Wednesday, March 31, 2010

For the first time in 5 days, there is sun outside the window and no precipitation is falling out of the sky.  It just lifts my spirits to see.  Yesterday when we were leaving work, I thought I saw snowflakes falling on the windshield of the car.  It was cold and rainy but I didn't realize it was that cold.  The weather forcast was for a "wintry mix" so I was probably right.  It's disconcerting since they are predicting practically balmy weather for the upcoming weekend.

I was thinking maybe we could have a picnic for Easter dinner but the ground will be too squishy.  It's going to take a few weeks of dry weather for the ground to firm up.

I have been working on my evenstar shawl but it's slow going.  I didn't even make it through two rows last night.  I wasn't in the mood and I didn't want to mess it up.  Each row is 560 stitches at this point so it's not a quick knit.  It's been a little contentious over there on the kal boards on ravelry.  In theory, I guess if you get over 1,000 people together, there will be someone who isn't happy.  I've never done a 'mystery' kal before so I don't know how these things usually go but the lack of tolerance from some people has surprised me.  Now, let me state for the record that I believe everyone has the right to express their frustrations and opinions (as long as they're civil about it).  What's bothering me is the fact that other people jump on top of the person who has expressed a frustration.  Why do people take these things so personally?  The level of angst escalates so quickly.  It sometimes feels like a middle school fight!  I've tried to back away but since I'm one of the moderators, I kinda have to read through and help keep the peace.  I think it's that cyber space anonymity thing. 

It's Wednesday so it's a gym day.  I'll be sure to be gentler with myself so I can make it to knit night.  Last week I made myself sick overdoing it on the cardio. 
And yes, things here are generally open on Good Friday.  I think it's all part of that separation of church/state in the Constitution.  Banks will close early (but banks always close early) but most businesses are open.  My office is open all but a few holidays each year.  We only close for Memorial Day, July 4th, Labor Day, Thanksgiving (but not the day after), Christmas and New Year's Day.  Six days out of 260 (we're closed weekends but someone is on call).  I understand it, we're a mental health center.  We NEED to be open. Our crisis center is open 24/7 for emergencies.

Today is a quiet day.  We have a client Talent Show this afternoon and that is always entertaining.  Some of our clients will get up on stage and perform.  We have some singers and dancers and some poetry readers.  It's usually a festive time and usually held in February but the snow forced us to postpone things.  So, I'm off to admire the talent.  I keep threatening to one day bring in my baton and do a twirling routine!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

I have been computer-less (or is that computer free?) since last Wednesday.  Kate went to a convention in Boston with some friends and Elanor stayed at their apartment to take care of the dog.  I let her take my computer with her so she would be able to play games and have something to do (Kate was taking her laptop with her and Patrick's isn't working). 

I figured I could go for a few days, especially since I have a computer at work and can use it all day.  Well, it seemed like a long time.  I didn't realize the number of times I reach for the laptop when I'm bored or just want to look something up.  I'm actually very dependent on the machine and I'm not quite sure how that happened.  And I 'm also not sure if I like that.  I think I want to start instituting computer free weekends and see how that goes.  There is way more to life than staring at a computer screen.

Such as beautiful handknit socks.  I finished my Go with the Flow socks made from the Patonyle that Tinkingbelle sent me at Christmastime.  And I have to say that this might be my all time favorite sock yarn.  The stitch definition is so crisp and the yarn itself is soft without being too soft.  It was a pleasure to work with.  These have been sitting by the bed and also have spent time in the gym bag for those days when I finish my workout before Pk is finished his.  Little bits of time that added up to a whole pair of socks. 

Em's birthday is Friday.  We're going to take dinner and go visit her on Saturday night.  We'll put together all the fixins for tacos and some red beans and rice and that way she won't be cooking for us when it's her birthday.  Kate's going to make a chocolate cake so all Em will have to do is sit back and enjoy.

I didn't get back to knit night.  I overdid it at the gym and felt really sick Wednesday night.  It turned into a bout of dizziness which took two days to fight off.  I have labrynthitis (a disturbance of the inner ear).  If my inner ears get inflamed (or my sinuses get inflamed and impinge on them) I get dizzy.  The room spins.  Fortunately, I have medication and it almost always works but it takes time and for a bit I feel awful.  The medication tends to make me sleepy (doesn't all medicine seem to make us sleepy?) so I've been fighting off slumber for the last few days and losing the battle.  I slept on and off all weekend.

Even at the concert last night!  It was good music.  Leo Kotke is one of the best guitar players ever.  He is so talented and so enjoyable to listen to and I wanted to close my eyes and sleep.  It didn't help that the people in front of us seemed to have inordinately large heads (ok, not really, but her head was right in my line of sight) and I had to contort my neck to see the stage.  It's an old theater and while it's architecturally beautiful and there are no really bad seats, if the people in front of you are taller than you are, you're screwed.

Easter is next week and for the first time ever, I have not bought any Easter candy.  Pk and I are working to be healthier and putting the sugary treats in our path is just torture.  I love Easter candy and so does he.  We might break down and buy some Peeps just to let them get stale.  I love them when they're stale and all chewy.  I'm cooking ham and potato salad and baked beans and cheesecake for Easter dinner.  I've only ever made cheesecake once and couldn't find the springform pan so I bought another one.  I have been craving cheesecake lately so I'm looking forward to this. 

Easter was mostly a secular holiday in our house.  There were eggs to dye and eggs to hide and Easter baskets to fill.  There were new dresses and lacy anklets and chocolate bunnies.  Pk and I will dye some eggs, just not the 3 or 4 dozen of years past.  We just don't need that many hard boiled eggs!  The funny thing is, I am not sad about this.  I won't miss buying Easter grass and finding it all over the house for days.  I will miss jelly beans so maybe I'll buy a small bag. 

The group went well at work.  I work two jobs really.  In one, I am a case manager and take care of paperwork and listening to people's troubles and help them find solutions (they usually know what they have to do, they just need help remembering).  I also work in the Social Rehabilitation program.  People with severe and persistent mental illness tend to isolate themselves and soc rehab helps bring them back into the community.  I run groups on medication and wellness; interpersonal relations and developing a wellness plan.  I like my group work best of all.  It's the most individual focused and I get to really relate to others.  I get more job satisfaction out of a well run group than a well filled out form.

Back to work tomorrow but it's a short week.  Pk's company closes for Good Friday (odd to find that a company still closes for a religious holiday) so I took the day off. 

Have a good Monday. 

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Wanna see something cool?  This is the Evenstar shawl after clue 3.  Well, almost after.  I just completed the increase row and went from 280 stitches to 560 stitches and now I have 6 rows of plain knitting to finish before I'm finished.  I reknit clue 2 three times until I was satisfied with it and clue 3 only needed one try (thank goodness).  The green lifelines separate the clues.  I wasn't sure I was happy with the yarn I chose.  I thought it would be too thin and wouldn't show the details but it seems to be good.  I'll be ready for clue 4 on Friday and I'll wait until Saturday or Sunday to start it so I can see it finished.  Someone always finishes in the first 24 hours and posts a photo.  I'm grateful.  I like to see what it's supposed to look like.

In other knitting news, I am planning to go to knit night tomorrow after the gym.  Kate is planning to go as well.  We'll pick her up after the gym and get some dinner and then head out.  I'd like to take something interesting to knit but I think I'd better stick with the socks. 

Pk and I are going to see Leo Kotke and Los Lobos on Saturday night.  I'll take some cool yarn and start a pair of plain socks.  I figure I can get them at least cast on and the ribbing done before we go and then I can knit during the show.   

Spring is all around us here.  It's been raining again but the temps have been balmy and the daffodils are blooming.  You can't walk anywhere without sinking in the wet ground.  It's squishy.  We are already an inch and a half over the average rain for March and March isn't over yet.  I don't think we'll have to worry about drought for a while.

Work has been quiet.  Today's clinic was a tough one.  Only four women were scheduled but all four of them had been having suicidal thoughts in the last few weeks.  They calmly sit in the chair and explain how it would be just fine with them if they didn't wake up tomorrow.  Three of them have plans and all have tried in the past and didn't complete the act.  It's heartbreaking.  I sit and try not to make light of their burdens but at the same time, I want to point out the things they have to live for. (but not be patronizing)  It's a fine line. 

Pk met me at the station and we came home and I spent some time in the kitchen making chicken parm and baked ravioli.  Pk offered to get some take out but it was soothing to cook.  I was wiped out but spending time in the kitchen was restorative and I felt up to tackling the last few rows of the patterned part of the lace. 

This is what we came home to today.  My favorite
of all the spring flowers.  It's hard to believe that a month ago we were under 3 feet of snow and today we have daffodils.  Next the hyacinths and tulips and grape hyacinths will come up.  At least I hope we'll have tulips.  The squirrels love tulip bulbs and have eaten a good deal of the ones we planted.  I'm too lazy to dig them up in the summer and replant them. 

I'm off to bed.  The time change is still messing with my inner clock and I tend to fall asleep at my desk in the morning.  A little extra sleep couldn't hurt.  I have a group to lead tomorrow and it always goes better if I'm awake.  We're going to talk about mental health vs mental illness.  Could make for an interesting discussion.  How do you define mental health?  And how different would you feel if you defined yourself in terms of your mental  health instead of your mental illness?  I can't wait.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

A couple of things.  First, I do know you can substitute soured milk for buttermilk and I've done that for some recipes.  The taste is nowhere near the same.  The chemical content of the acid works in whatever recipe I'm using but the deep buttermilk taste only comes out if you use real buttermilk. ( and thanks bells for letting me know it freezes!  I'm going to try that)

Second.  Biscuits here at my house are a staple. (This could be one reason going to the gym is a necessity).  They are breadlike products that are sooooo good with almost any meal.  You can buy biscuits in a can by Pillsbury but they're only ok.  Truly good biscuits can be made quickly and easily.  They're good with butter and honey or jam or jelly or gravy or (insert your favorite substance here).  I thought I'd share my recipe for biscuits in case you live in one of those places where biscuits are not part of the cuisine.

Baking Powder Biscuits

4 cups of flour
1 tsp salt
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1/3 cup shortening (you can use butter or margarine or Crisco)

Put the flour, salt and baking powder in a large bowl.  Using a pastry cutter, cut the shortening into the dry ingredients until it's small and well mixed.
Add enough milk to form a soft dough.  Knead the dough gently until it is not sticky and then pat it out on the counter until it's about 1/2 inch thick.
Using a cookie cutter or a glass dipped in flour, cut the dough into rounds.  You can also just use a knife and have square biscuits.
Bake at 375 degrees F for about 15 mins or until browned.
Slather with butter and enjoy.

You can also make drop biscuits by adding extra milk and then dropping the dough by large tablespoonsful onto baking sheets or into muffin tins.  Bake the same.

If you want to use buttermilk, add 1/4 tsp baking soda to the dry ingredients and then substitute the buttermilk.  They're wonderful.

These are especially good with sausage gravy on top.

Third.  Last night I did something I have been promising myself I would do for a long time.  I almost chickened out at the last minute but I realized that if I didn't just jump in, it would never happen.  What was this momentous event?  I went to a knitting group and introduced myself to a small group of strangers.

I got a PM on ravelry last week from a woman saying that they had a group that met on Wednesday nights in the area and she invited me to go.  They're not an organized group.  It's all very casual.  I thought I can do this.  So, after the gym last night, Pk and I had dinner and then he drove with me (he didn't want me to go alone.  For some reason he was worried that things might not work out) and we found the bookstore where the group meets.  I found the new Vogue Knitting to look at and then I found them.  It was a bit awkward since the woman who had issued the invitation wasn't there.  But, they invited me to sit down and I did.  It's a small group, only 7 women and they've been together for a time so there was lots of conversation about things I didn't know.( someone explained some of the back stories for me so I could follow along )  Everyone was either knitting or crocheting things and it was all very pleasant.  Finally the woman who had issued the invitation came and it seemed to make it ok with everyone else.

It's hard to be the new person in an established group.  Especially a small group.  I wasn't sure how I felt most of the time and wasn't sure how they felt having a stranger invade their space.  All the way up to the time we went in the front door, I was sure I should just go home.  Even if nothing ever comes of this, I'm glad I went.  Next week Kate wants to go too so it'll be different again. And who knows?  Maybe this will be a group that I can fit in with and enjoy.

That's all for now from here.  We are enjoying a spate of absolutely perfect weather.  I was thinking of a picnic on Sunday but I think I might be rushing the season a bit.  The ground is still rather wet and it might be very cool.  We could just take some chairs and sit by the river in the sun.  Sounds like a bit of heaven.  There will be some knitting and maybe some spinning.  Of course, this all comes after Power Yoga.......

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

It's that time again.  Not only do we have crocuses in the garden (this is a photo from last year.  They're in the middle of  really muddy patch and I can't get close enough to take a good photo), its time for one of our all time favorite breads.   Yep, that's a loaf of Irish Soda Bread.  I remembered to buy enough buttermilk when we went shopping so we could make several loaves.  Buttermilk isn't something I keep around the house.  No one drinks it (I think it would make me gag) but it makes wonderful biscuits and soda bread. 

Pk wanted a loaf to take into work tomorrow for St. Patrick's Day.  We got home from work a little late (I had clients who needed to be seen by the doctor today and so I made sure they were seen-it took a little longer) and changed our clothes and settled in for a mini marathon.  Elanor and I made 8 loaves of bread.  Each recipe makes 2 so it was only 4 batches.  We gave Kate and Patrick a loaf (and then I found out he doesn't like raisins) and Pk will take a loaf into work and so we have 6 loaves left.  Well, 5 1/2 since we ate half a loaf already.   I'll put 4 into the freezer and I guarantee they won't last long.  It's something I only make at St. Pat's day so it's special.  And there's enough buttermilk left for some really good biscuits for breakfast on Sunday morning.  Not cookie type biscuits but kind of like unsweetened scones.  (I don't know what you call these if you call cookies biscuits)

Otherwise, things are quiet here.  The rain finally stopped.  We had almost 3 inches of water in the lowest level of the house.  Nothing is damaged since this is not the first time we've flooded and we have everything up on metal shelves.  It's a storage area (and the laundry room) so no furniture or anything got wet.  There is still alot of standing water all around.  Fortunately, the weather is supposed to be sunny and unseasonably warm for the next few days.  We can dry out.

I ripped out clue 2 of my shawl and am in the process of re-knitting it.  The stitches for clue 3 weren't matching up the way I thought they were supposed to.  It's a good thing I think of myself as a process knitter.  Actually, I want this to be the best I can make it so ripping it out and redoing it didn't bother me as much as I thought it would.

So, Happy St. Patrick's Day to you.   In the US everyone is Irish on St. Patrick's Day.  I have Irish ancestors (and English and Dutch and German and......).  My grandmom used to tell me we were mutts.  Such a mixture of peoples.  I think of myself as an American.  But tomorrow, I'll be Irish and wear green and eat soda bread.  And then go to the gym.  I'll have to work off all that bread.......

Saturday, March 13, 2010

I didn't have to look out the window this morning to know it was raining.  Great gusts of rain and wind have been lashing the house since late last night.  Today, the world is wet and windy.  There are large puddles all over the yard (which was snow covered until just a week ago).  I'm watching a small robin look for worms on the front yard in the pouring rain.  Our crawlspace is still dry but probably won't remain so for long.  The pump is nearby and after I eat some breakfast, I'll put it in to be ready.  All of this is fine.  Rain is good.  Unfortunately, this is a grocery shopping week for us so we'll be getting wet.

I finally made it to a yoga class at the gym.  I've been thinking about it since I saw the notice go up that it was available.  I'm really waiting for t'ai chi but I'll settle for yoga. (Now there are two robins running around out front.  I thought they were smarter than that).  I missed the Wed class because it's at 8.  Now, we have been trying to get to the gym faithfully three times a week and have been fairly successful (except for the blizzard and last week when we were both sick).  But 8 pm is not good for me.  It gives me too long to get home and get settled in.  You know what I mean.  Once the clothes get changed and the dinner is consumed, I don't want to go out.  An hour earlier would make a huge difference. 

I was happy to see it was offered at 4:30 on Friday.  I made sure to leave work early enough to get there on time and went into the darkened room.  There were 5 women (of all ages) and one older man and the instructor.  I asked him (Pete) what Power Yoga was.  (I had taken yoga classes while in college and after at a local adult night class about 30 years ago).  He explained that while yoga stretches your connective tissues, Power Yoga also strengthens your muscles.  Sounds good, right? 

In theory it is great.  In practice?  It's hard.  Very hard.  I don't think I have an exaggerated picture of how fit I am.  I KNOW I am not fit.  Thus the gym and the workouts.  I am also not flexible.  Not a little bit.  And today my body is letting me know just how inflexible it really is.

The yoga class went on for an hour.  After 10 minutes, I was sweating.  Not lady like perspiring but rolling-down-your-face sweating.  At 30 mins, I had to sit.  I rested a few and got back up and into the routine.  This is non stop movement and holding unfamiliar poses for 30 seconds while your muscles quiver.  I can't say I loved it.  It was work and after it was over, I felt truly worked out.  There are muscles all over my body that are waking up and saying Hi today.    But I'm a masochist so I'll go back next week.

The third clue in the Evenstar kal came out yesterday.  It looks interesting.  And now I have a nice wet weekend to work on it.  Pk is still asleep.  He woke up choking last night and then couldn't get to sleep again so he's sleeping in for a bit.  (and Roxie, he says he absolutely will wear the socks.  He thinks they look like fire and that's cool).

Pk and Kate and Elanor (and Kate's friend Caryn) are going to a soccer game.  It's a World Cup year (or so I've been reminded) and the US and Turkey are playing in May here in Philadelphia.  When Kate found out, she was so excited.  I ordered them tickets yesterday.  Which brings on a rant if I let it (about how Ticketmaster charges you 2.50 to print your own tickets!) but I'll let that pass.  Don't want all the serenity of the sore muscles to be wasted on a rant.

Wherever you are, I hope your weekend is a tad drier than ours!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Dinner is on the stove and I have a few minutes so I thought I'd share what I finished last night.  This is a detail of my Embossed Leaves socks made from Serenity sock yarn base (merino/cashmere/nylon)  and dyed by Roxanne of Zen Yarn Garden.  These grey/blue/rose/burgundy socks are so wonderful.  I loved working with this yarn and I adore the colors.  I wore these socks today.  In fact, I'm wearing them now.  They are cuddling my feet with softness.

I started a new pair with December's artwalk sock yarn club for Pk.  Look at this bright red, orange and yellow.  It's Diagonal Cross Rib socks by Anne Budd from 25 Favorite Socks.  I've never made these before and I'm not sure why. It's an easy pattern and so easily memorized.  It's designed for a man so it starts with 70 stitches.    Pk chose the yarn for socks for himself and promised to wear them.  The colors of the yarn doesn't detract from the pattern.  It's a little brighter than his usual socks. 
And look at this month's offering.  This came on Saturday.  It's a self striping yarn in red, dark green and black.  It will make either dramatic socks or fingerless mitts.   It's based on a painting called  Christ and the Buddha by Paul Ranson.  I have been in this yarn club since Roxanne started it and I have never been disappointed by her yarns.  She has such a wonderful knack for finding the colors in a painting that will make beautiful yarn.

The next clue in the Evenstar kal comes out on Friday.  I'll be busy with that for a while after that working on the shawl but for now I'm enjoying all the colorful sock yarns and easy patterns. 

I wanted to embed this video but for some reason cannot seem to do it.  Take the time and check it out.  It's an amazing video of sand art.  The music is a Ukranian song written shortly after the start of WWII. (Pk works with a man who is from Russia and interpreted parts of it for him). The performance is part of a talent competition.  It's absolutely amazing and touching and beautiful.  It brought tears to my eyes.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Here comes the sun, here comes the sun,
and I say it's all right
Little darling, it's been a long cold lonely winter
Little darling, it feels like years since it's been here
 Here comes the sun, here comes the sun
and I say it's all right
Little darling, the smiles returning to the faces
Little darling, it seems like years since it's been here
Here comes the sun, here comes the sun
and I say it's all right
Sun, sun, sun, here it comes...
Sun, sun, sun, here it comes...
Sun, sun, sun, here it comes...
Sun, sun, sun, here it comes...
Sun, sun, sun, here it comes...
Little darling, I feel that ice is slowly melting
Little darling, it seems like years since it's been clear
Here comes the sun, here comes the sun,
and I say it's all right
It's all right

The lyrics to that song were running through my brain all day yesterday so I thought maybe if I put it here, it might go away.  Probably not since the sun is out and shining for all it's worth again today.  Not that I am complaining.  It's almost 50 degrees. (10 C) and it feels good.  I stood outside and just absorbed the warmth and it lifted my spirits.  The robin in the photo stood in my front yard looking toward the sun, too.  He stayed there while I ran to get the camera and let me take photos of him (or her?).  When I was a kid, the robins were a sure sign that Spring was here.  Lately we've seen them all winter.  And there are green shoots coming up.  Crocuses and daffodils are on their way.

Peter Kevin standing outside in the lovely spring sunshine.  He worked in the garage (workshop) all day yesterday and loved it.  It's been too cold for him to do much woodworking since that area is not heated.  Em made him some fingerless mitts which he got a lot of use out of but still, it's not smart to operate machinery that can separate you from various body parts when you can't feel your fingers.                                       
I spent yesterday sitting inside in the sunshine (it was still a little cool to sit outside for very long) and finished clue number two of my shawl kal.  You can see the green lifelines there in plain sight.  This clue was easier because there were no strange stitches.  Strange, you say?  Well, how about a K3tog K1pl 7?  It's a decrease which is really a an increase and makes a nice little bunched up effect. (You knit through 3 stitches k1p1 7 times and then take the original three off the needle).  It's not as hard as it sounds, just different.

I like the way it's coming out.  There are 1,000 (yes one thousand) people knitting this all together.  I'm not usually a joiner but this was a chance to work with a designer that I know and who is really creative.  Susan started her design company (Sunflower Designs) only a short while ago but if you look at the number of things she has available, it's astounding.  They're all clever and beautiful.  She's also a nice person.  My shawl is being knit from the yarn I bought from Colourmart.  It's a cashmere/silk/merino (heavy on the merino, which is probably a good thing since Bells told us how easily the cashmere breaks) blend and it's a 2/28.  This makes it thin.  The knitted fabric feels weighless.  The shawl will have a beaded edge (after all 7 clues) and I bought some matching beads to give it a whirl.  I know there are mistakes in here but I can't see them without microscopic examination so I'm going to pretend they're not there.
This is the bag it lives in while it waits for the next clue to be released.  I got it at the bookstore that was closing for 70% off.  I paid two dollars and I love it.  They're all various Super Monsters.  It's plastic coated nylon and has two large pockets inside and a zippered pocket.  It holds everything and snaps shut.  Personally, I just liked the monsters.
While I was looking for a photo of the Ott light, I read some reviews and they're not good.  These things seem to have a lot of problems (which seems odd since they're just lights and have no moving parts).  People report the balast not lasting long and the bulbs burning out after a short while.  One person reported sparks and smoke.  Great.  I finally find a light that I like and it may cause a fiery conflagration.  I love it.  .  I'll just keep an eye on it, especially since it sits right next to my head.  And Hobbes?  He loves it.  When I put it on, he comes over to sit in the light.  That's him sleeping on my lap under the light. 

Today I hope to finish the Embossed Leaves socks and start a pair for Pk out of some red and yellow yarn.  He admired it and said he'll actually wear them.  This is HUGE.  When I met him, he only wore white socks.  He's gradually moved onto beige, brown, black and blue.  Black and brown stripes were daring.  This pair will be tomato red with bits of yellow interspersed.  He has firm ideas of what "guys" wear and what they don't. (He'll never wear a pink shirt). 

 I'm going to make a beef pie for dinner.  Last night we had a roast done in the crock pot and there's some left over.  (I made popovers, too.  They are like magic!).  Because I have pie crust in the freezer, this will be an easy meal.  Just cut up the meat, add some vegetables and some gravy, put it all inside the pie crust and bake.  I love pot pie. 

Other than that, today will be a pajama day.  I showered and put on lounge-around-the-house clothes.  I slept for 9 hours last night and feel like I could go back to sleep so maybe a nap is in my immediate future.  I'm still throwing off the sinus infection and it's kicked my ass.  No strenuous work.  Just some knitting, maybe a movie and some more sleep.  Tough day, huh?

Thursday, March 4, 2010

"Human beings by nature want happiness and do not want suffering. With that feeling everyone tries to achieve happiness and tries to get rid of suffering, and everyone has the basic right to do this. In this way, all here are the same, whether rich or poor, educated or uneducated, Easterner or Westerner, believer or non-believer, and within believers whether Buddhist, Christian, Jewish, Muslim, and so on. Basically, from the viewpoint of real human value we are all the same."

~His Holiness the Dalai Lama
It's all about the connections.  In my job, I see people in all stages of their lives.  We have children's programs (with which I have little contact) and programs for people who are just starting their recovery journey and those who are further along the path to mental wellness.  It is my priviledge to be invited into their lives when they're at their most vulnerable and to sometimes give them something to hold onto.  I think I've always wanted to be a counselor of some sort.  Not because I think I am particularly wise but because I believe most people already know what they want/need and just need someone outside of themselves to help them bring it out.  It fills me with quiet contentment when someone lets me know that they are having some small success and that I was somehow a part of it.  That's what it's all about. 

Being in my 50's, I have frequent thoughts of retirement (although Social Security lets me know that I shouldn't be too optimistic about that).  I look forward to being able to schedule my days according to my wants/needs and to not have to punch someone else's clock.  I will probably get involved in something else, maybe teaching literacy at the local library, to help keep myself occupied and to fill the need to help.  But for the moment, I am content to do what I can where I am. 

On the knitting front, I am almost finished my Embossed leaves socks (and they look gorgeous) and I'm on the foot of the patonyle Go with the Flow socks.  The stitch definition in that yarn is amazing.  I ripped out 30 rows of lace (I know.  Ouch), all the way back to the second lifeline (whoever invented lifelines is a hero in my book) and restarted clue number 2 on my Evenstar shawl.  I'm 8 rows in and it's looking good.  I am doing a few rows at a time rather than trying to sprint through and make mistakes.  My Ott light really comes in handy for this.  I got if for Christmas and hadn't really used it until about 2 weeks ago. I brought it upstairs where I knit at night and wow.   It makes it so much easier to see what I'm doing.  And I can focus it only on my hands and needles.   Hobbes likes it, too.  He'll curl up on my lap and sit there when I put the light on. 

Rosered asked what I would say to the Dalai Lama if I met him.  I have given this quite a bit of thought and I have no idea.  I think I'd like to sit down and have lunch with him and just have conversation.  He's been all over the world and has seen so many interesting things.  I don't think I'm smart/educated enough to keep up with him!  But somehow, I don't think that would matter too much. 

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Well, the weekend flew by.  After a "snow alert" at the end of the week during which everyone panicked and schools closed, it turned out to be a manageable 12 inches of heavy wet snow.  The snow is retreating around the house and melting slowly enough so that the pump is able to keep up with it.  And the air feels balmy this morning.  It's above freezing.  I noticed my hyacinths have poked their heads above the snow.  That is the most hopeful sight I know.  Little bits of green reaching out toward the sun.

It was a good weekend.  We went shopping and got Pk's new power supply (it's huge) and new video card for his computer.  He was so excited because it will make his game playing  much better.  Then our internet went on the fritz and the download speeds were slower than dialup. (when we had service at all) When you're paying for dsl, that is annoying.  Comcast came yesterday and inside of a half hour we were wired and ready to go.  As a result, my email address has changed and I have to change it on all the accounts I pay with email.  Ironic twist.  Verizon sent out tech #5 (in 2 months) and he spent about 8 minutes and "fixed" our internet.  An hour later comcast came and we called to cancel verizon.  It took about a half hour to cancel their service.  We've been customers of theirs since 1981.  It was sad but we just got tired of paying for service we weren't getting

We took Pk to dinner to celebrate his birthday with the family and it was nice.  We ate at our favorite Chinese place and everyone ordered something and we all shared.  I made a buttery pound cake with strawberries which we had for desert.  I love the way the family has grown to include Jim and Patrick.  They are great additions and seem to be able to roll with the punches.

I stayed home yesterday to wait for the comcast guy.  I finished my first clue for the evenstar kal on the day clue #2 was released (Friday) and   started clue #2 (after putting in a lifeline!) and worked away.  I didn't like the way it looked so yesterday I ripped out all the way back to the lifeline and started over.  30 rows of lace with very thin laceweight yarn.  Gone.  This is the largest piece I've ever worked on and I want it to be as perfect as I can make it.  I took a photo of clue #1 but it's at home on the camera.  You can see some beautiful examples on the ravelry group page (evenstar kal). 

Pk is fighting a cold.  He almost never gets sick but this winter he has had 3 colds/respiratory infections.  I have had more than my share as well.  We're keeping the cold medicine companies in business, not to mention tissue manufacturers!  We're going to head over to the gym after dinner tonight so I can try out the yoga class and he can sit in the sauna.  He figures he can sweat all the germs out of his body.

That's all I've got.  Life is quiet and I'm not complaining.

"Whether one believes in a religion or not, and whether one believes in rebirth or not, there isn't anyone who doesn't appreciate kindness and compassion."

~His Holiness the Dalai Lama
(I'd really like to meet him).

Have a peaceful day.

Happy Sunday!  I am sitting here working on my sweater made with the cashmere yarn my husband gave me for my birthday last year. I’m further...