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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 ! :)