Sunday, January 27, 2008

grains of gratitude

As with journalling, blogging is sometimes sparse these days. But I am and try to always remain grateful for all I have. Today some of the gratitudes foremost on my mind are:

  • The wonderful morning at church
  • Making a delicious soup for dinner (which is cooking on the woodburning stove as I type
  • A nap - an infrequent occurance for me but something I needed today
  • A great conversation with V - she is growing into such a wonderful young woman
  • Catching up with a friend today
  • The woodburning stove
  • The sunshine pouring in the windows
  • The robins, their colorful flashes in the trees reminding me that spring is indeed on it's way
  • My husband and children, they truly enrich my life in so many ways

    With good wishes for all who are reading this (and even those who aren't) for a blessed Sunday.

  • church

    Church was fantastic today. As always, it's great to see people you feel connected to. Even better when you find inspiration and learning there. Today we were fortunate to be visited by a woman from the local Islamic Society who came to talk to us about her faith and about Islam. She was kind, funny, thoughtful, sincere and truly respected the fact that although our belief systems may be different we are all seeking the same things, a closer connection to whatever your spiritual guide is, to be good people and to do good things.

    I was surprised to learn that Muslims regard the Torah and the Bible as holy texts containing messages from God. They also regard the line of prophets to include Moses, Elijah, Zacchariah, and Jesus. She explained that they believe there have been 240,000 prophets, each being sent at the time that God felt humanity needed to have a prophet sent to them. And that each of the religious texts builds upon the previous one with their believing that the Qu'aran is the final version.

    She also explained many things about the Five Pillars and about how they incorporate their faith into daily life.

    It was truly wonderful to share that time and space with such a gracious person and she also seemed very pleased that we were so open to hear and so willing to learn more. I truly believe that if people looked at the basis of other faiths they would find lots of similarities and that this in turn would lead to more understanding and tolerance and less violence.

    It was truly a thoughtful Sunday at church today.

    chloe tv

    The robins are back. There's a small flock of about 8 sitting in the calary pear tree in front of the bay window. Chloe is hiding in the plants that overwinter there. Switching her tail and, one supposes, thoroughly enjoying herself. Hopefully since we've removed the muntins and mullions from the window we won't have any birdie crashes this year.

    I think they're a little early but once again I forgot to write it down. My mom keeps reminding me that if I would journal this stuff I wouldn't have to rely on my aging brain cells. True and yet again true. But somehow something else seems to occupy my time.

    I love journalling. Would love to do it more in fact but it doesn't seem to be one of those things that I can keep up with. Dawn is so very organized and her notebooks/journals are always an inspiration. Not that mine look anything like hers, but I try to pull bits and pieces.

    Then there's Hanna with a cute new idea for a journal. Plus she is always offering journalling links. I love the idea of a quotes journal but seriously know that at this point in my life it will never happen.

    I did start daily journalling with an idea that Hanna had given via a link to Tracy's Flickr Set. I did this. For three months. Then it got put down. Still have the journal, perhaps I'll return to it one day. But I have looked back over a landscape littered with partially completed journals and realized that for some reason it's a difficult practice for me. Of course if I would do just that, practice, it would get easier.

    Currently I have the aforementioned daily journal, a gratitude journal, a writing journal, a knitting journal (just started - what can I say I'm a sucker for ideas), and a miscellaneous journal plus my daily planner. I've at least gotten better about the fact that I only write when I can. I no longer worry about the enormous gaps in some of the journals. If these things are still around when I'm gone (and there's no guarantees) and anyone wants to read them (even less guarantees I'm sure) they'll get a true picture of my busy life.

    But then again living comes first.

    Wednesday, January 23, 2008

    oh boy


    I'm supposed to be studying but instead I'm blogging. But I promise, I'm going to get back to studying in just a moment. I just had to share. I got a Ravelry account. Not sure how I managed to get through 6347 people between when I requested and now (about two weeks) but I did. It's going to be a sickness, I can tell already. I have to choose friends, forums, groups, add my stash, patterns, needles, wips. It'll keep me busy for a while, that's for sure. If you want to check me out my ID is miradessy.


    The special knitting I was talking about last time I posted? I went to visit my folks and got to go knitting with the Cafe Knitters that my Mom knits with. A very lovely group of ladies, they take over almost all available table space at their local cafe every Wednesday for 2 1/2 hours. Lovely food, good tea, great conversation and fabulous show and tell. It was a lot of fun, not least of which was because I was knitting with Mom.

    Saturday, January 12, 2008

    motherly love

    I have said this and I still stand by it. "True mother love comes in letting your adolescent daughter pick her room color."

    It's time for D to redo her room, finally, she's been waiting for a while. Her sisters were pretty easy. S wanted French Vanilla walls with lots of purple and flowers in the room. V wanted a soft grey wall with an Asian border and lots of Asian artwork. D? Hot cha cha cha - Oh mama! It's Red. It's really Red. A magenta-y pink-y red color called Cherry Devine. And it wins the prize for boldest room in the house.

    It actually looks good and will look even better when we get everything back in the room. Lots of white going in to help tone it down, white mini-blinds, white sheers, white shelves, white desk, you get the picture. Maybe I'll even try to take one after the room is done.


    I'm trying to decomplicate my life. It complicates itself very nicely without any attention or help from me, of course, but every now and then I feel a need to step in. Now is such a time. Not because it's the beginning of the year or anything mind you. And I'm most certainly NOT making a resolution...but I do have a few things to do to clear some space:

  • cross-stitching
  • I've given away most of my patterns (still have a couple that I would like to make "one day") and allowed the girls free rein of my carefully color coordinated and wound floss for friendship bracelets and other things. I don't have the time or the eyesight anymore.
  • tole painting
  • Still have the books, love them. I've given away four boxes of gen-u-ine Vermont roofing slate from our house in VT (over 10 years ago...we've moved these boxes several times but I won't discuss that here). I've given the girls free rein of my paint for arts and crafts.
  • scrap-booking
  • I've decided, as mentioned here, to pull back on this. So I have given the girls free rein (are we sensing a pattern?) of my papers but am selfishly keeping the cut-outs, stickers, and scissors for myself.

    I wish I could just allow myself to part with all of this and stick to knitting and crocheting since that's what I am really enjoying and I have more than enough projects to last me for years. But. I hate to throw away good stuff. Good art stuff that the kids can use. My hope is that they will use it up faster than I could (actually the floss is almost gone) and I can just defend my hoard stash from all comers.


    If you ever need help with your knitting there is a wonderful place called where they have really fabulous voice-over videos that explain just about everything you need to know.


    I broke down and signed up for Ravelry. For those of you who don't know about it it is facebook for knitters. I was afraid to sign up because the last thing I need is to get sucked into one more thing but I keep hearing how wonderful it is so I'll jump in. Of course they are s-l-o-w-l-y handing out invitations so there are 6,341 people ahead of me, want to be next?

    beautiful day

    My lovely friend Holly came to visit today. She blogs here (along with a few other folks). We went off to the yarn shop where she saved an amazing $36 on yarn!!! She got some really yummy stuff....blanket and two scarves worth. Ooooh, it's so much fun to help people spend their money.

    We took our darling daughters out to lunch where we dined on mozzarella sticks, penne a la vodka and baked ziti. Cheese and marinara were the order of the day. Finished with cappuchinos and a trough-sized bowl of zeppoli.

    Then we went home and I helped Holly relearn to knit. It was so much fun to curl up on the sofa, drink tea and knit together. Of course we had to keep fighting Tobi off as he felt that if there were people on the sofa he belonged there too because he's a people isn't he? Ummmmm. No! So he went and ate the brand new cat toy that D bought for Chloe. I haven't told Diana or Chloe yet, I'm sure they'll both be very upset.

    I worked on my shawl for ***** when I wasn't helping Holly, but she really didn't need any help at all. Just encouragement to get started. She even changed colors and did it beautifully. Can't wait to see this scarf when it's done, I'm sure it's going to be fabulous.

    Tuesday, January 08, 2008

    finger update

    I have recently started being able to type again. Over a week ago I injured a finger. The middle finger on my right hand to be exact. I was closing the hatch on a car, pulling the inside handle. Don't recommend it. This is of course in spite of the fact that I have done this very thing a bajillion times before. Unfortunately for my poor finger this was not a good time and it got caught. Fractured the tip, blood behind the nail, which I will lose, swollen to three times normal size. It was a painful experience.

    I had a hard time typing. I am a 10 finger typing and the three last fingers on the right hand weren't working (the ring and pinky fingers do not know what to do without their middle apparently). Tonight I have taken off the brace for a while and have found that I can type although the finger is starting to throb a little so I'll stop here.

    But the service announcement of the week? Please close your hatch by pushing gently on the outside of the door. It's much safer that way.

    stitch sisters field trip

    We took an outing tonight and visited a yarn shop in a neighboring town. They've recently moved from across the street into a new shop that is 3 times the size of the old one. Whooooo! What fun we had fondling all of that luscious yarn. The owners were so very nice. They had tea and cookies for us and had set up a knitting area. We felt like royalty. AND there was a 30% off sale. What's not to love?

    I bought *ahem* but not yarn. I got a ****** as a gift for ****** for ****** and I hope they love it because if they don't I'd like it back. I also bought myself a copy of 365 Knitting Stitches a Year, a Perpetual Calendar. Looks like a great reference book.

    I had finished Friday Night Knitting Club and brought it for the next sister to read. Overall I liked the book, I thought it was pretty well written and the story was engaging. I was disappointed in the ending though. The last half of the last chapter and galloping away we went. But as I said, overall is was a good book. I'll be interested to see what the others think of it.

    I started a new project. A shawl. In the round. A BIG shawl. 1950 yards big. Whoof! It's a challenge. It's a gift for ****** (who I'm not sure reads this but I'm taking no chances). I need 17.73 balls of yarn. Luckily I bought 20 on ebay. I really like the yarn, soft feel, pretty color, should be faabulous when it's done. I think I'm going to try to seriously not knit anything else because otherwise this will take too long. I also made myself some stitch markers to use with the project...bought cute stones and joining rings at Michael's and put them together. Voila!

    Special knitting coming up next week, check in to read all about it.

    how to make the worst baked beans ever

  • Start with a brand new recipe
  • Forget that your stove is running very hot (by 50 degrees F)
  • Forget that your upteenth-hand dutch oven cooks dry and you need to add moisture
  • Leave the house to run errands, return to a delicious smell
  • Open pot to discover a cement like blackened lump in the bottom of the dutch oven

    I admit I actually tried to taste this. As soon as it got into my mouth I ran for the garbage. Spit it out. Into the compost mind you. Steve asked how it tasted. I licked my lips and realized the sauce (what miniscule amount was left) was actually pretty tasty and said so. But I warned him that the beans were inedible. He tasted it anyway, silly man. HE ran for the compost bin. He managed to somehow pry the stuff out of the pot into the compost bin and then let Tobi lick the pot.

    I've decided that no matter how pretty this dutch oven is it has got to go. I'm thinking of taping a note to the bottom that says, "Do NOT cook in this, just admire it" when I drop it off at Goodwill.

  • Tuesday, January 01, 2008

    cards done

    Christmas cards are done and gone. Thank you notes are also done and posted. 364 days to figure out a better way.

    Here's a perfect cartoon for this time of year:
    from my favorite cartoon Sherman's Lagoon

    Every year I swear I'm going to be so organized. Most years I'm better than this year but at least they got out on time. Most years I get the cards out early enough to send them to Santa Claus, IN for a special cachet; very cute and worth the extra postage. This year? Oh well. Next year? I dunno, maybe if I start now?

    I also usually send a picture of the girls. You know, so everyone can see how much older they are (a whole year, really) and still feel connected to us by this, as my friend Sue says, "truly American way of staying in touch." This year? No picture. Mostly because all three of them did not want to take pictures. "I look terrible" "You're not going to take a picture are you?" "Why do we need a picture" "I'm having a bad hair day" every excuse in the book even though they all look beautiful and it could have been cute. It's getting to the point where I think next year I'll have to throw a pair of antlers on the dog and send his picture instead.

    Now there's an idea. Take a picture of the dog now. Address the envelopes now. Then I could be 360 days ahead of the game. Of course that means I would have to remember where I stash the cards for 2008.


    Just a quick roundup of a couple of books.

    Over the winter break D started reading a book series Twilight. She was so enthralled by this book from the Young Adult section of the library that she devoured the book in two days (600 pages or so?). Then got the other two books and went through them equally quickly. She talked the books up so much that S started reading them. She loved them so much that I had to read them. They are good. Basically a vampire love story but a little more complicated than that. I won't give anything away but will say I really liked it and am looking forward to the next book.

    At Stitch Sisters one of the sisters decided we needed a new group book so she bought "the Friday Night Knitting Club." It looks really good and I get to be the first reader. Our last group read was "The Knitting Circle" and it was interesting to pass it around one at a time and then after everyone had read it to discuss it. That's what we'll do with this one too. In some ways it's hard to be the first reader because you have to hold your tongue waiting for eveyrone to get their turn. We'll see how long it takes to all get through the book.

    Then I still have my reading list....whoo boy it's a long one. I think my next book will be "Water for Elephants" which came highly recommended by my sister-in-law.

    Of course all of this reading needs to be squeezed in between housework, family obligations, class work, work, and volunteering and knitting. Hmmmmmm....if only I could learn to do laundry in my sleep. Because of course one does not want to knit, spend time with family or read while sleeping. But scrubbing toilets, washing dishes, etc. I don't think you need to be awake and conscious for that.

    happy new year

    January 1. A new beginning. Life continues on and is as hectic and chaotic as always. Not bad, just a lot to do. Today was spent reorganizing my household notebook for yet another attempt at an organized life. It makes me feel good to at least set off on the right foot.

    We did have Stitch Sisters today, and it was a birthday meeting too so there were fudgy brownies, cake and chocolates. Ooooh, what a way to start the new year. The meeting was fun because we all talked about what our thoughts, hopes, expectations were for the new year.

    I'm not making any resolutions...I never do, but I am hoping to make some changes. This year I hope to start a knitting journal. I have a new project just about ready to go and it will be my first entry. Keep the ball band, keep the gauge swatch (who am I kidding...make a gauge swatch), keep notes, take picture. I think it would be a neat and fun idea so perhaps that will motivate me to attempt to keep it going. Another change is to try to be a calmer person. To simply take things as they come. I seem to get better at this as I get older but there's always room for improvement.

    Our New Year started with snow and lots of it. We were supposed to have a Sitch Sisters outing to the birthday sister's house but by the time we picked up our last car pool sister from the north side of town (a five minute journey) the roads had gone from visible to non-visible and slippery. So we headed home. It was sad because we had the best part of the birthday breakfast with us but better to be safe than slide down the mountain into the lake. Luckily the weather cleared by the evening so we could have our usual meeting at the church.

    Home after the meeting, listening to the whooshing wind outside and the warm crackly fire inside. How grateful I am to be safe and warm on this winter day and looking forward to the year ahead.