Tuesday, December 29, 2009

We had a pretty quiet weekend. First, let me tell you something funny.

SANTA stores here! No kidding, he has four large units at my facility. I took this when he stopped by, right before I closed Wednesday evening.

OK, this is Thursday before we got started, the view from the door when the tenant comes through the door.

This is the view for us from behind the counter. I know, I'm messy, but I get lots done!

Thursday afternoon, we moved everything out of the office and taped off everything. Friday morning, we painted the ceiling, which went pretty quick. It took the rest of the day, working non-stop for both of us to paint the walls. Saturday morning, I got up and this is where I found Superman, fine tuning.










This is now the view from behind the counter.


And the view from the door. We think it looks warmer, the pictures come across more pink than it actually is, although there is a little hint of rose. Of course, pretty much any color would have been an improvement.I think Superman is proud of it too!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Dori in her sweater



I want first to tell you a new thing about our girl. If you have been following her story, you may really like this and think there is some kind of break through happening. I'm not sure I'm ready to go there yet, as, we still have so far to go, but I hope it is a good thing.


Dori got on the sofa. Now most would think, 'Oh, no! The dog's getting up on the furniture!' And I probably would have been one of those people. Up until now, she has not behaved like a dog, she stays in her kennel all day, even though we've taken the top off, she does not get involved in what's going on, even to watch. To get her to come out of the kennel, we have to leash her, which she tolerates without fear or fight. One day about two weeks ago, she walked around the coffee table and got up on the sofa. So, I put a blanket over her, rather than pet her or talk to her, to let her know that was an OK place to be. Except for when we get her off the sofa to eat or have a little water, she does not leave the sofa now. She does watch us intently walk around the house, whatever we do sitting in the living room, eating, watching tv, reading, visiting with company, knitting, folding laundry, talking . . . .


Here's our morning ritual, on days of tolerable weather, to go for a walk. Maggie's ready, Dad's about to harness Dori, who has sat up from her pile of blankets.
This is her new sweater. The pattern was sent to me by the Humane Society, the shelter where we found her, as a charity project. They were asking for sweaters for dogs at the shelter, two big rescues this month. (http://www.redheart.com/FreePatterns/tabid/118/Default.aspx?tabid=118&patternid=WR2036.pdf) I realised that I needed to knit some for MY dogs first before I can for charity so, I got started on one for Dori first. I knit it last weekend, although it is modified somewhat from the pattern. I knit it in the round so that there was no seam to contend with from the neck to the belly, skipped the button as we have the collar, the flea collar and the harness and the button probably would just hinder. As I worked on it, I sat on the sofa next to her and let the cast on edge trail off my lap so that she could watch. I actually held it up to her and let her sniff it. She's not a dog that sniffs anything, but I wanted her to see I was making it and told her it was for her. She did watch me work on it some, kinda hard to miss when you are sitting together. When we were kids, we would sit next to my mom while she crocheted and we would enjoy the afghans while they were in progress. So, when it was done, I did not put it on her immediately, I let it lay there. I wanted to clip her nails before we put it on her, because we have not trimmed them since she came. Well, I've tried, but she gets scared and we can't calm her yet. I was concerned that her nails would snag in her new sweater. When I went to get the trimmer, the battery needed charged so trimming her nails didn't happen. Anyway, Tuesday morning was pretty chilly out, there was a wind blowing. So, we put Maggie's old sweater on her first, up on the sofa so that Dori would see that this was the plan. Then we put the new sweater on Dori, it went easily. No scary episode occurred. It fits her width and length, is not bulky, but a little loosely knit so that it's not a bit stuffy. On the walk, she seemed comfortable. There wasn't any angst about the wind, she didn't seem affected by the cold like she had been.


This is us when we got back. Maggie seemed a little put out that she didn't have a new sweater too but it's in progress, same pattern. Here she's wearing one I made her last year, copied one she already had but was looking pretty ratty. I made it of acrylic because I was unsure how it would turn out, fit and all, never having knit a dog sweater before. Well, it fit perfect except the armholes were a little too snug. Hopefully, I will be able to get a third one done so that they each have two. The new ones are of 100% wool, chosen and because even if we get wet, maybe walking in the rain, they will still be warm, even in the lightweight texture. 12/27 ETA: Got Maggie's sweater done. Tough part is trying to get a decent snap of her in it.

Anyway, it needs some adjusting. Now that I've gotten in on her and off again, I need to take about 4 inches off the tail end. I hope you can't tell from the photos, it was a pretty silly skirt effect that needs to go away, because skirts don't work on dogs that need to poop and all.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Love

All day long I've been look for a quote about love that says what I'm feeling. It's really hard to describe so I'm thinking that's why it's taken all day.

There is nothing like being cherished. There is nothing like looking at someone you love and see that sparkle in their eye the moment their eyes meet yours. Sweetness is every time he passes by, there is a touch, a look, words spoken, the pang of parting even for a moment that is so satisfying and appetizing, truly inspirational. To listen to him, to be listened to is very companionable. To have my cares being concerned about. He cooks for me, which others have done, but his concern is not to fill his own needs but to appeal to me. Even if I feel let down in myself for not having gotten something done to show him how much I love him, he is never let down by me. There is romance, there is attraction, but that is nothing but gilding on what is love really is.

My new sweetest memory of us, occured the other night. We found a restaurant, yep, fast food, that I'd never eaten at, although it's a large chain. This was after a great visit to the electronics store to fix my computer, which I thought I'd broken. While we were there, we found a music CD, 'The Bread' Anthology. So, we munched on our dinner in the truck so we could hear the new disc, he on his coney dog and me with my chicken bits. I don't think that life could be happier than listening to him sing those old songs to me, sitting in his big Dodge Truck.

It is a Happy Anniversary to us. This everyday love is beyond compare to any fine thing, and tastes finer than good chocolate.

Monday, December 21, 2009

So, last night I had a bad dream.



I dreamed I was working for the US Dept of Agriculture grading hops again. And again it broke my heart and again I walked out.

Let me explain (yeah, I have a blog so I can explain!):

Hops. For those not in an agricultural area, hops are grown primarily for beer, but in prairie times, they were grown next to the front porch for yeast in bread making. It can also be used for making paper. I lived many years of my life in an area where a VERY large percentage of world's hops are grown. The government being the Ruler of all things made and grown, actually sends a guy out to take samples of crops, which are then infinitely and finitely tested, retested and tested again, eventually given a grade, and that grade determines what the grower will be paid for his crop.

For many years, this testing was done in a barely formal lab, by little old white haired ladies, who worked these samples meticulously for 12 hour days, 6 days a week, from a few days after the harvest began and were dried. Grading all of those crops took this crew of grandmas several months.

It was very precise work. Most of the work involved sorting through a gallon sized bucket, with a white board, similar to Corelle dishes, with a pair of 5 to 6 inch long forceps similar to tweezers. There were other steps in the process but this was the most intense and precise step. The grannys would sit at a table and sort through this sample, picking out sticks and other extraneous pieces that brought down the quality, dropping the grade. Sometimes a granny would spend the whole day over one bucket.

For the most part, anyone younger than senior citizen would not be hired for this work. It was hard and far too intense for the young and the dramatically restless. The ladies who returned year after year were always the ones who could be depended on to come in, do the job, show up every day and come back year after year. The men that were hired for the lab were the ones sent out into the fields to collect the samples.

After sometime, one of the grandmas might recommend a daughter or a neice, and eventually a younger population worked it's way into the crew. I think it was then discovered that it needn't take several months to accomplish the grading, growers realized they needn't wait so long to discover what they could sell their crop for, because with the younger crew, it might take just a few days to know their grade. So, the whole season would last six weeks to eight weeks, one low production year it was four weeks, instead of six months.

One year, there were several who were brought in through the unemployment office. That was when I came in. I worked one year, not at the meticulous picking, but in the large tub sorting that was divided later into sections for brewing, baking for seed count and other preserved for re-trial. This was actually very dirty work, probably one of the dirtiest jobs in the process. I thought from that first year that I was allergic to the hops, because I would rash horribly in every area of exposed skin, most severly in my underarms. I was told after two months that we were nearly done and they would be calling me back the next year.

Which didn't happen. When I realized the next year the harvest was in full swing, I called the lab and was told they had already hired the full crew. I asked to be called the following year. Which again didn't happen. The next year, I wasn't called, but I was pregnant so, I wasn't too upset. I started calling the lab in the spring, and insisted I be called when the harvest time came around again. When I finally was called into work, several years had gone by, but I recognised many and was happy to see the same faces again. I had the same chore as the one year, several years before. Amazingly, I was back the next year too. I think that year or the next, they started training me for the other parts of the process, the sitting and picking through it with tweezers. Over the years, I had a couple different friends and family members come in with me too. I liked being able to help anywhere they needed me, so I started getting trained for other spots in the process too. In the meantime, the first Lord-over-all-Boss-Lady got tired of it all and her assistant, a sweet lady took over the top spot. Things actually seemed to get cheerful and it was like being one of the seven dwarfs going off to work with Snow White to go back to work every year. One year Sweet Boss seemed a little off, but didn't say anything to anybody. Eventually it came out that she was battling cancer. So, I made it my goal to do whatever I could to keep things upbeat, do whatever I could to help. It made me feel good. But the second or third year of that, for some reason it was offensive that I did that. Nothing I did was received well at all. I didn't understand it, and there was no getting past it, so one day, it got so bad, I was so heartbroken, I had to walk out.

That wasn't the only job I've ever had that's left me broken hearted, but it might have been the first that I put my heart into. That story was over several years. The nightmare I dreamt had this ending: Apparently, for some reason, at the end of the season, gifts were being passed out. Mine was a bag of chocolate. Now that I'm diabetic, that was thoughtless, and in my new version, I got offended, although if that had happened at the time, I wasn't diabetic then. So, in my dream, I held the bag in front of the boss, and said 'What an insult, you're trying to kill me.' and tossed it unopened in the trash and walked out. Someone followed me out, who is someone I know now, but not then, who asked what the matter was, so I told her what I just told you.

What bothers me is that it still must be bothering me. I say that based on the rule that what you dream must be your subconsciousness working through your issues. I find it interesting that after years of that, thinking I'm over it, somewhere in my little universe, it still must be bothering me.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

I really don't have much to say. I'm in a little pain, one glass-shard-stabbing-into-my-head type of headache and the lower back pain that will go away in a day or so. Most of the day, I've gone around in this fog like I can't focus and nothing is making sense, mostly what is coming out of my mouth. Most of it is random and nonsense to explain. I spoke with a lady on the phone yesterday about Prepaid Legal, because I'm a member and I love it and also have the Identity Theft Protection, so, that's what I do, talk about it a lot. But I don't believe in being pushy. Well, the point of bringing this up is that she complimented me for not being pushy. I guess that the pleasure of the compliment has a bigger impact on me because I'm the pushy older sister type that has in the past had to make sure every body knew my opinion about everything and that it was the only opinion I hoped every body had.

I'm not that way so much anymore.

I've grown away from being the momma that constantly had to tell her child or children what to do. That's probably been the hardest thing for me. I think it might be for a lot of parents. We see so much potential in our children and with the desire for them to have it easier than we did or just better than we did it's very difficult not to say something. Unfortunately, most of what we learned was in the school of hard knocks, not in history class. Most people do not learn from the mistakes of others, although you would think that would be the wise thing to do. When my daughter was 15 and after years of not seeing any reasonable good happening with her dad, I became really depressed to the point of suicide. I felt that she didn't need me anymore either. So, I gave up giving my opinions unless asked. And people generally don't ask.

I also used to be a faithful member of a congregation. I did what I could, I studied my Bible, I sat near the front and was an attentive listener and loved to have that wave of holy spirit just roll over me, got so caught up in the emotion of it all that I cried, I loved to sing, I enjoyed seeing the different members of the congregation felt I encouraged them and they encouraged me. The scripture that says when we gather together we sharpen the face of one another was true for me. My presence help me, helped others and they helped me. The problem came when I did one thing that the scriptures say don't do. My feelings were hurt and I didn't get over it. I took offense. I suddenly realised that even with holy spirit blessing them, they were still just human. Just like me. Long before that all happened though, I stopped giving opinion about anything spiritual. Mine or what I know to be Biblical truth. Nobody likes being told what to do, even if it is the message from God, they just want their ears tickled (another scripture) and I'm never was in the tickling business. My spiritual message came down to 'have hope, God can be trusted when no one else can, find faith if you want, there's help if you want it, you know where to find me' and that was it. I am not a pusher.

Which leads to another discussion we've going around and around with, life after death or what happens when we die. I know what the facts are from the Bible, so, for me, those facts are what I live by. Not my feelings. It actually makes me sick to my stomach to think that after someone dies their souls may roam the earth, like some people hope. To me, that just seems like a continuing nightmare of suffering for the one that has passed and it's only our own greed that wants to keep them here. We watch the 'Ghost Whisperer' and 'Medium' shows, Superman also enjoys 'John Edwards' and 'Lisa Williams'. I like the mystery-gets-solved part of those first shows. I am amazed at the way the real life people can read a person and empathetically tell them what they want to hear and that people seem to find comfort, but that's the whole vicious cycle where traditional religions have scared people into being faithful and nowadays they just want to have their ears tickled and will just go where they will hear what they want to hear. I am reading 'What Dreams May Come' by Richard Matheson, yep, the book the movie was based off of. Apparently Mr. Matheson was really admired for all the research he did on life after death and incorporated a lot of it into his book. The only thing so far that I liked is the regret some characters in the afterlife have that people alive are in fear of death. Yes, I believe it is too bad that death is so feared it becomes an agony. Birth wasn't so great either, nearly kills a lot of people and guess what? People celebrate that every year. They celebrate the fact they survived birth. Not so much all the other terrible things we have endured since.

Which leads me to all the holidays. What's the deal? I think we've become a society of partyers, looking for any reason to take a day off, overeat, pick fights with our families, or drink. Don't misunderstand me. I appreciate the days off as much as anybody. I just find so many of the occasions that people choose to go so nuts and overspend, overdrink, overindulge as if they have a right to that is kinda childish. So, I just celebrate the things that make me happy and don't really much to do with anybody else, like the day I met Superman, the day we got married, the day he survived his heart attack, the day I changed from woman to mother . . . And usually the celebration for the most part is the little happy dance I do in my heart. So, I tend to get into trouble with those that are thoughtful enough to send me Christmas Cards because I didn't send them one. I would rather tell you every day I see you that you make my everyday. My true companions in life are the ones that are OK without the gift cards.

I have opinions. I'm glad I have a blog to vent them. I don't advertise this blog so nobody is reading it, it feels like I've recorded it and don't have to share with anybody. Nobody asked for it anyway. I get uncomfortable in situations where people are giving theirs because it seems an inappropriate time. Like when people come into my office and start going on about our President and this or that issue. I really have to make that stop. If you have a politcal issue go where they care about politics. If you have a need for Storage, or something I was put on this earth or behind my desk to take care of, then come see me.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

What to write next?

I found this list online. I think I may have to use a couple of these ideas sometime. Maybe it will give you something to blog about.





258 JOURNAL IDEAS
1. If you won the lottery, what would you do?
2. Why do you think some people don't exercise their right to vote?
3. What is your favorite Disney character or movie and why is it your favorite?
4. My full name and how it was decided on
5. My dream house
6. I am the one who. . .
7. First Grade Memories
8. In the left corner, behind the filing cabinet. . .
9. The Holiday I Wish We Had
10. The day I went to the circus. . .
11. Yesterday I. . .
12. Games I like to play
13. I believe. . .
14. I can. . .
15. Sunshine makes me feel. . .
16. The cartoon I like the most on Saturday mornings. . .
17. The most amazing thing I've ever seen is. . .
18. Hospitals
19. Summer Memories
20. My Dad
21. My Mom
22. My Grandma
23. My Grandpa
24. If I could be doing anything right now, I'd be. . .
25. What if. . .
26. My shoe
27. Well, Doctor, it's like this. . .
28. Colors
29. My most embarrassing moment
30. Inside the box with the big red bow is. . .
31. The Midnight Visitor
32. Television
33. Money
34. Pizza
35. Everything I remember about this morning
36. What I would like to receive at Christmas
37. Snow
38. Eyes
39. If I was President of the United States. . .
40. Mysteries
41. Bugs
42. Rainbows
43. Dreams
44. Babies
45. Friendship
46. Violence
47. In 20 Years I'd Like to Be. . ..
48. Favorite Memories
49. My family
50. Dogs
51. Cats
52. It makes me blush when. . .
53. Cowboys
54. It was so funny when. . .
55. What my mom must have been like as a baby. . .
56. Good things about me
57. It would be funny if. . .
58. Mother Goose
59. When I get to college, I will. . .
60. The knight lifted his sword amidst the dragon's flaming breath. . .
61. My Talents
62. The best book I ever read. . .
63. The book someone should write is. . .
64. What confuses me about math
65. The Conversation between Mr. Triangle and Ms. Circle
66. Secrets
67. What I'd like to give people for Christmas
67. My responsibilities
68. Cars
69. How It Feels to Win/Lose
70. I'm thankful for. . .
71. The valentine I'd like to send/receive
72. Kindness
73. Mirrors
74. The first thing I remember. . .
75. The door was locked and I couldn't find the key. . .
76. Inside the cave
77. My Hero
78. No one would believe me when. . .
79. I wish I was there when. . .
80. What My Best Friend and I Have in Common
81. Something people usually don't notice about me is. . .
82. If I was a crayon. . .
83. My Life as a Pencil
84. What Do You Mean the Next Stop Is Hell?
85. Who filled the pool with strawberry jello?
86. How to eat an apple
87. How to dribble a basketball
88. How to do a somersault
89. How to drink with a straw
90. How to snap your fingers
91. How to jump rope
92. How to make a paper airplane
93. How to whistle
94. You are a small animal at a historical event. Tell what is happening.
95. What an alphabet journal entry 26 sentences long with each sentence starting with the alphabet letter as it appears in sequence.
96. Make a list of all the words that are related to or describe heat. Write a story about Texas in the summer using these words.
97. Places you like
98. Places you dislike
99. TV shows you like
100. TV shows you dislike
101. Sports events you enjoy
102. Sports events you don't enjoy
103. Automobiles you like
104. Things you have never owned, but like.
105. Things you would never own and never want
106. Foods you like to eat
107. Food you strongly dislike to eat
108. Restaurants you like and dislike
109. Sounds you like and dislike
110. Smells you like and dislike
111. Places you have never been to, but want to go to
112. People you don't know, but would like to know
113. Things you have never done, but would like to do (conduct an orchestra, etc.)
114. What if school was in session 6 days a week?
115. What if teachers were paid as much as professional baseball players?
116. What if our school classes only went until noon each day?
117. What are all the things you can think of that come in pairs?
118. List things that give protection, such as a turtle's shell, seat belt, etc.
119. Describe a friend who is NOT in the room.
120. I Did Something Really Nice
121. Observe at least 5 things you see happen on your way home from school. Write about them.
122. Write the directions to a favorite place (home, restaurant, ice cream shop, etc.) from the school parking lot.
123. Imagine that a close friend has lost something very valuable. It might be a ring, a pet, a key--something that must be found. How would you help him/her find it? What would you do? Would you be able to find it?
124. Write about a time when you were "sweating it," a time when you were very nervous.
125. How a classroom sounds
126. How a puppy feels
127. How a flower smells
128. How a sunset looks
129. The baby was sad because. . .
130. How an ice cube tastes
131. What might a curb and a car tire talk about?
132. What might a shoe and a sock talk about?
133. What might a cup and saucer talk about?
134. What might thunder and lightning talk about?
135. What might a cloud and the wind talk about?
136. A typical day in the school cafeteria
137. Things to Do When You Are Bored
138. What are the "in" places in town?
139. Write about an "ideal day."
140. A Time I Was in Trouble
141. The Saddest Day of My Life
142. What I Would Change About My School
143. What I Would Change About My World
144. The Perfect Pet
145. What Makes a Person Nice
146. My Biggest Gripe
147. What I Like About Being a Kid
148. Where Would I Go in a Time Machine
149. What Courage Means to Me
150. A Special Gift in My Life
151. My Relationship with God
152. How to tie a shoe
153. How to eat an apple
154. How to do a somersault
155. How to whistle
156. How I would like to have changed this school year
157. Tell about a time when someone has been kind to you.
158. Tell about your favorite childhood book and explain what you like about it.
159. Explain how to make your favorite sandwich.
160. Why do some people seem ashamed to share their beliefs with others?
161. Describe dinner time at your house
162. Give advice to a new student who will start school here next year.
163. I'll never forget the day ______(teacher's name) did __________
164. Your mom desires your respect and attention. Are there places you can take her for an evening to show her your appreciation?
165. Some of the richest times in your life can come from your quiet thinking and/or praying alone time. Discuss these times in your life.
166. How do you think a person finds out the best plan for his/her life?
167. Review the last movie you saw.
168. Describe the best ice cream and tell why you feel that way.
169. What is an experience you would hate to repeat?
170. What is the ideal age to be? Why?
171. Do you accept yourself as you are, or would you like to be someone else?
172. Answer this question," Have I in any way done something that has hurt my parents?"
173. What chores at home do your parents expect you to do?
174. What part of the newspaper do you read first, and why?
175. "A wise person learns from the mistakes of others." Do you agree?
176. "How I think will determine how I live." Do you agree or disagree? Explain
177. "If I'm not as close to God as I used to be, who moved?"
178. What are your plans for the summer?
179. Describe a typical day for you in the summer.
180. Describe a summer thunderstorm.
181. Describe the plight of an animal caught in a forest fire.
182. Tell abut a ride on the most exciting amusement park ride you have ever ridden.
183. Write about an Old West shoot-out in the streets of a western town
184. How might an astronaut feel who discovers that he/she will have to return to earth early because of a rocket malfunction?
185. Describe the actions of a person who has just hit his or her thumb with a hammer.
186. Describe the feeling of being chased in a dream.
187. Tell about the moment when a person realizes that he or she has forgotten to do a major assignment that is due today.
188. Describe the actions of an athlete in the final moments of a close contest when he or she makes a winning (or losing) shot, play, move, or effort.
189. Describe the action between a predator and its prey at the moment of attack
190. Describe the motions of a ballet dancer.
191. Describe a headache to someone who has never had one.
192. What is a rainbow?
193. Why are leaves green?
194. When and how did we become a country?
195. What classes should you take in high school?
196. How are the professional sports teams doing in this city?
197. Has a parent ever told you that you waste your time? How could you manage time better?
198. What is the best place to get pizza in your town? What makes it so good?
199. What do fuchsia and mignonette have in common?
200. How is a skiff like a lugger?
201. What is the same about a coracle and a raft?
202. How many ways can you serve a potato?
203. What are some uses for peach pits?
204. How can your town or church honor senior citizens?
205. Are you planning to go on any missions trips with your church youth group?
206. What games can you play with 3 people?
207. Name as many uses for ice cubes as you can.
208. What can you do to recycle old calendars?
209. What does this mean: "I was furious but I held my tongue."
210. Explain this idiom: "After the accident, things were touch and go."
211. How do you think this idiom got started: "Will you lend me a hand?"
212. Choose a fairy tale. Imagine how it might read as a news article in today's
newspaper.
213. You are doing morning announcements. Write an announcement about a surprise party for your coach.
214. It isn't fair. . .
215. Secrets
216. Write a note to a teacher.
217. Write about some compliments people have given you.
218. Write about some compliments you have given others recently.
219. Write about the taste of peanut butter, how it smells, and how it looks.
220. Create a menu from a fictitious restaurant and describe the entrees.
221. It was as clear as a bell
222. He (or she) was as stubborn as a mule.
223. He (or she) is as quiet as a mouse.
224. What would you do with a polyglot?
225. What would you do with a bairn?
226. What would you do with a dirigible?
227. How could a vector be harmful to a rector?
228. Could a lapidary play leapfrog in a lyceum?
229. Could you keep ice cream in a calabash?
230. "A good name is more desirable than great riches." Proverbs 22:1
231. "There is a time to plant and a time to uproot." Ecclesiastes 3:2
232. The day of graduation is close at hand
233. The dispute over comic books. Are they good or bad?
234. Should grocery stores continue to throw away good food each day?
235. How would you feel as a passenger in a space ship on the way to the Moon?
236. How can you make friends?
237. What farm machines have you ever seen? Describe them.
238. How should we raise money to support a middle school newspaper?
239. How do you like frozen food? Tell about some you have tried.
240. Everyone feels rejected by family or friends at some point. Tell about one such time.
241. Do you ever have trouble doing your history homework? Tell about it.
242. Tell how you could have avoided some accident, bump, or bruise.
243. Pick out any appliance in your home and write about how it works.
244. I remember the stiffness in my jaw from my last dentist's appointment when he. . .
245. Why I use my particular brand of toothpaste every morning
246. Are horses obsolete?
247. Dating on a dime
248. How do scientists and police now work together?
249. How do "clothes make the man" or "clothes make the woman" ?
250. Catching those "few extra winks" in the mornings
251. Do you ever "eat on the run"? Explain.
252. How to pack efficiently for a trip
253. The struggle to eat neatly while in the car or on a plane
254. The art of babysitting
255. The faces in the subway (train, plane, bus) are stamped by the heel of life
256. Could your dad have been a pirate? What characteristics does he have that would fit one?
257. How do you keep your teachers happy?
258. Describe Saturdays at your house.

Copied and pasted from this page: http://homepage.mac.com/mseffie/handouts/258journal.html

I just took this picture of Dori. We are quite simply in AWE, because she got up on the sofa today.
If you haven't read the posts about our Rescue Dog, you wouldn't know that we have had her for 5 months and she lives in fear. She will not leave her kennel/bed unless we have connected the leash to her collar to take her for a walk. She has never just explored the house. She doesn't exist as a dog. For example, she doesn't sniff around like dogs do, not even to decide where to do her business. She just does her business, sometimes without stopping to squat.
My husband, Superman, says this proves she is MY dog. She is laying in the spot where I sit, so, I'm sure it probably smells like me. That is all my current knitting works in progress behind her in that corner.
When she first did it, I got so excited I'm sure it freaked her out. I didn't get excited with my voice, I watch Cesar 'Dog Whisperer' Millan, I know better. I tried to touch her to say it was OK, but she freaked out and took off. When she got back up there, I ignored it totally, but walked around the house and kept an eye on her. Dad gave her a treat. Later when she got comfortable and laid down, I took her kennel blanket and covered her hoping that tells her that is is good and OK.
I'm sure there's more to come, but, it felt like a little bit of a breakthrough.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

It's just business

I don't want to get all political on you but I have an opinion about something, I can't think of another way to vent this. My intention is not to offend. What's your intention, I guess that's the real question.

Here it is:

The reason that we are still at war or have ever gone to war is that it's good for business. A nation's economy will survive or fail based on it's involvement in the world's controversies.

The reason that a public official promises one thing and then seemingly does another is because it's good for business. No person of public office has kept his job pissing off big business.

The reason tabloids and talk shows can talk and talk about rumor is because it's good for business. Truth pays very little, whereas sensationalism sells toilet paper.

The reason our economy is failing is because big business told government it was taking it's product out of the country to be produced cheaper. So, now that we've gone to war, business is rolling in it because it's making third world civilians use third world materials to support our efforts at war, and while our citizen's moan the loss of jobs, financial resources, and property, our public officials can't do anything about it because they are supported by big business. And the only thing left for us to buy or buy into is garbage.

Just saying.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Movies on DVD Review

So, while I'm not feeling so hot, thanks to some other guest a the company party over the weekend, I think, either that or some nice tenant that came in to pay their storage fees and left me a parting virus gift, I watched four movies I hadn't seen yet, on DVD borrowed from the library.

1. Transporter 3. I sorta liked the first one, and am indifferent about the second. I think that may have something to do with where I was and who I was with. This time, I watched most of this next to the sleeping body of my Superman while I was pretending to knit, wrapped in a blanket fighting a bug. So, it seemed very exciting and intense. I recognize the main villain is currently a character on 'Heroes' and while I like to give appropriate recognition where I should, I just don't have the energy to find his name at this time. If I had to rate it, I'd say it was pretty good and would recommend it to anybody that likes guns and car chases, has seen the first two, especially those disappointed in anyway by the second one.

2. Baby Mama. I got a little tired of Amy Poehler's character because I know someone just like that right now, not someone I admire so not really impressed with watching it in a movie. I really liked seeing Steve Martin, just wish there were a little more of him. It was funny interesting, not something I wouldn't recommend except to someone too immature to have kids.

3. Madagascar 2. Just as good as the first. I would recommend it. Lots of new characters, recognisable voices. Funny, well put together plot, graphics, everything. I would recommend it, especially if you've seen the first.

4. Coraline. I was really looking forward to seeing this one, wish I could have seen it on the big screen, I'm sure all of the hard work would have made a bigger impact. Unlike most of the movies you can see on DVD, there are no 'behind the scene' extras, for me that was disappointing. I read the Julia Sweeney watched it this weekend too, scared her little girl. Yeah, I wouldn't recommend it for viewing by little kids or young children as it the subject is Coraline fighting off a villain who kills children (although that may not be blatant) but the animation was awesome. Sort of a cross between 'Alice in Wonderland' meets 'Nightmare Before Christmas'.

Hope you had a great weekend.

Friday, December 4, 2009

My character Flaw. Or the one I admit to.

This was a blog post I wrote last spring on my myspace profile. Maybe February.


Well, I have some sad news.

After a lifetime of fighting with myself to be a good person, I've realized I've developed a bad personality. Yep. I'm VAIN.

I really hate admitting that. I'm so disappointed in myself and I know you are disappointed in me too. My deepest, sincerest apologies.

It seems that when I know I have something coming up in my future that happens at a different place that I've never been to or with people I've never met, I become OBSESSED with what am I gonna wear. For example: In a couple of weeks, I have a meeting to attend with a few, not all, of my co-workers. There was this same meeting with them last year, but the difference is that it is to be held someplace else AND I go by myself. So, when I first heard all this months ago, I couldn't stop thinking about what should I wear. It should be comfortable, I should be dressing appropriately for my job, able to fade into the crowd and not draw attention to myself, I should blend in.

I obsessed on all this for weeks, my thoughts always drifting that direction. Finally, I had it figured out a couple months ago. Every once in a while though, the panic surfaces again that I have to do this thing, what do I wear, oh, I decided that already and I'm determined I'm not changing my mind about it. Maybe.

I'm so disappointed about this, I haven't told anybody about it. Not even Superman. I told the dog, but all she says is, 'what does this have to do with me being cute enough to get a cookie or not'. I feel a fake. Like one of the Barbies that have their hair colored all the time, their nails done, made up to look like someone else. So not the person I want to be. Probably not the person you thought I was either. Again, I'm sorry.


At the time I wrote that, what I didn't say was that I was having that turmoil with the upcoming meeting of my step-daughter. For the first time. Ever. I was so nervous weeks before it happened that I was simply out of my head that the first time she saw me, she would look at me and what I was wearing and think evil step-mother. I don't know what she thought of me, because in the end the one she came to see was her Daddy.

This is my daughter and I, My husband Superman and his daughter on that first meeting.

The reason I'm revisiting this is because I'm having that same panic attack again. It's actually been on my mind the last couple of months and I've managed to distract myself with knitting or something. The event: The Company Party. I didn't go last year, but I did the year before, when I was brand-new with the company, hoping I would meet everybody. I was so sick with anxiety about the whole thing I really don't remember much. I actually couldn't remember where it was held for the longest time. It's in the same place this time, so, it's a good thing it finally came to me. Normally, I wouldn't go, but I've discovered that I have not developed any kind of relationship with anybody in the company probably because we hadn't gone to the last couple of these events. None of these people know us, but because everybody knows everything about the boss, we've heard lots about them.

So, guess what? It's tomorrow. And know what else? I can't decide what to wear. The panic right at this moment is really bad, because, unlike those to earlier blogged about events, I haven't decided on anything at all, not even something to try to change my mind about over and over again. No, I will not buy something new, I have plenty suitable, a lot of it is stuff I don't get to wear much anymore. I distracted myself pretty good all day from this because I put together the package I'm supposed to take, but now that it's getting closer to bedtime, I'm thinking I may not be able to sleep. I'll let you know.

ETA: OK, the company thing was yesterday. I saw the half dozen or so people I was looking forward to seeing. And more. I was overdressed. Last time I went I considered wearing a dress, but went in slacks and it felt like too much. This time I went in nice jeans and a nice t-shirt with a scarf and still was overdressed.

There were other people like me who over did it too. Like the lady who wore a lace from head to toe dress (I liked her shoes, but the dress would have looked much better and she would have looked 20-30 pounds lighter if she just had worn the bra that put her girls in the part of the dress where it was made for them to go). I used to have that dress, I wonder what happened to it, it was a different color. There was another woman who wore slinky knit dress pants and really shouldn't have because she had 30 gallon garbage bags of cottage cheese on each hip under them and every dimple plainly visible. That actually made me so sick I couldn't look anymore.

Actually, I did get sick. I hope not a virus, but have been feeling yucky and wrapped in a blanket on the sofa all day. I just logged in here to finalize this post. Now, I'm going back to the sofa.

Maybe this is s paybacks for noticing the cottage cheese gone wrong.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

A Real Man

Dear SON OF MY HEART,

I love you. You know that, don't you?

I have loved you from the moment we met. I knew then that you were torn between good and evil. You are good but attracted to evil. You feel the good inside you can overcome the evil you find. You think your light can bring a glow to the darkness in others.

I really hope that I was not the one who dumped you on your head when you were little, because I do not want to be blamed for the stupid that you're doing. I know you only want to have a family and you want love to go with it. Believe me, you will get that in time, only when you are old enough to recognize the difference between good and evil. The trick now is to not get so lost in evil so deep that you'll end up paying for it the rest of your life.

Please, don't misunderstand, and if she reads this don't let her think, for one minute, I mean that she is evil. I hear that she recognises what is wrong with her own pattern of thinking, and really, that is a good thing. However, as long as she continues to behave they way she has, with full knowledge that she is doing wrong, what she does is evil.

The problem at this point is that because you want love and want to be the good in her life and the life of her children, you are failing to do the things YOU NEED TO DO. If you say you want to be their father, then you do it. You don't arrive in town and continue to spend even MORE time away from them, you hurry to be with them. You don't have a lot of time, you're missing out on the most impressionable period of their life and you're giving it away (to where I don't begin to guess) and forsaking what is most precious to you BY YOUR OWN WORDS.

Actions speak louder than words. If you are going to say, 'They are my boys' then you need to prove it. If you say, 'I love my boys more than anything else in the whole world', 'they are my whole world', well my boy, I have to say to that, YOU NEED TO PROVE IT! They need you to prove it. Because right at this moment, by your actions, you can't claim that as your truth. Your actions make those statements lies, and nobody puts up with having smoke blown up their ass.

As for her: The same statement applies. Actions speak louder than words, for her too. She can't call 'your sister' and say she knows what she's done wrong in the past and that she will not do it anymore. She's going to have to prove her truth too. I don't want her e-mails. I want to see that she is a WOMAN, that she is a MOTHER and that she is a WIFE, because all of those titles belong to a mature person who is that before she becomes that. She may think she is full-grown but she is just a pussy until she proves she's an adult, she may have given birth to two of the cutest littles on the face of the planet, but until she takes her head out of her butt and puts them first BY HER ACTIONS she is no mother, and until she can make an abode a home she is no wife to you.

I can say that with confidence about her because I am a female that survived puberty, where as I can't give you the similar-but-male speech because I have never been a boy that survived puberty myself, but I believe you got that speech a couple months back from my husband. Do you recall what he said to you or only the humiliation you felt? Because if it was only the shame then you didn't hear what he said. I wasn't there, so I'm sure I didn't get 100% of the story, but I know where it came from. It came from a man who met a woman, who had two kids, who he fell in love with, not just her but all three. He worked hard and broke himself to pieces to have a home for them and everything they desired, to protect them not just from the outside world but from themselves. He was the kind of man that can get down on the floor and play, not stand back and judge, who can see the good in somebody and overlook their faults for as long as they don't become injurious, has room in his heart to adopt the unadoptable dogs, who is moved by injustice in this world to the point where he can cry, and thinks so much of your Aunt that he can kiss her, hug her, caress her cheek, nuzzle her neck and make her dinner when she has barely functioned enough all day that the house is a mess but the dogs were walked and that is good enough for him. There is a reason that I call him 'Superman' and it is not an exaggeration. So, when he called you out on your stupidity, you knew you were getting the precious gold kind of advice. You knew he cared enough about you to say something rather that let you do your own thing because you felt he loved you. I know he did.

I know that I am nothing to you, and my advice means nothing and it will probably blow away on the wind. Which is why I'm putting my aggravation here, rather than send it to you directly. I can't hold this sadness inside me, I can't be a good sister to your mom and listen to her and try to read between the lines what she's not saying, if I have to carry this blackness around with me. It will only multiply with every message you put out there, so I am going to have to turn off those avenues I've used to watch you. I have tried not to give my opinion about anything you do because I know your hormones make your adrenaline deaf, and I'm am not judging you. I can't judge anybody because I've make stupid choices myself, believing what I was told was my truth. I have questioned your decisions to make sure you were aware and you knew what you were doing, but that has been treated as prying and insulting.

I love you. I always have, I always will. I don't love what you do, so, I can't watch. I will know what occurs by peeking through the fingers that cover my eyes, so my hope is that I will hear that you are taking actions toward becoming a good man. In the meantime, I have to leave this circus, I have to turn off the Jerry Springer Show, because reality television makes me sick.

When I say, be good, my boy, I mean it. I am more serious when I say, be safe. Otherwise you'll break my heart and mine won't be the first nor the hardest broke.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Sock it to me, baby!








HOW TO KNIT SOCKS:

Read through this first if you want to try it, because there are several variations and methods referred to. My hope is that you'll attempt to make socks, no matter your experience, and you'll see why so many knitters today are finding it addicting. If you have knit socks before, I'm hoping this blogpost will show you ways you can create your own unique designs. ~wearingpurple.

Makes one pair of basic socks for Adult, knit top down, but instructions for other stuff below.

Materials: 100g of sock yarn sport weight. A self striping yarn would be great for this basic pattern.

Needles: Sizes 5 needles, optional 3 for cuff. If you are make these one at a time, this will be sets of double pointed needles or 9" circulars. (I sometimes use a Balene brand 9" needle, which was uncomfortable at first, but now I find I can just zip around and round with it if I'm just creating plain socks.) If you knit two socks at a time, you need three circulars of each size.

Cast on 60 stitches. Usually on my double pointed needles set of four, this means I will have 20 stitches on three needles and one to work with. I use the larger needle for the cast on almost always the rolled edge method, then use the smaller from the first row. Also, if I am knitting a K1P1 rib, to create a very neat defined rib, I twist every knit stitch.

Work established rib pattern for 2". (If you are creating socks for a man, you may wish to continue with larger needles in established rib for 7", then one inch in stockinette stitch and then you are ready to turn the heel.) Knit in Stockinette stitch for 6 inches. (Means knit every stitch.)

I use the short row method for turning the heel. It creates a very soft flat fabric in stockinette stitch which will match the toes later. It is worked on half the total number of stitches being worked.

Knit 15 stitches on first needle, turn. Slip first stitch, purl back across stitches just knit, then continue to purl 15 stitches on next needle. * Turn. Slip first stitch, knit across to one stitch before first slipped stitch, turn, Purl to one stitch before first purled slip stitch. * Continue repeating from * to *, decreasing one stitch each side until ten stitches remain. Work these ten stitches for four rows, ending with the knit row.

Now the second half of the heel: *Pick up and knit first slipped stitch, turn, purl to first slipped stitch, Pick up and purl, turn. * Continue to repeat from * to * adding one slipped stitch back in to worked stitches each side until all stitches have been worked.

One thing that I do, and I recommend, is to pick up a stitch between the slipped stitches and knitting it with the slipped stitch, (k2tog) so that any gap between the slipped stitches is removed. If you do this, it is imperative that you be sure you have not added stitches and thrown off your stitch count.

Make sure you have all 60 stitches again. Continue to work all stitches for 6 inches, knitting every stitch.

And now for the toe: Work 13 stitches, *slip one, knit one, slip the skipped stitch over the knit one, PLACE MARKER. Knit 2 together*, knit 26 stitches, repeat from * to *, knit 13 stitches. 56 stitches.
Knit one row around. Continue working as established, decreasing one stitch before and after marker, every other row, until 20 stitches remain. Bind of with Kirchener stitch, so there is a flat invisible and non-creased seam. Repeat from cast on for second sock.

There you have a pattern for average men and women's socks. For boot socks with knitting worsted weight yarn, you'll only need 40 stitches but the measurements are the same.

For a child's sock you'll want to use fewer stitches, 40 stitches works great with sport weight, but you'll need to adjust the measurements depending on child. For instance, for my third grade grandson, I used 5 inches from cuff to heel, then 5 inches from heel to toe. Four inches for his little sister. Check your gauge. For finer yarn, you'll want to use smaller needles, like size 1 for cuff and 3 for rest of sock with a fingering or laceweight yarn. You'll also want to add to stitch count. Sixty stitches with a finer yarn makes great child socks.

Once you understand this basic pattern and how it flows you can change it up easily.

In the body of the sock, you can create a thermal sock by knitting one row, k1p1 around for one row. (Seemed to work best to keep the heel and toe in stockinette stitch.) Great for a solid colored or a heathered yarn. Especially nice in the worsted weight mentioned earlier for boot socks, go for the traditional look ~ a dark brown or charcoal grey with red cuff, heel and toe.

I've created a nice braided sock a few times. After working cuff, mark off 11 stitches on each side of the sock this way, knit 9 stitches, * place marker, purl one, knit 9, purl one, place marker, * knit 19 stitches. repeat from * to *, knit 10 stitches. Work in established pattern around one more time. On third row, work to marker, [ purl, using a cable needle, slip 2 stitches off needle and hold in front, knit 2 stitches, knit the two from cable needle, knit two stitches, purl ], knit around to third marker. { Purl, Knit two stitches, slip two stitches onto cable and hold in BACK, knit two, then knit two off cable needle, purl }. Finish row. Work as established for two rows. On the third, work the 11 braid stitches between from { to }, work to next marker work from [ to ]. Work two rows established. Continue as established working braid every third row, first one direction, then the other for 6 inches. What you are creating are braids reversed from each other on each side of the sock. When you get to turning the heel, do it after the second braid row of pattern, but continue with pattern while turning the heel. This creates almost a cool Celtic knot sort of a turn. Continue with braid pattern after turning heel for foot length, or 6 inches average, but drop the pattern for toe, just continue with stockinette in toe as before. This sock looks very traditional in an ivory color.

I have also created some very comfy stretchy CABLE SOCKS, using mini cable, very easily. NO CABLE NEEDLE REQUIRED! On the larger needles (skip the smaller ones this time), I cast on about 40 stitches in the rolled edge, then on the first row picked up a second knit stitch with every knit stitch, so that a knit 2 purl 1 rib is established which will be worked throughout sock and still have the 60 stitch count. Work one row established. Before the first purl stitch place marker, to mark start of row. Purl 1, * knit the second stitch on needle without sliding stitches off, then the first THEN slide the two off the needle, purl 1, knit 2, purl, repeat these 6 stitches around. * Basically you are cabling every other set of knit stitches . . . Work one row as established without cables. This next row, you will cable where you didn't before. Knit 2, purl 1, knit the second stitch on the needle without sliding stitches off, knit the first, THEN slide the two off, purl 1, repeat those 6 stitches around around. Now when I did this pattern, the heels and toes looked best to me in a garter stitch, or continue cabled pattern throughout heel, but if that seems too tough, you can either stop the cabled pattern and just finish sock in stockinette pattern, or just cable the front part of the sock and continue the heel through sole and toe in stockinette. If you can continue the cables throughout, you have created the perfect comfy, warm and stretchy sock that a diabetic will love. I have also knit baby sock using very similar pattern, 30 stitches with size three needles, the ankle was about an inch and a half, turned heels on half the stitches, knit through one inch of sole, then toe, very cute!!!

I have created many sock with the basic pattern, (one that I did a few months ago for a co worker was thermal with a mini wishbone that actually looked like stacked hearts up the front of the sock, very pretty!) right at the moment I can't remember them all. You can design your own, too, you just need to select a pattern stitch or repeat that divides into the number of stitches. For instance if you are using the sport weight with the 60 stitches, you'll want to make sure your repeats divide evenly into 60, whether it's two patterns of thirty like the braid socks or 30 patterns of 2 stitches like the thermals or better yet, 20 repeats of 3 like the cozy cables.

I have used the same pattern for toe-up. Just start with 20 stitches at the toe, cast on two stitches on each side every other row until you have the 60, knit for 6 inches, turning the heel is the same, work 6 inches, cuff for 2", bind off with rolled edge. They look almost identical in either direction.

I haven't yet, but I know I can do two socks at a time with this pattern also. I just haven't invested in more than one of each size of circular needles. I understand I would be working across the front of the two socks, turn work across the needle on the back of the socks. As far as turning heels: the last few, I have been working the short rows back and forth without turning my work, which seems cool at the moment, laziness being the mother of this invention, so, if I was working two at a time, that seems like it would be a cool way to go there too.

IF YOU ATTEMPT THIS, PLEASE COMMENT, OR FIND ME at www.ravelry.com/people/wearingpurple

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Gratefulness

I am grateful for:


1. My dogs.

Maggie reminds me every day that a joyful dance is a must and a sunbath is an extreme pleasure that must be enjoyed at every opportunity.

Dori, my rescue dog, that still is very much afraid, shows me every day that having the most basic of all the necessities is all I'll ever need to be relaxed and comfy in my own skin.




2. My kid, my family and the good memories that go with them. My daughter gives me great satisfaction and many happy giggles, her cousins too, as well as my new nephews. They don't realize how young and full of life they make me feel and how much I feel I age when I don't see them for long periods of time. This was last July, we went to the beach, all of us, which is a very good memory and most likely never to be duplicated as they grow into adulthood and have families of their own, but at the time, I got a really good view of the people they are and those adults they are going to be. My mom and my brothers and sisters, because we have a history and are capable of remembering the good things.







3. The person I am, what I have been created to be.

I realize that I am the kind of person that will see something like this rose in my garden and I will enjoy it for the beauty that it is and will try to hang on to it and try to share it with whoever I can, without concern that they will not care as much as me or snub my joys. That my favorite things are don't cost money like sunshine and the rain that washes everything clean and keep everything green, the sunrise and the beauty of a setting sun. This also includes the fact that I live in a house, where this garden is, that is warm, yeah, occasionally things go wrong, but for the most part, we have a place to be at home in, and SURPRISE, it came with a job, that helps me stay busy and out of trouble, rather than roaming the streets and causing trouble!






4. My husband, Superman.






This picture was of him making me breakfast a couple of months ago. He does his best to take care of me, appreciates whatever I can do to take care of him. He rarely walks past me without giving me a kiss, or hug, caressing my cheek, or some other affectionate gesture. Mostly too, because we talk about stuff. We talk and talk, and talk, about everything. He has the capacity to listen, although sometimes when he's in pain, that's hard to do, but he does try. He also has the capacity to be compassionate, be moved to tears by the actions of others, appreciate heroes, be a hero himself. He laughs at my sorry jokes and enjoys it when I'm being a dork and he lets me use the remote once in a while.

There is much for me to be grateful for, I think, for us all.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

My knitting and I

It's gonna be nuts around here, probably you might think it's because of the holidays, but really just a bunch of stuff happening all at once. Fun times living at the storage place!

I have been thinking a lot about what knitting does for me.

Usually, when I think about knitting, I am focused on what I could do for someone else. It seems evident that I probably overthink it because I'm sure that few recipients are understanding what has been done for them or just how much thought has been put into it. For instance, one of my knitting acquaintances is working on prayer shawls, pretty cool. The thing I found interesting about it is that she is journaling all the hopes and prayers for the recipient that she is having while in progress. I know with my knitting every stitch feels like a hug, a kiss, taking a hand and caressing it with the other, a conversation over dinner or coffee, a walk in the park, sharing a good memory. I can only imagine that a written document of all the knitter thought about while creating a gift for you would be overwhelming.

I read another post where a woman lamented that she felt she couldn't knit in church services and it was hard to pay attention without her knitting, which made her feel guilty. I can understand that too, because I don't feel I can sit for any length of time anywhere without desiring to pick up something. I feel productive that I my time is not gone to waste because I was working on something to comfort, cover or keep someone warm at every moment I wasn't doing something else, like housework or office work or walking a dog. Even as I sit here at the computer, trying to blog, I have my knitting in my lap for the spells where I have to stop and think, what was I going to say? It a very high level of productivity for me, I feel I'm a contributing member of society while I'm knitting.

I learned to knit from a book. My mother crochets and I guess she knitted a sweater when we were little, because there's a picture of my brother in a chocolate pullover with blue argyles on the front, but she's crocheted so many afghans I can't begin to list them. Somewhere in her sewing was knitting needles and a how-to book that I must have dug out in a school-break boredom and sat down with to figure out. Ever notice how easy those books and instructions look? You put the needle in here and the yarn should go around there and TAA-DAA!! you have made a stitch! Do it again, again, again, you have made a row, do it again, again, again, you have made a hot pad, hat, scarf, sweater, afghan. Because my mom did so much with yarn, I never was afraid or thought it was somehow beyond me, I did every stitch I read about fearlessly. After a while I started borrowing books from the library, looking at magazines in the newsstands for more stuff that I could magically create. It wasn't until much later that I realized several different things:

1. I am a picker. There is whole political coalitions that believe unless you are a thrower, you are not a knitter. 'Throwers' are what you see the housewives in the old movies and Donna Reeds on television, where the right hand is moving over the work and putting yarn on the needle. Picking is often referred to as 'Continental' and throwing is called 'European'. For a couple years, I trained myself to learn this throwing method, but it took a whole year to make a child's sweater, so, I got frustrated with how slow it is and went back to picking. This means that the stitches are picked up from the left hand, like a crocheter, which is a smooth, automatic way to pick up. It is the method used by the woman that hold's the record for World's Fastest Knitter, by the way.

I don't believe there is anything wrong with either method. A picker is a more prolific knitter, a thrower is more precise. I wish I was more patient, that yarn in the stash and the shop didn't call out to me, books and magazines that I come across didn't have so many things that would be awesome to complete. I wish the list of things I want to make wasn't so long. I wish my stitches were precise and had a machine-knit perfection. I do work hard to have a very clean finished project, that the seams and edges are quality made, but I like that, even so, it is hand made. I have found too, that all that time spent learning to throw hasn't gone to waste either. I can adequately demonstrate to a knitter that throws how to cable or make increases and decreases. I have been doing some color change work, where I am picking with the main color and throwing the contrast color, which is turning out very nice and makes me very happy.

2. I am the yarn anti-snob. This is a discussion you do not want to start in a group of knitters, by the way. It's like starting a conversation about politics or religion. The one group that I meet with has knitters of many different backgrounds, unfortunately no men, yet, but some real fiberistas, the ladies that sheer the sheep, take the fleece and clean, card, spin, dye, knit. Fiber-choosey. Some of the rest of us are living in the macaroni & cheese economy and are patiently happy to knit with whatever we can get our hands on, and create something wonderful anyway. That would be the unemployed, the older ladies living on Social Security, young mothers who are more concerned with food on the table and shoes on the feet that if the yarn on the needles is wool or what. When the conversation starts about 'Oh, my God, how can you stand to knit with that acrylic!' I am ready to leave and go home.

It is my belief there is a place in the world for all fiber, even man-made ones. One of our ladies travels to Mexico, when she takes the easily obtainable acrylic from home, the knitters there go crazy for the quantity and the colors. I imagine a big part of that is that they finally have something to knit with. There is also the thought that you would give acrylic to a new knitter until they are able to create with enough quality to be allowed wool or other natural, more costly fibers. The only argument to that I've heard is that is cruel to start someone with such nasty stuff when the better quality would inspire them to continue to create, but I've only heard that from a yarn store owner. Another of the ladies in the group is a currently unemployed engineer who has been knitting up all the stuff she had in her stash inherited from her grandmother, complains how rough it is on her hands.

I would prefer to use all natural and more costly fibers. That would be a Dream. Come. True. And certainly, I have been told that the quality of my work is of a higher standard that the materials I work with. However, the reality of my life and financial situation, and those of approximately half of my knitting compatriots has not been conducive to being so single-minded. So, I have sought to be smart with what I use. I will not knit an acrylic pull-over unless it's for a toy, as that would be like wrapping a living creature in plastic wrap. I use it for cardigans, usually for babies and children, so that the wearer is not completely sealed up in it and can breathe, and it can be worn, washed often and worn again, passed down to a sibling or hung onto for the next generation. Kids grow so fast that to keep them in handknits is expensive, so, a less expensive acrylic helps keep them from being naked, too. I'm sure a pull-over would be fine in acrylic for someone in the far North, maybe Siberia, but I don't know anybody there or if anybody needs a sweater there, so I knit for those I do know who need it and can wear it, whether or not they do is another story. Acrylic is terrific for afghans. My house is not the cleanest, I'm a klutz and spill often and I have dogs, so, the convenience of an acrylic afghan is that it can be cleaned and put back in it's place. I have to say that I am brand loyal with the acrylic because some of it pills and looses shape and I won't use it.

I appreciate that the qualities of wool are that a knitted garment can be worn in the rain and still feel warm. That is why the fisherman's sweaters were always made of sheep wool. There are people with wool allergies, how sad, and for them we can work around it with other natural fibers like linen, silk or cotton, in the meantime they are already cuddling up on a cold evening in an acrylic blanket.

Years ago, I had for several years, gotten sick in September and stayed sick through till spring. I couldn't leave the house and laid on the sofa for months. Knitting kept me sane, although I wasn't only knitting, I was doing a lot of crocheting too. I made several heavy afghans for kids who slept in basements, so much yarn double stranded, till they were too bulky to turn over and had to be shipped out with a crane. Also, large oval rug on the living room floor that was about 10 foot wide and about 15 feet long, scraps went to smaller rugs, like a heart shaped one in my daughters room, and others in front of the door, the kitchen sink. All out of acrylic. I can only imagine what life would have been like on that sofa without something to work on or work with.

3. I don't think I'd be a very good teacher. Like I said, I learned from a book. I read a lot of material for improving techniques. It doesn't seem like other people do, they learn one method of doing something, such as cast-on, and that's the only one they'll ever do. I think that in combination with how easily it is for me (being diabetic) to loose patience or be short with someone who doesn't know me or understand I'm trying to encourage them to be unafraid of untouched techniques that is maybe somewhere I shouldn't go. Yesterday, I finished a helmetliner (the same as the charity project, check out this link: http://www.citizensam.org/html/patterns/knitting_instructions_helmetliner.html ) for my nephew. I made a few of them in the last few months because I understood that my group was doing this as a charity project, but I think they must be at the tail end of the fun part of it as there doesn't seem to be too many getting done. Either that or I ruined it. I get so excited about finishing it and seeing a nice rolled edge at the start and finish and not a line around the edge that may be too tight or too loose and ruffled, that my edge will make it comfortable for the soldier to use repeatedly forever, that when I finished this one yesterday, I didn't have anybody to show it to. That cast on and off line on all the edges of every finished project I see frustrates me ~ especially in the books and magazines that recommend designer projects that you too can complete so easily. It's like having art class and seeing other students still start coloring by putting a heavy line around all the shapes to color in. At some point an art student stops drawing those lines, but not so with most knitters.

Last night, one of the other moderators on my local group on ravelry.com posted that Our Group has decided to do a project together. Hmmmm, guess that was a mistake on my part to let my husband who is in terrible back pain doze a little longer in his recliner and thus miss going to the group knit together, cause I missed out on that vote. The project is an afghan, done in squares, one each month, with books and yarn all bought from the local yarn shop that we are all trying to support. I got kinda upset about it, and that was bad form, I have been kicking myself about it all day. I love that group knit-a-long thing, I wish, though, that a little more thought, a little less restriction had been attached. For instance, I can think of at least three regular attendees of our group who can't afford the prescribed materials. (Actually, I can think of more than that, but those were all attendees who only attended once, listened to length conversation about wool verses acrylic, or aluminum verses handcarved needles and have not been back since. I liked them, I miss them, I wish they'd come back.) Earlier, I stated my preference for acrylic in afghans around the house, so I'll stop that part of the vent there. I went off and checked the project books, and while they are great as far as working out untried stitches, perhaps, they are not very attractive and I'm thinking even if donated to charity project, probably would rot before they were used. Actually, what I found were various degrees of hideous, that made me cringe to picture in my head how my local lovelies' would feel to turn out this stuff. . . . .

And now I have to stop writing this. I just went all kinds of mean that I didn't want to go to. That's why I don't think I can teach this to anybody. Makes me very sad to think about it actually. Especially, now, realizing that my mother is loosing her eyesight and someday that will happen to me. All the knowledge and techniques I have gathered and use will someday disappear with me, because of my inability to share.

AND THAT is the part that made me write this. All this time, I thought, I was knitting for others with love and researching so that what I made was absolutely the best that it could be, even with what I can afford to use, and really, I'm unable to share. I want to, I can't be the gatekeeper to all of this, I can do so much more than help somebody understand the puzzle that is a pattern, I just know it. I guess what it all comes down to is the same principle that applies to everything else: You've got to want to. I can help somebody if they really want it. I am a good resource to others like me. I don't know who they are or where they at, but as long as I want to share, someone who needs me will find me.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Oh, now, not FOOD again

I've decided I have a love/hate relationship with food.

I love it when my belly has something in it, especially when it was hot and filling and makes me want to lie down and take a nap. Apparently, that doesn't happen often enough.

Mostly, I hate food. Years ago, I was single. Three years between the time I had to try to decide my food options with other's food preferences attached. At that time, my grocery list was so very simple. V8 juice for breakfast, for lunch I took mixed nuts and dried snack meat, frozen fried chicken and frozen green veggies preferably brussel sprouts but sometimes they were not available and then it would be broccoli or perhaps green beans for dinners, popcorn before bed or general snacking. I would go and stock up on this stuff every couple of weeks and that would get me through Monday to Friday. On the weekends, I would do maybe a canned soup, craved garbanzo beans, occasionally corned beef hash, perhaps ate out at least once over the weekend, particular favorite was a prime rib cafe a few miles from home on a Friday or Saturday because it meant leftovers on Sunday.

My diet plan was easy, few decisions to make and never did I have to think out 'What's for dinner?' because it was the same everyday.

Diabetes is nasty hard on a food plan with limited budget. My personal diet is compounded with other variables too. A food aversion to eggs. Any eggs. I can't stand the smell of them and cannot eat anything if I can identify eggs in the contents. I have a hiatal hernia and it is very uncomfortable with anything dairy, so that also rules out milk, cheese, ice cream, etc. I try to avoid anything spicy, because it upsets my stomach and with the constant worry about stomach stuff it's just easier to stay away from them. My inability to cook also limits my creative food ideas but I think the worst part is that I don't have an appetite. I cannot tell that I'm ever hungry and often just forget to eat. If I wasn't watching a clock all the time, I would probably forget all together.

With all that in mind, now, imagine being married to the grandson of a restaurateur. That smokes. So, food has to taste good, but the poor guy can't taste anything. And there must be a variety, because he gets burned out from eating the same thing too often. Where as I don't care what I eat, it's all just food. Again. So much time spent making it and in just a few minutes, it's gone.

It takes longer for us to decide what we are having for dinner than to make it AND eat it.

I have never been a menu person. Yep, I don't get Martha Stewart. So, I feel shame when I say this: On my refrigerator is a magnetic dry erase board of all the dinner options we currently have. Since we just went grocery shopping last weekend, there are enough dinners listed for two weeks or more.

Last week, the last few days before the paycheck came, the board was empty. The last time we'd gone shopping we failed to actually think up some dinner options, so those few days we kept wandering into the kitchen and not finding anything, like little lost cows that can't find the barn. An endless cycle of wandering in and out of the kitchen all day long.

Right now, in my office is a food barrel for the local food drive to stock up the food bank. My company allows us to offer a discount to tenants that contribute to the food bank. I went to the food bank a couple of times the last time I was unemployed. Watching what is being donated and remembering what it was like to go myself, I am feeling really bad about having a full list of dinner options right now.

There are times when I want to put the whole list in the barrel and get some fried chicken and brussel sprouts. So simple. Easy on the blood sugar. Uncomplicated decision making. Ah, those were the days.

Monday, November 9, 2009

I think I love my job

There are times when I'm pretty fairly convinced that if I was fired at that very moment, I would jump up and down excitedly and clap my hands with glee.



However, for the most part, I really do like where I'm at right now. I want to write it down so I can come back to it in the future (when I'm having one of those earlier mentioned incidents) and remember that I do like my job. Maybe not strongly enough to believe that it 'my purpose' but that for some people, at the right moment, I am where I needed to be.



I like being where I'm at because when a person is having a really rough patch, I may have the ability to help them. The other day, I met a man who I imagined would like his job, because he could help people when they were having a truly bad day of it. In my head, I imagine the feeling would be like hands on the hips, chest out, wearing the tights and cape and singing the theme from 'Mighty Mouse', here I come to save the day! When I asked him about it, he said that was true the first year, but since then, not so much. How disappointing would that be? I have since taken to wondering, can that feeling of being a hero be preserved and made to last a long time.



Now, keep in mind, I have had many different kinds of jobs. The most helpful any of them have been was to remind a person they may have wanted a larger dose of fries with that. The last job I had before this one was helping people improve their credit. It was really hard for me to sort out the people who really wanted the help because they had made mistakes and turned things around and could use some help erasing things, from the clients that were the ones that hadn't learned anything from their 'mistakes' but that they could continue to do all kinds of damage and it would be taken care of by someone else. To me, that was like doing housework as an occupation. Of course, when I did housework for hire, I worked for slobs who made messes because it was somebody else's responsibility to clean up. These clients continually trashed their credit because they knew they could throw enough money at someone else to clean it up later. For me being that someone, I had a goal to fix the issues, but it could never get fixed because of this individual lack of personal responsibility. Now, the business owners probably thought that was a good thing, business-wise, but as the employee it was beyond aggravating. The cool thing about that job was that it was a constant mind bender to figure out, kept me motivated mentally, if for no other reason.



The mental motivation is seriously lacking here. Yep, I know that's a lot to expect of myself in the position of Self Storage Manager. I read everything I can find, which isn't much, about my industry, including online blogs and trade magazines. I have been especially focused on them during this economy mess, trying to find ways I can market my facility when my company doesn't seem anymore interested in doing it than in the upkeep of the facility, or the upkeep of me.



I really do like many aspects of this position. One of the biggest ones that attracted me when I first started here was that I was at home all day, because I live onsite. Of course, that is a big drawback when people are banging on my door or wailing on the doorbell on my time off. But I am home all day to get the laundry done, start a good dinner and pay attention to the dogs. I watch a lot of tv that wasn't available to me before, like 'Oprah'. (That was an exaggeration, I probably watch her once every couple of weeks, but I can see the attraction to watch it everyday.) My favorite thing to do is plug in a DVD and listen to a story without commercials. Usually, I watch the 'Dog Whisperer' program, follow news, but mostly listen to music all day, because the rest just seems to be a white static noise that irritates in a short time. The thing that I didn't used to do a lot of that I seem to be doing now is reading, knitting and taa-daa computer time, like blogging.



I'm really glad about the commute. I turn off the lights in one room and walk into another room and that's it, I'm home, just cannot compare. Seriously, driving myself home was near suicidal before. Of course, the jobs within walking distance were always way cool too, because the open air seemed to wash away the grit off my soul before I got home and could enjoy being home.



Another plus was in this job is that I would have benefits, like healthcare. What I did not know was that the benefits are so minimal that I cannot take care of myself or my diabetes. I guess with healthcare being so hot a topic, I should be grateful that if I was suddenly struck down, a catastrophic event, I would have some help.

I'm here to answer the phone for anybody that calls, I have the house line so my Mom and anybody else in the family can call me anytime of the day. I run away sometimes to the library, or just OUTSIDE INTO THE SUN, if it's convenient, often not, but it's those rare moments I cherish because not every job is like that. Packing apples in a dark and stinky warehouse for one. Clerical work was painfully asinine and I wish nobody had ever given me one of those jobs because the constant shuffling of the same paperwork really grates on my nerves from every direction like the cutting up a beautiful forest (for this crap?!?) to the manic need to keep documents of every nothing that never occurred.

So, color me happy, because here I am, now I'm off to take care of the filing. Wait, what?

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

ESSAY Time!

Just for fun, I found some questions in an article that I thought would be cool to try to figure out answers for, then go back and analyze like the aricle said. Only now I can't find the article. Oh, well.

1) What makes your heart beat with excitement?

I find my heart beats with excitement for a lot of things. It happens most often when I see my husband smile, because he has this look that makes my brain sees as happy-golden-boy that is so extremely supreme, I melt. When my dogs run with joy in the sun, when I hear babies laugh, some songs on the radio or in the stereo, the big reveals on the make-over shows, that moment when Barbra Streisand steps up to the bandstand in 'HELLO DOLLY' and Louis Armstrong turns around (which is just like Olivia Newton-John tap dancing with Gene Kelly in 'XANADU'), when Patrick Swayze says, 'Nobody puts Baby in a corner' in 'DIRTY DANCING', the moment that Buzz Lightyear flies, that moment when Wall-E and Eve connect ................... that kind of stuff.

2) What would be that one thing that would make you happy?

I would love to hear that my cousin has been cured of MS, or that there is a cure for diabetes, or Parkinson's Decease, Alzheimers, etc, that my husband and my brother can completely recover from their injuries and all care and cures available for FREE.

3) What are you constantly thinking of day and night?

I guess the short answer is myself. I am constantly thinking, What can I do about my husband (usually the pain he's in, either emotionally or physically), what can I do to help my Maggie-dog stop being such a freak about getting attention and/or food, What can I do to help my Dori-dog to be less afraid (I wanna love on her so bad), What can I do to better the numbers at work, What can I do to help people I know that are having such a hard time, What can I do to speed up my knitting, What can I do to be closer to my daughter, I miss my daughter, I miss my mom, I miss my grandma, What can I do to make my sister get over whatever I've done to piss her off and answer my messages, What can I do to help my brother not be so depressed with his pain and disabilities and feel like the man he wants to be, How can I convince him I don't want our father in my life, no how no way, because even if he doesn't believe what happened all those years ago, I know that they did happen but I still admire him for wanting to believe the best about everybody, who's looking for me and how can I prevent them from finding me, How are the people I have loved doing and do they know how much I love them,...............

4) What do you want to do with the rest of your life?

Actually, I am so very OK with my life that I can't imagine ever doing anything else. The only exception is I would like to travel. Anywhere. Preferrably by train. Mostly within this country as there is so much of it I've never seen.

5) What makes you feel successful when you do it?

I feel I am a huge success when I can make someone laugh, or walk away from me with a brighter attitude. It is a truly wonderful feeling when I realize that someone who has been traditionally negative to me starts to be friendly and seems to look forward to having to deal with me. Also, being in a position to offer suggestions to people and have them listen to me about things they can do to help themselves, or to help them myself.

6) What are your obsessions, passions?

Chocolate. Knitting. Sunshine. Things being organized. Getting letters or messages from anybody, just for me, then getting to answer them and knowing that they are waiting for the answer and care to hear it. Roses in the Garden, Tomatoes on the vine, happy Pansy faces for sale in front of the store.

7) What one thing makes you jump for joy every time you do it or see it done by others?

I get really happy when I see people doing something for another person that is the very thing that was NEEDED and probably cost nothing or not very much but was given with a smile or a hug, true genuine humanity. I don't get to do that as often as I would like.

Whew, that was fun. OK, back to work.