Saturday, December 22, 2007
I haven't posted for a month, some of you have been checking in to see how we are doing and I really appreciate that. I struggle with posting, these have been dark days. I have been sad, angry, resentful, weak, lost, melancholy, resigned, and unmotivated. I have had to force myself to finish the work for the three classes I was taking, I think it helped to have that to focus on, it gave my brain something to do. December 13, I was done and my friends were all asking how it felt to be done with school for the semester, and I couldn't tell them. I couldn't really feel anything, I expected to feel relieved and lighter but I didn't. I felt empty, and pressured by expectations that seemed meaningless. I am still mourning my Dad, Brian is still looking for work and we are living with uncertainty. Then on the 15th my daughter and I were involved in a car accident. We were rear-ended and pushed into another car. We are okay, some neck injury, but we walked away from it. The car is not drivable though. This week we have been focusing on healing, daily visits to the chiropractor, massages, ice packs and rest. Rose is 11, and the accident freaked her out, it was scary. We have been talking a lot with the kids about the accident because the boys are both about to become drivers, and that really scares me. They may be good drivers, but we can't control what the other people do on the road. I was doing everything right, I was not speeding, I was not tailgating, I was not talking on the phone, or adjusting the radio, or putting on makeup or any number of things I see people doing while driving. I reacted quickly, I was stopping, but the woman behind me didn't. Then while I was checking Rose and comforting her in the minutes after the impact, the woman left the scene. She did come back half an hour later after the CHP were there taking our report.
I keep replaying the scene in my head and wonder how the boys would handle the same situation. It has been a week now and I felt that we needed to come together as a family and process what has been happening.
I decided that we would have a winter solstice ceremony, celebrate leaving the darkness and moving into light. Amidst their protests that this was Pagan and contrary to our Christian beliefs, and squashing the thoughts that we were going to build a big bonfire and drink mead, I gathered all the candles I could find and set up a little table in our family room with them and sun symbol.
I explained what we were doing and why, that I wanted to mark the turning point in the earths movements with a turning point in how we are viewing our lives. That we have had a number of events in our family that have brought darkness and sadness and that we could use this celestial moment to let go of some of the darkness and focus on the hope in the coming of light.
I had them turn all the lights off, even the Christmas tree and blow out the candles and I asked them to reflect in the darkness and silence on the things that have happened that bring them pain and sadness. Then one by one we each lit a candle as we thought of the hope in our future. Brian read the Genesis story of creation and I read a Native American poem called "Spirit Walker" as we lit the rest of the candles in the room and enjoyed the warm glow. We talked for a little bit, well, mostly Rose talked and the boys slouched, about what we had just done.
Then we opened all our Christmas cards together and read the good wishes people have sent us. I think it was good, I think it was meaningful, I think it was strange for the kids, and maybe even a little strange for my husband, but I am grateful that they go along with me and participate because it makes me happy. I feel their love for me in that, and for that I am grateful. I am sensing a turning point, I am so aware that we are interconnected as a family and our emotions and well being are bound together. The subtleties of how we treat each other have great impact especially when we are in this vulnerable place in our lives. We must care for each other.
Thursday, November 22, 2007
Happy Thanksgiving! I'm off to the kitchen! I love to make turkey!
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
I finished mom's shawl. She looks beautiful in it, it is her colors, and it drapes just perfectly over her shoulders like a hug. I hope it brings her comfort. We are all home now after dad's funeral. I am exhausted. It is exhausting to mourn. I know this is normal and expected and all that, but it is not easy. I miss Dad. I miss Mom the way she was with Dad. I am not ready to be the older generation, I want just a little longer being my father's daughter. I am just sad, that is all.
Sunday, November 4, 2007
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
Monday, October 29, 2007
Here is my blue felted purse before felting. It is pretty basic. I used Cascade 220 yarn doubled, on size 11 needles. Since my washer disaster, we have a front loader washer now, which of course you can't felt in. So I am felting by hand. My husband found me an old fashioned washboard. I think it was meant for decoration though and not real use, because the corrugated metal kept popping out of the frame as I was scrubbing against it. Luckily, hubby is a handy hubby and he can reinforce it for my next project.
I used alternating hot sudsy water (with Kiss my Face soap) and ice water. It took about fifteen minutes to felt. Then I dried it out on the clothesline
I love this size bag, 12 x 11 inches it slings over my shoulder and holds just my essentials, with a little bit of stretch as what I consider essential is always growing!
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
You are awesome, Blue Moon Fiber Arts! Remember this pair of socks I was working on in July and August on all my trips to Virginia. I had bought a bunch of sock yarn in June at the Black Sheep Gathering in Oregon. The Blue Moon booth was wonderful. All those colors and the most luscious sock yarn. I started making this pair of socks using their Rockin' toe up pattern out of their Socks that Rock yarn in colorway Typhoon Tina. A lot of traveling this summer so lots of knitting progress, and by the time I went back to Virginia in August, I had the first sock done and was well on my way into the second (take THAT, second sock syndrome). I was at this lovely spa in the mountains in Virginia (really, this is rare for me, it was a quick weekend to celebrate my SIL 50th). Somewhere, sometime probably while I was packing to go home, I lost the first finished sock. OH NO! I couldn't believe it. I have only lost knitting once before, many years ago I lost a baby blanket I was working on, I lost the whole knitting bag. This time it was just the finished sock (without the ends woven in) I called the Homestead, I emailed them, I sent them a photo of the sock so they would know what they were looking for, I spoke to the front desk, I spoke to housekeeping, I spoke to the concierge. No luck, someone has a beautiful handknit sock for 1 foot. I was crushed. I finished the second sock, and started on the third and I realized there really isn't enough yarn to make a third sock. So I started searching. All my usual yarn shops, the internet. When I got my invite to Ravelry I quickly joined the group; ISO and destashing and put up my request for more Typhoon Tina. No luck. Someone suggested I write to Blue Moon Fiber Arts. Of course, I had searched their web site and Typhoon Tina is not available. So I wrote to them. Hallelujah! They replied this morning that they will dye some more for me! How cool is that!?! That is excellent customer service, I am so impressed. So it looks like this story ends well, Brian will not have a cold foot when he wears his Typhoon Tina socks. YeeHa!
Saturday, October 20, 2007
Here is the first thing I bought. Sock yarn in a lovely colorway.
After I got it home look what I found inside!
would you look at that, inside the ball of sock yarn is a little bobbin of reinforcing yarn for the heel. How cool is that, and it matches the colorway!
Then I wandered to the sale area and couldn't pass these up,
and because I don't have enough patterns (;-), at least not any on nifty convenient little cards, I bought this.
Brian wondered if I "needed" new needles too.
I do actually, I need some size 11 circular to start some felted kitchen mitts to replace some that have been burned beyond use. I didn't buy any though.
See that capelet? I wonder if I could make that out of the yarn I just unravelled from the shawl. Anyone know how to figure out how much yardage there is in handspun? Isn't there a way to calculate it based on weight and wpi? Some way that is easier than actually measuring it?
Friday, October 19, 2007
I frogged the shawl. It was a little painful, but not once I got pulling and winding the balls. I'm not sure what I am going to knit with the yarn, maybe a vest, maybe a hat, I just don't know. There isn't a lot of yardage. Now I don't have much left on the needles. I have my Bluefaced leiceister sweater, my Tidal wave socks and Hubby's socks which are at a standstill until I locate more Socks that Rock yarn in the right colorway. I need to start something, something, something.........
oh, where you calling me? pile of books? I have been buried in schoolwork. My physiology class has gotten hard, I guess because we have gotten to the part of the material that is totally new for me. And the professor is not so organized, so it is hard to figure out what he is expecting from us. Tomorrow I have to take the Nursing Entrance Exam. It just tests basic reading comprehension and math. I had purchased a study guide and have been doing the practice exams, it includes a lot of basic science (like Big Bang Theory, how the stars form, and parts of a plant and other useful knowledge.) I was beginning to panic, because I didn't learn some of that stuff way back when (probably because some of it was not discovered yet). I spent an evening skimming Pat's physics book, and pumping him with questions. But it turns out I don't have to worry, they are just testing us on the verbal and math sections. I just need to get a good night's sleep, eat a good breakfast and sharpen some #2 pencils, I should be fine.
Then when I am done with that I need to work on my essays for my application, due November 1.
Maybe I can knit after that.......
Monday, October 15, 2007
See this shawl? I started this in the summer using some yarn I had spun last summer and a pattern from my knitting calendar for a travel cozy. I quickly ran out of my handspun yarn and I bought some merino and some mohair in similar colors to continue knitting. I am not liking how the whole thing is looking though. The pattern starts at the neck and establishes increases as it goes over the shoulders, and it looked a lot more lacy in the photo. I put it away for a couple of months, actually it sat in a basket near my spinning wheel looking at me. Asking me to work on it, but I have just not been inspired. I love the colors, and the feel of the yarn, but I just can't get into how it is shaping up. So this weekend for some reason I grabbed it when I went to spend the weekend with a friend who is recovering from surgery. We sat and talked and watched movies, and I knit mindlessly on the shawl. By Sunday morning I looked at it in the bright light of day and it struck me that I am crazy to just keep knitting! Why do I think it is going to improve with more length? It is not. I need to rip it out and make something completely different with the handspun yarn. If I could just bring myself to do it and give the yarn a new chance. here I go.........
Monday, October 1, 2007
A family of 5 can go through a lot of glasses in a day. You know how it goes, you get a glass of water and you don't finish drinking it but when you go looking for it suddenly there are three partially empty glasses and you can't figure out which one has your germs on it and which one is covered with sister kooties. So you get another clean glass out and start again. Take this times 5 and we have a full dishwasher before we get to dinner! It is extra work for the person on dish duty but it also uses more water and soap. So here is my creative solution. Individual glass cozy's. I made a bunch of them in different colored yarns, I used Peaches and Cream Cotton so that I could wash them in hot water with our cloth napkins. Everybody that takes a glass needs to put a cozy on it and use it for the entire day.
Most of us have our favorites that we use all the time, I like the yellow and my daughter likes the pink-orange-yellow, I made the black one for the 15 year old teenager who is in his black phase. Hubby wanted me to make him a dirt colored one because his hands are always dirty from gardening when he comes in for a drink and he didn't want to keep getting his cozy muddy. I haven't found that color yarn yet.
Here are the instructions for cozys that fit the french tumbler glasses that we have, the same size works on the 8oz, 12oz and the 17 oz glasses. They are knit in the round on double points or circulars.
with size 8 needles cast on 36 stitches
join without twisting
knit 5 rounds
round 6: k2tog, k to end of round
knit 5 rounds
round 12: k2tog, k to end of round
knit 5 rounds
round 18: k2tog, knit to end of round
knit 2 rounds
cast off, weave in ends
after washing they soften and grip the glasses quite well
I wish I could tell you that we only wash 5 glasses a day now; we don't. But we are using significantly fewer glasses a day, and I think it has raised awareness in the house about how easy it is to be careless with resources.
I then knit a cover for the ubiquitous can of Barkeepers Friend that sits by our sink. Hubby laughed and wondered if I was going to cover everything in the house with knitted tubes! Tell me would you rather look at this:
If they aren't going to put things away, my theory is to make stuff that is out as attractive as possible. That is why I have always used wicker laundry baskets. I knew that there would always be laundry out on any given day in some stage of being sorted or folded or transported. I like looking at wicker baskets way better than those plastic baskets! And surprisingly my wicker baskets have lasted almost 20 years!
If you can't control the clutter at least make it tolerable.
Sunday, September 23, 2007
And just in case it seems like I don't get to knit anymore, it is true. Well, not totally true, I get to knit some. Here are the socks I started the other day. Blue Moon Socks that Rock yarn in Lunasea. Tidal wave pattern. I love this pattern, it is easy to memorize and I think I like cuff down better that toe up socks. I tried a new cast on that is stretchier.
I don't dare even think about what else might break, clear your head of all thoughts of broken things. But don't hold your breath, life goes on.
Sunday, September 16, 2007
I did start a new pair of socks last night. Tidal Wave pattern, using Blue Moon sock yarn lightweight, colorway Lunasea, on #1 needles. I can't finish Brians socks till I manage to find more Blue Moon lightweight sock yarn in Typhoon Tina. I had bought it at Black Sheep Gathering, but it seems to be a colorway that is not available online.
Monday, August 27, 2007
Well would you look at that, my scarf is finished. It took me all summer and I am so proud of it! I made just a few errors that I didn't catch and reweave while it was still on the loom. I actually made many errors that I went back and fixed while it was still on the loom, but I missed a few. Now it is washed and the yarn softened up quite a bit, Lou (my teacher) says if I didn't beat it so tight it would be softer yet. I am sad that with my school schedule I will not be able to continue the class , maybe in a couple of years after nursing school is done. I did begin to wind on a warp for some cotton dish towels. I got the 370 ends wound onto the back beam, but I still need to thread the heddles and sley the reed (don't you just love the vocabulary). Weaving at home I will miss the camaraderie of my fellow weavers. There is something to be said for sitting in a room full of looms to transport you back in time to another era when groups of women actually did this. The sound of many treadles, beaters and shuttles clacking made me imagine that I was living in another time when the pace of life was a bit more sane. I imagine I am in an ancient Celtic village weaving tartans and catching up on the village gossip. All around us the children are playing with scraps of thread and the young girls are learning to spin and weave too, we can hear the sheep in the pasture and smell the bread baking in the village oven. Nevermind that we don't have flush toilets and we have to carry our water, let me live in that fantasy world for just a few hours a week.
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
So I didn't get into the physiology class or microbiology at DVC, but I did just hear that I am enrolled in the physiology class at Samuel Merritt College in Oakland that starts next week. YeeeHaaa! Now I know my schedule finally. I'm at DVC Tuesdays and Thursdays and at Samuel Merritt on Wednesdays. Mondays and Fridays are free for studying. Two colleges at once! how about that. At least now I can sing with the kids at St. Catherine's every morning, I was sad when I thought I wouldn't be able to do that. I love starting my day singing. St. Catherine's started this morning, Rose was very excited, and her best buddy started there today. Now she and Hailey will get to see each other every day even though they are in different grades. It feels good to have a routine to fall into. We love the long days of summer and sleeping in, but Rose was getting bored and she really does function better with a set routine that she can count on. Pat is off at school helping with freshman orientation at Alhambra. They start school next week, we picked up their schedules yesterday, and we had to keep reminding Joe that "school is fun! school is great! we love school!" he isn't anxious to go back, I guess it takes too much time away from his piano practice.
WHAT WOULD YOU HAVE DONE
Yesterday I was in the line at the coffee shop at DVC which is inside the bookstore, the line was long and there were many students ahead of me. A young man with his hands full of a drink and some snacks walked up to the young student in front of me and said "you know, I could just walk out with this stuff" the door was right there and they had students checking people coming in and out. The boys just laughed and then this boy walked right out the door! nobody stopped him or even noticed (it was crowded and busy) except me! I was saying to the boy in front of me "just because you can, doesn't mean you should" and "he just did!" The young man in front of me just laughed, I watched the door and that young man stood outside and opened his drink and started enjoying it waiting for his friend in the line. After the one in front of me paid, I nudged him and said to him that he ought to give his friend a hard time for what he just did. I kept thinking that I should have said something to the cashier but I didn't. I walked past both boys as I walked out but neither of them would meet my gaze, and I didn't say anything. I already feel like every one's mother there rather than a student. What would you have done? should I have said something? Why is it so easy for people to just break the law, because they can? I find the whole thing rather discouraging.
Sunday, August 19, 2007
are of myself so that I can take good care of the rest of the family too. I think now about all the people who cannot get a break like this and my gratitude swells.
Saturday, August 18, 2007
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
I am off to my last weaving class, I am glad I was able to squeeze weaving in this summer, it has been a blast. I hope to get my loom warped today for weaving some kitchen towels at home. Tonight I study, study, study, for my last quiz and my final in Life Span Development. I'm glad this online class is almost over. If I take the final tomorrow I get an extra 20 points for doing it early, to me it is worth it.
There is still the house to paint...........
Thursday, August 9, 2007
It was all going just fine until I ran out of beads with about half of the scarf left to knit. AHH!
so I unraveled the ball of yarn remaining and started stringing on more beads. (My friend, Char gave me a floss threader that works much better than the copper wire I was using) I slid the beads along the yarn toward my knitting then, the yarn broke! Beads went everywhere, in my lap, between the couch cushions, on the floor........ now it all is a big messy disaster. I am about ready to just shove it under the couch and pretend I never started, beaded scarf? what beaded scarf? I've always wanted to try beaded knitting. Maybe I'll forgive it tomorrow.
Tuesday, August 7, 2007
It takes a couple of days to make a batch because the first step is always salting or brining the cucumbers overnight.
here are some cucumbers salting with onions to make the bread and butter pickles. The dill pickles get soaked in a salt water brine without onions.Here are the ingredients gathered for the dill pickles. Cucumbers, salt, dill, pepper and garlic.
both the bread and butter pickles and the dill pickles get packed with a hot vinegar brine. The bread and butter recipe has sugar, turmeric, pepper, and mustard seed.
Here are the bread and butter pickles getting heated in the brine.then they get packed in sterile jars, the dill pickles get packed cold and have hot brine poured over them, the bread and butter pickles get packed hot.
Then they get processed in the boiling water cannerand voila! jars of pickles!
Today I am making another batch of bread and butter pickles. I have given away a few baskets of cucumbers too, let me know if you want some. We are eating the traditional cucumber and tomato salad too, but I think Brian is just about ready to pull out the plants and move on. Tomatoes are not coming with the abandon we are used to, it has been a troublesome year for them. But that is another blogstory........ At least I have my weaving class today so I will get to fondle some fiber.