About Me

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Six years into widowhood, after one year of incredible happiness and nearly 14 years of single blessedness. Have given up perfect manicures and pretty hands in order to resume playing the soprano recorder and to see if I can figure out how to play bluegrass banjo. Singing in the shower. Still really, *really* love to knit!

Thursday, August 31, 2006

A Homer Simpson Moment

You will laugh. Student Coworker #1 asked for the link to Knitty: http://www.knitty.com/ISSUEsummer06/index.html

I sent it to her. And since I was caught up at my desk, I did a little browsing. I saw "Perdita" and thought, "My knitting friend Elizabeth has one of those." http://www.elizabethklett.com/knit.html

And I scrolled down to see who had designed it, which I hadn't done before.

I will be spending the rest of class sitting on the stool in the corner with the pointy hat on my head.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

How to Please a Teenager, Part Two

Secondborn asked if we wanted to arrange this so it would be obvious that it was a long, skinny scarf, and not a panel of fabric with a slit running down the length of it. Very kind of her, considering her earlier attempts at bear-napping and extortion, but at that point I needed to take Fourthborn home from jury duty, grab a bite of dinner, and head over to Knit Night. So I regretfully declined.

After spending nearly a month on one pair of socks, this scarf was a treat to whip up! I cast on last Friday morning and knitted happily before work, on my breaks and at lunch.

This is a very long, very skinny scarf, begun at one corner and knitted diagonally with a 13-5-13, 8-5-8, 3-5-3, 8-5-8 Fibonacci pattern, where the bands of garter stitch are separated by a row of dropped stitches. It is 21 stitches wide at its widest.

On Saturday morning, I was nearly one-third done. I was also not happy with my YO increase pattern. It was wonderfully lacy in the corner section, but it made for a subtly arching straightaway, and not a parallelogram. So I frogged it.

I switched to a simple knit-on at the beginning of the row, as if it had magically appeared at the end of the previous row. Then I knit the new stitch and the one it grew out of and finished the row. I have no idea what to call this increase. M1+, perhaps? Because you actually wind up with three stitches worked in the host stitch, but a net increase of one. It's cumbersome to describe but rather slick to do.

This time I did not work the dropped stitch by wrapping each individual stitch twice while knitting and then dragging it, protesting, through the loop. This time I tried K1, YO, K1, YO, all the way across, ending K1, and on the next row those stitches dropped as smoothly as Mimi in "La Boheme".

LittleBit loves it. It's fluffy enough to please her, and the eyelash yarn holds the mohair away from her skin so there are no "tickle" issues, and the yarn bra kept "Melody" [the ladder yarn] humble and cooperative. I enjoyed knitting this much more than I thought I would.

I've already knitted up the last of it, all the eyelash yarn and most of the mohair, and I still have half a ball left of the "Melody". I'll post that on another day. It's a skinny circle of a scarf, also worked diagonally, this time from a provisional cast-on. I did the increases on scarf #2 with a generous YO [like my first attempt on this scarf] and now have eyelets. I want to take it into the marvelous ribbon shop we have on the other side of town and see if she has any French grosgrain to run through there, to make a seriously funky neck ruffle. I used a 3-needle bindoff, and I've yet to weave in the ends, so I don't want to show you yet.

But here's a close-up of the fabric on LittleBit's scarf:

The colors are a little skewed, but I was more interested in giving you a feel for the texture than anything else.

I started re-knitting bright and early on Saturday morning and blew through the first ball of eyelash yarn and a good way into the second. For reasons that escape me, I did not work on it once all day Sunday. On Monday before work, I added the second ball of mohair. At lunch I added the third and final ball of eyelash yarn. When I went to bed Monday night, the scarf was done, except for weaving in the ends. Yesterday morning, that was my first conscious act, and then I cast on 11 sts for the "use-it-up" scarf. Which was done by noon.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Details and Revisits

I noodled around with a picot bind-off and tinked it after three repeats. http://nonaknits.typepad.com/nonaknits/2005/09/picot_cast_on.html

I found this crocheted bind-off online, late at night, and didn't have the wit to copy the source. It's graceful, flexible, and extremely kind to my ankles. If one of you knows the source, please send it to me and I'll update. [I did another search and came up empty.]

These are the stitch markers I made to coordinate with the socks:

This is the start of BittyBit's matching socks. I measured her dear little fat feet today: 6" ball of foot, 7-1/2" about an inch above the ankle, and 5" from heel to toe. Since the circumference of her feet is roughly 2/3 of mine, I began with the Figure 8 Cast-on, eight sts per needle just like my socks, and only increased to 32 sts total.

Sweet are the uses of the high chair! I tried this on her while she was eating a snack in captivity. Perfection! I added another 20 rounds or so at Knit Night tonight and will cast on her other sock in the morning.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Bear With Me

This little bear has a big problem. Two of them, actually. The first is that his job involves longitudinal stick management. That can't be comfortable. [Does his expression remind you of that coworker who always seems in need of a tree surgeon? Every office has one. I figure that an important part of my job is making sure it's not me. ]

The second is that his coworker is MIA. These needles are only bundled on one end, because I managed to leave Bear #2 at Secondborn's after last week's photo session. BittyBit has made multiple attempts to devour said bear, all foiled -- so far -- by her keen-eyed and nimble-fingered mother.

However, my dear, sweet, otherwise-law-abiding daughter has sent me a ransom note, to wit:

Is this the thanks I get after 14.5 hours of labor, teething, chicken pox, boy bands, et al?

I am shocked. And appalled.

I am also, apparently, trekking to Wally World at dark-thirty tomorrow morning to buy another ginormous box of brownie mix.

So much for my traditional retort [first uttered to her older sister roughly 15 years ago] "The Israelis don't negotiate with terrorists. Neither do I."

She has my bear, you see. And she also has my granddaughter.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Sheepish? Moi?

Found this wistful fellow when LittleBit and I were back-to-school shopping for her. She tried things on; I stood at the cart and worked on one or the other of my socks.

This is a: candy jar? planter? dustcatcher? It was $4.99 at Ross. It joins the 22 other sheep + 1 llama ["Dolly", of course] in various corners of my living room and dining room. At the moment it is holding about half of the yarn for LittleBit's purple scarf.

Sock the First and Sock the Second are -- cue the Dragnet theme -- dun dun dun dun, dun dun dun dun DONE! As of dark-thirty this morning. I think I have enough yarn left to make similar socks for BittyBit. I figured that it would take two or three hours to patiently untangle what was left of the sock yarn. So I took nothing to work on, since obviously this would keep me busy before work, on my breaks, and at lunch. Right?

Wrong. I finished winding it into a ball on my morning break and found myself bookless, needle-less, and twitching from withdrawal. So I hopped in Lorelai on my lunch hour and tooled over to the LYS for show and tell, also hoping that the Denim Silk I've been eyeing for two months had not been sold. I learned, day before yesterday, that Berroco is discontinuing that line after what? 20 years? The nerve!

I just happened to be wearing a very comfortable pair of pants that I bought at Wally World. They are leggings but look like dress slacks, a heathered charcoal, and I was pretty sure that the yarn I'd seen tucked away in a corner would be a good match. To quote the gulls in "Finding Nemo": MINE! MINE! MINE!

I bought all 10 hanks, with no clue what they want to be when they grow up, but I have some ideas that I want to swatch, and I've printed off several old patterns from Knitty.

What's next in the queue? LittleBit's purple scarf.

I'll come back and paste in a photo of the completed socks when I have one.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Swatching Louisa, Continued

I saw this sweater in a recent magazine:

The print ad is much prettier than the photo on the website. Basically a simple cardi with loopy ribbon trim around the neck and down the fronts. Hrmmm, do I really want to buy oodles of yarn in this colorway when what I'd wind up with is a brighter version of the Rust Fibonacci? I could do a simple lace pattern for the cardi per se, to keep from going bonkers. Or I could do a pullover and not go bonkers at all, with or without lace embellishment, and just do the ribbon around the neckline.

And I've had my first request for a pair of socks, from Fourthborn's Fiance's Father. His feet are always cold, and he'd like a pair of black wool sleep socks. After all the frogging and figuring and fiddling with Socks the First and Second, a simple pair of tubes is going to be a breeze.

Monday, August 21, 2006

How to Please a Teenager

When she got home from Firstborn's in FL, LittleBit liked the Fibonacci Scarf. [She thinks the Rasta Scarf is hideous. We will graciously forgive her.] She wondered if we could do one in purple, but not "quite as tickly".

Now, she likes feathery/furry yarn, stuff that is spun up out of dead dinosaurs, stuff that makes my hands scream and run away when I try to touch it.

Stuff that I think is way more tickly than good honest Hair of the Mo. We spent at least half an hour online the other day, looking at KnitPicks and other possibilities I'd bookmarked. I got a sense of what sort of purples would make her happiest, and the texture she was aiming for.

I have had several weeks recently that were just one @#$% thing after another, and sometimes the same @#$% thing over and over. I was sick two weeks ago and missed a day of work, as much from stress as from allergies. So by the time my lunch hour rolled around the next day, I was ready for some retail therapy and a field trip to my LYS to see what they had that approximated the yarns that we'd found online.

First I found a hairy/furry yarn: Berroco Plume FX, color 6720 (dye lot 53), 63 yards. 3 balls. Next something sticky to hold all the yarns together: Queensland Connection Soft Comfort Mohair, color 614 (dye lot 70), 95 yards. 2 balls. Was there a South West Trading Company "Melody" to tie it all together? There was: color 516 Vixen (dye lot 04111925), 400 yards. 1 ball that I will most certainly "bra up" before attempting a swatch.

Couldn't wait to show it to Coworker Student #1, who gave it a big thumbs-up and a smile as wide as Texas. That smile got me through until quitting time.

More to the point, LittleBit was very pleased when I came home from work and showed her the yarns.

I have no idea what sort of scarf I'm going to do make from them. But I have no doubt that they'll play nicely together, and I hope there's enough natural fiber to keep my hands humming happily.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Sock Wars (Cue the Soundtrack)

Long, long ago in a knitting bag far, far away...

I finally bit the bullet and frogged Sock the First to where I should have commenced the heel turning. And then I began to play catch-up on Sock the Second. I also made new stitch markers with some of the jewelry supplies I that bought a few weeks back and my brand new round-nose pliers. Sweet! [Unfortunately, I'd removed them by the time we took these pictures. So you'll just have to imagine them or catch them on another project.] These new stitch markers are sterling and red tigereye -- which is more a rusty brown than a true red -- and smoky quartz, and they look[ed] splendid marking the center backs of these socks.

All those funky little squiggles that you see on the socks? I found some really cool plastic split ring markers. They look a little like commas in the fetal position, and you slip them into your knitted fabric to mark stuff you want to remember [such as short rows or darts] and not just slide them onto your needles to mark the end of a round or a pattern repeat. I’m using blue ones for Sock the First and white ones for Sock the Second, and the pink ones are just lying around in their little envelope, whining because nobody wants to play. The odd-colored markers show decision points: a bit of a gusset at the ankles, a larger needle.

So I put a marker in at the end of the toe increases, and I put a marker in every ten rounds, and then I noticed something: the blue-marked sock, which I’d already frogged, was about a centimeter longer after [only] 20 rounds of plain knitting than the white-marked sock, which I’d knitted while stewing over recent drama in my tribe. My tension was that much tighter on Sock the Second? The Harlot is right: “angry knitting" is a sad thing, indeed. If I hadn't compared socks, I would have ended up with one to fit Andre the Giant, and one for Tom Thumb.

[Silver lining: I was finally getting the recommended gauge for my yarn on Sock the Second.] Decision time: do I rip Sock the Second and try again on larger needles, or do I rip Sock the First and try to replicate the tighter gauge, even though I was beginning to simmer down?

I pondered this for awhile and decided that I liked the tighter gauge on Sock the Second, so I frogged Sock the First again, this time all the way back to the end of the toe increases. And every ten rounds, another marker, and a quick side by side comparison of the two socks. So far, knock wood, I am knitting consistently on both socks. I’m doing ten rounds on one, then ten on the other, and I’m nearly to the end on *both* socks. A miracle on the order of the loaves and the fishes! I have learned one Jonah-sized whale of a lot about what not to do when attempting to make socks.

I was hoping to finish both socks this weekend. My knitting friend Elizabeth http://www.elizabethklett.com/knit.html
is racing to complete a lovely cardi for the first day of school tomorrow, the 21st. I wanted to wear my new socks to work that day. Alas, not to be.

These are my new teddy bear end protectors. Inexpensive, cute, effective, but they make me hungry.

Completely off-topic: can somebody teach me how to add a "steal this button" to my sidebar? Or expand my sidebar, for that matter? I would also love to be able to insert a link like the Harlot does, but HTML R Not Us.

Saturday, August 19, 2006


Family = tradition, with or without Tevye's musical accompaniment and the bleating of goats and the stomping of feet and the raising of much dust.

When I was a girl growing up in the wilds of western Idaho, Saturday nights meant Mom's hamburgers, and a handful of potato chips, and endless mugs of milk and quite possibly ice cream for dessert while we watched "Lawrence Welk" and "Hollywood Palace" and who knows what else. I have eaten a lot of good hamburgers in my life, but none as good as my mother's.

When I was married to the children's father, Christmas traditions for our very Mormon family included a surreptitious foray to Midnight Mass for the PapaBear and any of the children who were old enough to behave respectfully. He felt it was important for them to understand how other Christians celebrated the Savior's birth, and to have an appreciation of how the Catholics (and their cousins) kept the night light on during the Dark Ages. One of a number of things that he and I still agree on.

For several years after the divorce, Christmas -- like Berlin -- was divided. I had a family party for the girls on Christmas Eve, and they opened their presents from my side of the family. The older ones went to Mass with him, and he had them all for Christmas Day, which not-coincidentally got me out of cooking a big holiday dinner, so it was win/win. And they opened their presents from his side of the family.

And then came the first wedding, where I witnessed the groom's mother opening her home to her ex and his latest wife, and I learned a few things that I'm sure she didn't realize she was teaching, and I grew up a little. And either that Christmas or the one after that, I invited the PapaBear to "my" party. And there was rejoicing amongst the short people, and I still didn't have to endure the cooking and the cleaning-up of a family feast. [I also invited my boyfriend and my best guyfriend from church, one of whom was a peacemaker, and the other useful in case of a barfight. As the PapaBear's late mother used to say: Trust in Allah. Trust in Allah, but keep your camel tied.]

We have another tradition: that of the First Saturday Quilt Class, alluded to in a recent post. It began when my friend Brother Yummy told me about a fabric store he thought I would like. It was about a mile south of where I was working at the time, so I drove over on my lunch hour and fell in love -- it was a quilt shop!

I signed up for the block of the month club, and the next year Middlest joined me, and the year after that the shop closed, so we found the current venue in Lewisville, and Firstborn and Secondborn joined us. And somewhere along the way Fourthborn joined in, and LittleBit, who is not allowed to use my sewing machine until she takes home ec and learns on somebody else's. Which means I sew two blocks each month. Through the years the number of us participating has ebbed and flowed.

When I was younger and the girls were -- well, girls -- they pretty much didn't want to learn anything I was willing or able to teach them. Except cussing: I remember Firstborn in kindergarten, standing outside on the compost heap, yelling to Heaven, "Cwap! Dadgummit! I'm just so damn fwustwated!" And then there is the classic tale on LittleBit, who at 2 wanted to follow Firstborn and BoyDuJour down the sidewalk while they said their goodbyes, and got brought inside, and went back out and yelled from the porch the angriest thing she knew, which is a direct quote from The Princess Bride: "I want my father back, you bleepity-bleep!"

So it has been a pleasant surprise to watch them respond to the love of fine needlework that flows through their veins as surely as the hemoglobin, and to build traditions around that.

Another tribal tradition is Tuesday nights with the Gilmores. While we all agree that the writing last season left much to be desired, we are looking forward to Season Seven and hoping for better plotlines and more "Oye, with the poodles!" Gilmore-isms.

Since LittleBit came back from FL, we seem to be evolving a new tradition: Saturdays at the bookstore. I am the Anti-Mall, and I would prefer that none of my precious children, adult or otherwise, set foot within a hundred yards of it. But there were things that LittleBit wanted and/or needed for back to school which could only be obtained at the mall, and FourthBorn and Fiance were willing to chaperone, so I chilled out at the bookstore with my knitting and a stack of books to browse, while they all spent their hard-earned money and kept one another un-mugged.

This was our third Saturday in the new routine, and I have to say that it was a success. Browsed 4.5 books and put three of them on my "to buy" list. Knitted 15 rounds on the ribbing for Sock the Second. Remembered to call Secondborn back; she had called while we were at the high school getting LittleBit measured for her choir uniform and resisting the blandishments of the Booster Club. And once the kids were safely elsewhere, I tried a different sandwich, this one with turkey? ham? and cheese and honey mustard on pretzel bread and grilled to perfection.

When they came back and showed off their purchases, and their lack of bruising or bleeding or stitches, Fourthborn shared her jujubes [bought at the electronics store: who knew?], and Fiance bought treats for the girls. As LittleBit unwrapped her cookie and aimed it at her mouth, I wise-cracked in a surge of motherly relief, "Beam Me Up, Biscotti?"

[Bad puns are another family tradition.]

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

The Scripture Coat, A Kaffe-ish Adventure

One really humongous sweater. Ankle-length. Large enough that I got onto a plane when I was eight months' pregnant with LittleBit, and nobody knew that I was pregnant until I took off the coat. [And then, boy did everybody on that plane know I was pregnant!]

I've worn this coat to a graveside service and wrapped myself and two pregnant girlfriends in this coat, and we all stayed warm.

The neckline, crocheted into submission.

Notice that the cuffs are different colors. This was a "use up the stash" coat. So yes, this was on purpose.

The hem, a missionary experience:

My days are...

swifter than...

a weaver's...

shuttle. Job 7:6."

I fell in love with this scripture 20 years ago, but omitted the latter half of it, which reads "and are spent without hope." I didn't think that part, though scripturally accurate, was particularly confidence-inspiring. Plus, I've never been that big, even at eight months' pregant, and I didn't want to have to center a second line of text.

I knitted this coat in the round, stitched up the front, slashed, and crocheted the button bands and neckband. Most of the yarn is worsted weight or bulky. Twenty years later, I don't remember who made the yarn, but I sure had a lot of it at one time or another. Some of it is two strands of Ironstone Mohair, knitted as one. It has held up wonderfully over the years, though there is one small hole requiring attention.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Dances -- and Flirts -- with [Geriatric] Wolves

The ladies in my knitting group wanted an update. This is easier than telling the same sad story three times at knit night next Tuesday. And it will all be "old news" for those of you on the Grats List.

The knitting mojo must have worn off, or maybe I just took the wrong project. Saturday the 5th was an activity erroneously labeled a dance. Am I glad that I went? Absolutely; it was very instructive. Did I have fun? Yes, mostly. Did I dance? No, not particularly, though my dear friend the Yumster came through as usual.

I took Swatching Louisa, and I worked on it for a few rows, and I visited with friends, and I kept half an eye on the two guys who have captured my attention recently as dancing partners. Apparently the menfolk have become yarn-deaf, and I might need to resort to sculpture or arc-welding, though I think that marble chips would be a hazard on the dance floor, and a welding helmet would definitely inhibit conversation while dancing check to cheek!

I’d also briefed my friend BrotherSushi, whose Nonsense Detector is calibrated differently than mine simply because he has one of those pesky Y chromosomes instead of the lovely symmetrical X’s that I have, and so he notices different things about guys (and yes, obviously, different things about women) than I do, to watch the behaviors of said recent dancing partners. Both of whom have been charming but not particularly flirtatious, and I have a horror of making an idiot of myself by flirting when the gentleman in question has only been civil.

You know the old joke about the co-dependent who knows what everybody else in the room is feeling, except himself/herself? Well, I am very good at reading men I’m not interested in romantically. But if there seems to be a mutual spark, or if I even think I might be interested someday, my compass starts spinning as erratically as Jack Sparrow’s in the second “Pirates” movie. Hence the need for backup.

BrotherEh (he's Canadian) apparently walked into the dance with a date. The nerve! He had the grace to dance with a lot of other ladies but didn’t make it quite as far as the table where I was lurking. BrotherOhMy came in solo but spent the evening orbiting a lovely sister (or perhaps being orbited by her). After awhile I leaned over and said to my friend, “I don’t believe that your sleuthing services are required tonight.”

[Thought for the day, most pertinent after Friday night’s experiences and taken from Sarah Ban Breathnach’s Romancing the Ordinary: “One should know the value of Life better than to pout any part of it away.” Hester-Lynch Priozzi (1789)]

I am not *quite* pouting, though I do get fed up with the local Churchboys from time to time. I know that they are visual creatures, and that they gravitate toward the lissome. But I have gone hungry in the past so that my kids would have enough to eat, and I’ll be blessed if I’ll go hungry to satisfy some man’s vanity. And there are a number of good men out there who see me very clearly, thank you; unfortunately they tend to be evenly divided between well-seasoned redneck bubbas who “ma’am” me to death, and Latinos young enough that I could have given birth to them. None of them able marry me in the temple.

Quite obviously, the answer to my occasional question “When?” continues to be “Not now.” It makes no sense to me to ask God to send me a man I can love forever if it would mean a good woman had to die, or a marriage would have to break up, so that I could be suitably partnered. No thanks, I don’t want that on my conscience. So I have learned to be very careful what I pray for.

Most of the time, perhaps 98%? I am so thankful to not be unhappily married, that there is no room in me to be sad that I’m single. And much of the time I am frankly too busy to care, though I freely confess that this is one of those rare times when I *do*. It will pass. I will go to church and have the empty places filled in for another week, and I will go to work, and I will create, and life will be sweet.

Fast Forward to Monday the 7th:

We take you back to the thrilling days of yesteryear — somebody cue the “Lone Ranger Theme” —when I was whining about the dearth of interesting [and more to the point, interested] menfolk in the vicinity. My friend MsBallroom responded that we may have to import one.

What to my wondering eyes should appear, but an email from what I shall call the Churchboy Dating Service. A guy. Interested in me. What is wrong with this picture?

Well, he’s 14 years younger, not quite young enough to set off the “I could have given birth to this man” alarm bells, but rather closer than I like.
PRO: If I like him, there’s a good chance I’d get to keep him for a few decades.
CON: He could get bored in 20 years and want to trade me in for two 35’s.

And he’s tall, unless he’s fudging his height the way we fudge our weight.
PRO: I wouldn’t have to wait for a son-in-law to come over, to change the light bulbs in the kitchen or the AC filter in the hall.
CON: I might need a stepstool to kiss him.

He likes sports, plays basketball, and thinks jogging is fun.
PRO: If I like him, there’s a good chance I’d get to keep him for a few decades. (Where have we heard this before?)
CON: He might want me to watch him play basketball.

He’s never been married.
PRO: No alimony.
CON: A major red flag for me. Never-been-married makes me every bit as jumpy as multiply-divorced.

He has a son.
PRO: Somebody new to love.
CON: Another major red flag. I fired off a whole lot of questions about this little detail. Child support, co-parenting, why not marry the mother, etc.?

He’s better-looking than me.
PRO: If I were still in the baby business, the kids would be gorgeous.
CON: Why isn’t he looking for somebody young and fertile and equally gorgeous?

He lives in Utah.
PRO: If he turns out to be a loon, he’s far, far away.
CON: I have already done the whither-thou-goest thing and have sold my BTDT (been there, done that) T-shirt at a yard sale. Most of my kids are here. Most of my grandkids are here. As the old gospel song has it, “I shall not be moved” except, perhaps, to serve a senior mission someday.

And one final point, about which I thankfully see no CONs. He is neither a Good Old Boy nor a Latin Lover. He *could* be Danny Glover’s younger brother. I have done some thinking about this and how it could affect various aspects of my life. My kids would be far more concerned about his character than his color. It would not be a problem at work; one of my co-workers is part of an interracial marriage. It would not be a problem at church; my ward is very inclusive. The only person there who might be uncomfortable could be my former husband, also [alas] in my ward. And possibly one or two of my friends. Though one of my girlfriends would be positively green-eyed if after all this patient waiting, I bagged a BoyToy.

As Mark Twain said, “I look on this with love and suspicion.” There will be no IM’ing, no late-night phone calls, none of the usual nonsense involved in online dating. There will, instead, be long letters discussing one thing and another, and more quests for him to perform than the average prince in a Grimm’s Fairy Tale.

There will also be background checks of extraordinary thoroughness. My experience last summer with theBrother Formerly Known as Lucid taught me that“apostasy” does not show up on any readily available screening systems, nor does “tax protestor”.

Forward again to Tuesday the 8th:

New movie title: “How to Lose a Guy in Three Emails”. I wrote the above when I was home on Tuesday. I also sent BrMocha what appears to be the last volley in our exchange. Excerpt follows:

“Let me return to the subject of the age of your son. I’m glad that he is doing well, and that’s not what I asked. The age of your son, the circumstances of his birth (since your profile says that you’ve never been married), together with how long you’ve been a memberof the Church, will tell me a lot about your character.

“If your son is the result of an indiscretion when you were a kid, either in or out of the Church, and he’s grown or mostly-grown, that’s one thing. Long-distance parenting works quite well in that situation. I have one kid in FL and another in VA, both married to fine men, so I have some experience with that. So if our correspondence becomes something more, I would not have a problem with your moving toTX, away from your son, assuming that was something you wanted to do.

“If your son is younger, then in my opinion he needs your good example there, where he can see you often. [Another pair of questions: is his mother LDS as well? Is he being trained up in the Church?]. And now for something about *my* character. I have reared or mostly-reared five children. I have no experience with brothers, or sons. Little boys, quite frankly, make me twitch, which if I have grandsons someday will be something I have to get over.

“I would quite cheerfully welcome another adult child to the tribe. I have absolutely no interest in rearing another human being to maturity, unless something happens to one of the kids, and I have to raise a grandchild. I have approximately two more years of 24/7, and then a new phase of my life begins.

“This could very well be a deal-buster for you, and I recognize that. Best to get it out on the table at the very beginning.”

The silence from Utah is deafening, LOL. I may very well have fried his monitor. What I *think* happened is this: he saw my profile, saw my photos, saw the opportunity to engage in some virtual whoopee with some plump middle-aged white chick who hasn’t had a date in forever and must therefore be bored and unutterably lonely. He kept bugging me to contact him via IM, and I have had one too many “what are you wearing?” experiences to go there. Silly man, I haven’t been bored in decades, and I intentionally keep myself overbooked and exhausted and prolifically productive to keep loneliness far, far away. Boy was*he* ever barking up the wrong tree.

Yes, I have a lifetime membership on the Churchboy Dating Service [not that I have any real faith that I’ll find BrotherRight there, but if you always do whatyou’ve always done, you can’t expect a different outcome. When I met hubby #1, I was at a party, gloriously drunk on one beer and shimmying to“WipeOut” while standing on the coffee table. After the divorce, I joined the Church. Hubby#2 was a blind date arranged by my Relief Society [women's group] president in my student branch. I love and trust my current RS president and my stake RS president, *and* I’m taking no chances, LOL].

My profile and persona on the Churchboy Dating Service are set about midway between “phasers on stun” and “shoot to kill”. My screen name is that of the most successful and most under-appreciated female assassin in the OT. Deborah gets to lead the army with Barak, and she gets her own psalm. Jael gets to be a tent peg in the hands of the Almighty, and then she gets to clean up the tent. I have spent the greater part of my life cleaning up after other people’s messes, when mostly I just want to kill something. [I’m wondering if the original Jael had a “Marsha Marsha Marsha” meltdown after they hauled Sisera's body out of the tent: “Fine, I’m here scraping ‘dirt’ off all the rugs, and you’re out there dancing and singing with Barak. See if I kill anymore enemy generals for the likes of you!”]

I’ve been wrestling with some long-term issues in the extended family, and some personal issues, plus the higher than usual stress level at work, and then I get the email from Utah, and my initial reaction is, “Sick joke, Father, lousy timing, I really don’t appreciate Your sense of humor right now but I promise to laugh later, OK?” There are times in my life when a resident male seems like a great idea, and far more times when I feel that a spouse would be just One More Thing I Gotta Deal With.

The whole past horrendous three weeks or so was mostly-redeemed by dinner at Chez FooFoo on Friday night with BrotherSushi [one of three precious Acquired Brothers who came into my life after some other woman stomped them and left them to ferment until they became worth having dinner with]. Good atmosphere, *amazing* food, and another soul who understands the validity of the "he needed killing" defense.

Not that I would, or he would, but it was great fun to verbally "dig a pit for my neighbor" and push said neighbor in and make sure that fire ants were on the welcoming committee. I've also pulled the Dixie Chicks from timeout, and "Goodbye Earl" is getting a lot of play, chez moi, and each time I sing along, my smile is less crocodilish and more sincere.

After Our Monthly Quilt Class

This is BittyBit, enjoying what one of my girls called bite-a's when she was small. As in, "I want a bite-a that, please!" You can see by the pink cheeks that match the pink dress, how hot it was a week ago yesterday (the 5th). That is Secondborn's hand doing the honors, and LittleBit was the photographer.

The local daughters and I attend a block-of-the-month class at The Old Craft Store in Carrollton. The premise is, you sign up at the beginning of the year and pay $5. That gets you your first month's block kit. If you return the following month with a completed block, your next month's block is free. Theoretically, it is possible to make twelve blocks toward a quilt top for one $5 investment. Theory rarely shakes hands with Reality in this family!

If the block is done but the quilter is AWOL, then you have to pay another $5 for the next month's kit. If you buy a previous month's kit, assuming there are any left over [which is assuming a lot] it's $6. Middlest has her hands full, being a good Navy wife and seeing the sights in Virginia Beach. So she opted out this year. I've been picking up the previous month's kit and mailing it to Firstborn in FL. Except the last two months, so sorry; I was seriously broke last month from a bad case of Yarnus Interruptus, and this month we got there after the last of the leftovers in our colorway had been snapped up by somebody else. So we will have to get creative.

This month, we saw previews of next year's block series. They've cut back to two colorways, one a patriotic red white & blue, and the other rich rosy browns and rich browny pinks. On the drive over, Secondborn and LittleBit and I had talked about how busy the next year was going to be, and how we didn't want to sign up again unless the fabrics and/or the designs were really compelling. Are we ever in trouble!

The women at this shop are *amazing* when it comes to putting fabrics and colors together. Secondborn is going for a "country" red white & blue theme for LittleBit's room. And we all swooned over the two brown and pink blocks that have been sewn up. So it looks as if LittleBit and I will be doing that one, and Secondborn will be doing one of each, using fabric from her own stash for the r/w/b one. Haven't discussed this with the other girls yet, to see if they're interested in participating.

At least LittleBit and I don't have to explain to a spouse why the number of quilt tops in progress is growing exponentially, while the number of completed quilts is not even growing arithmetically!

This is a link to the Sherwin-Williams website. Click on the "Color Visualizer". http://www.sherwin-williams.com/do_it_yourself/
Then search for these colors:
Terra Brun 6048, Rugged Brown 6062, Turkish Coffee 6076, Java 6090, Cordial 6306, Concerto 6298, Redbud 6312. All with warm shades of cream for the backgrounds. It is rather what I imagine life would be like, sitting on the inside of a chocolate covered cherry, the kind with fluff surrounding the fruit, and not just the liquid.

LittleBit feeding me a bite-a. Secondborn was the photographer this time around.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

When Good Socks Go Bad

Well, I just found out accidentally how to delete a photo from a post-in-process, and how to get it back.

What you are seeing is a sock that is [mockingly] one inch too long for my foot, and an exploding ball of yarn. Just off-camera at the top is Sock the Second in its larval stage and definitely not ready for prime time.

This afternoon I took a big glug of hot chicken broth for courage and frogged Sock the First back to where I should have stopped for the heel turning. It is now resting patiently, next to a huge mass of frogged yarn which is connected to the mess that has leapt off the main ball.

Lesson learned: plan to start the first sock from the *inside* of the ball, but first wind a second ball from the outside of the ball, and leave them connected, and start the second sock from the inside of the second ball. I don't know if this actually works, but it sounds good inside my head, as unfortunately do lots of things that don't work out so well in actual execution.

If I work both socks at the same time, from different halves of the yarn, they should come out the same width and the same length, and I won't have to buy one of those really cool electronic scales to tell me "this sock weighs X ounces and you have X-.02 ounces left on the ball for the second sock". And when I meet in the middle and have run out of yarn, the socks are officially done. Right?

But in the meantime I have half a sock on one set of needles, and a big fluff of kinked yarn, and a falling-apart ball of virgin wool, and another pregnant Gods-eye on the second set of DPs. As I posted in a comment on my knitting friend Elizabeth's blog, "Nothing exactly transportable; more a project for knitting in bed with feet propped up and bagpipes wailing in the background."

I wonder what the neighbors would think if I drifted off to sleep to "Scotland the Brave"?

Monday, August 07, 2006

You’ll Come a-Swatching Louisa With Me

Visualize, if you will, a swatch of the "Impressions" that is two repeats wide and five repeats long. I suppose it would help if I told you repeats of what: Feather and Fan, obediently knitted up on the size 6 needles which the ballband suggests, rather than the 3's that would have given me gauge. Breathtaking!

Visualize, I say, because I have already frogged it after making a mental note to design something with that yarn on those needles, in the pale green colorway, to go with my dark mossy green slacks. One more reason to acquire a digital camera of my own and to ponder the wisdom of knitting swatch #2 from the opposite end of the ball and retaining both swatches, at least until I can get over to Secondborn's house to take advantage of her talent -- strike that! -- to allow her the opportunity to serve my reading public.

I then turned my attention to the "Sari Ribbon". I wanted to see what it looked like in the same pattern. I played awhile with the DP's [Brittany, size 15] that I used for the I-cord fluff on the Rust Fibonacci Sweater. Highly unsatisfactory, either using them singly or creatively cobbling three together with a rubber band to approximate a size 35. So after work I hopped into the car and drove to my downtown LYS -- oh frabjous day! -- to see what might serve better.

Oh frabjous-er day! I am now the awestruck owner of my first Addi circular. Specifically, a 16" Addi Natura in size 10.75, which has got to be the knitting equivalent of a Bentley and a chauffeur. Fanning, fanning!

The Results:
Smooth and sinuous cable cast-on
Crisp stitches with just the right amount of scrunching-of-the-ribbon
Sleek brass ferrule joining bamboo to cable
Stitches flowing effortlessly from one needle to the next
Sanity restored [OK, the jury's still out on this one]

I've only knit two and a half repeats in the "Sari Ribbon", as the swatch is approximately 11" wide. I can imagine front and back panels that are two repeats wide and grafted at the shoulder over a handful of stitches, with the rest of the body pickeknittednd knited sideways in an assortment of her other yarns, most definitely including the "Impressions".

I will go to all sorts of crazy lengths to avoid seaming things together, but I can also wrap my mind around the concept of knitting the side panels conventionally, because it would be easier to incorporate one of Nicky Epstein's edgings at the hem, to echo the curves of the Feather and Fan panel.

At this point I am sitting down at a mental tea party with Kaffe Fassett, Anny Blatt, and Louisa herself. [I am *amazed* by her SnapDragon sweater, which is of course utterly unsuitable for my body type.] They are bickering affectionately about color and texture and where I should go from here.

This is swatch #2 in the "Impressions", which I noodled around with while standing in line to pick up LittleBit's schedule at the high school last Thursday night. She was somewhere over Atlanta at the time, and I was not particularly minding the hurry-up-and wait, because my hands were busy as I nudged my tote forward with alternate feet. [My own skewed take on the phrase "soccer mom".]

I took another vacation day -- you know, I could really get used to taking each Friday off -- because LittleBit missed her flight on Wednesday. She called me at 4:01 to say "My plane just took off, and I'm not on it; my ride didn't show up." The 10:55 on Thursday night was the best Plan B for all concerned, and I knew that I'd be no earthly good at the switchboard on Friday with only three or four hours of sleep. Plus, I hadn't seen LittleBit for a month and a half, and we had some serious "and then he said"-ing to do.

Her dad will have to take her next Thursday night for a new photo ID. And of course there will be the raft of paperwork that each teacher will send home over the first week of classes, but it's not like grade school, where we had to fight five hundred other moms for the school supplies. (Good things come to those who wait.)

My little lark is back in the nest, safe and sound; it was lovely to hear her humming as she dressed and puttered about this morning. We will have one more summer like this, and her senior year, and then she will be winging out of the nest for good.

This is "Impressions" swatch #2 with the "Sari Ribbon" threaded through the eyelets. I'm not sure if this is what I want to do. I'm not that crazy about swatching, and I just want to get to work with these yarns. Decisions, decisions.

Friday, August 04, 2006

"Here are all the buttons from my mother's sewing kit. Enjoy!"

"See ya when I get back from the Big Apple. C."

Thus was I greeted upon my return to work on Monday, after a much-needed three day weekend. One very large, very plain green gift bag waiting on my desk, stapled shut with that note.

I cannot imagine a more meaningful compliment, or a sweeter testament of friendship. Oh sweet mother-of-pearl!!! There are buttons in there dating back to the 50's! Including a perfectly matched pair with more piercings than your average rock star, which I am converting to earrings. They won't do when I'm sitting at switchboard, because the phone will ricochet out from under my ear and land with a mutually-deafening clunk! onto my desk. But I think they will be fine for church, and I do believe that I will wear them to the dance tonight.

[I will insert a photo of the earrings later.]

Thank you so much, C. I can only hope your mother is grinning as hugely in Heaven, as I am in Texas.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Rust Fibonacci Sweater

It all started with a scarf purchased at an outlet store, something like nine years ago. Followed maybe six years later by a pair of dark terra cotta socks, genus Discount Store. And year before last by a pair of brown pants from Wally World that look like corduroy, but aren't. [Nice enough for the office, cheap enough for my budget, and comfortable enough that I can put them on and forget them.] And then, for about two months last summer, there was Oh Gracious, I'm *Dating* Syndrome, which necessitated the purchase of half a dozen new T-shirts, all on sale at my favorite plus-size shop, one of them about the color of pumpkin chiffon pie.

My decaying black sweater added nothing to the outfit, which otherwise drew raves from the fashionistas at work. And sometime around Thanksgiving, I began to ponder the possibilities of creating a sweater that would elevate "outfit" to "ensemble". I had some 20 year old Berroco Mandarin Silk in cream and some equally well-seasoned Crystal Palace Country Silk in caramel, and I thought it would be nice to incorporate them. So one Saturday, I threw the clothing onto a hanger, grabbed the socks and a hank of each yarn, and spent a lovely half hour or so wandering from bin to bin. My budget was particularly tight at the time, so I only came home with two balls of Denim Silk in "Cayenne", which is the dark rust you see in the pictures, and one ball of the Plymouth "Foxy", which just screamed I-cord at me. Considering its price, I nearly screamed back!

We built this city, not on rock and roll, but one or two balls at a time as we waltzed joyfully with Signore Fibonacci. [Like Ben or Jerry, a gentleman most entertaining.] I cast on 50 sts at one sleeve in Denim Silk and worked my way up to the underarm as budget permitted. The wide band of bobbles and eyelets is from "Knitting on the Edge", page 131, Floral Bouquet.

When I arrived at the underarm, I knitted a tab from there to the hem of the sweater. Long enough to cover my T-shirt, short enough to prevent the need for future "tush patches". That pattern is on p. 130, Leaf Vein Insertion.

Once I reached the hem, I picked up stitches along the tab and worked short rows to turn a rectangle into a wedge, then over the shoulder on the sleeve stitches to the other side of the tab. More short rows, then back and forth until it was time for the back of the sweater. Since I didn't know what I wanted it to look like, I cast on the other sleeve and worked it to the same point.

I worked the back and grafted it to the second side with the last of the pale peach cotton, which I didn't want to cut because I didn't want to weave in ends. That became a two or three hour project: graft a few stitches, pull 20 yards of cotton through the stitches and tighten them up, weave a few more stitches, pull slightly less than 20 yards of cotton, etc. Next time I will just bite the bullet and weave it together a yard or so at a time, assuming I'm working in something grabby like cotton or wool, and not silk.

At this point I tried the sweater on and was relieved to see that it fit perfectly across the back and shoulders, and that I'd put just the right amount of "wedge" into the side panels. The front panels are short-rowed at the neck, about every 10 stitches to make a nice deep V. For the hem, I decreased in the early stages, then bound off outright. I wanted something curvy like a shrug but more flattering to a Rubenesque body. [Melissa McCarthy on "Gilmore Girls" is the only larger woman I've seen who can carry off something wider than it is long.] Something a little Paul Poiret, a little Mae West, and a whole lot unforgettable.

I had hoped to get the "faux fox" trim done with only two balls of the Foxy, but it was not to be. I got within six inches and had to go back and buy ball #3. The ties on the front are knitted on (I decreased to 3 sts on each front and hauled out the DP's for I-cord in the Denim Silk. The fluff balls at the end of each tie are more I-cord, and they take me back to a hat I saw as a child in the late 50's or very early 60's.

The Mandarin Silk needed some discreet patterning to keep it from slithering out of control like an aging soprano's vibrato. I did a seed stitch variation on the sleeves, a meticulously mirrored eyelet over the shoulders, and purl bumps on the back panel.

All the brown sections except for the underarm tab are purl bumps [two rows of garter stitch, forming one purl bump], ranging from one to five bumps wide. Most of the purl bumps were on size 3 needles; the stockinette portions are on size 4. Normal people would have used needles three sizes larger, in both cases. Normal people don't get claustrophobic when wrapping yarn around their hand; I do. So I just crook the little finger on my right hand and feed the yarn through there, and I gear down on the needles, and Knit Happens.

The Damage:
2 Berroco Mandarin Silk; 1 Crystal Palace Country Silk; 3 Berroco Denim Silk, Cayenne; 2 Lorna’s Laces Dove, Pumpkin; 2 GGH Linova, Terra Cotta Light; 1 GGH Merino Soft, Dark Brown; 2 Baruffa Maratona, Caramel; 1 GGH Tiffany, Light Orange; 3 Plymouth Foxy, Orange. Just doing my part to bless the local economy...

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Wilted Leaf Cardigan

The Wilted Leaf Cardigan is pilling already, and we are not amused.

I designed it to replace a wonderful featherweight commercially-made cardigan of merino with a touch of angora, which my late mother gave me when I was in the sign language program at then-TCJC in 1995. Over the years, I had replaced the buttons. I had dutifully appliquéd elbow patches. But sadly, I also wore through the derriere on one cheek. And I could see no way to make a “tush patch” look office-appropriate. I am already pushing the limits of business casual with my hair. I like my job. Most days.

This new cardigan was mostly fun to knit and is actually a little *too* warm to wear all day at my desk, where you can hang meat on the Fourth of July, or any other day of the year. It may well join the Rasta Scarf on the slow boat to Parts East, or it may follow along next year after a somewhat lighter-weight black workhorse sweater replaces it, and it’s had a thorough cleaning and de-pilling.

I started with the leaf border on page 120 of Nicky Epstein’s “Knitting On The Edge”, in lieu of ribbing. It wasn’t until I had the sweater body paused at the armpits and one sleeve done and the leaves half-knitted for the second sleeve, that I realized the leaves were curling because I had slipped the first stitch on the leaf edge as well as the garter-stitch edge, which was *not* what the pattern specified.

[That's one, *one* wilted leaf! With apologies to The Count, from “Sesame Street”. The little speck is probably a vagrant bit of down. I am fond of knitting in bed.]

Those who follow her directions explicitly would have a Non-Wilted Leaf Cardigan. I, however, do not, but I will never see a copy of my sweater walking toward me on the street.

Other things you will not see in the photographs: between the raglan decreases, I inserted garter stitch bands [3 sts wide] to echo the leaf borders. And the button band and neckband are one long, wide garter stitch swathe, because of the way it expands and contracts around the curves, and because it is so easy to hide the YO K2tog buttonholes and to calculate their placement.

The funky notch at the front of the sweater is due to a slight problem with my gauge swatch. Or perhaps a large problem with chocolate consumption. At any rate, unlike the Rust Fibonacci Sweater [knitted side to side and therefore easy to tweak], after I had stitch-and-slashed the sweater body, I discovered to my dismay that it lacked about 6” of meeting in the middle. And I was not in the mood to figure out how to pick up sts for the button band from the leaf border. So by default, the button band begins and ends above the border and makes a little Frank Lloyd Wright cantilever on each front, and we are calling this a Design Element.

That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.

After picking up sts from the leaf border at the hem [10 sts for every 9 in the border], and knitting in the round to the underarm, grafting in the sleeves, and knitting a v-neck – still in the round – I ran two lines of machine stitching down either side of the center and bravely slashed.

I had done this on my Kaffe-ish Coat, 20 years ago, with great success. I had forgotten over the course of 20 years that when I did the stitch-and-slash back then, the only sewing machine I possessed was my 1951 Singer Featherweight, so perforce the stitches were straight stitches. While it was terrifying to grab those scissors and cut between the stitching, the fabric retained its integrity.

This time around, I thought “A narrow zigzag would be perfect.” It was not. Do not attempt this at home, it was done by a semi-professional stunt sewer running a little short on REM time. I had to go back and split out individual plies from leftover yarn to make “sewing thread” to whipstitch those edges down. If you are going to stitch-and-slash, make sure that the machine stitching is straight stitch, not zigzag, unless you feel your childbirth words are getting rusty.

The buttons were great fun. I took an hour of personal time at lunch and drove to Benno’s Buttons in Dallas. These are little black football-shaped gizmos that slip easily into the buttonholes yet stay buttoned unless and until I am ready to exit the sweater. They are perhaps the only element of this sweater with which I am utterly well-pleased.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Free Association ... It's What's for Breakfast

Do you ever have times when you know that something good is about to happen?

One of the blessings of having my youngest at her sister’s for the summer is ample time to read, study, ponder, and pray. [She is a lovely human being, and I enjoy her company enormously. Let the record show that I will be delighted to have her home again tomorrow night. Nevertheless, I cannot deny that I am far busier when she is here, than when she is away, and it has been pleasant to be a Human Being for the past several weeks, and not exclusively a Human Doing.]

There are times when Heaven feels very near, when I am moved to tears by a passage of scripture, or moved to action by a carefully considered essay. For some time I have had the sense that my life is opening outward again, that I will be learning new things and having adventures and becoming more the woman my Heavenly Father has in mind and perhaps a wee bit less of the opinionated critter that I presently am.

I was sitting in sacrament meeting Sunday before last, when I learned of auditions for a vocal ensemble that performs inspirational music at sundry churches. I remarked quietly to my friend that if LittleBit were graduated and out of the nest, I would love to sing with them. I sing sporadically with my ward choir. Love to sing, love to practice, and am invariably confronted with a body that is screaming for sleep by the time our block of meetings is over and it’s time for choir practice. In the war of Mind over Mattress, Mind wins six days out of seven, and on the Sabbath, Mattress takes unholy revenge.

Against all logic and common sense, I took down the contact information for the choir. I came home and fired off an e-mail. And the response has been sitting in my inbox for over a week, mocking my hesitation. So this morning I got brave and filled it out and e-mailed it back before I could change my mind. If this is something I’m supposed to be doing at this time, then God will help me to keep all the shiny plates spinning.

The one consolation I have is that these are fellow Christians, and presumably if they don’t like what they hear, they will save their chortling until *after* I have left the building.

I was sitting in Sunday School two days ago, minding my own business and taking notes for a poem that ambushed me during a video clip on Elijah and the widow of Zarephath, when a member of the bishopric called me out of class. An aside to those of you who are members of another faith or a different sect of Christianity: we [the LDS] are a lay church. The bishop spends many hours a week in service to the congregation, above and beyond the time he spends at his job and with his family, for which he is paid exactly … nothing. All the effort that’s necessary to sustain and educate a congregation is done by inspiration and volunteer effort. So when a member of the bishopric calls you out into the hall during the meeting, unless you have done something truly heinous and spectacularly public — such as robbing a bank — and are being invited to repentance, then you are probably being called to serve. And my thought as I followed him down the hall to meet with a second member of the bishopric was “Oh dear Heaven, why do I have the feeling my life is about to get more complicated?”

We sat. We prayed. OK, *I* prayed, roughly along the lines of “Please help me to listen to the spirit and to be open to whatever new adventure Thou hast in mind for me”, which made them chuckle. [I knew I was not going to get the “Thou shalt not rob thy neighbor’s bank” lecture.]

Church etiquette precludes divulging my new calling before it is announced to the congregation and receives their sustaining vote, but suffice it to say that I am ever so relieved not to have been called to work in the nursery! [Yet again.] I substituted in nursery a few weeks ago, and they are utterly charming tiny people, but I am used to dealing with taller people, and I inadvertently clocked one of the little girls with a Little People house as I was turning to put it away in the toy closet. Much drama ensued, and she still gives me a wide berth when she sees me in the halls.

I am relieved when a new calling requires talents I already possess; no doubt I will acquire new ones as I serve. So I think that I have part of the answer to this sense of expansion that’s been hovering about me for the last little while. New calling at church, possibility of getting to sing on a regular basis at a time when I’m less likely to fall asleep mid-song, two new guys at the church singles’ dances who actually know how to *lead*. Huzzah! for the men possessing sufficient wit to dance around my perpetually bare feet and not on my toes.

Metaphorically, or otherwise.