Monthly Archives: July 2005

Another Haitus

I was going to write the third Storm Lake entry, but I’m short on material. So this entry serves, instead, to annouce that Left of the Mississippi will be away until late next week. I’m leaving the small town of Storm Lake to visit the much, much smaller town of Peabody, Kansas, home of Mosquito Mike, sister Linda, and her wacky, fishing hubby Leroy, all of whom have been featured in this blog (and have they thanked me for sharing them with the world? They have not).

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Oh, I’ll wind your balls….

Today in the mail I received a ball winder from JoAnn It’s a nifty little mechanism that winds yarn from the skein into a center-pull ball and, like a cherry pitter or apple corer, has no other use whatsoever. When I die* and my nephews Mosquito Mike and his brother Dave and their cousin Gabe are winnowing through my stuff, hoping to find something of value amid the stacks of yellowing knitting patterns and cracked leather jackets and outdated 10 cent off coupons and 37 parrots, they’ll happen across the ball-winder and wonder what the hell Inez was getting up to in her latter years, and wasn’t she getting frighteningly loopy near the end and really, it’s a blessing, isn’t it, and that bitch left how much money to her parrots?

So now whenever I get bored or have more important stuff to do,** I can sit on the living room floor and happily wind yarn into center-pull balls.  And I won’t just wind yarn that comes in skeins, I’ll wind the yarn I already have that is presently in outer-pull balls, because I’m obsessive-compulsive that way.***

*don’t cry, it’ll be years and years from now (it had better)

**like starting to acquire the extra 36 parrots

***You know, the good way****

****The good way being the way I am

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Inez’s Guide to Storm Lake


Storm Lake, Iowa, 50588 sits on the northern edge of a small body of water also called Storm Lake, which might seem obvious until you contemplate the icy isle that is Greenland.

According to various online sources (and they couldn’t print it if it wasn’t true, could they?*), Storm Lake occupies 3200 acres, is a natural, glacial lake, and is the fourth-largest lake in Iowa. The folks here certainly seem to enjoy it — I see sail boats, other types of boats,** jetskis, and swimmers. I see lots of people fishing, too.

The city maintains very nice parks and docks along about 1/2 of the lake’s shoreline.

If I sit sideways to my living room window and scrunch down a bit, I can see the lake — I’m living about 1 block north of it. I have yet to actually do anything lake-related, other than walk or bike along the shore paths. My brother-in-law Leroy offered me a plan*** to meet a boater/fisherman, but I don’t think I’m quite that desperate for companionship or fish at this point.

And so, some pics of Storm Lake:

Boatpierpark Parklake1

Lakepier Lakeshore

*A common tenet of university freshman writers — trust me.

**Like I can identify basic boat types. Sail boats have sails, all other boats don’t.  Give me a break, I’m from Nevada.

***He said I should put on some make-up, or even just do my hair up nicely,**** and ask a fisherman to teach me how to fish.***** The request and the hair will evidently place the man completely in my power.******

****I can’t decide if Leroy is attributing low expectation for female beauty to the average fisherman or if Linda has trained him to appreciate the least of her efforts — in which case I say "You go, girl!" I too like my men to be absolutely bowled over if I wear a clean shirt and apply some Chapstick.

*****Thus feeding me for life, or at least making me stinky for life.

******Were I Linda, I’d be asking Leroy some pointed questions about his own solo fishing trips…

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A solemn moment

I just unpacked the final moving box and placed all the empty boxes, neatly broken down and stacked, in the garage* on a pallet my landlord kindly provided for that purpose.**

Holy crap. I have moved to Storm Lake, Iowa.

*I have a garage! I feel so grown-up.

**In case of flooding. I don’t know what the hell the weather is like in Storm Lake.***

***Except right now, of course. The weather right now is like a sauna with sunshine and mosquitos.

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Inez’s Guide to Storm Lake


So. Imagine you’re in Iowa,* driving north on US71.  Two lane highway. Posted 65-mph speed limit that folks other than me actually obey. The road is edged with green as you pass fields of corn and soy beans, pig farms, cattle yards, more corn and soy beans, chicken farms, turkey farms, corn, soy, grain silos, corn, pigs, soy, hay, farm house, cows, corn, hay, silo, pigs, lighthouse, corn, chickens…..


Yep. When you see this, you know it’s time to turn left onto highway 7: Lighthouse1_2 (click to enlarge)

Apparently, it’s not uncommon for frigates and tankers*** sailing across the great Iowa cornfields to become lost in our thick, "miso soup"**** fogs and run aground on small herds of black angus. That lighthouse, it’s saved the life of many a sailor and cow. Sometimes, however, on moonless nights, the notorious shipwreckers douse the lighthouse beacon and lure unwary vessels aground***** for plunder. No, wait….that’s 18th century Cornwall.******

I do want my readers to realize that taking this picture was not without danger. Mostly the danger of embarrassing myself when a state highway patrol car pulled up next to my hatchback just as I’d finished taking the pic. We rolled down our respective windows and the very cute officer acertained that I was not having car trouble but was rather yet another goober tourist taking a picture of the lighthouse. We then chatted — well, I chatted, he was probably making sure I wasn’t a terrorist intent on destroying Iowa landmarks. Fortunately, around here any mention of working for the university provides good cover ensures a nice welcome. Officer Yummy finished by jokingly asking me about a point of grammer and I answered with a smile but stopped short of flirting because, given my luck and social skills, I’m probably the only woman on the planet who could flirt her way into a ticket.

*Sing a few bars of "State Fair"** to get in the proper mood.

**Yes, the 1945 version. The 1962, Pat Boone/Ann-Margaret version is just…just…shudder.

***The tanker link/picture is PROOF of their midwest land runs

****from the soybeans, silly.

*****or would that be "acow"?

******Iowa. Cornwall. There’s a connection somewhere, I just know it.

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Just one more chapter….

Fanny left a comment asking for a new post….I’m working on it, I’m working on it.  Well, actually I’m working on finishing the new Harry Potter (almost done) and taking pics of Storm Lake (the city) and Storm Lake (the lake) and Storm Lake (the quintessence) for my next entry, (drumroll) STORM LAKE,* which will be posted sometime tomorrow.

Now I have to go shut all my windows because, while the weather is lovely and invites open windows, I’ve just noticed the odor of boiled pork and piggy fear that wafts over town from the Tyson abattoir when the wind is still. That’s what I get for moving to Iowa, the pork capital of the U.S. I guess I should have chosen the chocolate capital, or the free massage and unmbrella drinks capital, or the George Clooney capital……

*I used microsoft word’s thesaurus in the hope of coming up with a term that meant "Storm Lake" but in different words,** which seemed as if it had the (weak) potential for humor. Unfortunately, now I can’t decide if "Tempest Tarn" is funny because it sounds like a porn star name, or just pathetic. Damn pig smell is throwing off my game.

**which we all know is what a thesaurus is for….obviously I need to give this up for tonight and just go to bed.

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An excuse to watch tv…

Scroll down the page, looking at the yellow sidebar to the right.  See that little face that looks like it was made out of 2 blueberries, a couple of unbaked biscuits and some frighteningly pink sausage? Well, it’s really made out of yarn (in which case it’s kinda cute) and it denotes my membership in a knitters’ webring. So hey, maybe I should include some knitting content in this, my blog?*

Lately, I’ve been working on a vest (for me), some xmas-gift scarves, and a shawl that was a sweater until I pulled the needles out to use on another project and then couldn’t figure out what needle size I’d been using and so ripped the whole front of the sweater out and couldn’t bring myself to cast it on again and hence, a shawl.  Not that I need a shawl, but I didn’t really need the sweater, either.

Here are the scarves (click on pic to enlarge): Bluescarf

Rosescarf They are half-double crochet*** across 12 stitches with a Q hook, using Lionbrand boucle and Paton’s Twister. I think the two together give a very rich and deep colorway. The same thing can be knit in garter stitch using size 17 needles over 10 stitches, which is how I made the purple scarf for my sister Linda.Scarf_1 Either way, the scarves are very quick and easy and yield a nice finished product.

NOTE:If you are a woman with whom I usually exchange Christmas presents and you live in the Reno area,**** please forget you saw these scarves.  Even more importantly, please forget the bit about them being easy and quick to make.  I labored over these lovely, unique creations just for you; each row was an offering of love, each stitch an blessing of friendship.  Really.

The vest, of which I have completed the left front panel, is made using this pattern, from the Just One More Row company, in Manos Del Uruguay, which is just about the most gorgeous yarn on the planet. The vest is lots of fun to work on because each square begins as a straight line of stitches. By decreasing at the center stitch every other row, the line draws up into a V and the center stitches are filled in.  This seems very magical to me every time it happens, which shows how easy I am to entertain.*****

Here are pics of the vest front and a closeup of the squares: Vestfront


*That’s a rhetorical question, which is okay because I’m card-carrying rhetorician.**

**Well, not card-carrying, exactly. But I’ll get the diploma some time this fall.

***Knit, crochet, Coke, Pepsi, whatever.

****Unless you are Jennifer, who already informed me that she never, ever wears a scarf. Jennifer, these scarves are quite nice, but they were also SO easy to make!

*****Which explains Zeke’s continued and regal existence.

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