to go the distance, be light on its feet, challenging enough to be the sole source of entertainment for 2-3 weeks, and yet simple enough to be worked on in small doses. Introducing--Pomatomus (and friends. 22 rows is a lot to count, even on only 72 stitches). We're counting on the P-leg to be slow and steady; it doesn't need to hot-foot it for speed, but it shuldn't be a heel and make us lose ground. Only time (and frequent flier miles) will tell is if can toe the line.

    Fortissima Colori Socka Color, color 9076, gifted to me by my SP6 spoiler

  • The back stretch is where we may totally lose it. This is the distance part of the race, and we'll have to see if the 2x31 days we'll have for it will suffice. But I've always wanted to try the "lace shawl" from Knitter's Shawls and Scarves. I mean, I'm headed to Toronoto next fall and Boston next spring. I'll need a good big shawl to add to my defenses. And I have this honkin' big cone of wool in a color I can't see as a sweater. And I'd rather have to pay outrageous amounts for the army, when they haul me away, to move FOs than stash. So--stash diving! Shawls! Lace! It's all good. Or crazy-making. Or both. Because I am all about the crazy good.

  • The bench warmer: Should any of these team members fall ill or forget to show up, the Mommes Lysedug doily will take over. (No link, because Yarnover is having some technical difficulties. Good thing I saved the pattern to my hard drive.)

  • The anchor: This is the team member who's got the hardest job, and the one most likely to slack off.

    There she is, travelling again. Doesn't this woman ever stay home and knit?

  • The coaches can be counted on to whip up the pace with frequent cries of "You're still working on that?" and "Isn't my scarf/sock ready yet?"

    These feet need socks. Knit, knitter, knit!

Team Moze. We're insane. You have a problem with that?

Monday, May 22, 2006

4 ways to excite a woman

There's the natural way:
ooh, lookie, the cotton's in the ground!

The fabulous fake way:
Fiber Trend's flamingo pre-felting (which took a whole lot more yarn than the pattern called for--nearly three full skeins of Lamb's Pride, rather than just over two)
and felted--king of all he surveys.

The stupid way:
All the teens were away for the weekend, so The Spouse and I were in no rush to close out Shabbat. About 20 minutes after os shabbos  the phone rings, and since it might be one of the kids, we made a quick hamavdil  and answer it. The Spouse's brother is on the line: "Did you hear about the attack at the major junction near you?"

Now remember--we have 3 kids out on the roads, at least one of whom might have already gotten to that junction. We turn frantic. "What attack? WHAT HAVE YOU HEARD?"

My heart, never wonderful at the best of times, is going a mile a minute while I'm digging for my cell phone. The Spouse is turning colors.

"Didn't you hear about it?" the BIL goes on. "It was on the news."


"Last Thursday. Two people..."

The Spouse interrupts him. "You called us just after Shabbat to talk to us abut something that happened last week? And you didn't state that right off the bat? What are you, an idiot?" (He is, but that's a different story.)

Because of my heart, I think, I have very bad reactions to sudden surges of adreneline. Coming down, I get chills, weepy, even hysterical, so there went our Saturday night date. But you've got to admit--BIL sure got me excited...

And the classy way:

Look what Trish, for whom I made Jaywalkers during Sockapaloooza, sent me!


Tea (sort of hidden there--I love all the flavors and don't want any of you stealing them from me, chocolate (and she even made sure it's kosher!), point protectors shaped like socks (which by now are on my Sixth Sense needles) and a pair-of-socks-to-be-made in Regia Summer Colors 4 ply. What a great color! I was thinking of joining the Pomatomus KAL but didn't have yarn I thought would go--*bing, bing,* ladies and germs, we have a winner!

Friday, May 19, 2006

San Diego, here I come?

Started to work up the schedule for my next trip (next month). NYC, Las Vegas, West Palm & Port St. Lucie, Florida. The only hitch is San Diego, where we're scheduled to be from June 18-22. I just started looking at motels, and think I need to catch my breath. Sheesh, I found cheaper in Washington DC, in Minneapolis, in LA, even!

Anyone know of a cheap motel in the San Diego area? We'll be exhibiting at a show in the Manchester Grand Hyatt, but we will have a car, so anything within a half hour or so drive from there will work. We would need a mini-fridge, preferably also a microwave (but worst comes to worst, we could buy that at a Wal-Mart). Hi-speed net acess would be nice (I'm lost without my internets), but I can revert to dial-up, too, so a dataport or deteachable phone line will suffice. I'm looking around the $50/night range, for 2 people sharing one room. Any ideas?

Look what's got leaves. If baby sheep are lambs, what's baby cotton?

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Leap of love

West Bank Mama (hey, post a little more about where you live--I have it narrowed down to two yishuvim, and I'd love to see if I'm right) asked why we've made aliyah. I think that's like asking why someone chose to have kids, or what they see in their spouse--way too complex for a blog post, but here's a shot, definitely not in order of importance:

Socio-economic reasons
Have you ever tried to raise a family in NYC? And pay yeshiva tuitions? And maybe buy a house? The bandleader at our wedding is a computer programmer. Back then (1986) he was making over $100,000. But he had 10 kids, so that didn't go far enough, and he moonlighted at weddings and bar mitzvahs almost very single night, twice on Sundays. We had this radical idea that, having birthed these babies, we actually wanted to spend some time with them, and so needed to get onto a slower, less expensive track. Of course there was always out-of-town, but to two native NYers, out-of-town might as well be another planet, and if you're moving to a different planet, it might as well be Israel.

The week we finally decided to schedule a meeting with a shaliach aliyah (who refused to process our papers, but that's a story for another day) one of our friends had his throat slashed by a disgruntled former employee, another had been killed when his store was robbed, and a third we knew was kille din a car accident. Not long before I had been in Prospect Park with my (then) two kids, a friend, and her two kids. The Oldest Teen (then 3) came waddling out of the sandbox with a used condom in one hand and a used hypodermic needle in the other. This was NYC under Dinkins, a good time to want to get out of Dodge.

The Oldest Teen was turning 3. Time to find a school for the kid. Toras Emes Kaminetz? Not a strong enough general studies program. The yeshivish schools? Too anti-Zionist. (I've never been much of a Zionist--my father was brought up a Satmar Chassid and studied with the alter rebbe OBM, but I didn't need to educate my son in schools which teach that world-wide anti-Semitism is a result of the existence of Israel, or that we should never have broken the three vows). Mizrachi L'Banim? Three quarters of the kids with whom the Oldest Teen would have been in kindergarten with had divorced parents. That's fine and good, but I never wanted him teased because his parents chose to stay together. If you can't find a yeshiva you like in Brooklyn, where can you, outside of Israel?

The Spouse's family is old yishuv. I mean real old--Azriel, the grandfather of R' Yisroel Ashkenazi made aliyah in 1770, and was the Spouse's great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandfather. (R' Yisroel and his father Shmuel followed years later.) His family didn't leave until after the 1929 Arab riots destroyed the food stores in Jerusalem; his mother started out as one of 13 kids and by 1932 was one of 6. His father left at approximately the same time; his father was in teh US trying to earn a living, and after his mother died (when he was 12), he and his sister joined their surviving parent.

I was an early-adopter of right-wing views. As a college student and graduate student I was a board member of the North American Jewish Student Appeal on behalf of the Jewish Student Press Service and then Student Struggle for Soviet Jewry, and the most fun I had was battling the leftist student organziations. Over and over I told them, as they sought to fund some anti-Israeli government activity, "If you feel so strongly, what are you doing here?" Then one day it hit me -- same here. If I feel so strongly, why don't I move there? So as soon as we could find a shaliach aliyah who would actually process our paperwork, we were on our way here.

Whew--that was long. Good thing West Bank Mama didn't also ask us why we chose to live where we do!

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

What else do you expect from the French?

Last night the French givernment and the Tel Aviv municipality presented what they billed as "the biggest fireworks show in the world" (link is in Hebrew, but the video should play anyway; the last 30 seconds are of the fireworks display). We'd heard about it through the ManBoy--his parents wanted him to go with them, and he said only if he could bring the Youngest Teen along, and we said we'd go, too, but not sit near them. (ManBoy's parents have rights to chaperone the young couple, too.)

Not sitting near them? No problem. Police estimated a quarter million people turned out to see the show. Biggest fireworks show in the world? It is to laugh. I've been to the Macy's 4th of July fireworks. I've been to Disney. Heck, I've been to Fort Hamilton when the army still put on fireworks displays. So not the world's largest that even the news media down-graded it to Israel's largest. Like that's saying something? Anyone thinking of small fish in smaller ponds?

Not that it was a total disappointment. It was too short (about 15-20 minutes) but they had some shells I've never seen before, and they did amazing things with movements, swirling the shells and doing a groosmen and the bride display with gold shells shooting out of the tower in double ranks. Very cool, but not enough to sooth the savage crowd, many of whom had been waiting in Charles Clore park for six or seven hours.

And then the traffic. Oh my stars, the traffic. We'd made the mistake of parking nearby, at thge Carmel shuk, because we thought we wouldn't want to walk back to the Central Bus Station. It took us 90 minutes just to get out of the freakin' parking lot, and only got out that quickly ebacsue someone managed to break some of the metal barriers and push aside a parked car so that a lucky few could escape out the bolt hole. It took us another hour to get out of the city.
(Image shamelessly stolen from Ynet)

I did learn one new thing, though, While we were sitting on the grass, waiting for dark and the show, I was plying my tahkli, spinning up some of last year's white cotton. A woman came up, I spun while she and The Spouse discussed me and my spinning, and she told us that once upon a time there had been a kibbutz named Pelach (spindle) which made its money selling locally-spun yarn. Israel's come a long way since then, and not in the right direction.

And before we go, a gratuitous cotton shot:

White's going like gang-busters, green is showing a little life. Brown? Nothing so far. Nada. [sigh]

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Driving through the banana republic

The Middle Teen took her driving theory test today and failed.

Let's see if any of you can do any better on the 5 questions she got wrong.

1. What does sign #56 mean?

2. What should you do when encountering sign #43?

3. When is sign #27 relevant?

4. You are entering a highway and see sign #18. Who has the right of way?

5. You would see sign #25 on what sort of road?

What's that you say? You'd need to see a chart of the signs to answer any of those questions? Gee, so did the Middle Teen. Too bad there was no such sign anywhere in the building. Several of the test-takers are planning to appeal the results. It won't get them passing grades, but at least it will get us our 116 shekel back.

But you came here for the cotton, didn't you? Looks vaugely illicit.

And the wool--aka the first of the Sixth Sense socks. Nothing like deadline knitting, is there?

No, this isnt my 'Trek with Me sock, though it is Trekking; for that (next month) I'll go with socks for one of the men in color 66.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Cotton Eyed Jew

Spring hasn't sprung, but it's mid-May. The government's been sworn in and the budget narrowly passed, but I don't see how Olmert will be able to kick me out of my home by October, so I decided I'd better get my cotton started now or forget about it for the season.

Left to right: Brown, white, and green

Yes, I start my cotton on cotton. Got any problems with that?

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Bang, bang blahs

I think I almost managed to shock The Youngest Teen and ManBoy. (That's what we're going to call the 22 year old ben bayit turned suitor. Army service notwithstanding, and despite his chronological age, he's still a boy.)

I was on the phone with my BFF (since 3rd grade. She's also The Spouse's first cousin's daughter. We have complicated lives) and we got to talking about driving through Arab towns at night. I told her that on Monday, driving back from Efrat, we had picked up trampistim (hitchhikers) at the local border crossing and were driving home through our local Arab town when we were shot at. We all looked at each other.

"They're shooting at us?"

Another shot, accompanied by a flash of light.

"Guess so."

"Don't think we were hit."

The Spouse hasn't changed his driving one mph the whole time, and we just continue along the road, letting off passengers at their requested drop off points. We get home, look the car over for damage (that reminds me--it was dark out. I guess we should check it over when it's light, too) and came inside. End of story, never told outside the car.

When I got off the phone, Youngest Teen and ManBoy are staring at me.

"You were shot at?"




"Oh. OK. Hey, can we open the Bamba?" (Like I said, ManBoy's still a boy.)

Takes a lot to shock the monkeys nowadays.

They're here!

When I went to pick up my mail last night, this was in my box:

No, not the letter from the local IRS. That's just routine paperwork, no biggie. No, the handwritten note scribbled on it -- "There's a package from overseas in the mail room." (We live in a wonderfully formal town.) Could this be my socks?

I had to wait until this morning to get at them, but yes--they're here!

Just look at these beauties

Didn't my sockpal Kristin do a great job? I have got to find myself a copy of this braided stitch.

They're made from Cherry Tree Hill superwash, and they are so comfortable, it's like slipping my feet into melted butter, only not greasy.

But I wonder how the matches for sockapaloozas are made. First I get socked by Jackie from Kansas, now from Kansas City. Next time, will it ba Kansas again, or will the random matching process get me another City person?

I immediately took the socks out to get acquainted with their new hometown.

I think they know they're not in Kansas, or any City, not even one in Missouri.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

How not to warp a loom

In search of something even more warped than the Israeli government, I finished curtain #1 for the dining room and had to move on to #2. Which means the dreaded warping of the loom.

I have a Kromski rigid heddle (32"), and need a full width warp, about 7' long. Using the built-in warping board just isn't going to cut it.

Step one: set up your warping area.

(Ignore the mess, aside from the lump of red on the left. That's curtain #1, all folded up.)

I have two chairs at either end of the living room, with dowels between, to hold the ends of the warp. Yes, that's my half-brained way of measuring warp.

A loom's eye view:

(Notice how much cleaner one side of the living room is than the other? Hey--you promised you would ignore the mess in the last picture!)

Since the loom is supposed to be in the up position for warping, but since there's no warp tension to keep it there, I had to improvise.

Masking tape is our friend!

Unwrap some of the warp thread from the cone, thread it through the heddle hole, around the back dowel, through the heddle slot, aruond the front dowel, tie off. Lather, rinse, and repeat.

Almost halfway done:

(Pay no attention to the tension problems. Or to the mess on the couch. I couldn't put the laundry away when half the house was blocked off--or warped off. That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.)

Steps not pictured: Warping the foot, unwarping the foot. (Of me, not the loom. Why my sandals are so attractive to warp thread is something I'll never understand.)

Herbie fully loaded:

Once you have the loom fully warped, roll the entire twenty gazillion inches of thread back and forth to even out tension. Try not to break too many warp threads as your rolling casues more tangles than a kid with a can of Silly String. (Note: do not photograph the pile of spaghetti you get when your Spouse calls about something unremarkable as you're holding a dowel with your entire warp on it. Cry. Lather, rinse, repeat.) Attach dowels to the back beam and the cloth beams, and Bob's your uncle. (Yours, not mine. Mine's Arnold.)

Aside from some broekn threads and some lingering wonkiness on on cloth beam, es fini Well, aside from the months of weaving to come.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

She likes them!

My sockapalooza socks are at their new home and, looking at the picture on Trish's blog, they fit. I alsway worry about that when sending off knits, because I'm a sucker for a live model. (Which is why the Sixth Sense socks are on hold, waiting for The Youngest Teen to come home and pass verdict on them, now that I've turned the heel.)

Spring has sprung with a vengance. We've had the four legged lawnmower pay a visit, I put out my annuals, and I'm going to plant my cotton next week. (It's late, but the weather was bad, and now the small tiller doesn't want to work right.)

And start-itis has struck, too. I've got the needles full, and getting fuller. The second Broadripple, the Sixth Sense, a felted Fiber Trends flamingo, the latest Dishcloth KAL, and an O which I F'ed without ever having blogged it in the first place.

Look at those cute little baseball cap buttons!

The Astra One-Ball Baby Sweater, knit in two days because we were "invited" to the baby's bris. ("Invited" in quotes because the father didn't actually have the poor manners to invite us, which in Jewish custom would then obligate us to attend. He just called to "make sure that we were coming to the bris and the meal." Same difference in reality, but a big difference legally.)

And speaking of legal: to the person searching for "how to turn on a 14 year old girl" -- if you're RR, slightly older friend of The Oldest Tenn, who's been hanging around The Youngest Teen a lot lately, you'd better start praying right now, young man. You want her, you'd better be prepared to wait 6-8 years, buddy-boy. If it was anyone else making the search, anyone over the age of 15, you might want to consider getting some help. And stay away from my 14 year old.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Sock it to me, baby!

The sockapaloooza socks are washed, blocked, dried and mailed. Four countries, two socks, one envelope. And it's on to the next knit project...