Monday, December 26, 2016

Stories and Memories

I really believe in stories.  Everything we do every day is a story just waiting to be told.  Maybe you are like me and not really sociable. So write down the story.

Memories are there all the time.  This time of year is always filled for memories.  Memories of friends and family and past Christmases.  And wondering about what someone you know is doing this year.  Memories.

It's funny.  I think this leads to the same discussion I have had about dreams.  People tell me all the time they don't dream.  Everyone dreams.  Our pitiful human brains that we think are so marvelous have to have "down time".  Unfortunately neurologists have found that our brains don't really "rest".  It just processes everything that has gone on during the awake time since the last sleep time. 

Some of us do have fabulous dreams.  I remember dreams and I write them down.  I participated in a "dream study" 40+ years ago when I worked in an emergency room.  The researchers were studying people who work in stressful emergency situations-ER personnel, ambulance drivers, policemen, firemen, etc.   Everyone volunteered me. 

I remember that they only wanted to know the emotion of a dream, not the actual content of the dream.  It lasted six months.  I kept my faithful diary, and I think I was the most active participant.  One of the researchers would meet with us monthly, collect the diaries, and give us new diaries.  After three months it became clear that mine was different from the others. 

I met with the doctors that were conducting the research.  They would ask me specific questions about my diaries.  I think they were amazed that I could actually remember details the dreams.  Finally one of them said my dreams were cyclical.  It was a female researcher who said she thought my dreams were in sync with the moon cycles.  They followed up with that and it was. 

See-another memory.  I know it has nothing to do with the season, but a memory that came out into a story.

I listen to audio books while I spin and knit.  I don't like a complicated story that I have to pay that much attention to.  So a story is spun into the yarn or knitted into the fabric.  Not just my story of it's life history, but from words being read to it. 

Speaking of knitting, my handspun project is on the verge of being frogged.  I ran out of blue handspun.  I ordered some yarn that I was hoping would be close.  It isn't.  It leaves a definite stripe that would be fine if I had enough of the original blue to finish out the second front piece.  I don't.  Ugh.  I guess I will try to make a pillow out of the back.  Or frog the whole damn thing.  I don't know yet.

I have finished 12 hexagons of Persian Dreams.  I am now going to start putting some together.  I want to see how it looks.  I need a little break and that would be a nice thing to do. 

I am spinning yak/silk and it is wonderful.  I am thinking happy thoughts about this bit of nice yarn.  I don't know what it will be, but it feels nice.

The afghan is growing, but I only work on it occasionally.  Maybe I just need to focus on it for a while and get it done.  Maybe.

We have had a nice two weeks of a warm up in the weather.  There has been a bit of rain, and lots of grayish clouds.  Out of the two weeks maybe two or three full days of sun.  It is just so nice to not have cold, freezing rain, or snow.  I think they predict another one of those artic fronts to head south by the middle of next week.  Sigh!  The cold is so miserable.

Well, I guess the year is at an end.  We are heading to a new year by next Sunday.  I know my year is different than the calendar year, but it is still a contemplative time.  One must focus some on plans for the next year.  I have some serious thinking to do in 2017.  It will be my 69th year in this lifetime. I must think of how I want to spend my next decade. 

Helen Mirren said that 2016 has been a pretty shitty year all around.  We lost a lot of our artists and we elected a new president.  Things will only be interesting from this time forward with him.  We have lost a few of our scientists, too, and their loss will be felt. 

Happy New Year-and on to 2017.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Christmas Week!

Isn't it amazing how some people actually count down from June to Christmas?  I really don't do that any more.  It used to be such an ordeal to think of presents and wrapping and decorating and cooking. Now it is just another day. 

I really like to celebrate Solstice instead.  I love the idea of this day being the turning point for the return of light to our lives.  I intellectually know that every day there is a teeny bit more light added to each day until June 21.  Unfortunately my primitive brain takes over in late February and March.  I am screaming for more light, more warmth, and Spring to hurry up and come.

I love that thousands and thousands of years ago, my ancestors were sitting around fires and telling stories, and probably drinking a lot to get through the dark nights.  There is nothing romantic about it. They are dirty and smelly and die young.  They just know that on that day it is a day to celebrate the return of the light.

I do bake cookies for the mailman.  I put them in the mailbox with a note of thanks.  I try to do a few other gratitude things.  Otherwise, this is just another week. 

We finally have a winter day today.  It was 4 degrees at 7 am.  It snowed last night.  It is only a covering, but it is pretty.  It is the kind of snow that sparkles in the sun.  Oh-yeah!  We have sunshine today.  I am beyond ecstatic. Yesterday I did go around and replace light bulbs. It helps some.

I am now on my 12th hexagon.  They are fun to knit, but I do give myself a break in between them.  I somehow thought 3 days a good time for a break. 

I had to put my handspun project on hold.  I realize I am not going to have enough of the blue yarn.  I am spinning some more yarn that I hope can be blended in.  It is merino and the yarn I have been using is targhee.  The targhee takes the dye differently.  We will see.  If it doesn't look right to me, I will have to take everything out and reblock it for another project.  Oh, well. 

I am still knitting on the afghan in stripes.  It is probably 1/3 the way done.  I will see how far the yarn goes and stop.

Otherwise, I decided to spin up the yak/silk blend I have been hoarding for a while.  It is really luscious.  It spins so easily.  It is a brown mix.  I would recommend this for anyone.

I also have been weaving a bit on my ribbon tapestry.  Not going very fast, but getting it going is important.

I have two receiving blankets cut out for my neighbor's project for ACH.  Just need to sew, wash, and press.

So not a lot going on, but I am making steady progress on projects.

Most of my day has been making sure the bird feeders are filled and there is water for them to drink.

Hopefully your Christmas week will not be so hectic that you can't enjoy the season.  Enjoy the sun and light when we get it.  After Wednesday it will be a little lighter each day! 

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Grammar is so funny!

On a local NPR program, there is often a woman who reports on grammar.  She is called the Radical Grammarian.  Today was a discussion on the word healthy and healthful.  We often say I eat a healthy diet.  How can a diet be healthy?  Healthy implies that it is alive.  It is supposed to be  I eat a healthful diet.  I hate that we are all so lazy that we talk in poor grammar.

Which goes to say, I am not interested in being correct.  I know in my writing that I should care.  It isn't all about commas anymore.  Unfortunately I write just like I talk.  And obviously I am not being correct.

It does goes all over me when I hear a young anchor on t.v. say something that is totally so WRONG.  Yesterday I was standing at a window when I heard something so wrong.  I turned around and yelled at the t.v.," no, no, no.  That is an adverb, not an adjective." 

So I guess I do care a little bit about something so obvious.  I haven't got the energy to determine if I need a clarifier or whatever.  I talk lazily, and my fault that I don't care.  See, I used the adverb, not the adjective.

I am almost done with #10 hexagon.  My right hand has been aching this week with the weather all over the place.  Also my right knee has been talking to me today.  It is dark and gloomy out.  Thankfully it is not bitter, bitter cold.

I am also halfway through the first side piece for the jacket.  It is going fairly quickly.

I have great ambitions to do more, but I can't seem to make myself get going.  My neighbor has organized a charity to make quilts for the new Children's Hospital that is to open next year.  She gave me some flannel that was donated to her.  I think there is ample in the piece to make two receiving blankets.

My friend CF is being dragged into the 20th Century.  No, not the 21st yet.  Her daughter has mounted a large HD flat screen t.v. on her wall.  She is getting her mother hooked up to internet so she can access Netflix.  She has her on a list to receive DVDs.  It is too funny.  CF has adamantly refused to have anything to do with computers or computerized anything.  She still uses a landline.  She gets too confused with cell phones.  Thank goodness BL is going to spend the Thanksgiving visit to teach her how to access her account, add to her list, etc.  I love her password.  It is typical of BL to come up with that.  My friend told me in case she loses the paper that she wrote it on. 

We are having unusually warm weather.  We had two little freezes with the day temps in the 50's and 60's.  It is extremely weird.  I have been holding my breath waiting for the winter to settle in.  I am grateful that I have had time to do my outdoor chores.  I finally closed up all the vents under the house.  The hoses were disconnected a long time ago.  I am waiting one last time to empty the back gutters under the box elder tree.

Well, I have to go fill the bird feeders again.  Keep moving.  That's the only advice this week.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Do You Take Breaks!

I belong to some groups on Facebook that are about knitting, spinning, weaving, and dyeing.  One of the questions that came up yesterday evening was "Do you take breaks with your knitting?"  This particular group is about knitting Persian Dreams.  It is a difficult thing to knit, but everyone is addicted to his own little hexagon world. 

The woman who posted the question has gone five days without knitting anything.  She says she isn't sad or upset, but she really is enjoying "not knitting".  She, of course, has young children that are in sports and other activities.  She also mentioned she has been bingeing on Candy Crush.

A while back I found myself obsessed with these hexagons.  As soon as one is washed and blocking I was onwards to another.  My hands got tired of managing the colorwork.  I am also knitting other projects, so I was trying to fit them into the schedule.

I suddenly pulled back. I give myself a three day break in between the hexagons.  I pick up the blanket or the sweater if I have to knit.  Yesterday I did not knit all day.

Today I laid out my eight that are completed and studied the colors.  I know what color I have to go to next.  I haven't gotten number 9 pattern out yet.  I just wanted to think about colors.

I am listening and watching a Rebecca Mezoff weaving class.  And I am finished with the purple roving I found that I had stashed away.  I am listening to Armand Gamache mysteries on audiobooks from the library.  I have listened to two of those this week.  I have read four books this week. 

Of course, all of this keeps me from turning on the t.v. and hearing the crap that is being hashed out there on the news.  I have limited my time on Facebook.  I do enjoy certain computer games, but that's when I take a break.  I haven't been watching as much Netflix as I normally do. 

So do we listen to ourselves and take breaks when our hands or our eyes or our backs or our families tell us it is time to do so?  I hope most people do.  I remember the "old days" prior to shows that I would make myself sick working crazy hours to finish the last pieces, label them, price them, etc.  No more of that.  I am not on a time schedule any more. 

I will say that I do set a goal to completely finish one hexagon in a week.  According to many of the others, that is slow knitting.  I just don't like to sit and knit all day long. 

If the weather keeps up, I may be mowing the yard one more time.  It has been coolish in the mornings and late evenings, but it is warm in the day time.  Little or no rain lately.  I have been watching for the first frost, but none so far.  Weird!

I guess I just wanted to expound on the question of the day.  Do You Take Breaks!

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Almost All Chores Completed

I am strong enough this year to do my Fall chores.  Thank God(dess) that the doctor took me off the statins.  I have only one or two things to do yet, but it isn't as if they are pressing.  Today I got the fuel stabilizer in the riding mower and she is draped with her cover and ready for a winter's nap.

I am on my 7th hexagon now, and it is interesting to see how these colors play out.  Here are the first six.  That last one-lime and turquoise and purple- started with some handspun for the white part.  I had just a little teeny ball and wanted to experiment.  Close up it is obviously not the smooth worsted spun mill yarn.

I can't seem to get Blogger to work right.  For some reason it started out in the center of the line.
This morning I heard a white-throated sparrow.  This is always an indicator of changing seasons.  I just kept on filling up feeders and water stations.  For some reason the birds like the dog watering bowl on the deck instead of the official bird bath.  I also put a shallow dish my friend CF made a long, long, long time ago out front.  I see birds bathing in that a lot, and sometimes I see squirrels and chipmunks drinking. 
See how it is doing this crazy thing.
We have had 80's for a number of days.  It was fine the day that it was gusting 40 mph winds.  But yesterday and today it is HOT and HUMID!  I hate being all hot and sticky in mid-October.  I know that I absolutely hate cold that lasts and lasts.  But I don't want to be hot and sticky in October. 
I have been revisiting some books that I am not sure if I have read on the library audiobook selections. If it turns out I have read them a while back, I will still listen.  If for some reason I remember how the mystery turns out, I return it.  It is amazing to me how listening to a book makes it a different book than one that I have actually read.  I guess our imaginations really do fill in gaps as we read.  I like that part of reading.  I just find it entertaining to listen when I work.
Supposedly a front is coming in with cooler temps and rain.  We have occasional clouds moving overhead.  A frog was singing for rain earlier. 
I have pulled out all my cat fabrics and I am amazed at the amount that I have.  I didn't even count the smaller pieces from my cat quilt.  I think it is time to make a child's quilt for my neighbor's charity.
Noodles has been really busy killing rodents.  His teeth are so bad that he can't quite eat them like he used to.  But he can still KILL the darn things.  It is gross, but it is nature.
I am knitting a jacket finally.  I am using my blue handspun that is larger than my normal handspun.  It is soft and squishy and I am really liking it.  It is simply large mitered squares.  The first row is a triangle, a square, and a half-square.  The second row is three squares.  I am on the middle row.  Then the third row is a square, a half-square, and a triangle.  It is fascinating to see how it coming out.
I am also still knitting on the stripe-y blanket.  I love the colors in this one.  Not sure who it will go to.  I am sure I will find a deserving home somewhere.  I always find a good home.
So I am now making myself a toasted cheese sandwich.  I am a tad bit hungry.  Have a good rest of the week and a good weekend.  Just not 80 degrees, please.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

It's Been A While

I am no longer a regular writer on this blog.  It doesn't really interest me as it once did. 

Yes, I am a hermit, a curmudgeon, and I like living in a peaceful routine of my own choosing.

Sometimes I am pulled away by others.  Sometimes I am pulled away by things I read or see or hear. 

For the most part Noodles and I are peacefully co-existing in our lives together.  (He is in my lap now as I type).

I have a friend that is a little off center.  She has had a very traumatized life and she does not deal with it well.  She and I met some friends yesterday, and today she has built a part of the conversation into a conspiracy to prevent her from learning something or getting something - or something.  She called this a.m. to discuss her feelings.  It took quite some time for me to understand what she was talking about.  I clarified what I heard in the conversation. 

It also made me realize that my life is simple, peaceful, and not quite so dramatic. For that I am most grateful.

I am presently knitting Persian Dreams.  It is a series of hexagons that are knit in color work.  Each is different.  Each is designed to represent Persian tiles.  My hex's don't look like tiles.  They are just pretty.  I have completed six, and #7 is on the needles.

I have also started a jacket made with handspun.  I like it.  It is squishy and soft and rather pretty.  I am not sure it would make anyone else happy, but it is making me happy making it.

I am also knitting a ripple blanket using six colors.  I also like it.  I don't know who sill get it when it is done.  Of course, I spent a long time the other night un-knitting (tinking) six rows to find a mistake.  I never found the mistake, but my numbers were right.  So I started knitting again.  It is coming out correct this time.  I have made up the part that I tinked.

I have also discovered some pretty purple-ly merino that I had in the drawer.  After I divided it out, I have spun and plied one skein.  It is time to get to the next bit so I can finish out the roving.  I love the colors in this one.

I have listed to several books on tape while I have knit, spun, and rested my eyes with a warm compress.  I am into some of the J.A. Jance books I haven't read.  I also have a new Hamish McBeth mystery audiobook on Hold at the library.  When I checked tonight I am next on the list.  It has been two months since I placed it on hold.  I continue to read my Kindle at night before bed.

I have been preparing for winter, and today was "drying apples" day.  I like to snack on the dried apples, but they are also good in oatmeal.  I have made apple butter.  Applesausce is next.  I think I still have one container in the freezer that needs to be eaten soon.

I have been cleaning gutters, trimming trees away from the house, and trying to get things done that have to get done before cold.  I did get the furnace checked and ready.  I still have to put the stuff in the gas tanks of the mowers that keeps them from separating and the water freezing.  Whatever that is called.  There are some plants I need to transplant.  Nothing urgent now.  Just a few chores.

I guess I can say that my life is moving slowly and steadily.  Nothing earth shaking going on.  I still don't know exactly what the phone call was about this a.m.  I just listened and didn't try to stir the pot too much. 

I found a light blue cashmere scarf at a thrift store, and I am studying it.  I think I need to dye it somehow.  Don't know yet.

My neighbor has started some of us making quilts for the new children's hospital scheduled to open next year.  I pulled out my "cat prints" and I have tons.  I think I can make at least one, maybe two.  I am going to make courthouse steps quilt as you go.  It is easy once the pieces are cut and prepped. 

So sorry I haven't care enough to write.  Really there is nothing exciting going on.  Just routine chores and knitting and spinning, and sewing going on.  I will say it is time to prepare for winter, although it is 80 degrees outside tomorrow.  It won't last.

Happy Full Moon.  Enjoy the moonlight and thank Grandmother Moon for blessing us tonight.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Labor Day-2016

I guess I have been waiting for summer to get here all summer.  Our usual weather of 100+ degrees for days and days and days with 100% humidity never appeared.  We certainly had our awful high temps that made the "feels like" temp 100.  Then we would go through a spell of rain and cooler temps.  I guess 80 degrees doesn't feel like cooler to some folks.  Usually by July the drought comes, the grass slows down, the flowers are over, the trees look parched and a lot of leaves dry up.  Not this year.  It has rained more than normal.  The trees are green and lush and I have been mowing weekly.

Now we have had cooler weather for a while.  In August!  It is always one of the hottest months.  We actually got down in the low 50's at night!  Of course, the daytime would heat up to high 80's.

This week we are supposed to have normal temps in the high 80's and low 90's.  I had to turn the overhead fan back on in the bedroom last night.  It is just too strange and too weird.

I have finished two hexagons in the Persian Dreams blanket.  I am on number three.  So far the colors on this one is my favorite.  I am also still working on the Stripey Blanket.  It is worsted weight yarn and is knitting much faster. 

I am plying the second skein of the roving I bought in Kelleyville at the fiber show.  I love the odd lime green that is shot throughout.  I think it is cheerful.  The fiber blends are easy to spin.  It is merino, Polworth and silk.  I now have a nice collection of blue yarns. 

I am think that perhaps I can use all these blue handspun yarns in a knitted jacket.  I am looking at Melody Johnson's Mitered Diamond Jacket.  I think it would be a way to blend some of the blues I have spun.  I don't have enough of one color, but I think the many skeins could combine easily.  Still thinking on this.

I have decided to cancel my trip to Taos.  I know I can drive that far without a problem-except for the tired factor.  I don't think it would be enjoyable if I have to really push myself to drive, drive, drive. It comes down to "at what price" are you willing to push yourself.  It has been a very difficult decision to make.  It also means a reality check is in place.  "No, you are no longer 40 years old."  Ugh!  That one is hard. 

Noodles is another consideration.  I know I can find someone to house/cat sit.  It would be difficult for him, but he can adjust.  I am noticing changes in him lately that indicate his age.  Two old folks living in one house.  UGH! 

I also remember that once I started seeing changes in Patty, I started being more vigilant about her care.  He is the same now.  I know it is silly to some that "he is only a cat".  I am his caregiver.  I took on the responsibility to see that he is cared for.  It is my responsibility to make sure he is safe and loved and has the quality of life he deserves.  It doesn't mean I have to do crazy things; it means I just have to be aware.

I am noticing that I spend more time trying to figure out where he is during the day.  I don't intrude on his space.  This morning I saw the wild cat sitting by the burn barrel across the yard.  Noodles was unaware that Mr. Stinky was watching him and me.  I looked out the window several times just watching.

I have been reading more-again- and I have been listening to audible books while I knit or spin.  I really like that my library has the "cloud" system and I can just download it to the computer.  I can listen on my IPad while knitting or my computer while spinning.

I noticed that my eating is beginning to change with the cooler weather.  Yesterday I heated up some leftover rice and put some milk, sugar, and cinnamon on it.  Voila!  Rice cereal.  Soon it will be time for oatmeal.  I guess I eat way too much toast with peanut butter, but that is my go-to breakfast.  Cheese is my go-to snack.  Soon-hot cereals.  I made a meatloaf last night.  That's cooler weather food.  Aren't human beings the strangest creatures?

I went back to weaving on the ribbon weaving.  I think I have un-woven more on this loom than any loom I have ever had.  It is a strange feeling to not quite get what I want.  I guess I am so used to overshot and harness-weaving that is so structured.  It is varied by colors and textures.  I am usually ahead of the game with that. 

I know I am getting more rigid about some things.  I follow the patterns pretty closely.  I vary a few things.  I am unsure if it is rigidity or fear of change or fear of spontaneity or laziness or what it is.
It's okay in my world, but I don't want it spilling over to other people's worlds. 

September is the change month.  We have Fall arriving the 22nd.  Officially anyway.  Then soon October.  I saw on Facebook- "This is the beginning of the Ber months."  What a pun!

I guess I have procrastinated enough.  Time to get spinning.  I am almost through with this plying.

Happy Labor Day!  I am still going to wear white if I want to.