Author Archives: Anna-Liza

When Pollyannas Collide…

From the dusty archives of our Drafts folder:

This is what happens when the Pollyannas met up on Facebook late one night… The colors let you know which Pollyanna is which. Also, the names have been changed to protect the innocent.

Not us. Our families, silly.

Anna-Liza:     Hey there – are you really on right now? Or is it just a Facebook illusion?

Lyda:              Yes, I’m on.

I went and started a cooking project and now I have to stay up ’til I’m done.

How much longer are you going to be up?

Hoping less than half an hour. I have something simmering – have to check it once in a while. Then I can pour it in a jar and let it cool and go to bed.

Not too much longer, then.  Hey, I graduated.

I saw! Congratulations!

It’s kind of weird. It felt like this huge thing before it happened, and hardly anyone has even acknowledged it. I thought the people at work would all sign a card or something.

Wow. Nothing?  Although it’s not totally surprising, I guess.

Nope. 

Then again, there’s that whole karma around getting validation from outside.  Bleh. 

People keep asking me “What are you going to do now?” and the truth is I have no idea. I’d like to do something completely different, but I’m not sure what.

I’m hoping that, now that the kids are in school again, life will be less crazy and I can indulge myself with a call to you once in awhile again.

And, in re: “boring job,” you *must* read “Radical Homemakers.”

That would be awesome! I miss our long talks. I saw your note [on Facebook] about “Radical Homemakers.” Sounds interesting.

It’s a quick, but sort of intense, read. I think it will weirdly fit in with your studies.

My son the Sith Master thinks I should be a teacher and teach English so kids will learn to love books and reading and writing, instead of learning to hate it.  I don’t know though.

I have to do some posts on the blog…

God, I am not even sure when the last time I posted was. Blogging is another thing I want to get back into.

And I’ve started making these cute little stitch markers that my knitting group is “test driving” for me. If they work well, I’m thinking of selling them on Etsy.

Me too. I need to post about graduating, for one, and check off a big thing off my Bucket list. I did do this.

To jump around a little, one of the big reasons we like living in our own house is that we can garden a lot more extensively. We want to do an “urban homestead” kind of thing with a lot of edible landscaping.

Stitch markers – cool! I haven’t knitted in so long. It’s finally cool today, so I can think about dusting the needles off. I’m thinking I’ll just make a scarf with yarn I have, and then give it away to someone…

Maybe even backyard chickens eventually.  A scarf’s a good way to get back into knitting.

“Urban homestead” – I like it. Edible landscaping is a terrific idea.

You know those books about women’s knitting or quilting groups? I swear our knitting group could inspire one of those.

There you go, something else to do in your copious free time. And hey, while we’re at it, we really should write a book together too.

We’re growing pole beans on our front porch railing, and we’ve been getting really tasty green beans.

[about writing the book together] Yep.

Something with lots of sex in it. I’m not having any right now, so at least I can live vicariously by writing about it.

Hee!

I can’t write well about sex – it always comes out too serious.

Or just stupid.

“Mmmmmmmm .. Mmmm … Mmmmmmm … ” Didn’t we make fun of some book like that way back when?

I know – comes out serious, stupid, or insipid when I write about it. Maybe together we can keep it fun and funny.

 “RRRRRRrrrrrrr …. VVVVVVVVVv”

Sorry. Got carried away there.

You are cracking me up!  “And she arched her back and screamed like a lioness…”

Do lionesses scream, exactly?

I’ve always wondered…

The scream thing annoys me. How many women actually scream when they orgasm?

Probably not so many.

Well, mountain lions scream, or so they say. I haven’t heard if they scream during sex, though. On the nature shows, the lioness always just looks bored during sex.

Yeah, she does. Lions seem a lot like this one guy I dated…

[On “How many women really scream during sex?”]  Good question. Probably less than men pretend they do. But is that because the women are worried about someone hearing, or are they thinking, “I’d scream, but it would be stupid”?

Or it’s just not a natural response.

Moaning, gasping … “Mmmm”ing … seem more real.

OMG, I think we should do a whole chapter of the book comparing old lovers to animals from the nature channel.

Brilliant!

Names or aliases? I think names could cause problems…

Yeah, moaning, gasping is more real. I think Playboy started the screaming rumor, and some women just play along. Probably most women don’t even talk except to say “yes yes more more” but really, what else do you need to say?

Definitely aliases. We might want to visit Texas again someday.

[On what else women need to say during sex]  “Stop that”

“Get off me”

“I told you not to do that”

Hopefully followed by “do this instead,” or “let me be on top now.”

Yeah, but I wonder if men hear it after “stop that”. It would be a turn-off to hear her say “I hate when you do that”… or maybe not, what the hell do I know?

I think we have a blog post here.

I don’t think I’d say that during the act…

Well, “stop” if something hurt or was really unpleasant.

At least one! Hey, let’s just turn it into a knitting / quilting / urbanhomemaking / sex blog.

Isn’t it that already? Well, maybe the urban home thingy not as much.

I keep having this image of two very proper people explicitly discussing sexual acts over the tea and crumpets. Sounds like a Monty Python skit.

Which is actually not a bad idea…  I mean, if you really need to give detailed feedback or suggest something complex, maybe it’s better to discuss away from bed.

The Radical Homemaker thing is about disengaging as much as possible from what the author calls the “extractive economy” and engaging in the creating of a “life-serving economy.” Backing off from consuming…

Yeah, I guess the urban home not so much, especially since I stopped writing about cleaning too.

And yes, discussing away from bed is probably best.

Wait; let’s go back to talking about sex.

Nothing like a serious discussion to kill the mood.

We should just copy and paste this chat to the blog.

True. Et voila!

And when discussing one’s partner’s technique, they might feel safer if they have their clothes on. Of course, the dinner table might not be the place either… not if there are knives on the table. Better to serve pasta…

Or gazpacho.

Yeah, hot soup would be a bad idea….

This one time, the bed collapsed. I thought that was pretty frickin’ hilarious. How can you not laugh when the damn bed collapses? The man in question, however, did not think it was funny. An important clue that this was not the guy for me.

So another chapter in the book = funny, embarrassing, weird moments in sex.

Hey, are you done cooking yet? And by that, I mean on the stove…

How could we not? I remember the bed collapsing story – still can’t believe he didn’t think it was funny. That happened in a production of Fiddler on the Roof I did makeup for – Tevye’s dream sequence. He ran and jumped into the bed, and it collapsed.

Yes, the jars are cooling now.

Oh wow. I bet everyone working the show still tells that story.

Cool. We can work on the post tomorrow. Or I should say “I can work on it tomorrow.” Since I’m not the one with two active kids at home…

Probably. “Tevye” is now a voice actor in CA. Works for Disney, done some good stuff.

And I’m babysitting AND Very Superior Husband is doing a weekend retreat up at the cabin.

I sometimes wonder if I’ll run into one of our theatrical classmates out here but hasn’t happened.

Speaking of sex… you could go jump in bed with your gorgeous husband now. But… don’t jump too hard.

And no I can’t – he’s at the cabin.

You see how I did that with the bed-collapsing reference? I’m so good.

Which is probably why I’m up late cooking.

[finally getting a clue] Oh. Well. He’s at the cabin and you aren’t?

[about the “I’m so good” thing] Yes! You are!

And he’s doing a retreat.

So you are herding the kidlets alone this weekend? Wish we could do it together. Damn I miss living in the same city as you. Stupid pointy mountains!

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Pollyanna and the Preservation of May

Hi, Anna-Liza here. It always takes me a while to start going to the Farmers’ Market, but I love going. It’s really easy to overbuy and end up not using things, but I’m getting better at not going completely bonkers  buying things I won’t use in time. Not perfect, but better. And I’ve really gotten interested in making my own preserves, jams, etc.

I was really tempted by another 20 pound flat of tomatoes today, but I put it off. This week, I want to use the bag of Vidalia onions I bought a while ago, with the intention of making Onion Jam. Yes, you read right. There are several recipes out there, but the one I’m trying first uses red wine and honey. There are a few others I want to try, some using balsamic vinegar and others using brown sugar, and one that uses red wine, brown sugar, and balsamic vinegar that all sound good. The onions for today’s attempt are simmering in red wine as I type.

But, dreaming of what I’ll do with my future purchases of 20 pound flats of tomatoes, I found this recipe for Tomato Jam. It sounds heavenly, and I’m definitely going for that big flat of tomatoes next time at the Farmers’ Market, mainly to make this jam. Oh, I’ll make other stuff. I have found that I prefer my own salsa to store bought, and also my own spaghetti sauce. I make it in big batches and freeze it, or can it if it’s safe for the boiling water bath canner. So far, everything I’ve tried has been okay for that method. I’ve canned tomatoes, salsa, spaghetti sauce (sans meat), plum butter, rose hip jelly, and various pickles.

But another dream? My own pressure canner. I guess I should borrow one first and make sure I really like canning things, because they are a pretty big investment. I want to try canning salsas and sauces that aren’t necessarily acid enough for the boiling water bath method. Mmmmmm … homemade everything!

Pollyanna Recounts Her Adventures Thus Far

Hi, it’s Anna-Liza. Life hasn’t been dull while I’ve been not-posting. The kidlets have changed schools, Wee Sprite is now two years old and getting more articulate by the second, Knitting Sprite is going to school full time, working part time, and of course being a mom and partner to Outlaw Son.

I have the Dahlia Cardigan on the needles for my mom, who took Knitting Sprite and me on a yarn shopping trip on her last visit and picked out her yarn for it then. The lace panel requires concentration, but I’m on the last chart now. Unfortunately, I’ve gotten distracted by another, secret project with a more immediate deadline, but once I’m done with that one I expect to be back on the Dahlia and to finish it in time for Mama to wear it this fall. As you know, however, I am pretty easily distracted, and I will need a simpler project for conversational knitting until I’m done with the lace. Once that’s done, I think the rest of it will be pretty easy.

For our most recent adventure, Darlin’ K had to have an emergency appendectomy. This is the first time he’s ever been hospitalized or had any kind of surgery. Since our family doctor is in Boulder and we went there first, he was at Boulder Community. Both the kidlets were born there, as was Wee Sprite, and I have always been happy with the care our family has received. This was no exception. We were at our doctor’s office at 11, they sent us to the surgeon’s office, and K was in surgery by 3:30.

Just to keep me from sitting and knitting and worrying in the waiting room, Mr. B also had a doctor’s appointment later that afternoon for possible strep. (Turned out not to be). Everything went pretty well, but K’s appendix had actually ruptured, so he was in the hospital for a few days. One thing we learned was the true awesomeness of our friends. We had a lot of help, mainly with getting the kidlets to and from school and watching them after school. I worked most of the days K was in the hospital so I could stay home with him the first few days, so all the kid help was a really big deal.

Darlin’ K is recovering steadily, although he is, of course, impatient to be feeling normal again. He lost some weight, which he really doesn’t need to do, and he’s still feeling low-energy, but he’s working again and is back to an almost-normal schedule. Keeping him from doing more than he should is the biggest challenge just now.

While all of this has been going on, I’ve been examining my life in the light of my 50th birthday later this year, and have realized I really do need more creative time than I”ve had lately. I would like to relearn sewing and get at least back to my former level of skill, which was probably high intermediate. I’m also interested in trying out some mixed-media art. The problem is that I have too many ideas and too little time! But I’ve been talking to Darlin’ K about it and how to have more time for it. Also, I’ve been really reorganizing my craft area. More than half of it is now in reasonable shape, about a third is a horrible mess. Once I’ve got that last bit under control, I want to rearrange some things so I can get to my frequent-use items more easily.

And I have a new laptop! Now that I don’t need to share K’s computer, I’m hoping to do a little more regular posting here and to maybe, possibly, set up an Etsy shop this year. Got to make some stuff for it first, though!

Pollyanna’s Back in the Saddle

Well, at least seriously contemplating it.

Hey there, Anna-Liza here. After the long abandonment, I’m probably blogging to the empty ether, but that’s what happens when you fall off the horse. Horse, blog, brain – all pretty similar. I considered just starting all over again with a brand new blog, but I am hoping Lyda will come gasping back from the deep ocean of graduate school and start up with this nonsense again, too. And besides, how would I ever come up with a better blog name? Really. It’s not as easy as it looks.

I’ll be 50 this year, and I’m apparently having my midlife crisis. No boytoys or fast cars in my particular version. I’m thinking about living vs survival, how to have more of what I want in my life without sacrificing my family, my home, food, or sleep. I’m dreaming about doing things I love and enjoy more and doing a lot less of the things that bore or annoy me just for the sake of a few bucks. I’m suddenly finding myself staring at a database at work and wondering, what the fuck?

Sound like a midlife crisis to you? Yeah, me too.

So I’m doing a lot of mental and emotional exploring. I’m checking out what I really love and what I just think I love.  I’m reading personal growth books like Five Wishes by Gay Hendricks.  And I even signed up (just now!) for Leonie Dawson’s Goddess Circle (she’s also known as Goddess Leonie, and after hanging out for a while you’ll agree that it’s appropriate).

I’m finding out – when I am in that Zone – that peace – that place where I am totally involved and present and certain that this is exactly what I am here for – what am I doing right then?

I can tell you this much – it rarely involves computers or Excel spreadsheets.

Pollyanna’s Desert Island Choices

Howdy, y’all, Anna-Liza here. Music has been on my mind a lot, lately. I had the opportunity last week to attend an eTown taping which featured Reed Foehl and Arlo Guthrie, which was a real treat. Mr. Guthrie has last none of his musical or storytelling ability. He also has the most beautiful hair EVAH! I had not heard of Mr. Foehl previously to this show, although I had heard of Acoustic Junction, but I am now a CD-owning fan.

This particular music-centric post is in response to a Facebook note from a friend and the “Desert Island Discs” BBC radio show premise – if you were stranded on the proverbial desert island, had what you needed for survival and a way to listen to your choices, what eight pieces of music would you want to have with you, plus which one book and one luxury item. (The original was “gramophone records”).

If I chose albums, the list would be different, but it appears as if the tradition is to choose single pieces. Also, if I thought about this again a month from now, or even a week, my list would be at least a bit different, but here goes:

“Busy Being Blue” – k.d. lang

Love Lies” – S. J. Tucker

“Small Change” – Tom Waits

Pablo Picasso” – David Bowie

In These Shoes?” Kirsty MacColl

Rattlebone” – Robbie Robertson

Panic in Detroit” – David Bowie

“Coventry Carol” – Mediaeval Baebes

It’s a lot harder for me to narrow it down to just one book, but this one stands much rereading – Lamb: the Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal by Christopher Moore.

Luxury item? I liked my friend’s idea of a solar powered iPad loaded with books. Also, Rita Dove’s choice of a ballroom with robotic dance instructor sounds appealing. Then again, P.D. James went the ascetic route, and asked only for pencils and paper.

For me, a fully furnished and supplied, solar powered craft room. Then again, if by “luxury item” they mean something more realistic, a large trunk full of knitting supplies and equipment, including graph paper and colored pencils, would do.

So, what’s on your list?

Sneezy Pollyanna and the Harbingers of Spring

Anna-Liza here. I am not sure that “spring” means much of anything to Lyda anymore, other than the name of the town where I went to high school, since she lives in SoCal. Here in Colorado, spring means a lot.

Sunny days in the 60s alternating with snow.

Wind. Crocus blossoms and, eventually, daffodils. Pollen. Wind. Trees budding out. Crabapples blooming. Wind. Pollen.

Also, hay fever. Spring and fall are both allergy seasons for me, but the shock of spring allergies after a winter of a non-itchy face makes it seem worse. Yes, I have things I can take for the symptoms, but on the worst days nothing relieves them entirely. It’s better, but I’m still Teary, Itchy, Stuffy and Sneezy. And Grumpy. And I wish Doc could come up with something to keep me from wanting to scratch my face off that doesn’t make me Sleepy or Goofy. Yeah, I know that last one’s not a dwarf. Don’t care.

Yesterday it was windy and cool, today it’s snowing. And Darlin’ K is off at Ski Jam 7: Beats on the Steeps for a day of snowboarding and music. Me? I am thinking about tacos for dinner and wondering if takeout Mexican for lunch would be too much. And will I have time for knitting if I spend all day on the internet? Probably not much, so I guess I’d better go get something done! I’m working on Sea Tangles, and I want to have it finished to wear when the weather finally gets warm!

Teh Startitis – Pollyanna Haz It

Anna-Liza here. That last post seems to have unblocked my creative urges. I’m not over the sadness – it’s not the sort of thing you really “get over,” you just bring it into your everyday reality more and more until it’s normal and you can function again. And by “you,” of course I mean “I.”

And, oh, my goodness, I haz teh startitis Bad. Really, really bad. Oh yes.

First, I’ve been working on the Melody Shawl by The Pearly Queen for about oh, eight months now? And I’ve got one inch – that is ONE inch – to go before binding off, but it’s long rows of stockinette and I’m bored with it. I’m still making progress because it’s great for knit night – I can talk all I want and still get work done on it. The next one or two ought to finish it, bar the blocking.

And I’ve got some summer knitting for the Rocky Mountain Spring days that are too warm for a lapful of wool: Sea Tangles, from Knitty.com, in Textiles a Mano’s Fina, a handpainted pure silk laceweight in a mostly-turquoise-with-a-bit-of-lavender colorway.

I won’t even go into the list of sock patterns/sock yarns that are trying to get my attention right now. Sheesh.

And then I started a drop stitch scarf out of a lovely, floaty mohair-and-sparkle yarn called  Mélange from Knit One Crochet Too – great to stick in my purse for takealong knitting, and yet …

 Saroyan has been calling me. One person in my knitting group has made one for a gift and plans to do another for herself, and at least two other people besides me have it queued. Liz Abinante does lovely patterns. I’ve made two Traveling Woman shawlettes, one for me and one as a gift, and most of us in the (Mostly) Harmless Knitters have made at least one or are working on one.

And then Knitting Sprite and I went to Fancy Tiger and I had to go look at the Malabrigo. Not a good idea for a person trying to knit stash and resist yarn temptation, but I did it anyway. Of course, I found the delicious Hummingbird colorway, two skeins left in the same dye lot – worsted weight – just what I need for Saroyan. How delicious? Take a look!

Yum.

I can’t stand it, I’m casting on Saroyan NAO!