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Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas Confusion

I know it is the 26th of December. I remember. We made it through with no casualties. I am shell shocked. I feel somewhat like Poland did when Hitler was looking over her shoulder and about to pounce. The other shoe is poised and waiting to drop. War is quietly and strategically being waged. I like open warfare. I am not clever about espionage and subterfuge.

I digress. Back to Christmas. The Christmas eve candlelight service ran on and on. One and one half hours long. Mercy!!! We should have stayed at the party and had one more glass of wine. Christmas morning was small and uneventful. Friends have been helpful. Knitting has been tranquil. The kids have been quiet. Evan has disappeared. Brynn is off to LA to have fun with friends. Ryan keeps pointing out (out loud) every little thing that is different.

I have tried escaping myself and find it disconcerting. I have left the house and Don has done some Dad duty. I wanted to be alone and although I was not lonely, it was surreal. I want to be in my own home. I want to celebrate. I want snow. I want good Christmas. I want to sit on Santa's lap. I want normal and know I will never have it again...

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Three Amazing Things

Honestly, last night on my way to craft night, I was driving down Lone Jack at 6:50 pm and before my very eyes there appeared a shooting star that looked just like the the image shown when Hollywood portrays Santa's sleigh dashing across the sky. It had a tail and it burnt out as it crossed the horizon. Amazing.

This morning I watched the humble little hummingbird attempt to extract nectar from the poinsettias in the planters by the front door. I was doing the dishes and was treated to this display for my efforts. Amazing.

Driving to school to take my history final the sun was bright and shiny through the cumulus, lacy clouds. It was beautiful. Amazing.

This is amazing because it is December the fifteenth. Why do people want to live in San Diego. This could prove to be a convincing argument. I am amazed.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Salmon Anyone?

For my silver anniversary I received this salmon platter from the Farley's. I love it and I created this recipe to match my plate. You can shape the fish on any plate or tray. Here is the recipe:

2 tubs of whipped cream cheese
fresh chives
1 can of cleaned flaked salmon
1 package of thin sliced smoked salmon
1 skinny English Cucumber
1 large Black olive
Romaine or Leaf lettuce to line the fish body

Mix 2 large whipped cream cheese with one can of Trader Joe canned cleaned salmon and fine diced chives. Line the plate with lettuce leaves and spread the mixture over the lettuce. Then place a layer of thin sliced smoked salmon over the spread. Next, use English cucumbers and do not skin. Pick skinny cukes. Slice thin and place over the salmon and spread like scales. Add a big black olive for the eye and serve with a big bowl of crackers and thin sliced baguette. Delicious and a conversation piece.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Oh Christmas Tree

I did not want to do Christmas. Then I went to the Knitwits party and it was so pretty, I wanted a little Christmas. My friend owns the Evergreen Nursery and she surprised me with a perfect tree as tall as me. She also brought a gorgeous live wreath. That is a splurge. No ladder, no problem. Karen came over and I drug out as much as I could reach easily, and 4 hours later, we have Christmas. It is scaled way back and has a knitty theme. Ryan will love it, and my joy is intact. Merry Christmas to all and to all a goodnight!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Sneaky December

It holds a prestigious place on the calender. Final month of the year. The Grand finale and chock full of Holidays, celebrations and deadlines. Something for everyone.

So why does it ambush us and take us by surprise??? I hoped to post about Thanksgiving and now it seems so passe??? Tonight I attended my first Christmas party. It was great fun in a perfect Christmas house with my favorite ladies- the Knitwits. We had so much fun- eating, drinking, and laughing.

Every year December comes along and I never feel prepared. Yet it arrives and rushes by. Breathe my friends. Breathe...

Monday, November 23, 2009

CCP- Community College Poignancy

I have talked about my return to school. It was a knee jerk reaction to abandonment. I immediately decided that in order to take care of my family, I needed a career. Since I had nothing readily available, education was my first and foremost thought. I was making appointments with college counselors within a week.

I enrolled in two classes with trepidation. Could the brain work? Could I fit in? Could I walk up and down the hilly campus w/o passing out? Honestly, from the parking lot to my classroom was 1/2 a mile uphill!

I began the journey on August 24th, fresh from an emotional beating in MI, raw from the home life, with nothing but pure old blind determination to get up and put one foot in front of the other. The first two weeks were tough. Holy ****, I felt smarter and older than my instructors (true about one, not the other). I felt like I could not manage the work loads. I was feeling bitter. I felt like I had made a mistake.

Deep breaths. Time management. Study habits. Brain stimulation. Study buddies. Enlightenment. Twelve weeks into this sixteen week semester, I have A's in both classes and I am second in my class in math! Yowser! I am thankful and I am grateful. It turns out going to school is an indulgent luxury.

Where does this all get poignant? With my study buddies. I have met and gathered a group of fellow students around me. We help each other study, write papers and take tests. We have become comfortable enough to share some of our stories. I always knew that most kids that want to get a higher education do not go to bed and dream of which community college they can apply to. Now I know, we are all there because we have a story.

Some of these kids have no parental support, financially or emotionally. Some had rough starts. They have overcome a drug or drink addiction. Some are post military. Some are seeking a career following a major life change such as job loss, divorce or even death. One young lady lost her Dad to cancer just two weeks ago. She had a great GPA at Torrey Pines High School and planned to go away to a big university when he was diagnosed. She could not bear to leave him. Now he is gone, and I pray that she will follow her dreams. I encourage her and love on her. I love on all of them. This is a determined group of people and I am proud to be part of this broken little band of students.

I am determined to follow my dream. I have thought about becomming a nurse for many, many years. I may be the oldest nurse graduate in the State by the time I get accepted into a program and make it through. I will prevail, God willing.

Once upon a time, my spouse and I would talk about a retirement plan that included Peace Corp or mission work around this great big world. That is a dream that an old nurse can fulfill. Inoculating babies, emergency medical relief, you name it, I want to do it.

I want my CCP kids to do it. (They are all kids to me.) I must go now and take my History Midterm Part II. My peeps are waiting. My History friends are especially excited to work with me. The history we study includes the years lived by my grandparents, my parents and myself. Who knew being old would be a such a plus!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Friday The 13th Blond Joke

KNITTING A highway patrolman pulled alongside a speeding car on the freeway. Glancing at the car, he was astounded to see that the blonde behind the wheel was knitting!
Realizing that she was oblivious to his flashing lights and siren, the trooper cranked down his window, turned on his bullhorn and yelled, 'PULL OVER!'
'NO!' the blonde yelled back, 'IT'S A SCARF!' is obviously getting close to gift knitting time and we must knit where we can, when we can! Be careful out there, people.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Have You Seen My Glasses?

Those who spend any time around me usually notice my eyeglasses match my outfit and the chains match my eyeglasses. It just an "old lady thing . I like matchy- matchy most of the time. I am trying to break out every now and then with color combos, but it is a real mind bender for me.

My friend Deen asked me to make her a new chain as hers was frayed and about to break any second. I enjoy making them and playing with the tiny beads. Her glasses are purple and green. She has Auburn hair so, here you see the finished products. Late last night following KnitWits, I got to work. I may need glasses more today than I did last night...

Friday, November 6, 2009

I Dropped the Damn Spindle

You're supposed to drop the spindle while it spins clockwise and you feed the yarn with your left thumb and finger slightly pulling and thinning out the wool roving (drafting).

When you need to transfer the spun yarn to the spindle, you PARK the spindle between your knees and take the twist in the yarn and move it up the strand before you wind it. I have that part down.

It is actually a relaxing pastime for me at this point in my life? I can't believe it. You actually are supposed to drop it...

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Happy Birthday To You!

Happy Birthday Beverly! Ladies, this is the face of 80. Very beautiful, don't you agree?

Never Say Never

A recurring theme. You are never too old to learn. I swore I would never knit socks, until I knit a dozen pairs. I swore I would never learn to spin, until a friend spurred on an interest and we decided to make 2009 the year we found a spinning class. I do not mean stationary bicycles, or fitness, my friends.

Spinning wool is the name of this game. Spinning wheels, drop-spindle spinning, drafting, plying, nitty-notty, and roving are the vocabulary. More tools, more storage space needed. My goodness.

Opportunity knocked on our door with the class schedule email from our newest LYS, Clever Knits, in Vista. We signed up for the classes where we met Sarah the Spinner and fiber expert. Before you could say "drop-spindle spinner" 3x, we were! I had to overcome some frustration, go home and watch youtube videos and practice. I am now a spinner too. I am taking roving (washed and carded wool) and spining it into single strands of wool yarn. Then I ply two strands together. I can manipulate the twist and the consistency of my yarn. My yarn. I produced it all by myself.

When I am too tired to knit, I find spinning a soothing and fruitful pastime. Thank you Lyn for tapping into the unknown desire. Thank you Sarah for teaching ably and providing me the tools.

I have a goal to spin enough wool to knit up a special hat. I took some of Lyn's teal roving and plied it with my rich brown. The combo is so on trend with fashion this year. When the hat is done you will be the first to know...

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Will Cook For Food

This is how I am making a living. Selling hand knits and cooking. Domestic Goddess- that's me.
I have been compared to Ina Garten, the world famous chef and owner of Barefoot Contessa. I think because we are both portly, middle aged brunettes with similar haircuts and wrinkles. I own her cookbooks and use them as a constant source for meal planning. I wish Ina and I had more in common. Incomes immediately come to mind.

My passion is knitting. I am a little more than a competent cook. I feel that most people can be successful in either arena by following the recipe. If you can read and measure and stir, you can cook. If you can read and measure and manipulate two sticks, you can knit. The secret ingredient in both processes is the addition of the love I put into the outcome. I want the consumer to love what I produce. A yummy dish, or a yummy hand knit. Enjoy...

Monday, November 2, 2009

Eat, Drink and Be Married

You know that I have a pattern in my archives for any occasion and I can prove it! A dear woman I know has found love after widowhood and is blessed to be married soon. Her friends decided to throw her a lingerie shower and my brain started to click away through my internal Rolodex of patterns.

I found a tiny skein of pure luxurious silk by Artyarns in my stash. So soft to wear and touch. So delicate, you must apply lotion to your hands before knitting or you risk snagging the yarn. The ribbon actually streams; Eat drink and be married. I had to get the matching bra to complete the set.

Special orders can be placed. It is fun to knit and a real shower show stopper. If you want to have one knit up for a loved one, leave your email in the comment box. I will contact you w/o publishing your email! Love is in the air...

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Do You Have A Bucket List?

What feels worse than sitting at home all alone, feeling like everyone else has someplace to be and something wonderful to do, but you? When plans fall apart, friends seem to forget about you, and your best friend is the TV, you can feel pretty low. I mention this to set the mood. This is a universal feeling that we have all experienced. Remember it.

Friday evening was the night before Halloween. In Michigan, we call this Devil's Night. A night for pranks and some scares. It used to be harmless good fun. Detroit distorted it into a national news craze by burning down houses in the city. Thankfully, that trend has ended. I planned to spend Devil's night with 2 friends at the beach with a glass of wine and good gab. My friends have young kids and our TGIF ended while the night was young.

As I drove home I passed several Haunted Houses. Never a favorite activity of mine, however, passing by brought to mind Heike at home. She had begged me and everyone she knew to go through a scary Haunted House with her. Instead she was at home organizing Knitting patterns into large binders for me. Sweet, but not fun!

Close to home there was a perfect compromise in the Historic Germania Hotel in our little community of Olivenhain. A kinder, gentler kind of Haunted House. I called her and said get dressed, I'll be there in 5. I was going to sacrifice my fear for her and thought I was really stepping out of my comfort zone. HA! Little did I know.

We screamed, we laughed, we ducked, we ran! It was a thrill and I was content. The kids were raising $ to renovate the site and as we ate a cookie and sipped some cocoa, Heike started her arm twisting campaign for more! The Scream Zone at the Del Mar Fairgrounds.

What? No way.
I CAN NOT! Really, I can not do it. No desire and beyond that, actual fear. What to do. I had a decision to make. Could I step out and jump off this cliff? Equivalent to bungee jumping for me.

Okay. I am in a place in time where I am stepping outside my comfort zone everyday. Go big, or go home. I decided to go big. We dashed over to Del Mar. Bought the tickets and got in line. The moon was almost full. The air got colder and colder. First, we wet our whistle with the smaller
less frightening Chamber. I made it. A little hoarse, but intact. I was proud and ready to go home.

Next, The House of Horrors. I comforted myself that there were survivors exiting nearby, doubled over with laughter. Some tears, but mostly laughter. The line was long. Midway through the wait I began to shiver with the cold and dread. Fortunately, at that point in line there was an open bar and we bought some liquid encouragement. Reinforced by booze, we decided to help the time go by. We introduced ourselves to the people in line and started to play some word games. It was fun and helped to distract me.

Two full hours later, we make it to the front of the line. I mean the front, as in the group before us is sent in and she puts her gloved hand in front of my chest and says wait! I panic and turn to run. I can not be the first to head our group of ten victims. I can not be the curtain-parter. HELP!!!

Pushed forward- we entered. It was midnight. OMG! I have never screamed so much as we ran for our lives. It was true "fight or flight." No wonder there are signs posted all over the fairgrounds- "Do Not Hit The Actors." I get it now. I wanted to hit those scary bad guys that were trying to get me! At one point we ran straight into a wall. We bounced off, but did not fall. Flee, get out, the bloody butcher is chasing us. Now, it is pitch dark and we are in a maze. I got this. I run my hand along the right wall and drag Heike with me as I navigate into the next scene. Special effects be damned. I am going to make it. However, not intact.

Out we popped into the cool night air. Doubled over and exhausted, but, ALIVE. Heike wanted to go out for Pizza. I said no and this time I meant it. I had to get home. I needed a shower and a change of undies. That's right, I actually peed a little?! All that screaming and running? Whatever. The price for facing the physicality of this challenge was a conquest for me. I am going back next year with a Depends. You are invited to come along. I am putting this on my Bucket List and crossing it off. I did it and it was awesome...

I Can Fly!

This is Peter Pan 2009 ! :)

Friday, October 30, 2009

Happy Halloween 2009 So Fine

I just completed a day of sewing for Halloween. A stroll down memory lane. I have always loved this holiday. Costumes and candy? Who doesn't love those two things?

My little room mate, Heike, also loves this holiday. She came home with some new boots last month and I said they reminded me of Peter Pan. Next thing you know, we went from concept to design and today, finished product.

I love to make the people happy! So, her friend Elliot needed a costume and I said I could whip up a little Fred Flintstone, to go. He has to supply his own club and stop shaving for a few days.

I miss the "trick or treaters" and the parties for Kids and their Parents. Back in the old neighborhood the Moms stayed at our house and drank wine, while the Dads escorted the kids on their appointed rounds. We always started out with a bowl of hearty Chili with toppings for sugar fortification. Good times. The cul de sac was a perfect place to gather and enjoy the kids.

This year, I will have a glass of wine with friends and reminisce about the days of costume making. I am glad to have a big kid in the house that still wants to watch me work a little magic with some felt and a sewing machine. May your tricks bring laughs and your treats be bold!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Cloudy with a chance of...

Monday night I drove home from Craft night and encountered rain. Real rain that required windshield wipers and curled your hair. Yesterday it was 80, the day before at 5:30 the outside temperature read 85 in my car. Today we may have some normal 70's with overcast skies. Cloudy with a chance of endless possibilities???

Friday night I sat outside past midnight enjoying the night skies full of stars. Cassiopeia was over my right shoulder and it was so clear and orderly. For a moment it felt like all was right with the universe. It turns out that as far as the universe goes, all is right. My little universe is spinning out of control. By the first of the year, things will be very different. The strength I need to face an unknown future will be tested further. It might be overwhelming if I did not have the stars in the night sky to compare the challenge to.

Knitting helps me to put order into a disorderly life. Can I fit in another client to care for? Not if their schedule and mine are incompatible. Can I improve my History grades and write papers according to the teachers technical criteria? Can I prepare for Wednesday by Sunday (so far, so good) so that I can continue to teach Bible Study and have the joy of Knitwits?

All of these questions are put in their place as I chose a pattern to knit that is challenging. I know I am up to the challenge. I can figure it out and be successful. I can end up with something beautiful from my needles. It is tangible in my hands and it represents what I can do. I am learning to do so many things, that having a fall back skill that is gratifying and already imprinted on the brain, is a comfort. Right now my life is cloudy with a chance of ...

The possibilities are endless.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Smell the Eucalyptus

Last night I fell asleep inhaling the cool, refreshing smell of freshly washed eucalyptus trees. We finally got Fall temperatures and had a gentle, yet real rainfall. The world is clean and fresh. All the months of HOT dust has been washed away. I head off to take the math midterm rejuvenated, with a scarve project in hand...

Friday, October 9, 2009

Midterm Madness

Well it is that time of year. Midway through the semester and a midterm quiz online this weekend followed by a math midterm Tuesday and the History Midterm Thursday. The papers, the reading, the computations and the studying! Oh my.

It has not stopped me from knitting. I finished two scarves and a hat for the etsy store. I need to get the camera and upload the new stock. It takes me a while to get the store loaded and I will let you know when the new stuff is in. I knit the most beautiful feeling Keyhole Bowtie scarf out of Debbie Bliss silk alpaca. It feels like pure, soft heaven. I have finished the knit, felt and construction of a new bag, but I still need to sew the lining and add the straps.

No rest for the wicked...

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

KnitWits with Saucy Fingers

KnitWits Wednesday. I just love the ladies. We will have a brand new knitter tonight and she will walk in with a ball of yarn and walk out with some saucy fingers and a new skill. Tonight we will be at our home away from home, Brett's Bar-B-Que. Whenever we cannot use the room at the Village Church, this is where we land. Brett welcomes us himself and sets up a space for us to overtake the restaurant and enjoy ourselves. There are public wash basins to keep the sauce off of our yarn. Rolls of paper towel adorn the tables and the bread pudding helps you knit better. Really, it is the whiskey sauce. Warm, buttery, whiskeyie...

Monday, September 28, 2009

Homework Blues

Wow- homework. I have added school and part time work to my life. Housekeeping and cooking. Laundry and car maintenance. Childcare and pet care. Paperwork and calender planning. Bible Study and KnitWits. Running an etsy shop and a blog. Knitting and swimming. Those things have remained.

I took away Book Club and the Knitter's Guild. Ummmm. Not enough. Math is coming back to me and I have an A going in that class. The teacher is good and I am trying to stay on top of it. Algebra builds skill upon skill. Every week there is a quiz and every 4 weeks a test. So far, so good.

History is another story. Papers, reading, essays, papers, reading, journal entries, classroom lectures, u-tube lectures, additional film and videos to view, A book report (thesis style), quizzes and tests. Half of the original enrollment has dropped. I take notes during films, but when she is up front in her Professor Lecture mode, I knit. I have almost finished a sweater, I did finish a hat. I am starting a new hat on Tuesday. It calms the anxiety I feel about this class and the incredible workload. I wrote a good paper (1800+ words), but due to poor time management, I am turning it in late due to my poor typing skills.

I have been done in by technology. The kids today have been keyboarding since birth! I graduated HS in 1972. People that took typing planned to be secretaries. I did not have the skill set. In college I took typing and achieved the mandatory 50 words per minute required to pass. I fell down a snowy slope, broke a finger and the teacher passed me with a "B" so I would not have to repeat the class. I used to think he did me a great favor.

Today Heike typed my paper for me. She has promised to help me out this semester. I will have to think of an appropriate way to thank her. Maybe I will knit her a sweater in class???

Sunday, September 27, 2009

I Was Pissed Off Before You Came Along!

I have a friend that helps me mull things over. We hash out the difficult things and then we share a laugh and move on. That's what friends do. I have some really good friends and I would not have the same quality of life with out them. They make you feel better. Processing the paths we travel together, friends can help you take the fork in the road in stride. Even when the road gets bumpy and rutted, a good friend will guide you safely around the deepest traps.

We had a particularly fruitful bitch session the other day. Sometimes, we remember to turn it all into prayer requests. This weekend we found ourselves full of questions with no answers, and as we took our leave I found myself apologizing for contributing to her bad mood. As she headed for her car, she called out to me "Don't worry about it, I was pissed off before you came along!"

I laughed so hard. How many times have we tipped over that edge, because we came into it pissed off already. I have been thinking a lot about the power we have to be happy and what a loss it is to ourselves to give away our JOY. I am going to start to treat my joy with the respect that is due. I am not coming to the party pissed off anymore. I feel better already...

Monday, September 21, 2009

Wine and Whine

Craft night tonight!!!!

Where Can You Find My Knit Wear

Someone kindly asked where they might find some of my hand knits for sale. I have a shop at etsy. etsy is a website for crafters to sell all things handmade. The selection is amazing, the prices are superb, and the idea of a forum for us craft people is cutting edge fantastic! There is a mystery as to what the name means? All I know is that Martha Stewart has featured it on her show numerous times and rumor has it she wants to buy it.

My store is called Headknitwit. What else? I am trying to link my shop to my blog and to Facebook. I have spent many hours doing tutorials and I have not had success. My dear, competent, computer genius, friend Heather, will have to help me. I will bribe her with a swim and dinner. In the meantime, go to, search for my shop by entering HeadKnit Wit, and then shop away. I have more goodies to price and upload. The first ten customers will receive a free gift with purchase.

I have some just finished new stock to add to the shop, so keep checking back. When I figure things out, I will have a button on the sidebar that you will be able to activate. Much easier shopping. Check out etsy for all of your Christmas shopping. I am amazed every day by the talent and the reasonable prices. Happy shopping everyone.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Measure Twice, Cut Once

This is a carpenter's rule. When casting on with long tail method, the measurement of the yarn required to cast on the number of stitches called for in a pattern can be calculated several ways.

If the needles are single digit, I pull out one inch of yarn per required stitches. If the needle size is double digit, I pull out 2 inches per cast on stitch. If the tail is held in the front when casting on you will get more stitches per inch of yarn.

Recently, both Heike and I had similar situations with baby blankets we were knitting. We cast on a calculated number of stitches and started knitting. Half way through the blanket we realized that we had cast on too many stitches for our little projects. Both looked like they may be suitable for twin size bedspreads!

We had to frog the projects. Unraveling large pieces of knitting is known as frogging. Because you "rippit, rippit." I ripped and she rolled the yarn back into balls of reusable yarn. I felt so bad for her and all of the hours of creative knitting that she had done and then undone. I recast the appropriate number of stitches and knit a fair amount back for her. Mine I put away for another day. I will revisit it, next year...

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Sweater Weather

Oh Goody! The heat is going away. Soon we will even be able to wear shoes and jeans. I want it to cool off. I want to wear a sweater, and layers. Remember layers? Jackets, scarves, Sweaters!!

A sweater is so much more than something you had to put on as a child because your Mother was cold! I have a collection of sweaters and they are just waiting to come out and play. So, I welcome the cloud cover and the dropping temps. I will even welcome some much needed rain. I also collect rain coats...

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Will Obama Care Work?

For the first time in my life, I am an uninsured citizen. So are two out of three of my children. Food for thought. As a formerly smug recipient of excellent health care benefits, I find myself pondering the fear associated with this situation. As a faithful faith filled woman, trusting God to take care of my health might be sensible if I had the body of a trained athlete. I am softer than that?! Okay, I am softer than my bed pillows.

I have looked at nationalized health care. It only seems like it is better than nothing. My friends from Canada seek care in the USA whenever possible. Research shows with National Healthcare that the older you get, the less "necessary" treatment becomes. I would hate to think that life saving treatments are denied because they are deemed "elective." Most of us would elect to live.

I want to be insured. I want to know that I could go to the hospital in need and the need would be met. But, who pays? Somebody pays. I have been actively searching for work for almost two years. No luck. I will continue to look. I will try to treat my body better and make it last.

Yesterday, I passed a gentleman with obviously dyed hair. He was probable in his late sixties. I remember when men just did not dye their hair. My first thought was, he is probably looking for work and trying to look younger. The competition is fierce. The young, fit, educated minions are all flooding the job market. If Darwinism is true and survival belongs to the fittest- I am at the bottom rung.

Tomorrow I will go to the Student Health Center and pay $15 for a flu shot. I will take vitamins and try to eat better. I will seek 8 hour sleep as often as possible. Drink more water. Park farther away. Walk more. Learn to walk and knit...

Monday, September 14, 2009

Back to School For Real

Every Fall since I began to write this blog, I have waxed poetically (my opinion) on the merits of the sensation of returning to the comfort of a routine schedule. I am not one that functions well with the surprise element. I willingly admit that I like a chartered course. I am not a fan of unannounced change. I am a planner and when the plans get changed my first response is to get flustered. There is a difference to me between going with an unstructured agenda (that's a plan) and having the structure that is set in place, take a sudden turn.

So, following a syllabus is a good thing. A pop quiz is a bad thing. I am learning to take deep breathes, allow some time to adjust to the change, and eventually reset my sails.

This is a process. Last weeks math quiz took me by surprise. It was open homework notes. Unfortunately, I write my homework notes on the back of my class notes and was unable to use them. So much for saving paper and being green! I realized after I turned in the quiz that I solved every problem, BUT, I forgot to write the formulas. I have spent my whole life getting to the solution as quickly as possible. The process, showing the steps, had no value. Only the solution mattered. This is no longer so in school. I am resetting my sails.

Some of you have wondered about my schedule. It is as follows:
Monday- Homework, housekeeping, laundry
Tuesday- School 10-3:30
Wednesday- Bible Study 8:50 Work 12-5 KnitWits 5:30-9
Thursday- School 10-3:30 Work 5-9
Friday- Work 12-4
Weekends- Ryan is home every other weekend

I work as a personal chef for a very ill man in RSF. It is part of the services offered by my Home Help Care business. It is a challenge. He is a fat free, gluten free, low sodium, low sugar Vegetarian diet. I plan menus, shop and then cook in his home. It is a great kitchen to use. The heat has been torturous. I was caring for 2 other elderly people in their homes. One passed away 2 weeks ago. My 95 year old has evolved to needing 24 hour care. I cannot provide that. The nature of the business is that it is finite.

Homework and studying consume a lot of my time. I am retraining my brain to be a student. I see that it is possible and I am relaxing into being a student again. In the meantime, I have very little socializing time. I do still decompress with knitting. I finished a wool hand bag last week and have started a lace cotton top as a nod to the heat wave. Knitting is my tranquilizer. When I think it is impossible to learn one more thing, or keep moving forward, I pick up the needles and knit a row or two. Progress that is tangible, is a comfort. I have a box of UFO's (unfinished objects) and I plan to give my attention to that box as I keep plugging along.

I have built in recreation in my schedule with Knitwits. If you are a knitter, or want to be one, I am there every Wednesday. Come by for a glass of wine and some tangible progress...

Sunday, September 6, 2009

What A Lovely Collar You are Wearing!

Steezy has been sporting a new look. The Elizabethan Collar is the trend for wounded dogs around the world. She let me know that she needed special attention Wednesday morning. She flew into my room and jumped on the bed. She has not done that since I changed beds in June. This new one is too tall, I assumed. She was propelled by pain! Her nose was very swollen and getting bigger by the minute. Evan and I took some photos before he left for school. I got online to research dog noses and the maladies that could cause such weird swelling. The consensus of the websites all pointed to a trip to the Vet. Oh, dread. We people, do not have health insurance, how on earth could I afford a trip to the $Vet$. Her breathing was becoming labored and my guilt-o-meter was on the rise.

We got in before noon and out just after 400+ dollars. The Dr. thinks she was bitten by a venomous spider, perhaps a Black Widow. The yard abounds with them. He did not think it was a scorpion. I have killed three of those in the house during this heatwave.

I have had to become a spider killer in my new incarnation of solitary living. I used to lose it when a creepy crawly creature shared the same real estate with me. Living in this neighborhood has desensitized me. Never in my lifetime did I think I would take scorpions, spiders of every shape and size, snakes (including rattlers), stink bugs, millipedes, beetles, hummingbird moths(look it up) and ant infestations in STRIDE!

So, Steezy recovers. She wears her collar well and takes her medications like a trooper. Her cone needed a trim of about 2 inches all the way around to keep her from hitting every wall and edge of anything in the house. My shins and calves are covered in bruises and scratches as she seems to delight in butting up against my legs at every chance. I find some relief by putting my feet up on the coffee table and knitting one or two rows on a future hand bag to sell...

Monday, August 31, 2009

Who Knows- It Could Be a Good Day?

Wow! I guess you will have to take my word for it- I have not had a good day for a while. The details of ridiculous messes are too maudlin, mundane and unbelievable to share. The heat wave here in SoCal has added to my bad days. I hate the inescapable heat. When it is 95 outside, my house has the tendency to be much hotter inside, due to the westward facing disposition of an all glass wall. Even the pool heats up to a tepid 90 degrees, simulating a warm bath, as opposed to a refreshing dip.

My student status has left me reeling with the amount of homework and just plain redundant busy work. I can only conclude that my profs have decided that students are pampered youth with no responsibilities beyond their classes. I am shocked to find that attitude at the CC level. I spent the weekend in front of a fan, drinking ice water and diet coke with a hot laptop on my lap (imagine that), doing homework.

I forced myself to go to Church, for the A/C. All of the public A/C places were packed with heat escapees. There wasn't a chair available in Barnes and Noble. I wish I had time to go find a nice air conditioned place to sit and knit. I need the respite.

Time management was never hard for me when I lived the live of a happy housewife and volunteer extraordinaire. Now a day planner is my new best friend. We are just getting to know each other and we have had some missteps. I have got to work this out. I must learn to schedule in some down time. By down time, I mean knitting time. I have to schedule my "good day" time. I have yet to make it to the beach this summer. Taking care of survival and being exhausted has filled my calender. So, my goal is to take some simple knitting to the beach before Labor Day. If it works out, it will be a good day...

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

While the Cat's Away the Mice do Play

I am the Cat. The Cat went away. The mice came out to play.

The Cat is cleaning and inspecting the evidence of the mice that went astray.

The Cat is sad, the mice are young and do not believe that they betrayed.

Time will heal the youthful miss step, the Cat will win the day.

Parental help is needed here and is my daily prayer!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Wish You Were Here

It is bittersweet to go to MI this year. Sweet to celebrate with my 80 year young Aunt Lois on her actual Birthday. Sweet to see Deb and Tom on Crystal Lake. A spot that is near and dear to the heart of this family. Sweet that my BIL and SIL, John and Roxanne, will drive up north to see me and have a reunion. I love those two.

Bitter to be by myself. Bitter to have so much explaining to do when the story defies explanation. I found myself feeling like I had swallowed a bitter pill. My happy countenance had been dialed down to grumpy discontent.

How can one maintain such a dower outlook when faced with such beauty. The lakes of Michigan restore me. One finds comfort in the roots of their very existence. God is good. Wish you were here...

Saddle Up- I want a Cowboy Party!

Ever since we have lived in CA, we have been invited to Western Theme Party's. I always felt so out of place. No broken in cowboy boots, no cowboy boots at all! No cowboy hats, bolo ties or concho belts. None of our shirts had mother of pearl snaps or piping and embroidery across the top.

Bit by bit, I am assembling my look. I have been searching for the boots fruitlessly. I have the right skirt and shirt. I bought a hat. Now, my friend and guardian angel, Joan , has knit me a suede shawl to complete my country chic look. I can borrow me a horse, I just need the next Cowboy Party!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Seaming and Blocking

A knit lesson. Finished work needs final attention to take it from "off the needles" to "masterpiece."

I made my kitchen table into the blocking board by covering it with a plastic sheet, a cotton blanket, a cotton quilt and a queen size fitted sheet of white cotton. Thick enough to pin into and absorbent enough for the blasts of steam from my Rowenta iron. I love that darn iron. It really delivers a shot of steam when you need it! I get excited by good tools. Irons, needles, cameras, computers, etc.

Some people use theirs beds, the patio, or even own a special blocking board. Me? I improvise.
So, how do three thin strips of knitted black wool become a beautiful throw? With seams aligned and stitched with a nice flat running stitch and the help of some stainless steel (non-rust) pins, the work begins. Steam, stretch and pin. Keep going until you have the size and shape you desire. Watch the lacework open. See the stitch patterns pop. It really does give you the sense of accomplishment.

I have had some steam applied to my life lately. I am stretching and being reshaped. This personal blocking into shape has not been without pain. I am hoping for a remarkable outcome...