Sunday, March 24, 2002

All day I've been thinking about how my life is the complete opposite of what's going on in Hollywood today as people prepare for the Academy Awards. There are no limousines, hair salons, pedicurists, or media crews here. Just calm and serenity as far as the eye can see. It's been a truly beautiful, quiet day. Road traffic was so infrequent that I could've plunked myself down in the middle of the road -- complete with my afternoon cup of tea, a chair, and even some knitting -- without having to ocean view

In the summer when I was younger, my brothers and I used to entertain ourselves by lying down in the middle of the road at night. Not the dirt road that ran by our house, mind you, but the paved one that ran through the hint of a town up the road -- and the one that runs past my house today.

Those road-sitting escapades became our way of turning something dull into something cool. We could return home to the "big city" and wow friends with our tales of Maine tranquility. While the road-sitting got good reactions, the most impressive tales were of how locals set out tables by the road with boxes of blueberries and a tin can where you were trusted to leave money.

They still do this today in my little town, though the practice is slowing in more populated parts of the state. And people from away, or PFAs as I like to call them, still fill the area from June to September. You know spring is on its way when the Massachusetts and New Hampshire license plates start to appear, followed in summer by cars from New York and Connecticut. And I still toy with the idea of leaving my blueberries on a table by the road, not so much to make money as to keep up the tradition.

I imagine Jennifer Lopez breezing through town with her entourage, or Julia Roberts stopping at the market for some mineral water. They'd consider it quaint and vacation-like, as have the other celebs who have passed through here before them, but they certainly would move on. Yet for some reason, I've chosen to come back here and make it my home. And it's wonderful.

Wednesday, March 20, 2002

I received the most marvelous package in the mail today. It came all the way from Norway, and it was filled with wet diapers, dog farts, naked chickens, and sour squid, not to mention a bag of boobs and a bunch of pacifiers.

HOW did these items get through customs, you may ask?

Easy. These are actually over-the-counter candies in Norway. They were oh-so-graciously provided by Blogstress of Bagatell, Theresa, as part of an international candy swap. In return, she shall soon receive a care package of Skittles and Kool Aid (aaaaah, the random cravings of American expatriates). Thank you, Theresa!

Sunday, March 17, 2002

Hooray hooray, Clara's Window is now coming to you via a satellite modem! Life chez the farm has suddenly gone James Bond on us. It only took 9 weeks, two 30-minute trips to the satellite store, countless phone calls, and six separate visits from the installer... not to mention a $40 "tip" to make sure the dish wouldn't be visible from the road.

Way back during the stone ages of reconstruction, I made sure the entire house was wired for every possible type of networking technology. Funny enough, I forgot to buy the actual gateway/hub. So for now I stand at the kitchen counter with a maze of wires leading deep into the bowels of the basement.

Didn't I say country life was grand?

While not placating the satellite dish installer, I spent the weekend stripping the stained-glass windows in our so-called piano room. (I say this not to be pretentious but because the room is stuffed with two pianos.)

These lovely old windows date back to the house's initial renovation in 1893. But the substance that was supposed to eat through 23 layers of paint and peel away with the flick of the fingers turned into a solid putty-like glue. So I scrape and scrape and scrape.

In other news, here are some potentially reassuring details for you about Operation Freedom. For those of you who fear I've sold out and will start selling yarns, patterns, and everything I'm supposedly unbiased about in KR, don't fret. The boutique is all about those wonderful extras we wish we could find but never do. This means fine paper goods with knitting imagery, limited-edition finds, as well as a few fun extras. (Was that a Knitting is Better than Prozac mug I just saw? Hmmm...)

Tuesday, March 12, 2002

All work and no play makes Clara's blog a mighty dull place indeed. My apologies for staying so quiet.

Truth is, I'm knee deep in Operation Freedom, otherwise known as the Knitter's Review Boutique. KR has grown so significantly over the past 18 months that I can no longer give it only my partial attention. That's right... time to quit that day job.

So I've decided to marry two deep loves of mine: visual art (especially photography) and yarn.

The end result will be available in an online boutique within Knitter's Review. Launch date is the end of April, though it keeps getting pushed back each time I encounter new complexities in this thrilling business world of ours.

But I promise, it will be worth the wait.

You heard it here first, so mum's the word!

Friday, March 8, 2002

Tis 12:37am and I'm hereby invoking the Somewhere in the World rule. That is, it may be Friday where I am, but somewhere in the world it's still Thursday, and therefore this week's Knitter's Review isn't late. But I'm dead tired, my bath water is now cold, and even the cat is wiped out. So I'll bid you good night.

Wednesday, March 6, 2002

I've fallen in love with another knitting-related blog. It's the oeuvre of a talented gal named Beth, and it's called Homemade Slice of Chaos.

Beth had kindly emailed me with her feedback about the banner ads (hooray!), so - being the curious and nosy person that I am - I checked out her blog. After pausing for a frozen moment in which my mouth dropped open in awe, I came to and started clicking away.

There's lots of meat in them thar hills, and it's beautifully presented. I'm sure most of you have already visited Beth's site, but if you haven't, please do! It's worth the click.
OK folks, time for another banner ad test! It's a little more loud, but it seemed fun. Whaddaya think?

The Prozac ad finally went up on Monday. Technical "issues" had kept them from getting my order earlier, so I just had to re-submit it. Heck, I love Blogger, I don't mind.

The only creepy part about this is that I don't have control over where exactly these ads appear within Blogger. And let's just say that some blogs are not exactly, um, PG material. It must be pretty funny, actually. Some sleazoid porn freak getting his daily fix, glancing up to see... "What the... huh? knitting??"

Still, if things get weird I'll pull it.

Monday, March 4, 2002

At last, a sunny day! The pond is beginning to melt, most of the snow is gone, and best of all, we have GRAVEL on the driveway now. Does it get much better than this?

Friday, March 1, 2002

Lots of people ask me for information about how to knit in the continental style, which involves holding the yarn in your left hand. I know of very few resources out there, so I normally send readers away empty handed, so to speak.

But this bugs me because I'm a born-and-bred continental knitter myself.

So today I broke down and slapped together some pictures of my lovely pale hands (hey, it's winter, gimme a break) doing both knit and purl stitches. I profess no grand academic expertise in the subject. Others may hold the yarn differently. But it's how I do it. You can really gather steam this way, especially when bopping from knit to purl rows.

And hey, if you have no interest in continental-style knitting, you can still check out the pics to see how much of my home office you can make out in the background. (I'll give you a hint: That weird thing in the background is my funkadelic radio.)

Because this is a Clara's Window exclusive, there's no link to these pictures from anywhere within Knitter's Review.
One of the best things about living in coastal Maine is that I can periodically slip down to Boston and absorb big-city vibes.

I just spent a whirlwind 24 hours in Boston feasting on flavorful Vietnamese food, trying on $750 Burberry coats I pretended I might actually buy, and, most fun of all, having afternoon tea with my mother at the Four Seasons Hotel. And yes, in case you were curious, I did sneak out with one of the cute pencils they place by the pay phones. Shhhhhh.

Then it was time to bid adieu to the congestion and race back up the turnpike to Portland, where I published this week's newsletter before getting back in the car and making the remaining three-hour drive to my humble farmhouse. Whew!

Near midnight I finally pulled into our recently graveled driveway. Stepping out into the fresh, cool, silent darkness, seeing a sky full of bright stars, I was truly grateful to be back home.