Let’s put on a show!

Last March, our youngest DD was given an Eastern Star appointment as district chairman for Cancer Research.  She was charged with raising $1,000 for this worthy project.  That’s a pretty tall order for difficult economic times!

Months of planning lead up to this weekend’s show:  Hoot ‘N’ Holler.  It featured a fried chicken dinner, followed by a Hee-Haw type variety show.  DD was the hostess and box office girl.

The Shriners clowns agreed to come and be part of the entertainment.  Did you know it can take up to two hours for these fellows to put on all that make-up?  Tell that to your man next time he complains about your beauty routine! 

Here are several pictures of our friends, to show you the theme decorations. It was fall and country all the way.

DH did a tribute to Junior Sample, complete with a commercial.  Here he is in all his glory,  going over last minute skit details with our friend Gayle.

Any good variety show will include music.  I hadn’t planned to play, as country isn’t my interest.  However, we received a $100 donation, on the condition that I play some numbers.  Here I am, playing some Fats Waller, and some Scott Joplin. DD sang also, but her daddy enjoyed it so much that he forgot to pick up the camera!  le sigh!

The Shriners clowns performed three skits for us, including this fishing-in-a bucket number.

Your fish has to be as big as mine!

The biggest catfish (pillow) ever was pulled out of the ice chest.

This is the picture of DD, her dad, and the clown named “Trouble” that was taken for the newspaper write-up. We are so proud of all that she accomplished with her committee.  The show earned $945!  When memorial contributions for the year are added, she should make that lofty $1,000 goal.  Wow!

Wonderful news!

The phone just rang, and I heard DH say “Hello, Mary.”  After some conversation, I heard “You just made my day!”  Curious…

Mary is our new Worthy Grand Matron, the state head of Eastern Star for this year.  She was calling from North Louisiana, her home.  It seems that she finally got around to cleaning out her car’s trunk after grand chapter, and found a camera.  Did DH’s camera case have a keychain with a globe on it?  Why yes, it does.  Yippee!  The left-behind camera is found!  As best she can piece together, someone turned it in to her husband as they cleaned out the convention center, and he popped it into the trunk at the last minute.

Pictures will be retrieved, and some posted when it finally comes home.

She said WHAT?

It’s been a quiet week  here on the lake.  I’ve sewn two of three straight skirts, written thank-you notes for gifts received last week, and pampered the cats.  Mostly, I’ve pampered the cats, who tell me that they “suffer greatly” when we are away. ( Never mind that our eldest daughter comes twice a day to give Minky’s medicine and pet all who will come out. )

I thought you might enjoy a picture puzzle today.  It’s called “She said what?”  The lady on the left is our friend, Betty.  She is talking to our DD and they are waiting for the doors to open for a banquet.  Now, what on earth did Betty  say?

Leave a comment with your guess.   I’ll tell you the rest of the story tomorrow.

Assignment completed!

My year as Grand Organist, Order of the Eastern Star, State of Louisiana, has come to a successful close.  It was a huge amount of music to perform.  Interestingly, there was a similarity to playing in a lounge:  everyone talked through much of the prelude music for each session.  That’s 105 minutes of music right there!  As a musician, you have to be philosophic about “talk-over”.  You’re putting your best out there, giving your all, and being ignored by many (most?).

When I was little, my mother practiced marches for Eastern Star, and I galloped around the living room rug.  I wanted nothing more than to be able to play that glorious music.  (Scot Joplin’s ragtime marches evoke the same joy for me.)  I begged for piano lessons for a year; when I was three years old, she gave in and let me begin.  Although I was trained as a classical pianist, this week’s performance goes back to the roots of my love affair with music.  This one’s a tribute to all the sacrifices my mother made to give me 15 years of piano lessons.  I only wish I could have achieved it in her lifetime.

Linda commented that she’d certainly recommend taking all the music I owned.  Well, Linda, I left a bit at home, but there was a triumph from taking all that I did.  Several years ago I attended a friendship exchange in Texas, where they were selling (among other things) a march written for Renee Ofton, who is about to become the international head of Eastern Star.  I read the music, and it was a good, catchy tune, so I bought it.  I have used it a lot since, so it was in the back of one of my music notebooks.  I had no idea Mrs. Ofton would be visiting our grand session this year!  When she was presented, I whipped out her march and played it.  Yes!  I couldn’t leave the piano, but DH was kind enough to take the march to Mrs. Ofton and get her very gracious autograph.  (I know, you’re mostly knitters, not musicians… so think the Yarn Harlot complimenting your socks!)

I have a few pictures to share with you,  but they are the ones that were taken with my camera.  DH took many beautiful pictures of me in my formals with his camera.  Unfortunately, he left the camera under his chair the last evening.  It may find its way home yet, as our members had to clear the hall of all our decorations.  Fingers crossed!

One of the perks of being a grand officer is getting a fancy door tag for your room.  It takes so little to make me happy!

Here is a picture of me, along with DD and DH, at the Saturday night banquet.  Yes, I  can get dressed up! 

Finally, here is a picture of the entire group of grand officers for our year. I’m in the front row, the second lady to the right of center, and wearing a long-sleeved blue shirt. The ladies’ shirts have an angel embroidered on the front and back shoulder (our theme mascot); the mens’ shirts have clowns on them, to honor the Shriner’s clowns. Last spring I did the machine embroidery for all of them, plus a shirt for each officer’s escort.  Now you know why there was a big gap in my knitting progress last year!

Music in the air

This week I am finalizing my music for performance next week at Louisiana Grand Chapter, Order of the Eastern Star.  It will be four days of performance for me, and run the gamut from classical music for church services to Louisiana Jazz and Dixieland to entertain our out-of-state guests.  As you can imagine, my biggest problem is organization, and trying not to take every piece of music I own. I am very aware of time passing, so I won’t be posting much this week.  I’ll be away at Grand Chapter next week, then write all about it when I get home.

In between rehearsals I am continuing to work on the baby blanket for Emmanuel.  It is now up to 33 inches of the 40 inches for its finished length.   Hopefully I can get a bunch done as car knitting as we travel to Alexandria, LA for Grand Chapter.

How about a cat picture?  Here’s the entire “Pride”, declaring a truce and napping on DH’s lap as he naps, too. (Left to right, that’s Victoria, or “Torrie”, Minky, and Casper.)  Naps are a good thing…especially with cats to relax you.

Triumphant weekend for Meezermeowmy

As Garrison Keeler is wont to say about Lake Woebegone, “It’s been quite a week here”.  First, to tie up some loose ends.  The refrigerator is humming along, with ice cubes in abundance in its freezer, and the floor warm and dry.  All is well in my kitchen, and no hidden charges appeared in the repair process.  A compressor relay did die in the stress of repeatedly trying to bring up the compressor, but the repairman had one of those parts on his truck, and replaced it without additional charge.

Knitnana wanted photographic proof of the Oscar Meier weiner-mobile sighting. As Irish luck would have it, it was in town for the St. Patrick Day’s parade.  (No, I didn’t attend that rain-soaked event.  My deductions were prompted by the shamrock stickers on the windshield and all over the bun. ) We saw it one more time Sunday afternoon, and DH volunteered to circle the block and get a picture.  Thanks, honey.   I’m amused by the “sandwich” being in compliance with the One Way sign in the photo, even though it is in the parking lot.

My big social event this weekend was a tea honoring the Eastern Star state officers of our area .  As Grand Organist I was one of the honorees.   Our year is coming to a finish, with Grand Chapter in another week, so the reception was our final celebration.  This is the entire reception line.  I was a good girl, and put my knitting down for the occasion.   (I’m second from the right.)Here’s a closer shot.  I’m in the middle, surrounded by Susan, our Grand Marshal, and Faye, Friend of a Feather.

So many friends came to honor us.  Here I’m greeting Melanie and Norma.   Melanie is Worthy Matron of Baton Rouge Chapter.  Norma has served loyally as my Page this year.

The tea tables were lovely, decorated using a St. Patrick’s  Day theme. 

Knitting on the baby blanket hit high gear Sunday afternoon, and I’ve made it to 30 inches (out of 40).  Once more, Fr. Chad dropped a Sunday morning bombshell on us, announcing that the baby (a boy) had been born 9 weeks early. ( My first reaction was “No-o-o, he can’t be born yet, I have so much knitting left to do!”)   He will be called Emmanuel, and weighed in at 2.5 pounds.  Emmanuel is reported to be doing well, coming off pressurized oxygen already.  Mom is in intensive care with blood pressure problems, and the new Dad is wearing out his shoes pacing between the NICU and the ICU.  Please keep this family in your prayers.

Slogging through knitting

I haven’t written much lately, because I have become a knitting machine.  Last fall I showed you these washcloths and soaps, which were friendship gifts for Eastern Star grand chapters (state meetings) I would be attending.  All of those have been given away, and it’s time for Louisiana’s grand chapter, my home state.  I have 17 soap bars left; as of today, I have 14.5 washcloths knitted.  I can’t begin to tell you how much I want to knit something else.  However, between here and the end of March I also have to make a gown for our DD, prepare music for three church services, as well as for that grand chapter (I’m the grand organist this year),  and in general plan a bit.  There just aren’t days to goof off.  le sigh. Oh, how I look forward to playing with wool, or alpaca, or any of the knitting delights that wait for me when I have completed my obligations!

The sun did come out yesterday, and Casper and Victoria took the opportunity to enjoy it together (something they seldom do…she’s too bossy.)  It looked inviting!

Satisfied with “the Kiss”

It’s time to report on another trip highlight.  I’ve shopped online at SWAK Knitting for about a year.  They have been most helpful online, and I’ve enjoyed “chatting” with them on Ravelry.  Now I’ve shopped their bricks, and it did not disappoint!

Like finishing a knitting project before answering the siren call of a new one, there was some self-control involved.  When we arrived in Guthrie for Oklahoma Grand Chapter, Order of the Eastern Star, we had to drive past SWAK to get to our meetings.  There it was, on our right!  DH spotted it right away.  That was a Sunday, and they were closed, so not too much willpower was involved — on to our meeting.  Monday the pull was even greater.  They were going to be open to sell yarn.  Just down the street is a shop that speaks knitting! Courage, they  won’t run out while we fulfill our obligations.  (I must take a moment and note that Oklahoma Grand Chapter was a lovely meeting, and they showed us the warmest possible hospitality.  My counterpart from Oklahoma received me with hugs and joy that I had come.)

Tuesday morning dawned with Christmas-like anticipation.  DH had us packed and checked out of the hotel on a schedule that put me at SWAK’s door a few minutes after opening.  He rates SWAK as “husband friendly” for their comfy couch.  See the red lips pillow on the couch beside him?  It’s knit, of course.

I met Kary, knitwitchick on Ravelry.  She and I had fun looking for a good DK wool to use for the Pearl Buck Swing Jacket.  After much holding up of yarn to my complexion, DH and I agreed on some Jo Sharp Classic DK wool in Fleur. It is not silver, not pink, barely lavender, and very flattering.  I’ve given you a link to the yarn because I doubt I can capture its elusive color any better myself.

Kary was so accommodating, she even let me dig through her purse.  Wait, let me explain:  I wanted to see the new bag by Namaste, the Newport.  They didn’t have another one in the shop, but Kary was carrying her own as a purse, and invited me to investigate its pockets.  I loved it, and I was pleased that it was scaled down a bit from the Laguna I own, aka the bowling bag.  DH’s verdict on the Newport:  still too big.

DH was such a good companion that I bought him something.  This Knit Light is the perfect multi-tasking tool, per Alton Brown’s criteria (Good Eats, Food Network).  DH is an early bird, and when he wakes up early in a hotel, he’d like to read.  I, on the other hand, think the wee hours are for sleeping, and am not amused by lights being turned on.  This light is perfect:  he can read with it, I can knit with it.  It came in its own DP tube, which protects it nicely in my knitting bag.

The happy knitter returned home, laden with the fruits of her toil, to knit again another day.

A time for simple gifts

This year I have been traveling throughout Louisiana and in adjoining states, as part of my duties as Grand Organist for the Order of the Eastern Star, State of Louisiana.  For those of you who might not be familiar with the Eastern Star, we are a fraternal and charitable organization for female relatives of master masons.  Master masons can be members, too, so it becomes a great way for husbands and wives to do charitable work.  The Grand Organist position is an appointive, state-level office.

As I was saying, I’ve been hitting the road a lot.  We are getting ready to visit Missouri and Oklahoma’s Grand Chapters in October.  I mean, could it get any better for a knitter?   Missouri’s meeting will be in St. Louis (think Loopy Ewe) and Oklahoma’s meeting will be in Guthrie (home of SWAK knitting).  These two events will be a week apart, so we will enjoy the fall weather and mosey from one to the other.

When I wrote an introduction on SWAK’s Ravelry group board, I mentioned that I had never shopped there in person, but do all of my shopping on line.  I was looking forward to seeing them when I go to Oklahoma’s Grand Chapter, Order of the Eastern Star. ( I suspected that they wouldn’t have a clue what I was writing about, other than that I was coming their way.) Keely wrote back, all excited, saying you have to see the state Masonic Temple building – it’s beautiful, and just down the street!

Wow, that’s where our meetings will be.   So now, I’m telling the other grand officers “If you can’t find me, I’m just down the street at the yarn store!”

I have put away other knitting and gone into production mode. Both Missouri and Oklahoma’s gatherings will include a breakfast meeting where everyone brings a favor for everyone else at the table. This is so much fun, to receive little gifts from people visiting from all over the country. It makes it worth getting up for breakfast! Planning a gift that I think will please the recipients, and that speaks of my talents and interests is both a challenge and a big part of the fun.   Typically, the tables seat 10, so deducting for DH and myself, I’ll need 8 gifts X 2 gatherings, 16 knitted gifts. This year,  I have been making Grandmother’s Favorite Dishcloth and various colors, and currently have 12 in my completed stash.

The washcloths get paired with an artisan-made soap bar.  I had envisioned the combination from the beginning, but hadn’t been to the Farmer’s Market to purchase soap.  While I was running errands one day, our lawn man knocked on the door, and gave DH a sample soap.  He said he had just begun making soaps to sell, and wanted us to try the sample.  It was a heavenly, creamy lavender…why, yes, I wanted some.  Could he make smaller bars, say, 50 of them?  You should have seen his face!  I believe it was his first order.  He went home, played with his molds, and made super-thick bars that he could cut in half for me.  They turned out wonderfully, and just fit in the little plastic bags Hobby Lobby sells for jewelry-making findings.  I present the combo tied with  narrow ribbon, with my calling card tied into the bow.  They have been well received at previous events, where the people seated at my table jockeyed for their choice of color.

Diet update:  two days of sticking with the program.  So far, so good!