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Sunday, April 8, 2012

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Moving My Deer Ones


You can take the girl out of Michigan, but you cannot take the Michigan out of the girl...

Can I drive in the carpool lane?

Friday, April 6, 2012

Have You SEEN Me?




Wednesday found me dropping my car at the repair shop for new brakes, rotors and an oil change. I have been looking for a good mechanic to care for my 12 year old baby since circumstance put the Saturn station wagon in my life. I walked to the local cafe to sit out the repair work with my knitting bag in tow.

The sun was so bright that I knit in my sunglasses on a bench with a sandwich and lemon water. I was ruminating as I knit, about the cost of the work, the cost of the move, the cost of living in this coastal bliss. I may or may not have been worrying a little about these cost factors as a familiar scene played out in front of me.

A homeless bag lady walked to the back of the cafe and parked her shopping cart of worldly belongings near the busing station. The cafe owner warned her to move the cart within five minutes or she would move it and call the police. I watched the woman defend herself and ask for grace as the cafe owner berated her. She was bundled in many layers of hats and coats with a large cross around her neck. I thought to myself, as I often do when I watch a homeless person, "what if that is Jesus?" I do not know why I always feel like it is a test of kindness to see a person in need and react with due consideration. There but for the grace of God, go I...you know the drill.

So when she walked away from her cart and straight towards me with a beatific smile, I returned her smile and greeted her. She reached toward me with a small bundle of toilet paper and offered it to me. I said " No thank you Mother, I am fine" She insisted and told me to take it and "God Bless You". I returned the salutation, tucked the toilet paper between my knees so I could continue knitting the row where I had paused to speak with her.
one hundred stitches later I shifted my legs and took the little bundle of paper to place in my knitting bag until I could toss it. The paper felt stiff in my fingers and I opened it with slight trepidation. Folded inside was a five dollar bill. I actually gasped. This woman chose me and gave me her blessing.

I waited close to an hour for her to return and claim her cart. I wanted to give her back the money to bless someone again. I wanted to ask her why me? But, the mechanic called me to claim my car. I have that $5 in tissue in a safe place. It has created a story and taken on a life. I wonder how many people have been blessed with some toilet tissue from a homeless woman and tossed it away in disgust? Throwing away blessings never seen. Happy Easter. May you be blessed...

Sunday, March 11, 2012

A Dollhouse Transition




























I pick up the keys on Friday and so begins the move. Downsizing.
Praying that I can lose five rooms and over 1000 sq feet within the next 22 days and maintain my good humor and physical stamina. This is a big test.
I remain grateful for the friends that are seeing me through my discomfort and my misgivings. I am grateful to have found a landlord that is taking a chance on this woman starting from scratch. I never lose sight of the blessings that I have had bestowed upon me. Look at that built in microwave and dishwasher, so much more than many other kitchens in my price range. I am thankful...

Friday, March 9, 2012

Hooting Away



The owls are saying good bye to me. Every night in my sleeplessness, I sit in the quiet of nature that surrounds me on Dove Hollow and listen to nature all around me.

The frogs sound out early at dusk and welcome the nightfall. The moon rises to light the sky with blue light beams. The "better to see you my dear" as the coyote hunts. My tears of loss return for the kitty they ate in my backyard just one full moon ago. RIP- Cotton

The call of the mockingbird that never sleeps has become commonplace. I recall the earliest days of our move to California when I first heard the birds talking at night. It was new to me and kept me up at night. Now, it is a welcome lullaby.

The rare magical sight of a deer bounding down the hill. Crossing the road in my headlights, bedding down in the tall grass behind the Pepper trees. Sigh...

The owls that inhabit my trees and hunt in my fields are dear to me. Mostly Barn owls and the more elusive Great Horned. Seeing them in flight takes my breath away.

If you have ever shared a glass of wine in my backyard with me, you know about my owl calls. I speak their language. I keep Mag-lights by the french doors and shine them in the treetops. I call to them and they answer back. I have had up to three join me in a chorus of conversation. When the call out- I don a coat and my flash light and head out back to the pool patio. It may be the mating season, or the fledglings are out learning to hunt? Whatever is happening- the owls are out and calling to me nightly. I am saying good bye. Whoo-whoo, whoo-whoo. That is our song.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Finishing and Fitting


I have a Wednesday night knitting group with a roster of 45 ladies and an average attendance of 20+ We meet to knit together, learn new techniques, share projects, participate in KAL's, drink a little wine, eat a little food, and enjoy the companionship found in the sisterhood of knitting. We have been meeting for over ten years now, and it is the high point of my week. I even schedule my travel around that meeting when I can. I have friends in that group that know my heart and my twisted mind! However, they keep coming back?!

Last night I taught a finishing class. I have found that my adventurous knitters are not afraid to try challenging patterns - yet often are not happy with the finished result. So we start at the beginning. When you find a pattern that sparks your interest- that is the beginning of planning on finishing strong with a garment you will be proud of and happy to wear. Your yarn choice, how you will join the new ball a yarn as you proceed, the tails of yarn that need to be woven in or used to pick up stitches, or seam a side; all can be preplanned and help to make your garment a wearable work of art.

We covered the 3 needle bind off, picking up stitches, and excellent vertical and horizontal seaming. I brought in my ironing board and trusty Rowenta iron to demonstrate blocking with steam and how the blocking makes your knitwear take on a professional patina.

I recommend that all knitters take the time to finish strong. You should all own a reference book of finishing techniques that you can carry in your bag. Remember to read through your pattern and if you are making a copy to carry with you- be sure you copy the special stitch instructions at the end of the pattern or in the magazine glossary. Remember the internet. Google your question just as you would ask it. When you hit the search button- the resultant information will usually be a help. Do not forget youtube for the visual and auditory learners. You can replay and attempt in the privacy of your home any new technique (such as the moebius cast on as taught by Cat Bordhi) without the tension of someone over your shoulder.

There are excellent on line classes popping up over the internet and I can personally recommend Craftsy. The caliber of the teachers is excellent. Again, once you buy in and own the class, you can replay it over and over until you are confident in the new skill. knitty.com has many excellent free tutorials and helpful articles to increase your skill sets. Remember that even master knitters need to reference resources as we go along our knitting journey. Yes, I do a beautiful Kitchener stitch. I do not have it memorized so whenever I need to Kitchener, I pull out my trusty instruction found in my Interweave "The Knitter's Companion". When all else fails, find a trusted knitting teacher that will walk you through and help you master the details. Paying a good teacher to help you is never a waste of money. Time, care and money spent on quality finishing are well spent! Have fun...

Monday, March 5, 2012

World of Pinot Noir

I have just returned form a beautiful weekend on the Pacific coast where friends gathered for a tasting of more than 150 Pinot Noir wines, all under two huge tents overlooking the ocean and all of her surrounding beauty. My goodness- we know how to have fun. The Cliff's Resort is lovely and I highly recommend everyone drive up the coast for a respite.

I was the passenger in the back of a Denali- and so I knit in comfort both coming and going. Thank you Molly and Burnet.
I am working on a sweet linen stitch neck ring in a wine colored, hand dyed MadelineTosh Pashmina Briar (cashmere/wool blend). It is very soft and will always remind me of that weekend. I love throwing a ring/cowl around my neck for hands free fun. A scarf has the tendency to travel as you wear it and I needed two hands for tasting the wine and the appetizers featured by the local catering talent. Yummy food, yummy wine and yummy yarn. All in the company of good friends and sunshine. Hope you find some sunshine today and knit a row!