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Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween

Have a wonderful Halloween. This has always been my favorite holiday. As a crafty Mom, I made lots of fun costumes over the years. I also appreciated that there were no obligatory gifts to give and receive. Plus, I love Fall and the season of cold nights and autumn colors produced by Mother Nature. The candyfest was fun.

Every year, while the Dad's took the kiddies out to Trick-or-Treat, we moms stayed home tending the door, having some wine and making a cauldron of chili. Now, we live in a neighborhood where the doors are acres apart. The kiddies ages range from 16 to 27. The costumes are in storage.

All that is left is the wine and chili. We are taking it to our friends house and play some silly board games to channel our inner child. Maybe we will eat ourselves sick on candy for the fun of it...

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Under The Influence

Dinner in the backyard in October. Good friends to eat and laugh with are the best reason to cook. Christine is in town to plan her sister's baby shower. Her Mom Becky is a fine floral designer and one of the most pleasant people we know. We had some wine and too much food. Both influenced us to become sleepy people.

I am knitting little pink things to shower the special little girl about to enter the world. Paul and Alexandra will be awesome parents. But, that baby will be so lucky to have an Aunt Christine. She will take her under her wing and create a magical relationship. Truly, one of my favorite people...

Time for Dinner

Where are my potstickers? At this point, I'd settle for some edamame!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Another Day, Another Bag

Binding off another bag. I need some employees for my sweatshop!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

How to Know You Are A Californian

When we moved to California 15 years ago, I had never had a quesadilla. In the east we made a grilled cheese sandwich. The concept of filling tortillas with almost anything before eating, was foreign to me. I quickly adapted and incorporated simple fresh Mexican recipes into our menus.

Sushi was someplace I never planned to go. Now, it is my favorite eating out destination. Fresh and light food is abundant here in CA. The growing season is year round and the choices we have are a blessing. I love to cook and eat. The other motivation to eat well is the sheer volume of green grocers, farm markets, and Trader Joe's grocery stores. I know they are expanding all around the country. It is where I do the majority of my shopping.

So here is a picture of my dinner. Pot stickers and edamame. CA cuisine at your service!

Posting Postponed

I have been away from my laptop. I am here today to avoid work that has to be done. My car got hit in the parking lot of T.J's, so this morning we dropped it off for repair at the collision shop. It will take a whole week! It did not look like much of a bang, but it is a $2,000 insurance claim. Hit and run. Only inconvenient.

I will have my old truck to drive for the week. It has broken AC and needs some work done. Pray that the temperatures drop in SD to milder and breezy. The truck is back home while Brynn is in Africa. We met Brynn in LA for Breakfast and hugs on Saturday. I couldn't let her go to Africa without touching her. I had not seen her since early August. Ryan came along to see his beloved sister and get some of that touch time! Don and Ryan drove the truck home for a good cleaning and mechanical tune up. We will return it to her when she returns to LAX in November. I stayed at the airport until she went through check-in. No tears, just joy. She shot me an email from an internet cafe in Nairobi. All is well. Good people, good work, and experiences to last a lifetime. I am so happy for her.

Don's dear Mom is in the hospital as of Monday. She is so fragile. Thank God for John and Roxanne who are right beside her and Dad. What a week. They are in our thoughts and prayers.

I have a Facebook account now. Why? One more way to be connected to those we love that are far away. I was encouraged by my cousins to keep up with their lives. I don't quite get it, but networking quickly and briefly seems to be a goal. I prefer to express myself in the blog. Stay posted...

Walking Woolen Wounded

My shoulder is aching. My hand is weak and stiff. My neck could use a good rub. I need a massage and a muscle relaxant. Soon my fingers will be sore from sewing. It must be a week away from the craft show.

I have been warned by well-meaning friends to expect slow sales and few customers. I am prepared. I am trying to just meditate myself into enjoying this craft show as a marker in my time line. After November 9th I will put all of my energy into finding gainful employment. That means a job with health care benefits. If I had them, I'd go get myself a RX for my woolen wounds...

PS: I want to get health care from employment- not the government, thank you very much. Just in case you took my lament as a political comment.

Friday, October 17, 2008

What's On My Needles?

The Olivenhain Craft show is scheduled for November 8, 2008. From 9am until 4pm, I sit beneath the canopy finishing details and trying to sell my work to the public. Most artists (yes, I consider the creation of hand knits an art) have a difficult time promoting themselves. Pimping the product is a skill. I am proud of my pieces and some I even love to the point that I hate to let them go. The time put into the process is not always redeemable with cash.

My needles are full of triple strands of 100% wool, mixed with the odd novelty yarn for detail. I play with the colors, the shape and the size. After the knitting, I felt the bag in boiling water with rubber shoes in the washing machine. While still wet, but reduced in size by up to 50%, I stretch and form the shapeless blob into the bag I want it to become. Out on the dry, hot sun-drenched patio, the wool takes 1 -2 days to dry enough to finish.

The least favorite part comes next. Machine sewing a uniquely designed liner for each individual bag. It has to be sewn into place before the handles are stitched on and a closure is added. Viola. Done.

Then I do it again. Actually, there are four wet bags drying right now. Tomorrow I plan to get the machine and fabrics out for a marathon sewing party. Picking out the handles and closure is the final step and the equivalent of the final spritz of perfume before you leave for the party. Come to the craft show and see me. Come see my bags. But now I must get back to my needles and do it again...

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


This Saturday we celebrated Ryan's 27th birthday. I drove him up to Disneyland with his little brother and Heike. I dropped them at the gate and drove away with trepidation. It was the first time I had ever left him in the care of 2 young caregivers separated by miles instead of feet. Not on my watch. (Yes, he lives in a group home. Yes, he lives his life miles away everyday. Yes, it is hard for a Mom to let go.) Milestone.

On my watch, we have been to Disneyland many times. My autistic son has a hard time waiting in line. We have seen him wait with patience, and we have seen him lose it and lash out in violence. Disney did away with letting handicapped people go to the front of the line. So, as the 3 "kids" skipped off to have a fun time at the happiest place on earth, I drove to Starbucks to center myself with caffeine. I do not like to waste time worrying. So, I did some Internet research and found some LYS within a 7 mile radius of Disney and went on a yarn crawl. Waiting for the phone to ring and to race back to the park to pick them up. Quiet anxiety was my companion.

The first yarn shop had gone out of business. No more "Sit N Knit", FYI. I was bummed out.Then over to Newton's Yarns. A warehouse of machine knitting supplies and mostly coned yarn. I wandered around and decided there was nothing there for me. The owners were sweet and invited me back next weekend to a special demo and sale. I have bought yarn from them at shows in the past. Just not today. I may have been too distracted to buy yarn. This was a first for me. Milestone.

On the way to the next shop on my list, I stopped to call the kids. They were doing great. All was well. I was stopped next to a cinema. I decided to do the impossible and go to the movies. I took my knitting in and saw not one, but two features. "Burn After Reading" was good in a Coen Brothers way. "Flash Of Genius" was good in a motor city native way. I knit more than half of a future handbag and passed four hours. Called the kids again. All was well. Wow.

Now I needed to do some more time management. I walked around a TJMaxx store for awhile. No money was spent. This shopping w/o spending is so new to me. Milestone. Finally, I settled down back outside of the Disney entrance at a restaurant. With knitting book and notepad in hand I ordered dinner and relaxed with my research.

I picked the kids up at 8pm. Almost 12 hours had passed since we left the house. I was exhausted from waiting and so proud of my boy. The kids were exhausted from running around their favorite theme park for 10 hours. And they were proud. Proud of themselves for undertaking this trip. Ryan was proud for doing well and enjoying himself. We drove home triumphantly. Milestone achieved.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Monday Moaning

The stock market rallied in the most spectacular fashion. Good news. Can we keep the ball rolling? Can everyone settle down and replace panic with peace? Can hard work plus determination pay off with the confidence that we will continue living and that life can be good in the midst of trouble? The whole world needs some good news.

I am making sense of my own little world. In my household, I put life back together on Mondays. I have a "never on Monday" mantra. No appointments, luncheons or commitments are allowed. I like to change the sheets, do the laundry, dishes, cook, clean and organize myself the first of the week. I ingest a pot of coffee, scramble some eggs and start clicking jobs off my list. Every week is different. The list changes and the energy I put into Monday ebbs and flows. I do not measure my success on Mondays- I just plug away and accomplish what I can. It is usually a good day. Today has been a good day...

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Knit Wit Knit Tip

I am in the mood to knit cardigans for the San Diego climate. I love to wear a sweater, even when it is warm and sunny. I enjoy the layering aspect of a lightweight sweater.

One of my tricks for keeping track of sleeve lengths and both sides of the sweater fronts, is to cast them on to the same needle and knit them at the same time. The decreases and increases are always consistent. You use a separate ball of yarn for each sleeve or side. It works out magically and it gives you the illusion of knitting two pieces in the time of one. Psychologically, the advantage makes the knitting even more fun!

I have the pattern in mind, from the Ella Rae Book. Now I will search my stash and set it aside for pleasure knitting after I get beyond the Craft Fair. I also am looking for a loose T-shirt type sweater to knit in white cotton. Realistic San Diego clothing for me...

Friday, October 10, 2008

Where's the Bun

That's one hot dog. Too hot for the dog park and too hot for her bed. I can not talk her into the pool though...

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Abstract Chaotic Thinking

This piece of art represents the way I feel today. The black layer is the media input of the world. The presidential race, the stock market, the mortgage/banking crisis, the global economy, the war and the immediate economy at home.

The gray is the foggy blanket of of faith I am hiding under. It is not adequate to overtake the black right now. The yellow is the never ending, hot and brilliant sunlight that highlights my hiding places. It is too hot and sunny on top of the cold and dreary dark thoughts.

I wish it would get cold and rainy. I long to put on a comfy sweater and jeans. I long for a day where the slightest movement could be made without glistening perspiration. A cool breeze and a good sweater can calm chaotic thoughts.

Knitting has been sticky work this week. I sit in front of a fan and continue to work pieces to sell at the November 8th, Olivenhain Craft Fair. The weather has hastened the drying phase of the felted handbags and totes. That is the best part of 10% humidity.

I may have too much time to think. I have stopped watching the news as of today. No more room for negative info...

Friday, October 3, 2008

Knit Wits Demolition Derby

Our group is hosted (for free) in a beautiful facility on the grounds of The Village Community Presbyterian Church, in Rancho Santa Fe. Many of the Knitwits are church members. Many are not. We all appreciate our spacious and well lit meeting room adjacent to a large kitchen. Eating and drinking are as important to us as knitting is!

The Church is undergoing a huge building campaign and has begun the demolition phase of the new sanctuary and office buildings. The vision is grand and the site is now under attack of heavy equipment.

Parking is the biggest issue that we face right now. I fully expected our attendance to be down and new visitors deterred from finding us. Not so my friends. We Knitwits are creatures of habit and have always had a routine of parking together near the service entrance. The better to carry in our project bags, food and heavy bottles of wine! That entrance no longer exists.

Now we are fighting with the Drama group, the Men's night time Bible Study, Youth group and the local chapter of AA for the limited parking spots on campus. I try to arrive early to set up. I always have. Last night, I found myself surrounded by knitters during my usual lone set up time.

I usually use the time to prepare mentally for the upcoming challenges presented by my group as we work together to find solutions to problems they have encountered during the previous week. The problems rise exponentially to the new Fall TV line up and the viewing habits of the Knitwits!

So during the construction, prior to adequate parking, we will race to arrive and get the spots within easy walking distance. I will not arrive earlier, as this would lead to others arriving in sync. I call this the demolition derby. I have noticed it occurring with other church activities. Perhaps the best way to increase timely attendance is to play the musical chairs version of parking. Let the games begin...

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Arrest Me, Please

CSI has some work to do. If you are a fan of the show, you know that they cover crimes ripped from the headlines. I will be watching for the incorporation of this news bulletin from England in one of their future shows...

Hit this link:

Once you get there, hit the Odd stories and look for the Criminal Grannie gets knitting punishment.