Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Civic beauty

I have written here before about how much I love Marin's Civic Center. Last weekend, during a brief respite from the everlasting rain of 2006, we trotted up to the "scenic overlook". The bright blue roof, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright to blend in with our (usually) perennially blue skies, looked quite cheery when backed by the dark rain clouds.

The abandoned terrace, where baby ducks will play, should the warm spring weather ever arrive, looked particularly bright, like a daycare center that was all spruced up and ready for a new class of students.

The echium, or Pride of Madeira, is finally in bloom. Aside from being my favorite color, they are just so grand. The purple and yellow of signs of spring are everywhere.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Weather's been funny

This is the year we are really beginning to wonder if global warming has "hit" us. All the regular schedules for our spring blossoms are out of whack. Our magnolia tree bloomed early, in January, and then the rains began in earnest. The peach tree bloomed, then the tulips started to come up. While the tulip buds still are upopened, the lilac burst into blossom. Spring mustard and summer poppies are both blooming in the grass, side by side.

While waiting for my tulips, perhaps in vain, I snapped these at the farmer's market.

In the meantime, we have become familiar with thunder & lightening, cloud formations and driving through standing water.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

A yarn of a tale

About a hundred years ago, it seems, I used to crochet. I guess it was in high school or college. I made some stuffed animals, some hot pads, some other things I can't remember. They were all given as gifts, so I have no proof. I liked the motion of the hook and the satisfaction of seeing something substantial grow out of the thin strand of yard.

Before Barb went in for thyroid surgery, she talked about how Tony the Tiger would be her mascot, to give her strength in her fear of the procedure - he says "everything's grrrreat", and he wears a little scarf. So I got the idea of making an orange tiger-like scarf to protect her neck after the surgery. I have been inspired by the beautiful knitted scarves made by Mary (the tenor in my quartet).. they are works of art. The types of yarn available now makes scarves much more interesting. When I was young, the colors were limited, and if you wanted multi-colored, you had to choose this rainbow-colored yarn that made anything you made from it look like clown-wear.

I wasn't sure I would have time to shop for yarn, but on the way to the hospital, I noticed there was a yarn shop just a couple blocks away. While waiting for her surgery to end, I walked down the street and into a new passion. I picked some very interesting yarn, the softest I could find in the shop. It was fuzzy and bright orange and I got two types, and a beautiful wooden crochet hook. The shop owner asked me if I had crocheted with this type of yarn before. I admitted I hadn't, and she told me that she hadn't "dared". Hmm.

The yarn was "eyelash" yarn, which means it is really just thread with hair. The large wooden hook I had splurged on was too big, but I persisted. What was amazing was how my hands remembered the movement. Not at first, but by the third row or so, suddenly more complicated combinations of stitching came back through my fingers, and I found myself creating something. I have to say that the resulting scarf is not very good handiwork, but it is beautiful, just because of the yarn, and it's certainly warm.

My second attempt came out much better. A couple weeks later, a repeat of the same surgery, but different yarn. This time I had Barb pick out the one she wanted, but I suggested that a yarn made of fabric (like thin ribbons or strips of rag material) would be less warm and still gentle on the healing skin. She picked a beautiful blue combo that was so much easier to work with!

Now my fingers are remembering even more, and my mind is starting to put together patterns. When I am not crocheting, I find myself thinking about it. I start a new folder of bookmarks in my browser, entitled "crochet". Oh-oh. Well, what about hats? Glenna is newly bald from chemo, and I'm sure she can use a hat. I found some gorgeous yarn that moves from forest green to dark blue to magenta to dark grey. Thick and wooly.
Then, because my little cap idea had morphed into a beret, I tried the cap idea out on the remainder of the soft orange yarn, with a smaller hook this time. Bingo!