Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Adding beads to knitting.

Well, as I tried to think of a clearer way to explain adding beads to knitwork, I realized it was a losing battle. So, I went for the 1,000,000,000,000 word approach. Video.

Without further ado, here 'tis.

I know there's no sound . . . it took me several tries to do it this smoothly. When I'm just knitting on my own, I have no trouble. When the camera's going, I'm all jittery. I figure it speaks loudly enough on it's own, though. ;o) This is hosted over at Google Video, (click here to go to it there), and if you'd like to put it in your blog, or email a link to a friend, that's fine with me. I do ask that you include a link to my blog if you do so. Thanks so much.

So, does that make more sense now, CCR? Hope so. :o)

I'm off to get dinner ready so I can go knit tonight. It has almost been a MONTH since I've been to the Tuesday UFO night, and I'm ready to get back into it.

Have a good one!

Monday, July 30, 2007

The rest of the color story.

Sorry to leave you all hanging like that. (Well, all three of you. ;o)

When faced with that much Black Cherry gone (seven packets!), and a still-magenta-yarn staring at me, I started sifting through what little I understand about color.

Then, I remembered this. Byron Pickering is one of Vern's favorite artists, and we actually stopped by to see him on one of our trips out to the Oregon coast. Byron and his wife were wonderful to talk with, and it was incredibly neat to see some of Byron's originals on display in his home. Before Pickering began painting the ocean, he went every day and watched it . . . for a year. 365 days. Just watching and taking it all in. It's apparent from his work that he really knows how Northern Pacific, and I love looking at his work. But, back to dyeing . . .

I remembered about using complements in order to get the color one wants. Black Cherry wasn't giving me what I wanted, so I had a daring thought: add green.

Wait! Won't that make brown?


That's what I wanted. A little brown in that magenta to take the bad 80's memories out of the color for me.

(It's hard to use the sun when it has set . . . ;o)

And here's what happened. (The "morning after" shot.)

Not bad, eh? I apologize profusely for the glaring white background. That's morning sun on my white tub. The yarn dried hung on a plastic-wrapped broom handle.

One skein is very much lighter than the others, and it's back in the dyebath tonight, trying to darken it up a little.


We'll see what happens. I tried dyeing them all together so they would be the same color . . . but next time I'm going to dye one skein at a time and take notes so I can reproduce the color on the others. ;o)

And now I need to stop being a bad girl and go finish cleaning up dinner. Have a great night!

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Little boys and literature.

I love to read. I always have. Books seemed such magical things to me--I read through the entire juvenile section of my little rural county library before I turned 12, and haven't looked back since. The sheer availability of reading material on the internet is seriously addictive for me--I have to watch very carefully the time I spend reading at the laptop. Vern is the same way. I can't imagine not being able to read, or not reading. I look forward to the day when the kids aren't so little and I can spend more serious time reading actual books . . . good, long, excellent books to savor and enjoy.

My oldest has always turned into a pile of whining jello when I've tried to encourage him to read. Tonight, after I had the three younger ones in bed, a new synaptic pathway flashing into existence and I said: "You may stay up later than the other kids if you read. If you don't, then you'll need to go get in bed." His face lit up and he started right at it. He's sitting on the couch right now, reading away--sometimes to himself, sometimes aloud--and it's beautiful. Just beautiful.

I'm thinking this could be the start of something wonderful. :o)

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Fun in the Sun

It has been pretty hot here. Not as hot today as earlier in the week, but still hot enough to encourage me to stay inside. So, I decided to make the sun work for me.

Here are three skeins of Shimmer (70% Baby Alpaca, 30% Silk) from Knit Picks. I actually got it on eBay, and thought that it was all shades of blue, not blue/gray/white. I haven't been able to figure out what to do with it as is, because I really don't like the color. But today, while I spent hours steam cleaning carpets, I mulled over over-dyeing it with either red or yellow. I opted for red, as you can see. Black Cherry, actually.

Here's the new swift, btw. It arrived in today's mail, and handily wound the top skein in the photo above. (That's what the 5th dowel is for.) It works very well, and I would recommend one as a good swift for the price. It has only one coat of stain on it (the wood grain is still raised), so I'm thinking about staining it either dark cherry or near-black. I'm leaning toward the black. But, we'll see. (MS3 included for scale.) I might just need to buy another one in a larger size . . . we'll see how different skeins of yarn work on it. This swift has 24" arms. (That means they extend 12" from the center.)

Here's the yarn in a nice vinegar bath in the sink. This stuff had an astonishing amount of air in it. It floated like a cork, and had to be ever so gently pushed down and the air squeezed out against the bottom of the sink. It took quite a bit of persuasion before the stuff didn't want to float, and then even more before it was saturated.

And here it is, sitting comfortably in the dye bath. That's just one packet of Kool Aid in a 10 quart enamel stock pot. I might do another dye bath if this doesn't end up dark enough, but it looked awfully dark when I had it all mixed in. I shudder to think that I drank untold packets of this stuff back at school . . . I wonder what happened to all of that food dye . . .

And here is the dye pot, basking in the golden glow of the afternoon sun along with the Yarrow.

And here's what I've been taking blog photos with the last couple of days. It's very cool--the only thing it doesn't do better than my Olympus is zoom--and it's hard to beat a 10x optical zoom when you've only got 3.8x. But this baby starts up in less than a second, takes shots a whole lot faster, has a macro focus of just about an inch (opposed to the Oly's 3"), and has excellent battery life. I'm glad that Vern's sharing his new toy. (And that he doesn't take it to work! lol :o)

And now, we wait for the sun . . .

Still dyeing . . .

Seven packets of Black Cherry and I have deep bright purple, magenta, and intense pink.

Thinking . . .

It was Cami's idea . . .

The quiz, that is.

Your Life Path Number is 7

Your purpose in life is to find truth and meaning

You are very spiritual, and you are interested in the mysteries of life.
You are quite analytical and a great thinker. You have many theories and insights.
A life of solitude is perfect for you. You need time to think and do things your way.

In love, you are quite charming. You attract many with your confidence and wit.

While you enjoy being alone, sometimes you take it to an extreme.
You can become too isolated, shutting out loved ones and friends.
Express yourself a little bit more, and you'll be surprised where it takes you!

Really, that's pretty darn close. There are other facets of my personality that aren't covered, but it hits all of the big ones. While I don't believe that astrology can predict the future, it's a surprisingly accurate documentation of the patterns of our emotional relationship to the rhythms of our environment.

I really do look for the truth behind things I learn or experience; to see how it fits in with other things I already accept as true, or to see how new experiences necessitate an alteration of the way I see things. The spirituality thing is also dead on. I don't talk about it much (I'm pretty reserved, remember? ;o), but that's mostly because those things are so very sacred to me. It's not something I'll often drop in casual conversation, but is reserved for times and places when I know that those things won't be made light of, or ridiculed.

Right now we live in a rural area, in an anomaly of a small subdivision. I have a great view of a pasture and forest from my living room, but all around me are other homes and other people. Even with exceptionally large lots (most are about an acre), I feel pretty closed in.

I'm also right dab-smack in the middle of learning to express myself more. It has come as a bit of a rude awakening to Vern, (for the first five years of marriage, I didn't much), but he has proven that he's worth every last bit of love and devotion I give him by only respecting and valuing me more. I feel like I'm just now beginning to understand my own needs, and how to balance them with the needs of my family and others around me. Learning to say no has been a huge leap forward; along with consciously deciding to no longer be "busy" like everyone else.

Thanks, Cami. That was fun. :o)

So, today is going to be a good one . . . not because the stars said so, but because I decided on it when I woke up this morning. ;o)

Make it a good one!

Friday, July 27, 2007

In Living Color

Still not as pink as real life . . . I wish that I could turn off the built-in red filter that pretty much all terrestrial cameras have. (High-end Astronomy digital cameras don't have the red filter--and boy, do you ever pay for it!)

Here is the set of Hawaiian sea blue markers I made. (And I'm keeping these! lol Modelled by the baby herself. Not too shabby, eh?)

Still prettier in real life . . . but I hope you get the idea. These are so much fun to use. :o)

Maybe this is better . . .

Now, I'm going to go take care of a few mundane things and do some knitting if it kills me. ;o)

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Bead Happy

I need to stop. This is seriously eating into my knitting time.

Here is most of a set I made a while back. The colors are really a pretty mauve/purple there in the middle, with the one on the right a dark mauve purple, and the four on the left irridescent dark burgundy. (I've gotta get me some medium gray background material. This brown stuff is horrible!) But be that as it may, I just love these little markers. They're teeny tiny, and only fit up to a US6; but I still love them.

Here's the roaming marker in that set. (Please ignore the fingerprint on the bead! lol)

One of the tonal blue set I made at the same time. (Ugh. Brown stuff must go. That seed bead is a wonderful, irridescent amber. Not whatever color that is.) This set has cobalt and deep periwinkle markers. I love making big sets of stitch markers with some variety. They're so fun to see hanging all together.

Oh, and here's the WIP they're all on. It's Knitting Daily's Summer Shawlette. (If you can't see the pattern, it means you need to get with the program and sign up for Knitting Daily already. ;o) That's Nature Wool in a wonderful garnet colorway on 6mm KP Options. (US10.) I wish I had bought a Whole Lot More when I got that single skein. We'll see if it's enough to make a full shawlette, or just a wide, crescent-shaped scarf.

And, meanwhile, my sweet MS3 waits patiently, cozying up behind the Nature Wool. (I feel a little funny posting photos of blurred charts--it's like there's nudity to hide! ;oP)

Just when you thought my bead frenzy was over, what did I do tonight instead of knitting on MS3?

I made more . . .

I'm going to take some better photos in natural light. These are light baby pink. Wonderful, make you smile, girly pink; and two barely distinguishable light lavender cubes tossed in for variety. You can see the roaming marker, as well as the round marker with the fun dangle. The fringe beads on that dangle are irridescent light purple . . . pretty enough to make you cry. So, have some hankies ready for tomorrow's post. ;o)

And lastly, this is what I saw out of my window tonight, and then walked barefoot in the cool grass to catch.

I just love poofy pink sunsets. Don't you?

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Happy Birthday to Me, Happy Birthday . . .

to me!

(Okay, so it's 5 weeks and 6 days late, but I'm not complaining!)

Vern surprised me today by pinging me on MSN with: "Your swift is on it's way."

Check out the little video there at the bottom of the listing. Go ahead, I'll still be here. ;o)

Did you see how smoothly that baby turns? How it bounces back when the yarn hits a snag? Hallelujah, I've seen the light (at the end of the ball-winding tunnel)! This morning when I was fighting with my birch Joann swift, I vowed I would never use it again. And I won't. eBay, here it comes. (I'd never curse any of my blog readers with such a stubborn, stiff hindrance to knitting!) Now, before you start thinking that Vern is psychic (he does know a little about knitting, and saw my frustration this morning), I had pinged him a few minutes earlier with a link to that auction, as a friendly hint. I didn't think for a second he'd actually do it, though. He usually thinks things over for a day or three before making any kind of purchase. :o) Woo-hoo!

So, in a few days, I'll be winding all by my lonesome, instead of with several children helping me. (I'd run the old swift, while one child pre-tensions the yarn, another cranks the ball winder, and a third chants: "Mommy, is it my turn yet?" while the baby laughs and babbles and points her little chubby finger at the lot of us.)

In other news, despite the ball winding fiasco this morning, I didn't get any knitting done today. I did, however, make these (along with three meals and a little laundry and misc everyday stuff). First, a family photo.

Yep. Stitch markers. Four sets of which were made today. The sets are either five or six markers, in Not-so-wee (up to a 16mm needle), usual (up to 6mm) and Wee (up to 4mm) sizes. The two sets of purple ones are jumbo sized, with five markers each, one of which coordinates but stands out, for knitting in the round. The olive set is designed for lace, with six markers in Wee size, with one center stitch marker (it has a clasp that is easily repositionable), and one marker with a fun little drop on the bottom for marking the beginning of a round (you know, for all of the mobiuseseses you knit). You can see it there on the left of the green bunch.

Up next is a semi-precious gemstone set (read: fancy polished rocks) in Not-so-wee. I figure since a US17 needle is 12mm, these should work just fine for just about everyone. (Note: if you regularly knit with, say, size 35 needles, I think I might even be able to come up with something. ;o) The square rocks are Autumn Jasper (one of my absolute favorites), followed by assorted tumbled agate/adventurine/marble/whatever nugget drops, and some Swarovski crystals tossed in for good measure.

And last up, a set designed by my 7yo DS.

Not too shabby, eh? He stacked the beads and bent the headpins, I cut & curled & linked the rest. It was hard to keep him from taking off and designing thirty more sets while I was working on this one . . . that boy has a good eye for color. I never would have put the red seed beads with that turquoise--too daring. Too intense. Too bold for the woman who loves soft, soothing colors. (Witness the sweet purple, above?) But I really ended up liking these. There's no way I can keep them, though, because the little capitalist knows that these are destined for my LYS for resale, and he wants his cut. ;o) We'll see how it goes.

And now, I'm off to get ready for bed, and try to sneak in a few rows of Clue #2 before I crash.

Sweet knitterly dreams to you all . . .

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

MS3 Update - Clue one finished.

No, that wasn't a typo. ;o) I was surprised at how quickly the last few (okay, 10) rows went today. I really wanted to spend some nice time knitting quietly, and did all I could during naps today. I even got to snatch a few minutes this morning working on the forlorn FCSS. It's looking really good--I did a steam block a while back to see how it was turning out, and I really like the drape of that Knit Picks Shadow lace merino. Knitting on the MS3 has made me think a lot about how lace goes together, and it has made continuing on the FCSS a lot more straightforward. I finally, really and truly, understand how yarnovers fit into things, and how to watch as I knit each row to make sure that the previous right-side row's yarnovers are incorporated into the proper, increasing, portions of the shawl.

Oh, but this was supposed to be about my MS3. Right.

Here she is!

Wow. For some reason, the pattern stands out a whole lot better in the photo than in real life. I really like it! :o) This is JaggerSpun Zephyr Wool-Silk laceweight in Vanilla from Sarah's Yarns.

Here's a closeup of my cream soda seed beads:

They stood out much better before I uploaded the pic. Hmmmm. Anyway, you get the idea.

Here's how I'm managing my charts:

In order to honor Melanie's copyright of the pattern, I blurred it sufficiently to obscure the chart. I did try to let you see how I've marked off the rows on the left side. I've also written in row numbers so when I'm flipping the chart keeper over, it's easier to make sure that I've got the magnets positioned properly.

Here's a closeup of some of my chart technique. I write in the number of knit stitches when they appear in clumps, putting the number in the first knit stitch box after a pattern stitch. (Well, they're all part of the pattern, but you know what I mean.) It makes it so much faster to knit! It's also easier to keep my place as I'm looking back and forth from the chart to my knitting. Since I'm stuck with a black & white printer, I also write in B's where the beads should go. Otherwise it's hard to remember to not put them in every right-side center stitch. ;o)

And that, dear knitters and friends, is where my Mystery Stole sits for now. I've got the next clue (#2) printed out, and ready for notation and cropping to get it ready to go on the chart keeper for my next stint.

Have a great night!

A quiet day.

Today was interesting. Yesterday was really busy, and today was planned to be much quieter. And, really, it was. There were just a couple of surprises I hadn't planned on.

This was the most notable of those:

Yep. Turquoise crayon.

The entire length of my bed.

Boy, did I do some hard thinking when I saw that. First, I carefully and surprisingly calmly explained to the baby (22 months old and talking up a storm) that we don't draw on mommy's bed. She was very quiet, and said "Oh". She's a sharp one . . . I'm guessing it's because she's always tagging along with her older siblings, and really stretches to interact with them. But anyway . . . back to thinking hard. This is literally what went through my mind:

Crayons are made of wax.

Wax is like grease.

I wonder if this will work . . .

And it did. The nylon mesh really helped work the crayon out of the cream cotton. It's a good thing it's high quality cotton tightly woven of durable yarn. It pilled a tiny bit, but it's not noticeable now that it's dry.

With significant elbow grease, this:

and this:

turned into this before fading completely:

You can see in the middle how it's pretty much gone. Thankfully, that's how all of it is now.

Believe me . . . I'm seriously contemplating a multi-hued, darker bedspread. Yesterday. The kids love to play on my bed while I knit at my desk in there, and it would be nice to not worry about them dirtying my coverlet.

And so, one surprise down, one to go. ;o)


I was just trying to shop online for some swim separates, a' la Lands' End, but actually in stock. The baby came up beside me and looked for a second, and then pronounced matter-of-factly:


Yep. Most of those suits don't cover much. ;o)

Happy Pioneer Day!

It's a good day to remember. A day about coming home, and of the change from the nomadic to homesteading.

Did you know that every tree planted in the original settlements in Utah had to be watered by hand, several gallons weekly, for the first five years? Now that's dedication to community.

I hope this day has been a good one for you, and I'll have more later, after the kiddos are in bed!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

MS3 Update - Still on Clue 1

But I'm making progress. I've made it past the first chart!

I know that my stole will probably be a bit skinny, but I just couldn't go up a needle size. The stitch definition was just too good on the 2's, and I love being able to see so much detail. The design really pops now. I can't wait to see what it's like blocked. To keep myself occupied when I'm wanting to knit lace, but can't give the MS charts the attention they need, I've started a feather & fan scarf in Alpaca Cloud. (I'm gonna get good with that slippery stuff, come wool blight or high water.) Four row repeats, only one of which is patterned. Knit, purl, pattern, knit. Repeat. Love it. Well, I love how simple the lace pattern is. I'm not so sure about how well I'll like the look of the scarf . . . I'm using US6 Takumi straights, and I'm hoping that the pattern shows up better once it's blocked. (I might also be purchasing some Bryson Distributing straights today in a smaller size. We'll see. ;o)

And, I just finished a Vine Lace Baby Hat for a friend's new one:

It should be dry by tomorrow (don't you love how loooooong it takes cotton to dry?), and I'll post it after that. I wonder if I'll get to see a photo of little Sarah in her hat. ;o)

And now, it's off to town for a day of errands. I'm so glad the kids get to visit with Grandma while I take care of it all.

Have a great day!

A Map for MS3

Don't you just love Frappr?

Here's a map of some of the MS3 participants . . .

I've had to use a different zip, since I have a blog policy of at least partial anonymity, but isn't it great to see so many dots? I hope a lot more people add themselves to it.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007


So hot.

So tired.

So, just one thing:

Amy's Potato Burritos are really, really good.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Grrrrrrr . . . .

I just ran headlong into a generation gap.

I called Knit Picks, and got an older CS rep on the phone with a confident, calm voice. As I began reciting my order number, etc., I was remembering my last call to Knit Picks, when I also spoke with an older woman. She was very friendly, understanding, and kind. The type of woman you would love to have in your knitting circle on Tuesday nights. She helped me with my questions, and we ended the call cordially. This woman was 180 degrees from the previous one.

I called to ask about status on my order, which was placed on the 7th of July, and didn't ship for five days. When I try to track it, the system responds with a "no matching tracking numbers found" message. So, I called to find out if it had actually shipped. The tone of response I got was "Your order hasn't been in transit very long, and you shouldn't be worrying about it, you silly little thing." She explained, slowly so I could understand, the process of taking orders, picking the merchandise from the warehouse, packaging and shipping. When I saw that tack was a brick wall, I asked about the possibility of Knit Picks ever offering USPS Priority shipping, and was put down again--before I had even finished my question. Before my anger and frustration got the best of me, I broke in, thanked her for her time, and hung up.

I didn't even make a dent.

That CS Rep's generation, and economy, ran on the hero-worship mentality. Bigger was better. The larger the operation, the more respect and devout obedience were required. Schools, government officials, businesses, the whole lot knew they were lumped in with God, and expected kow-towing and humble submissiveness, or retribution was generously applied.

That world is dying, if not dead already.

Now, cue reality. Companies move quickly. 24-hour order processing is common, even for very large companies like Land's End and Fire Mountain. (Both of which I have ordered from numerous times.) They have very reasonable shipping rates and very quick and predictable order processing times. For pete's sake, even Amazon, with it's monstrous warehouses and inventory, will have my order to me in 48 hours or less if I place my order by the daily cutoff. Knit Picks' inventory is miniscule compared to theirs. Or to Fire Mountain's or Land's End's, for that matter. Please. What world are they living in?

I'm not quibbling with Knit Picks's shipping rates--they're standard for the shipping options they offer. Their standard shipping is dirt-cheap . . . but the speed at which it travels is about the same as dirt on a calm day. I could drive the 2,146 miles between my house and the warehouse in Ohio, pick up my order and drive back three days faster than my order travels to me. (Yes, I know it's not worth it to travel myself--this is for illustrative purposes only.) There should be some kind of middle option, instead of either paying $3 for standard shipping, or $13 for UPS 3-day service from Ohio to northern Idaho. Am I out of my mind to suggest that they offer Priority Mail to their customers? I thought not. Most of my orders would fit in a flat rate envelope or box, and get to me in three days. That beats seven days with a stick.

I've worked in shipping, in customer service, and in picking & packing operations. I've been a consumer for a lot of years, and have dealt with a tremendous number of CS reps and companies. Vern has worked for several software companies, and has seen how they've blundered and botched their way through customer service and marketing. We now are 50% owners in a software company, which deals directly with customers for the sale of its product.

But I know nothing about this whole topic. Babe in the woods, that's me. Yep.


A recipe for Monday: Summer Bean Dip

I sent this to a friend yesterday, and thought I'd share the love all 'round. :o)

Summer Bean Dip

2 big cans refried pinto beans (we like Rosarita's homestyle)
1 c. plain whole milk yogurt (2 c. if it's low fat)
2 T taco seasoning (About 1 packet. I often make my own, so it's in bulk.)
1/2-1 c. good salsa (Herdez Salsa Casera is my favorite)
2+ c. Finely shredded cheddar cheese
Good tortilla or corn chips for dipping.
Optional: sliced olives, green chiles

Mix the taco seasoning into the yogurt, and put the yogurt, beans & salsa in a pan. Mash it all together. If it's hot out, we serve it cold with the cheese sprinkled on top. (Because it's grated so fine, you don't have to melt it in.) If it's cool enough to start the stove up, I heat it up and melt the cheese into it. Spoon into bowls and sprinkle sliced olives and/or green chilies on top. Dig in with the tortilla chips. ;o)

The plain yogurt is much better for you than sour cream, and gives the same tangy creaminess. We get Brown Cow whole milk yogurt, (you get all the vitamins that way, and it tastes waaaaay better). You can also fry up some ground turkey (or meat of your choice) with onions, if you really want to get fancy. Serve it on a bed of shredded lettuce & carrots with a side of Spanish rice for a real authentic flavor. But if you make it up as listed above, dinner is ready in less than 10 minutes. (It can be 5, if you can get one of the kids to set the table!)

I really like this for breakfast, since I need a high-er protein start to my day, and get really tired of cottage cheese every morning. (I used to be able to eat eggs, but not since the last pregnancy.) But I'll spare you the details . . . at least until I put them into a proper post. I used to really love food, but it has turned into a regular chore. :o(

Anyway, this is a very yummy, fast dinner that beats the drive thru window, hands down. Put a salad on the table, and you've got a good, fiber-rich, nutritious meal. Did you know that beans are an excellent source of vitamin C?

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Change is in the air . . .

Whaddya think?

Friday, July 13, 2007


I've been restless lately. Maybe that's what brought that serious case of Startitis on; I don't know. I do know that there are times when I feel like I'm going to seriously bust out somewhere . . . I just haven't yet found the outlet. Knitting is soothing and pretty, and knitting culture is a blast. (The MS3 experience has been great so far.) But it's not active enough for all of my needs. Inside this reserved personality is a musician, and nothing really can take the place of music, once it has become a part of you. My piano skills are so seriously degraded after more than 12 years of neglect that it's frustrating to try to play. I don't know anyone around here that would like to make music with me, so I'm left to my own devices.

Which brings me to today's title.


Typing is fairly painful right now.

Any guesses why? ;o)

Have you guessed yet?

C'mon . . . you know what that is, right?

Well, okay, if you must know . . .

I'm such a novice at this . . . but I'm improving fast, and it's highly portable. I'm still going to work on a couple pieces with Cadence, especially Pachelbel Meets U2. But this, hopefully, will be what I'm looking for. Short of borrowing someone else's guitarist, this is what I've got.

So why start something new, especially when I've spent so many years of my life playing and drilling at the piano? I've felt lately like I'm just coming to know who I've grown up into. I'm not the same girl that sat at the piano for thousands of hours, relying on the music to pull her through whatever came her way. I still dearly love the piano--but I feel as though I need a musical medium that's more readily available, and I'm ready to learn and stretch some more. And one that's not so serious for me.

Meet Scheherezade, Cadence's cousin.

She's glad to be out of her case again . . . it has been almost five years since she last saw the light of day. I just wish I still had my callouses from ten years ago . . . man, it's hard to believe it has been that long. I was getting somewhere back in college. The fingerings and string positions are coming back fast; my hand strength is pathetic, though, and my fingers awfully soft.

So, I'm back on Mom duty, and trying to figure out how I can smash several hours of guitar into an already full day . . .