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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...

Monday, August 17, 2009

That's My Girl

A girls dog is her best friend. Here we are after a walk through downtown Encinitas. Cool down with a beach sunset. Starbucks to energize me for a night on the computer.

Steezy is always ready for a ride. She loves a little wind on her face and tongue...

Brainless Projects = Simple Knits

I need a brain break. Projects that I can knit in my sleep. Something my hands can do by heart, rhythmic and soothing. A vacation from thinking. Triangle shawls fill the bill. I call them San Diego shawls. We cool off here every evening and the tank top that worked during the heat of the day, needs a thin layer to insulate against the evening cool off. The more colorful the better!

I have not taken very much time to enjoy life lately. Even though I live in paradise, I have taken it all for granted while learning to cope with unexpected life changes. I have not stepped foot in the sand once this summer. I plan to rectify that prior to Labor Day. My official end of summer.

I find myself in an uncanny position of going back to school this fall. August 25th, I will enter a college classroom with a goal for the first time in over 30 years. What! I cannot tell you where the time went or how it passed in the blink of an eye. How I became this age, in this circumstance is also beyond explanation. Being here and being purposeful has become my reason for moving forward. Every single day that is productive is a step in the right direction.

I cast on 3 stitches and knit a row. Then I had a stitch to each row as I go. After a few rows, I add a stitch at the beginning and the end of each row. As I get closer to the end of the project, I sometimes add a stitch across the row every 10 stitches once or twice to make a nice shawl tie.
It is a metaphor for the way I am living my life. Currently, I am at the beginning of my simple creation. Knitting a new life one stitch at a time. Adding another something, a bit at a time.
Slowly, without becoming overwhelmed, progressing. Want to knit along?

Grab some size 19 circular needles and a fine, nubby yarn. I like rayon, cottons, linen or silk blends. Cast on 3 sts and knit across. Make one into the first st every row for ten rows. Now, make one into the first and the last st of every row. As you continue to form your triangle, you can knit to the size you desire. When I get 100 sts on the needle I increase in the fist st, the last st and every 9th st across the row. Knit 2 more rows and bind off loosely. I love fringe. I collect silk ribbon in every imaginable color for fringe. Wrap your ribbon around a book with a hard cover that is the same size as the length of the fringe you desire. Cut along the bottom edge of the cover and you will have uniform insta-fringe. You can add the ribbon with a crochet hook as much or as little as you like. It is your brainless creation. Simply beautiful...

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Knitted Love

I left the bag behind a potted plant on the front porch. Tucked inside, is the much anticipated Black Manos Wool, "Four Seasons Throw." I hope it is safe and finds it way into the intended home soon. I hope Deb is not out of town?

I had finished the knitting last week and then got so busy with my hectic survival plan, that the blocking and finishing took place Wednesday morning. It spent the day drying under a fan while I was at my cooking gig. Then we were off to KnitWits to show off the finished project to my ladies. Thursday was show and share with my North Coast Knitters Guild friends. Some of the most talented knitters on the face of the earth. Humble and so talented, it was an honor to have them complimenting my work!

I am so happy to have it done and behind me. Knit during a heat wave and one of the worse seasons of my life, it is never the less, stitched with love and prayers for the friend that commissioned it. She is a lady of character and strength. There is power in the prayers that went into the knitting. My meditations and supplications, coupled with thanksgiving for the pleasure of knitting something so beautiful. I will always remember it.

Never under estimate the power of the hand crafted items in your life. From the endless projects wrought from the hands of your children, amateur and clumsy, to the most sophisticated pieces of original art. Know that the process of creation was as important as the finished prize. That you were the recipient is just pure pleasure and a blessing from the hands that did the creating. Wrap yourself up and feel the love...

Saturday, August 15, 2009

It Could Always Be Worse!

When my children were small and I spent all day and night reading them books, we had the inevitable favorite few. The titles are too many to list. I was a big fan of classic nursery rhymes, fairy tales and fables. I loved the Berenstein Bears series, due to the "lessons of life" themes. When Brynn was a precocious 2 year old, she would respond to gentle prompting and recite an entire book of nursery rhymes to anyone that would ask. We thought she was a genius!

One of my favorites, was a simple book, based on a Jewish folk tale. One family laments their circumstances and focuses on the negative. The wise Jewish Rabbi admonishes them, "It could always be worse." With every turn of the page, the circumstances get progressively more difficult. The moral of the story- appreciate where you are and deal with it- it could always get worse.

I have learned that Brynn has lost her job as of September. She is moving home and joining the band of unemployed on Dove Hollow road. How long can we keep this flophouse up and running?
Empty gas tanks and mouths to feed. How can we see this as a blessing in disguise? Any suggestions?

I have a few hours of work each week in the home of three clients. I am a personal chef for one family. Personal organizer for another lady and personal health aide for another. This provides gas and groceries. We are living lean. That's good. I try to stay away from the imaginings of our future. Living in the moment and having enough for today, right now is all I have the stamina for.

The nature of helping people in their home is that it is tenuous at best. If someone becomes ill or takes a fall, everything changes. I have always been a person that likes a schedule. I am learning to fly by the seat of my pants here. I am an old dog learning new tricks! Woof, woof. It could always be worse...

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Wednesdays Child

Monday's Child Is Fair Of Face

Monday's child is fair of face,

Tuesday's child is full of grace,

Wednesday's child is full of woe,

Thursday's child has far to go,

Friday's child is loving and giving,

Saturday's child works hard for a living,

But the child born on a Sabbath day

Is bonny and blithe, and good and gay.

- Author unknown -

I was born on a Wednesday. My feet hurt. Enough said.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Remembering Helena

Today was my dearly departed Mother-in-law's Birthday. How fondly I remember her. I wonder now as I think of her, if she is watching over us. I would like to talk to her. If you never met her, you should wish you had. She was a love and I was blessed to know her.

Moon Over My Shoulder

The Moon is full and bright over my left shoulder. My single level home has long narrow windows at ceiling height all around the main rooms. In the morning the sun rises into the television screen and obliterates the screen. It is annoying and I do not always appreciate the window placement. Tonight the windows are my new favorite thing. They are the portal for the moonlight.

The moonlight is beautiful. It is the kind of light that makes everything look mysterious and lovely. The dog is jumpy as she sees moon shadows and imagines all kinds of threats and dangers in the night. She spends too much time alone now, and her anxiety is expressed by barking inappropriately.

I dropped a knitting needle on the floor. You may have mistakenly believed an intruder had entered the house. She is on full alert and 911 status. Too many changes.

The moon over my shoulder gives me a peaceful countenance and I will take that for now...