Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

May your every wish come true.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Springtime in Autumn

Autumn is my favorite time of year. Cool mornings, knitting on the porch, approaching holidays, relief from searing temperatures, birthdays, socktoberfest - this time of year refreshes my soul. The best part of the season, however, are the colors. In the mountains, we take in these sights. But down here in the valley, it's plantin' time. Peach and pink and white and burgundy and purple and yellow and green. . .

. . .and orange.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Lost and. . .Still Lost.

A text conversation (textversation? convertextion?) with Daren.

Note: We use whole words and complete sentences when we text. Call us old-fashioned.

Daren: Did I leave my USB drive at the office the other night?

Me: Yes. I put it in the drawer.

D: Thanks. I'm losing my mind.

M: I put that in the drawer, too.

D: Still can't find THAT. I think it ran away.

M: Oh. I wonder whose mind is in the drawer then.

D: Mom's! :-D

Later that morning, mom told me for the 57423 time that she didn't know where her mind was.

I told her to look in the drawer.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

The Right Thing to Say

The other day we all arrived home at the same time. I had picked Ceres up from school and Dave was finished working for the day. I noticed my husband looked tired and grumpy. Nevertheless, I was happy to see him. As he stumbled toward the front door, I addressed him.

Me: "I honey, you're home!"

Mr. Grumpy Pants: "Grumble, grumble."

Me: "I see that you come home to your family with and smile on your face and a spring in your step."

MGP: "Grumble, grumble."

At this point Ceres, my dear teenager, has lugged his cello out of the back of the car and chimes in.

Ceres: ". . . and a fart in your butt."

MGP: (smiles)

My dear husband's sour mood is lifted.

And I can't stop laughing.

The dreaded teenager years are turning out to be quite entertaining.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Summer Series 2009 - Aestlight Shawl and Other Things Shetland

Several months ago, Sydney began radiation treatment on her throat for anaplastic thyroid cancer. A few weeks after the treatment started, she texted me and asked if I had any hats she could wear because the bottom 2 inches of her hair were falling out and she wanted to hide the bald spots. I had a cabled beanie in yellow and brown tones that I sent her way, but knew that she needed something cuter and more stylish. I was thinking of a beret. And so I combed through hundreds of beret patterns on ravelry and came up with a few that I liked. I had my favorite, but thought I'd ask Candace her opinion. My favorite was her favorite, too. Two different faces, but in tight places we think and we act as one, mmhmm.

My main concern was that, although it was still February up there in Utah, the beret might be too warm. The pattern had enough of a lace pattern to allow for airflow - I just needed a lightweight yarn that would still hold shape. I decided on Mirasol Nuna in colorway Royal Purple, a wool/silk/bamboo blend with beautiful sheen and rich colors, and got to work.

I fell in love with the beret. It's Bousta Beret from The Shetland Trader (Gudrun Johnston). Such a beautiful pattern that was quick and easy to knit up and included an adorable i-cord "tail" at the top. The yarn was smooth, the color deep and mesmerizing. I sent it along to my dear sister, but knew I had to make more for Candace and Toni.

But first, me.

Haha, I can be selfish when no one else knows my plans. And for me, the color is green, of course. Again Mirasol Nuna. Candace's beret came next. Since I was making berets in our favorite colors, I needed a yellow yarn. And here Mirasol failed me. I was hoping for twinsy (squared) berets for the four of us - same pattern, same yarn. But Mirasol doesn't make Nuna in yellow. So I searched elsewhere, and found that yellow, a really beautiful, soft, not greenish or orangey or grayish yellow, is hard to find. I finally settled on Louisa Harding Kashmir DK, a wool/microfiber/cashmere yarn in a beautiful sunny yellow. Toni's beret is in Mirasol Nuna colorway Myrtle (blue) to match her lovely eyes. I asked Candace if she thought Toni would wear the beret. She said she didn't know but that it sure is pretty. Ha, I agree.

cute i-cord

My love affair wasn't over, though. There were more Shetland Trader patterns to try. And the Breiwick beret was begging to be knit up. I found a nice lime colored yarn - Cascade Yarns 220 Heathers - and spent my Memorial Day weekend in the AZ White Mountains knitting the beret. I love this beret. So comfortable, the design so pleasing. I wear it around the house (for about 2 minutes, until my head gets hot) and dream of a day, in about 4 months, when it might actually be cool enough here to wear it outside.

I was also discovering that Gudrun's designs were a perfect combination of simplicity and beauty. Curious about what projects she was working on I began to follow her blog. And then, in June, she called out to her readers for some volunteers to test knit a shawl she had designed. I immediately left a comment that I was willing to give it a go. To my surprise and glee, she chose me as one of the test knitters. The shawl is called Aestlight (east light), and Gudrun had knit up a lovely shawl in a golden color. I chose a variegated yarn by Schaefer Yarn Company in blue and coppery and pink tones. It reminded me of the color of the sky here in Arizona before sunrise. It's a wonderful yarn, soft and smooth with strong stitch definition.

The pattern was pretty much perfect, so I spent my time just enjoying the knitting. I'm not a huge fan of garter stitch (which makes up the body of the shawl), preferring instead some stitch variation to keep me interested. But, again, simplicity here didn't necessarily mean boring. Before I knew it, I was on to the border, working a easy and beautiful lace pattern. And then came the edge, knitted sideways to the shawl, finishing the shawl one stitch at a time.

I love this shawl and have already started another. Mom and Velma also love the shawl and have asked if I'm giving it away to anyone (i.e, to one of them). Hmmm, I don't know - but wouldn't it be nice to have a Christmas gift finished already? Yeah, right. Not my style.

I think Gudrun struck gold with this shawl. It was such a fun experience to test knit for her.


I love my sisters, and the opportunities they give me to knit for them. I love making these things and knowing they're for someone special. Sydney is going to be okay and I am so thankful for that, and for her. She is an important part of my life. I'm pretty sure she knows that - even if she doesn't read my blog.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Summer Series 2009 - Puppies

I forgot how adorable puppies can be. This is Rinka's four week old litter. All male. There was a female, but she did not survive - poor thing.

The light colored pup is T-Bone. Dave's decided we're keeping him. He was the biggest and fattest pup of the litter when they were born. The others have caught up to his size, but he continues to be the leader of the pack, so to speak, and very independent. The chocolate pup is the runt of the litter. His name is Rocky. His coloring reminds me of Rocky Road ice cream (mmmm, ice cream). He's still the smallest, and his brothers sometimes pick on him, but he's holding his own. I've kinda grown attached to him. From the front he looks like a little bulldog - his legs are still bowed and his front paws are huge. We don't have names for the black puppies yet. Right now they go by Gray Socks and White Socks.

For the first two weeks of their lives we didn't have access to the puppies because Rinka hid them deep under a large lantana bush (have I mentioned how much I hate lantanas?). But Ceres and Dave managed to belly-crawl their way into the den to check on them and to pull them out. We bring them inside the house in the afternoon for some A/C therapy. It doesn't matter how big a bush is, it's not going to keep them cool in 115 degree weather. In the past couple of days, however, nobody has had to crawl under the bush because the pups are hanging out outside of it, playing and napping under the shade of the pomegranate tree. Life is good for the little guys.

The Cat hates them all, of course, and sleeps on my bed until we take them back outside.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Summer Series 2009 - Aikido

So many things to write about and no desire to write it. I blame it on the weather. Too hot, no rain - even the pool is almost too warm to enjoy. Sigh.

The days keep coming and going and I'll soon forget them. So, in no particular order, I am committing myself to a series of blog posts about this summer. Here's a list (to help remind me):
  • puppies
  • Aikido
  • shawl
  • camping
  • 4th of July
  • hoo-ha
  • boot camp
  • Candace's wedding (a year ago)
  • Baby (the dog)
Curious? So am I.

Today, I'll start with Aikido.
A year ago we put Ceres in an Aikido class to keep him active during the lazy days of his summer. We fully expected him to hate it and quit after the first month. At the end of the first class I asked him what he thought. He gave his standard answer, a shrug of the shoulders and an "it's okay", which totally got me excited because this meant he was giving it a chance. And he did. In fact, he is still studying it, looking forward to each class. And he has never once - let me say that again - not once complained about having to go. My record, I'm sorry to admit, was never that good when it came to ballet.

And so, almost exactly a year after his first class, Ceres tested for and was promoted to the rank of Rokkyu. That's a yellow belt in case you are wondering. We are so proud of him! Proud of his committment, his confidence, his character. I love this kid!

Sensei David Keller and Ceres
To read previous posts about Aikido, go here (where it started), and here (first test).

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

What Does the Cat Like To Do?

Sleep on the newly knit sock.

How does Dobbs react to the discovery? "That punk cat!"

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Washington DC

I need to write something here. But where to start?

Ceres' Close Up D.C. trip? It might be nice to preserve that memory ... from my perspective. Which is, that those 6 days in Washington were all a blur to me, and probably Ceres too. Ceres was whisked from one tourist sight to the next, given only an hour or two at each place. The things I remember most about his trip were that the Obama's were always gettin' in the way of Ceres' fun. As in, the kids were shoo-ed away from the White House gate because the Obama's were coming out to walk their dog; and they couldn't sit in on a session of Congress because the First Lady was attending and security had been ramped up (in other words, threat alert, no school children and their cameras allowed). Other than that, Ceres got to see memorials and museums, a bell, and maybe a library - but only a taste of these places. I wonder what place he gives this opportunity in his heart and memory. It's more than I've ever experienced and I'm grateful that this is his moment to keep.

I sure missed the kid though. I closed his bedroom door while he was away so that his mess wouldn't make me miss him more. We anxiously awaited his call every night, despite Ceres being a creature of few words and we having to reach into the furthest corners of our curiosity to ask enough questions to keep him on the phone and the conversation going. I sensed, though, that Ceres didn't want the calls to end - even when there was silence between the lines. I would ask if he wanted to go and he would say no, it's ok. It made me feel good to now that he missed us too and pined for home.

And the kid amazed me with his picture taking skills. Seriously. These are the first pictures he's ever taken. I gave him my old Samsung A400, and after a brief tutorial on how to use it Ceres was cranking out these. (I'd caption these, but Ceres isn't home. Maybe, when he has a moment to spare in his super busy summer vacation schedule, he can tell me where these photos were taken.)


p.s. Ceres forgot to take his belt, so he bought one in the hotel gift shop. It's a money belt (fitting). I'd take a picture of it, but I can't find it. Ceres is probably wearing it right now wherever he is in his super busy summer vacation schedule.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Ai Que Vida (part 2)

This is a video I found on youtube today. Loved it. Reminds me of the way I like to choreograph - with a bit of quirkiness while maintaining technique and beautiful lines. Love the dancers, too - classically trained yet versatile.

I need to choreograph something.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Without Interruption

Things I did this afternoon.

1. Watched last night's episodes of the Office, 30 Rock and Samantha Who?. I did not watch them last night because, in a reversal of roles I can only blame on the full moon, I could not stay awake while Dave enjoyed every moment of the shows with full mental clarity and eyes wide open. I'm surprised he wasn't knitting, too.

2. Photographed the Mother of Pearl Scarf before I send it off to Elisabeth.

Even if she can't use it until October, at least she can hang it above her bed, or frame it, or twirl around her room while holding it in her outstretched arms singing "I could've danced all night" and admiring its beauty.

3. Raveled the Mother of Pearl Scarf,

and the green Bousta Beret,

and Ceres' Lacunae hat.
(Note: Downloading my pictures to the computer, then to Flickr, just so I can get them on Ravelry is a pain in my buttocks.)

4. Marveled at the amount of dust that has collected in the house since the weather got nice enough to keep the windows open.

5. Thought about how something should be done about that dust.

6. Decided the garbage is not going to take itself out. Neither will Dave or Ceres be taking out the garbage as they are camping tonight. I have reluctantly agreed with myself that I must take out the garbage because, conveniently for Dave and Ceres, I can't stand it any more. (No pictures - sorry.)

7. Snipped a little rose for my little vase.

8. Turned on Direct TV to find the channel set to the XM-Grunge music station. Left it on while I did the above items.

9. Realized that I not only recognize, but can also sing along and head bang to more '90s grunge music than I'd like to admit.

10. Felt the wind (and dust) rushing through the house, watched the clouds roll in and decided that, no matter the temperature inside or out, a nice cup of hot cocoa is in order.