Friday, April 29, 2016

Just One More Skein, I Promise - A To Z Challenge - The Letter Y

Blogging from A to Z Challenge
April 2016
This month I will be participating in the “Blogging from A-Z Challenge” 
What is it?
Blogging every day.  It begins on April First with a topic themed on something with the letter A, then on April second another topic with the letter B as the theme, and so on until I finish on April thirtieth with the theme based on the letter Z.   The theme of the day is the letter scheduled for that day.


Photo Credit CoolChaser Graphics


I am an avid knitter. I also crochet.  Most avid knitters and crocheters I know are yarnaholics.   We call our accumulation of yarn our stash.  Actually, a knitter's stash can also include knitting needles, project bags, markers, stitch holders, binders filled with hundreds of patterns, and anything else having to do with our craft.
But mainly our stash is yarn.
I have a four tier shelf in my walk-in closet which holds eight plastic bins, two on each shelf.  These bins are filled with yarn.  Not all of my yarn fits in those bins, though.  Some of it is still in shopping bags from whatever store I purchased the yarn.  Those bags are on the floor in front of the shelf.
Next to my chair in the corner of our living room, known as my nook, I have two baskets filled with the yarn of my current project(s).
If I had to explain my addiction, I would say that it is a pleasurable sensorial experience which in turn engages my creative imagination.
Trippin' on yarn?  Perhaps.
When I walk into a yarn shop, I'll stop for just a second at the front of the store and sweep the room with my eyes, perceiving the vibrant colors and soft hues of yarn filled shelves as one large painting.
As I make my way down each aisle,  I will choose an inviting skein to touch and squeeze and brush my cheek with.
I think of who might like a "Really Red" hat or a "Periwinkle" shawl.
On the way home, with my newest acquisitions safely tucked inside the cute pink shopping bag from "Woolbearers", my local yarn shop or LYS,  I solemnly promise not to buy another skein until I get my stash under control.
Yep, that's the talk of an addict for sure.
Oh, and don't even get me started on WEBS,  which is not only my favorite brick and mortar yarn shop (a four-hour car trip that I'll take once a year) but it is also my favorite place to online shop.  Curses to them for currently having their 42-anniversary sale. 


Okay, you wanna see, don't you?
I really have to re-organize 

But, I dare to believe that I have knitted and crocheted my way into perpetuity.


Do you have a guilty pleasure?

Thursday, April 28, 2016

X Doodling - The A to Z Challenge - The Letter X

Blogging from A to Z Challenge
April 2016
This month I will be participating in the “Blogging from A-Z Challenge” 
What is it?
Blogging every day.  It begins on April First with a topic themed on something with the letter A, then on April second another topic with the letter B as the theme, and so on until I finish on April thirtieth with the theme based on the letter Z.   The theme of the day is the letter scheduled for that day.



X doodle

I'm sure that I don't have to mention this and I shouldn't whine about it, but I will anyway.  X is impossible.
Okay, not impossible but pretty darn difficult.

To try to get started I googled "nouns that begin with the letter X".
Did you know that there is a website called, Nouns Starting?

They have the nouns broken into categories.  It looks like this:

There are 18 animals listed, all with very long unpronounceable names.   I didn't think you'd be interested.

Did you know that there are no foods that start with the letter X.
I got this message when I clicked on the Food tab:

Sorry, we do not have any food words that start with X :(

That's according to "Nouns Starting" anyway.

They list three objects that start with the letter X


I wonder how many bloggers will choose to write about one of those.

Oh, the places you will go.  Well only three that start with the letter X



There are 22 "X" plants.  I picked the one with the longest name, xeranthemum annuum to show you.


It looks like this:
Pretty huh?

I read an article in the May 2016 issue of Family Circle magazine about 20 influential moms.
One of the moms is Johanna Basford.  They call her the Master Doodler.   According to the article, "If you ever wondered how the adult coloring book trend got started, look no further than Johanna.  The Scottish illustrator, whose hand-drawn works are featured in her wildly popular books like Secret Garden and Lost Ocean, reminds us that kids shouldn't have all the fun."

I have several of those coloring books.  They're supposed to be relaxing.  Personally, they stress me out.  It's just my personality, I guess.  I want it to be perfect.
So what does this have to do with the letter X?

I decided to draw my own doodle.   So, first, I drew an X on the paper.  Then I doodled all around and in-between the legs of the X.  I finished off by coloring in all the doodles.  

LyndaGrace's Doodle X 


Do you doodle?


Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Which Witch? - A to Z Challenge - The Letter W

Blogging from A to Z Challenge
April 2016
This month I will be participating in the “Blogging from A-Z Challenge” 
What is it?
Blogging every day.  It begins on April First with a topic themed on something with the letter A, then on April second another topic with the letter B as the theme, and so on until I finish on April thirtieth with the theme based on the letter Z.   The theme of the day is the letter scheduled for that day.

There was an old woman who lived on the outskirts of our small town.  "Out in the sticks" is how we referred to that area. There were all kinds of rumors about the old woman.  The main one was that she cast spells and practiced unusual rituals.
Gosh, I haven't thought about that woman in years.  Her name was Mrs. Strega.
My friend Cookie called me yesterday.  Cookie and I grew up together in that small town.  I moved away years ago.  Cookie still lives there,  in the house that she has lived in her whole life.
We stay in touch, speaking on the phone every few weeks.  We visit each other twice a year.    In February I go back "home" and in August, she comes up north to my house.
Yesterday, when we spoke, Cookie asked me if I remembered the old woman.
"Of course," I said.  "How could I possibly forget Mrs. Strega?"
"I don't know if you knew this, Lynda, but the old woman left an unusual will."
I did remember my mother telling me something about a will, but I didn't remember the details.
Cookie filled me in.
Apparently Mrs. Strega owned about 100 "out in the sticks" acres.
"Developers were always trying to get her to sell some of it off," Cookie said.
"Anyway, she left the property to a distant great nephew, something like that," she said.
"Mrs. Strega and her nephew had some kind of an agreement.  There was a stipulation that if the nephew didn't come to live on the property withing ten years, he could dispose of it as he saw fit."
Anyway, Cookie said that the ten years was up and the nephew sold the property to Clarke Developers.
"There are going to be at least one hundred new homes," she said.
"I hope the developing doesn't start until after my next visit," I said.
After we hung up, I remembered the encounter Cookie and I had with Mrs. Strega.
Despite our parent's admonishments, we were always venturing "out in the sticks".
Each time we went, we got a little braver and closer to Mrs. Strega's house.
The house was a one room cabin.  There were four windows, one in the front, one on each side and one in the back.  All the windows had black oil cloth coverings.
The cabin was in the middle of a thickly treed area.   There was a clearing of about 25 feet all around the house.  Along the side of the house was a neatly kept herb garden.
This one day Cookie and I got all the way to the edge of the woods.  We hid behind a big old oak, peering around the trunk to see if we could catch a glimpse of the old woman.
Mrs. Stegra came out of the cabin.  She was bent over and leaned on a crooked stick.  She had long gray hair, and a big nose with a wart on the end of it.  I swear she did.  She wore a black dress and black shawl.
"The only thing she is missing is a pointy hat," I whispered to Cookie.
I don't know how she spotted us, but she did.   Maybe she heard me.
She yelled out, calling us by our names.  I can still hear her raspy voice.  To this day, I don't know how she knew our names.
"Come here!"
In shock, we froze.
"Come here, now!"she yelled"
We timidly came out from behind the tree.  I was trembling.  Cookie told me later that she was shaking like a leaf and felt like she was going to throw up.
We slowly walked towards her, arm-in-arm.  When we reached her, we stood in front of her with bowed heads.
"Listen, girls, I'm out of bread and low on milk.   Do you think you could run to the store for me?"
We both jerked our heads up at the same time, and dumbfounded, we looked at each other and then looked at her.
She smiled.  She had warm brown eyes.
I stammered, "Sure Mrs. Strega."
She reached into her pocket and pulled out a little black leather pouch.
Opening it, she took out two ten dollar bills.
Her hands and fingers were so riddled with arthritis she could barely hold onto her cane.
I reached for the money and she took my hands into hers.
They were surprisingly soft.
Her face was close to mine.  Her hair hung loose and brushed my cheek.  I caught a whiff of a scent of peppermint and eucalyptus.
I wondered if witches were supposed to smell like that.
We never did go to the store for her.
In fact, that was the last time Cookie and I ever went "out in the sticks".
I feel regretful about Mrs. Straga.  I'm sure she was just a lonely old woman.

Nah, none of that really happened.

Straga - Italian for Witch.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Although the above piece is purely fictional I do happen to know a Wiccan.  Funny thing is, her aroma is peppermint and eucalyptus.
I guess even witches shop at Trader Joes.

                     Trader Joe's Tea Tree Tingle Conditioner with Peppermint and Eucalyptus



Tuesday, April 26, 2016

And The Oscar for Video Editing Goes To - A to Z Challenge - The Letter V

Blogging from A to Z Challenge
April 2016
This month I will be participating in the “Blogging from A-Z Challenge” 
What is it?
Blogging every day.  It begins on April First with a topic themed on something with the letter A, then on April second another topic with the letter B as the theme, and so on until I finish on April thirtieth with the theme based on the letter Z.   The theme of the day is the letter scheduled for that day.


Video Editing

In my post for the letter "P", I wrote about our first attempt at creating a podcast video.  Ross and I  actually had a lot of fun making it.  The title we came up with for the podcast was "On the Patio With Lynda and Ross".  I admit I insisted on top billing.
As I mentioned in that post, filming was the easy part of the process.  The learning curve was editing the video.
I wanted to use iMovie to do the editing and polishing.
I found a YouTube video by Eric Timmer titled iMovie Tutorial For Beginners.
So in essence, I watched a video on how to edit a video.
Eric's tutorial was easy to follow and I did learn the basics.
But since I had no experience at all in using that type of software, I found the task to be challenging, and at times frustrating, to say the least.
However, when I start a project, particularly one that is challenging, I am patient and tenacious.  And while it took me about three hours to complete the editing process, I was proud of myself for sticking with it and quite pleased with the final cut.
One thing I was not happy with, though, was the time it took for the video to upload to my Mac.  But, it could be my Mac.  It is running very slow lately.   I really have to schedule a visit to the Genius Bar at the Apple Store.
As a side track, Apple describes their Genius Bar like this:

'What to expect at the Genius Bar.

Before you come in for your reservation, be sure to back up the data on the device that needs help. When you get to the Apple Store, ask a team member to check you in to the Genius Bar, or check in using the Apple Store app on your iPhone. During your session, your Genius will gather information about your system and answer your questions. If your product requires repair, the Genius will discuss repair options, explain any applicable charges, and prepare your equipment for repair. Most sessions last about 15 minutes, but some may take longer, depending on the issue."

I like that they refer to the technician as "your Genius"

Anyway, back to today's topic.  On Sunday, Ross and I recorded episode two of On the Patio.
I am becoming more comfortable with iMovie.  By episode ten, I will probably be a wiz!
And the Oscar for best Podcast Video Editing goes to....

What about you?  Do you like a challenge?  Do you stick with it until it is completed?


Monday, April 25, 2016

Ranting About an Umbrella? - A to Z Challenge - The Letter U

Blogging from A to Z Challenge
April 2016
This month I will be participating in the “Blogging from A-Z Challenge” 
What is it?
Blogging every day.  It begins on April First with a topic themed on something with the letter A, then on April second another topic with the letter B as the theme, and so on until I finish on April thirtieth with the theme based on the letter Z.   The theme of the day is the letter scheduled for that day.


Umbrella



An umbrella can bring forth metaphoric thoughts of feeling protected and safe or providing protection and comfort for another.
Sharing one can be an intimate experience.  After all, you must huddle closely together underneath its silky cover to make sure neither of you gets wet.

We must own about ten umbrellas.  I think we have one or two stored in each of our cars.
Then there are five or six more in the large stoneware pickle barrel sitting by the front door.

 Actually, I hardly ever use an umbrella.

For me, they are cumbersome and bothersome.   I find them awkward to maneuver when I am trying to get in and out of the car.  I can't figure out if I should stick the umbrella out of the door, then try to open it? But then while the door is open, the rain is coming in.  Or do I get out of the car and then open the umbrella?  Most times the ones that are supposed to open automatically when you push the button don't open when I push the button.  Then I'm foolishly left out in the rain struggling to get the thing to pop open.

And what do you do with a dripping wet umbrella when you enter a store or are visiting someone's house?

We keep our cars in a garage.  So, there's no need for an umbrella when we go out or when we come home.

I usually decline when someone offers to share theirs. It's my aversion to space invaders, of my space that is.

Sometimes, though, the offerer is aggressive and won't take a "No, thanks, I'm okay" for an answer.
"Come on, don't be silly,  get under!" they'll say as they reach out the umbrella to cover my head then grab my arm to pull me towards them.

I remember the last time this happened.  I was going to lunch with a group of women from the neighborhood.  We are all seniors.  

It was overcast when we left to go to the restaurant.   All of the others had their umbrellas.   I didn't have one for the reasons I listed above.

When we came out of the restaurant, it was pouring.   The umbrellas started popping open.  Red ones, yellow ones, clear ones with flowers and the traditional black Totes.

I started heading for my car.  Claire spotted me.
"Don't you have an umbrella?"  she asked, as I was passing by her.
"No, I'm okay," I said, trying to hurry along.
"Come on, don't be silly,  get under!" she said as she reached out her umbrella to cover me.
She grabbed my arm to pull me towards her.  As we huddled our gray-haired and blond permed hair heads together under the silky cover of her red, yellow and blue striped umbrella we walked arm and arm to the car.

Personally, I would have been quite happy to pull the hood of my red LLBean slicker up over my head and jump in every puddle along the way.

Tell me, be honest now, how do you really feel about umbrellas?


Saturday, April 23, 2016

The Three Tina’s - A to Z Challenge - The Letter T

Blogging from A to Z Challenge
April 2016
This month I will be participating in the “Blogging from A-Z Challenge” 
What is it?
Blogging every day.  It begins on April First with a topic themed on something with the letter A, then on April second another topic with the letter B as the theme, and so on until I finish on April thirtieth with the theme based on the letter Z.   The theme of the day is the letter scheduled for that day.


This is a fictional  piece inspired by Bella my twelve-year-old  granddaughter and her two friends Bella B and Bella S.  They are affectionately known as the Bella's.  I wondered what their future might be.  Of course in accordance with the challenge, I did change the names to fit the letter of the day.

The Three Tina's

The three of us met in first grade, forty some years ago.   After the teacher finished roll call she remarked, "Oh my, we have the three Tina's."  We all looked at each other and smiled.
I believe it was at that moment that we became a trio.
The name stuck.   The Three Tina's.
Over time, the group name was shortened and our other friends just referred to us as "The Tina's"
For instance, I was recently having a conversation with my sister.   We were discussing my daughter's upcoming wedding.
"Are you inviting The Tina's?" she asked.
After that first year of school, we were never in the same class again.
But, all throughout our grammar and junior high school years we were inseparable.  At times, though, it seemed that our individuality became blurred.
Things changed dramatically when we entered high school.
We began to head down different paths.
Tina B who was the smartest of the Tina's and a real beauty was on the advanced placement track and quite popular.   She suddenly wanted everyone to call her Christina.  Well, that was her real name.  It didn't seem to bother Tina S but I felt a little hurt.
Tina S was the athlete.  She was short and stocky, but quick and strong.
Me?  I guess you could call me the middle child of the Tina's.  I was an average student, so-so when it came to sports, and a little socially inept.  I was one of the contributors to the high school newspaper, though and always had my journal handy.
We would still get together every once in a while for a beach day or a sleep over.
But even those times became less and less.
One of the things we solemnly swore, back in 6th grade, was that we would all go to prom together.
Surprisingly, Christina remembered our promise and insisted that we stick to it.
I had a steady boyfriend by then.  Christina was trying to decide who she was going to choose to go with.  She had several invitations.
About a month before the prom Tina S still did not have a date, though.
Christina and I kind of talked Christina's cousin Bob into asking Tina S.
And we all did go to the prom together.
I thought about all of those times as I stood in the back of the church.
I watched Chistina and Tina S, their heads together, chatting away.  Christina, recently divorced from husband number two, still thin and beautiful was smartly dressed in a pale blue silk dress.
Tina S, chunky now, in black slacks and a sparkly top, was sitting next to Dawn, her partner of many years.
My son took my arm.
"It's time to go now, Mom.  I believe everyone is seated."
As we slowly walked down the aisle, Christina and Tina S, caught my eye and we smiled at each other.

I always had another Linda in my class.  It was the most popular name the year I was born. My mother decided spelling it with a "y" instead of an "i" would make it a little different.  
I'm kind of glad that she did.
My  granddaughter's name, Isabella, was also the most popular name the year she was born. 

What about you? Are you happy with your name?

Friday, April 22, 2016

Part II of The Story of The Three Wedding Rings - The A to Z Challenge - The Letter S

Blogging from A to Z Challenge
April 2016
This month I will be participating in the “Blogging from A-Z Challenge” 
What is it?
Blogging every day.  It begins on April First with a topic themed on something with the letter A, then on April second another topic with the letter B as the theme, and so on until I finish on April thirtieth with the theme based on the letter Z.   The theme of the day is the letter scheduled for that day.




St. Anthony

On yesterday's post, I talked about two of the three wedding rings I wear.

Now about ring number three.

On a cold January 29th, 2014, I lost both of the gold bands that I always wore on the ring finger of my left hand.  One was my wedding ring and the other was my great-grandmother's ring.
I never took the rings off, not to wash my hands, not when I went to sleep, never.  

I know the exact date that I lost the rings because I posted about it on FaceBook:

January 29, 2014

"I’m very upset. I lost my great-grandmother’s wedding band along with my own. I wore both of them together. Because it’s been so cold, they were loose on my finger. We’ve looked everywhere in the house...pockets, washer/dryer, clothes hamper, car, closets, stripped the bed, in-between chair cushions. Waiting for the bowling alley to open. That’s the next check."

They weren't at the bowling alley.   I searched for days.  I felt horrible.  

A couple of people advised me to pray to St. Anthony.

"Saint Anthony, Saint Anthony, please come around:
Something is lost and needs to be found!!"

I have to admit, I'm not much of a prayer person.  But to be honest, in the past, I have recited that prayer and it seemed to work.

Before I lost them,  I would touch the rings all of the time, twisting them around on my finger.  
After they were gone, I would absentmindedly clasp my two hands together, my right hand cupped over my left, and then automatically reach for my left-hand ring finger, pressing it between the thumb and middle finger of my right hand, expecting to feel the cool touch of gold between my fingers. 
But when all I felt was the flesh of my finger, I would feel a jolt of loss. I could describe the feeling  almost as one of grief, I guess. 

After a month, Ross said we should buy a new ring to replace the one I lost.  The one he placed on my finger at our wedding.    
I didn't want a new one.  
"It wouldn't be the same, would it?" I said. 
Every few weeks, though, Ross tried to coax me.
He'd say, "You know, I stopped by Tony's.  He's got a couple of nice rings.  Why don't we just look."
Ross was trying his best to make me feel better about losing the rings.
I wasn't ready to give up, though.  
"What if I find my rings?" I'd ask.  
And then I would silently say the prayer.

After nearly six months, I gave in and we went to our local jeweler, Tony. 
To tell you truth, I had to force myself to muster up a bit of enthusiasm when Tony was showing me the rings he had for sale. 

But I picked out a ring and Tony ordered it.  He told us he would call us when it came in.
"It should be here in a week to ten days," he said.
About a week later, Tony called us to come pick up the ring.
I liked the ring.  It was nice, but it just wasn't the same, you know?
In the car on the way home, I said my prayer. 

You probably have already guessed what happened next.
On June 16, 2014, two days after I got my new ring, I found my other two precious rings.  
I know the exact date because I posted about it on Facebook.

June 16, 2014
"Wow, I found my rings today!

It was weird the way I found them.
Okay, so I wanted to store the seat cushions for our outside Adirondack chairs in our hall closet. But before I could put them away, I had to make room. Well, that turned into a clean out the closet project. One of the things in the closet was a big shopping bag filled with other shopping bags. I took all of the bags out of the big bag to see which ones I was going to keep and which ones could be discarded.  When the big bag was empty I saw a glint of gold in the bottom of the bag." 

And now you know the rest of the story of why I wear three wedding rings. 

Have you ever heard of the St. Anthony prayer?  Have you lost something precious and then found it a long time afterwards?