2012 in review, aka my sad, neglected blog

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The new Boeing 787 Dreamliner can carry about 250 passengers. This blog was viewed about 1,700 times in 2012. If it were a Dreamliner, it would take about 7 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.


Mother’s Day hike, 2011

which actually took place on Saturday, May 7 this year.  DH chose the profile trail of the Grandfather Mountain area.  The grandfather’s face here below was captured from a Blue Ridge Parkway overlook near the Linn Cove Viaduct.  Since the viaduct was specially constructed to minimize destruction of wildlife habitat on Grandfather Mountain, I must assume that this is some other grandfather.

grandfather's profile labeled

bearded old man mountain

The part of the Grandfather Mountain area where we were walking is known as the backcountry.  It has been acquired by the NC State Parks system and there is no charge to park and hike here. There is a shelter at the trailhead where hikers are required to fill out a form for a permit.


Profile Trail Trailhead Shelter

We only hiked perhaps 3/4 mile, partially because we arrived late in the day, and partially because I had to stop so many times to take pictures, but mostly because we’re an out of shape bunch who can only hike straight up for so long. The part of the trail I saw was beautiful, and easily walkable, and so many flowers were in bloom.

wildflowers 1

these pretty blue ones were everywhere!

lots of these, and these:

wildflowers 2

little meadows full of these!

another shot of the blue ones:

wildflowers 3

so pretty!

and the only trillium I saw, which was missing a petal, which I guess makes it only a billium:


a billium, I guess

perhaps it is late in the season for these at this altitude? But it was that pretty anyway, so I included the picture. This tree is valiantly clinging to the bank of the Watauga River, which has been trying to undercut it for who knows how long:

amazing perseverance

amazing perseverance

and this one was probably split by lightning. They are both wonderful examples of the amazing perseverance of nature.

still undefeated

still undefeated

a gossamer-winged damselfly sitting on a rock by the river:



this fallen tree with its silver bark and lichen encrustations is begging to be a yarn colorway, don’t you think?

lichen and silver

lichen and silver

and this stump with its fungus fans just has to be a fairy castle:

a fungus I can love

fairy castle

I’m loving this tradition of the Mother’s Day walk in the woods. I hope there are many more.

To Eyre . . . is divine!

That is to say, both Carol Sunday’s knitting pattern, and the most recent Jane Eyre movie are divine.

The story in the movie is very abbreviated, of course, with only two hours to work with, but everything in it is just right.  In tone, look, and overall feel, this movie accomplishes a match to the imaginative reader’s experience better than that of any other adaptation I have seen.  I’ve seen at least half a dozen.  One website lists more than 40 film and TV adaptations.  The best match to Jane Eyre the book has to be the 1983 mini-series with Timothy Dalton and Zelah Clarke.  That one was told over 11 episodes, for a total of 239 minutes.  Cary Fukunaga, in 120 minutes, captures Jane Eyre in all her gothic/horrorific/mysterious/romantic/sexy/snarky fun.  To quote the NYT review, “reader, I liked it.”

There is no evidence to support the existence of a short row garter stitch hand knitted shawl in 1847, but I like to think that the Rivers sisters would have been clever enough to have knitted this up from local handspun wool, and lent it to Jane after she dropped onto their doorstep in rags.  In this movie, Jane wore it while gardening, cleaning out a hearth, and other such dirty tasks.  Such a garment would not likely have survived into the present, as it would have been worn until it was a rag, and then likely gone to the rubbish heap.  I wore my Jane inspired shawl in the slightly over-air-conditioned theater.  It was warm and comfy, and resembles hers, but is much larger.

On an obliging model:

To Eyre, by Carol Sunday, Version 1, the larger

On a hanger padded with a towel, while blocking:

to eyre on hanger

To Eyre, blocking

I’m already very fond of it, and likely to wear it to rags myself.

To Eyre . . .

So there’s a new Jane Eyre movie, which I’m so dying to see, should it ever come to my benighted viewing area.  In a featurette, Jane can be seen wearing this shawl.

another view:

In glorious Ravelry tradition, there is of course a KAL (knitalong)  for projects inspired by this movie costume garment.  I’m knitting To Eyre, a pattern Carol Sunday whomped up in no time flat.  I so want to be her.  My Eyre shawl is being knitted in Cascade 220, smoke blue, on size 8 needles.  I’ve just started it today, and it’s going well.

to eyre 15%

In other good news, I took a few good pictures of azaleas and such before last weekend’s storms made them look a bit raggledy.  These are on flickr, and in full size they are suitable for 1600 x 900 windows wallpaper.  please feel free to grab them if you like them.

pink azalea wallpaper 1600 x 900

pink azalea wallpaper

deep pink azalea wallpaper

deep pink azalea wallpaper

pink and white azalea wallpaper

pink and white azalea wallpaper

dogwood wallpaper

dogwood wallpaper

jonquil wallpaper

jonquil wallpaper

Please have a Happy (insert spring festival of your choice).  For me it’s Easter.

no dancing here

Seen outside Darry’ls wood fired grill restaurant on a recent night which was far too chilly for dancing outside.

no dancing on firepit


See the small figure inside the red circle with diagonal bar?  The familiar “no” symbol?  Does this mean “no dancing on firepit”?  We all recognize Smokey the Bear, and realize there’s to be no smoking here, of any sort, I suppose.  Soon no drinking, and no talking.  (Thank you Eddie Izzard).  That seems sort of sad, but I guess the management can’t be blamed for not wanting the customers to dance on this inviting elevated platform.  At least until they have a chance to post the “watch out for falling drunk dancers” sign.  le sigh.

Set aside the forbidden spontaneous expressions of joy, the recent remodeling leaves Darryl’s looking still very familiar, with improvements to the exterior (including the new firepits) and to the flow path of customers once inside the door.  I think the upstairs restrooms are new too.  That may be my favorite improvement.  The menu includes many old favorites and some fun new stuff too.  Like s’mores.  For the firepits, I guess.

The menu says that “at its peak, Darryl’s had 39 restaurants operating in nine states.”  The first time I visited a Darryl’s was in 1976, on Chapel Hill Blvd between Durham and Chapel Hill.  That same night in that same place, I was introduced to the salad bar.  This, to a starving student, was a miraculous concept.  I must have made at least four trips.  Who needed an entree?  Thirty-some odd years later, Greensboro has the last Darryl’s restaurant.  I still love the fun decor.  Two booths look like elevators.  Another is a ferris wheel seat.  There is a carousel horse.  The renovation included expanding the “jail” area, so that more diners can eat behind bars at any given time.  What’s not to like?

I think we’ll be regular visitors to this old/new favorite restaurant.

New Year’s Eve, I’m unresolved.

The blizzard is mostly melted and gone, the Christmas tree is packed away and on the curb for disposal, the leftovers are even gone.  Christmas 2010 is a ghost, 2010 is a few hours away from being a memory, and here we on the the eve of the new year.

This was a first for 2010:

wicked icicle

That’s a pretty wicked icicle for Piedmont NC!  It got started on an icicle-shaped light bulb, and went on to its own magnificence.  Just as I usually start with a kernel of an idea, and then let creativeness grow the way it will.  So I am unresolved, but inspired.  Thank you winter blizzard!

I love a reading gift

There’s a beautifully illustrated book about a girl and her mouse doll.

Phoebe’s Sweater is written by Joanna Johnson, illustrated by Eric Johnson, indie published by their company Slate Falls Press, and has knitting patterns for a girl sweater, mouse doll and dress, and doll sweater. Irresistable, right? Definitely.

Here’s my Phoebe’s Sweater in size 2:


and a closeup of the buttons:



The buttons came from JoAnn, and I’ve stacked the smaller pink butterfly button onto a round white button to frame it and make it a suitable size for the buttonholes. I do like the effect, and the pink is the exact shade of the yarn in the Phoebe mouse doll and her dress:


phoebe mouse

which makes the whole set coordinate harmoniously.  A sweater for the doll completes the set:


phoebe doll with sweater

throw in a copy of the book, and there’s an unforgettable gift for a small girl and her reading, knitting, parent to share.  I’m sad to part with the book myself, though. I’ll have to buy another one.

Merlin helped me knit them all:


phoebe doll dress

He works for ear scritches, and a biscuit now and then. Good doggie.