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Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Sort it all Out

This morning I loaded up the car from floor to roof with yarn and needles and patterns and headed off to meet 3 guild members for the pricing and sorting of these lovely little orphans. One knitters trash, is another knitters treasure. My personal motto is: let no yarn go unknit! Every single skein of yarn I see takes a shape in my mind. It is like a disease. I can see the potential project and get excited about it, even if it isn't mine. But the real true temptation for me exists in the form of books. I love to read. I love to read knitting books. We received a generous donation of brand new books from a local publisher and editor. Be still my heart. We priced them to sell at our October Guild meeting (Stash Sale) and every penny I spend will be on books this time. My husband is sure I cannot possibly live long enough to knit all of the yarn I own. I hope he is right!

I am the philanthropic chairwomen of our guild. Part of my job is to collect and store all the donated "stuff", until we sell it at a guild fund raiser twice a year. It tends to take over the garage, bedroom, dining room and surrounds my seating area in the den. My hubby got so excited when I started to load the car at 7 am. I had to sneak it back into the garage neatly bagged and priced for sale. Our meeting is next Tuesday and it will be great to start all over again. He sees this as a vicious cycle. I see it as endless opportunity. Ying and Yang- that's us.

Thursday morning we load up the family and head up to the Oakland Marriott for the annual TKCG meeting. All guilds are being recognized for charters over 10 years. Our NCKG was founded 15 years ago by past president, Colleen Davis. She will be teaching classes and accepting the award. I will be there representing the home team, shopping and networking. My family is coming along for the ride to visit our college girl and have a road trip. We love to pack up and hit the road. We are the Griswolds.(National Lampoons Vacation Movie series) My oldest son is the co-pilot, Don does most of the driving, me in the middle and Evan will be in row 3 with his girl Bree. We got 2 rooms, one for the boys and one for the girls. It will be a whirlwind. Are we crazy? We'll have to sort that out when we get home...

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Time Flies And Life Goes On

Don and I went to MI to visit his frail parents as they celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary. Helena is the mother I never had. We have a special relationship. She is the mother of 3 sons, all married to girls with full time Moms. I was the only one with a mom deficit and Helena was looking for some female hormones to relate to. It has been wonderful.

Seeing her at 75 pounds, shaking with Parkinson's, and bent over with osteoporosis made me want to scoop her up into my arms and take her home for some TLC. I actually thought that would be a good idea. Roy has caregiver burnout. Archie Bunker on steroids with full blown hearing loss is the best way to describe him. Bless his heart, he tries to do and be all. He has been taken care of his whole life, and now the tables are turned and he is experiencing the numbing fatigue of the endlessness of caring for a home and the people in it. Heartbreaking.

Dinner on Sunday to celebrate the endurance of a marathon nearing the finish line was made sweet by the gathering of all 3 sons and daughter-in-laws. George and Mae Wilbert are cousins and also have a 60th anniversary in November. They are not just related, but best friends. Rounding out and bookending the old, were Jeff and Rachael. Grand kids and soon to be parents themselves. The good news of the next generation in the womb meant 4 generations were in the room!

It was a tender time. We also enjoyed seeing Karen and Fred in Detroit as they prepared to head to Chicago to celebrate the engagement of their middle daughter Laura. This whole visit was so circular. Really like floating above the family as it goes through the incarnations of life in all its stages. So easy to remember first pregnancy nuances, and impossible to envision our own future frailty. John and Roxanne were our perfect hosts.

No visit to Detroit is complete (for a knitter) without a visit to City Knits. The shop is in one of Detroit's finest architectural gems, The Fisher Building. They had a decent sale going and I had to add to my stash. Roxanne endured the shopping and was rewarded with her choice of pattern and yarn. I got knitting in every morning with my coffee as I watched the freighters navigate the Detroit River under the Ambassador Bridge towards Canada. We were treated to some exciting cruises aboard the cabin cruiser Tahiti. Captain John was impressive. Retirement suits you. Beginnings and endings. I finished a book on the plane. I finished a handbag on the boat. I began a shawl and another purse on the flight back. Rachael begins a new generation and Helena prepares to finish her journey on earth. Somehow it is all knit together...

Monday, September 10, 2007

Time For School

The calender holds me captive in the fall. Every year I look forward to September with the "back to school" anticipation of a happy 3rd grader. Instead of a backpack full of supplies (can't you smell the newness?), it is the new purse and several pair of shoes in the latest fashion. Beyond the shopping and the return to fashion more formal than t-shirts and flip flops, I enjoy the structure of the fall schedule. The kids go back to school. My free time has a defined beginning and ending. Pick up at 3:30!

It also marks the start of many of the things I do that tie into the school year. That shift from summer to Autumn was always accompanied by the weather change and the color change of the season back east. From the yellow, blues and greens of a sunny season to the browns, red and orange of the winter slide, it has always been welcome and wonderful.

Fall also created an itch to step up your knitting. We move from cool cotton fabrics to the softest wool we can find. From the smallest sock or baby project that is portable and adds no heat to your body, we progress to the sweater pattern you have been waiting to conquer. I save afghans for winter when I want to cover my lap with a big warm blanket that grows and helps out with the fact that we have no heat at our house. You'll hear more about that in January I'm sure.

Which brings me back to the calender. Most people think the new year begins in January. I celebrate new years differently. I consider the true new year to begin with each birthday we log. It is a chance to evaluate your own personal journey. Then I hold September in second place as the start of the new year when you commence on the next year of learning new things, with or without a grade designation. Finally, January is the Romans idea of organized time that the world recognizes. Time management. So much to say, so little time...

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Memorable Lessons

What a day I had today. I not only learned useful new skills, but I enjoyed myself in the process. I love that I can still learn. This blog speaks to that. Now, for awhile, the non- knitters reading this may want to file their nails or take a nap. I have to tell you how thrilling it was to learn to quickly knit with two colors in two different hands and the yarn strung around the back of my neck just like the Peruvian men high up in the Andes. I also learned to knit the most beautiful textured stripes that appear vertically and make such a lovely texture. If I could only do everything I do while simultaneously knitting all of the projects I want to knit. These are the dreams I dream.

Today I learned that a creative artist and a brilliant author has to fight to have her true self represented in her publications. So if you were among the knitting public that responded to The Color Book By Sally with bewilderment, wonder no more. I saw the book through her eyes. The intention of the artist has been communicated and the technical is all there. Now, I have to execute the patterns and produce some amazing projects. Sounds easy and challenging and exciting to me!

I must confess that I have taken knitting instruction from some outstanding teachers. I have pages of instructions printed out and swatches and samples knit in classes that I enjoyed, yet never looked at again. Today was broken into two 3 hour classes that were rich in useful information for me. Many of you have a pastime that brings you as much satisfaction as my knitting passion brings me. It makes all of the harder times in life a little easier to bear.

Today is the day our dog Roxie would have turned 18. She passed away on June 28th and I still hear her paws clicking across the hardwood in the still of my quiet late nights. If you knew her and you knew how special she was to our family, that means we must love you too. The pictures posted were taken during her last days. Thanks for the memories and good night...

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Relief, Sweet relief

Sometime last evening during a fine dinner in an under air conditioned restaurant, something wonderful happened. The westward winds began to blow and the marine layer came in to cover our fair city with a cool cloud cover.The temperature instantly dropped by 15 degrees and the air became breathable. We stepped outside and I actually gave a shout out to God. It was slightly disarming to some of the fair knitting guild ladies. However, I could not contain myself.

I am delighted to report that Sally Melville is a thoughtful, intelligent speaker that is easy to listen to. Like a good sermon begs for a responsive "Amen" every now and then, Sally's 10 point presentation became interactive with knitters affirming her every thought. Her sense of humor and sincere love for her craft was evident. She is very likable and approachable, just like her books.

I picked up Bev and we headed off to dinner with great anticipation. We had great food and great company. Sally is all of the above and more in a small group. Tomorrow I will experience her teaching techniques and I know I am going to learn new things. I will try to be fearless and open to the new. I hope this old dog can learn new tricks. I will let you know. Even I can become intimidated and cling to old habits that don't serve me well. Safety and familiarity are my comfort. There is always room for change and I have faith in Sally. Whatever we do in class I know will be fun...

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Slow Start on a (Monday) Tuesday morning

Whenever we experience a 3 day weekend and the week of work and schedules begins on Tuesday, I get into trouble. Counting on 5 days and working with 4, confuses me. This week is especially busy with all kinds of wonderful. There is real opportunity for something or someone to fall through the cracks, or in knitting lingo, I may drop a stitch! Evan, you are on notice.

Today is big. The North Coast Knitters Guild is featuring a "rock star" speaker today. Sally Melville is coming to this inferno (formally known as San Diego) to address her adoring fans and teach some classes. I love her books. She not only presents knitable patterns of interest, but she also writes with a voice that makes me want to be her friend. I will be taking 2 of her classes on Thursday and have to prepare my homework swatches. This is the kind of homework I get excited about. For all you non-knitters or unschooled knitters, the homework swatch is a piece of knitting cast on the needles and worked in the appropriate pattern to the point where the instructor will begin the lesson. It is done to save precious class time and allow everyone to start in the same place using their own individual skills.

Tonight we will dine with her as the Guild board takes her out to dinner at a local Italian restaurant. The owner of the restaurant is a big fan of Sally's and fellow knitter. I met her at the LYS where I taught and my husband and I dine at the restaurant frequently. For me, the evening will be a combination of meeting new friends while in the comfort of the familiar.
I will have an update this evening, and of course we will raise a glass to you...

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Going to the Beach

There is one spot in San Diego county that is bearable and it is not on Terra firma. Floating in the sea with thousands of others is the only Rx for heatstroke and dehydration. I can get beyond the ocean as the toilet of the undersea creatures, but when you fill the water with humans and it becomes the toilet of the masses, I get a little leery. My dear father would have argued the dilution factor. This being the same dilution factor in his theory of second hand smoke cannot be harmful. When he was alive we loved a good debate. He definitely would hit the waves.

I am in slow motion. Our sprinkler system is broken and in an effort to save the lawn we are hand watering the yard. This is a significant effort on an acre of landscape. People don't realize that this is truly a desert climate in SD with an average annual rainfall of less than 10 inches. Last year we reached a total of 3 inches. Yes, I know. You get that much in one storm. I remember. So Don is on sprinkler duty and I am making the beach picnic. A big baguette stuffed with veggies, turkey and cheese. An apricot tart served cold and a bottle of chilled white wine. Plenty of water, iced tea , a Ziploc bag full of knitting and off we go...

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Count Your Blessings

What a concept. A husband that installed a single room air conditioner next to the TV. A husband that brings a big glass of ice water to try to bring down your core temperature and your coarse temperament. The Pacific Ocean in your backyard that has temperate water and offers immediate relief. 3 great kids (not at home this evening) that don't have to witness my literal meltdown.

Does fat weigh more in a liquid state? I feel all swollen and fleshy and sticky. If you have ever baked bread and you are at the phase where the dough is rising, that is my perpetual state of being. Tomorrow morning we are greeters at our church. Imagine shaking hands with 300 hot, surly people and hands the consistency of the Pillsbury dough boy.

Back to counting my blessings. Wonderful friends. Watching the sunset in Del Mar, where the surf meets the turf. Celebrating that the sun went down and it may actually cool down by 10 degrees or more. Swimming at the La Jolla Beach and Tennis club in the calm ocean bay accompanied by leopard sharks and stingrays all around you. Thrilling. Leopard sharks are not like great whites or tiger sharks, but hey, there were sharks 5-6 feet long brushing against my legs in the ocean. Not a run of the mill experience. Our friend is a phenomenal under sea diver and movie photographer. If you have seen IMax under sea movies, he was probable there. We had dinner with him tonight and his screen saver is a photo of himself alongside a great white shark 16 feet in length. He looks like a tiny toy or an appetizer. He hands down wins "the most fascinating job in the world" contest.

Speaking of jobs- I am on the schedule to teach at Starry Night Hollow. I need the heat to end so I can felt the sample tote designed with the stores fabric, trim and buttons. I'm loving it. This week ahead is crazy. Our guild is hosting the famous Sally Melville, noted knitter and author of best selling books; The Knit Stitch, The Purl Stitch, The Color Book and more. I cannot wait to meet her and take her classes. We will dine Tuesday evening, she will address the Guild during the day, teach classes Wednesday and Thursday and hopefully cope with the heat. We always like to honor our guest speakers by wearing one of their designs when they visit us. Not this time. My wardrobe consists of tank tops and skirts.The flimsier, the better. No handknits in sight...

Surly defined

Maybe I should see how may posts I can start with I AM HOT! It is too damn hot. Sun , sun go away. Momma wants a rainy day. Let's see where I can hang next week to stay cool. Any cool suggestions...?