Tuesday, October 22, 2013

I'd Like to Get To Know You

Tuesday October 22, 2013 5:15 p.m.

I generally write my blog as if I am recording a diary which someday might be read by a great-great or even greater grandchild.  I figure that perhaps future generations of mine will want to know what life, in particular my life, was like way, way back in the 20 teens.
My page views stats support the fact that I do, in fact have readers other than my family.  I know this to be true because to the best of my knowledge I have no relatives living in Beijing, France or North Dakota.
In an effort to find out more about the readers of my blog, I am going to try an experiment by occasionally posing a question to you.

Today I would like to know why you got out of bed this morning.

I'll go first.

Since today is Tuesday, it's bowling day for me.  I have to be at the allies at 9:15.
So today, my reason for getting out of bed was bowling.
I'm not sure, how much of a "get me out of bed" motivator bowling is for me.  It's not the game, really, because I am not that much into bowling.  I throw the ball without giving much thought to form.  There is no method to my madness.  I don't spot the pins or look at the arrows.  I just throw the ball in the general direction of the pins.  If I can get near the pins and knock down a few, that's a good throw for me.
I would say it's more that I am a terribly responsible person.  Or to put it another way, I am a rule follower, not a rule breaker.
So I committed to being a member of a bowling team in a Ladies League which bowls every Tuesday morning at 9:15 from September to May.   I mean I didn't sign a contract or anything like that, but I'm expected, to be there, you know and so I am, there that is, at 9:15, every Tuesday, from September to May.
BTW, I bowled a 175 my second game.  Not bad for a willy nilly thrower, huh?
What? The first and third game?
Oh, well as the captain of my team said to me after each of those two games "que sera sera".  We're pretty laid back on our team. 
The Ladies of the Tuesday Morning bowling league, well most of us are a little, okay a lot, past middle age, and sometimes we need a reason to get out of bed. 

So, why did you get out of bed this morning?

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Shawls and Ruffle Scarves - Anyone?

Saturday, October 18, 2013
Cloudy and Cold Today
                                    The days seemingly blend seamlessly one into the other.

Although I knit/crochet all year long, even on the beach, my attention does tend to wane a bit when the temperatures reach 90 degrees.  However, there is something about red, orange and yellow October,  along with hints of crisp blue air, which re-awakens my passion for these crafts.
So, as the outside temperatures begin to cool down,  my love affair with yarn is re-kindled, ultimately intensifying until it crescendos into a heated frenzy.
The first indicator that I have crossed over from being mildly interested to completely absorbed is my compulsive need to have a hook or needles within reach at all times.
Another clear sign is that I cannot leave the house without my knitting bag, which, by the way, is always packed, just in case of an emergency.   I never know when I might be called upon to knit up a hat or pair of mittens.
Which brings me, to a touchy subject.
I have talked to a lot of knitters.  I read blogs about knitting.  I follow fellow and famous knitters alike on twitter.  The first thing most folks do at the start of their day is check Facebook.  The first thing I do is check Ravelry.*
One of the things that I notice, and this does seem to be a regular theme, is that most people who knit are often asked by their loved ones, friends or even mere acquaintances to make one of those "gorgeous scarves" or  that "really cool hat" for them.
Yeah, I was talking to someone the other day.  She was making one of those "gorgeous scarves".  I admired it.  It was rather beautiful.  She said that everyone she shows the scarf to has told her that they would love it if she would make one in red or blue or yellow for them.
Okay, I admit my skills are amateur to average.  Well, that's according to me anyway.  Ross thinks that I am quite talented.  But then, he also tells me that I am such a good writer that I should consider publishing something.  Uh huh.  Okay.  Yes, he is just slightly biased.
Yes, I figure that I probably will never be able to knit as proficiently or fast as the Yarn Harlot.**
Although interestingly enough I have been trying different methods to try to speed up my knitting.
I was surprised at how many different styles there were.  Countries and even whole sections of the world have their own way.
The list is endless. There is English, Continental, Norwegian, Peruvian, German, Russian and Irish Cottage, to name a few.  Some of these techniques have aliases.  For instance English is also known as throwing and Continental is can be referred to as "picking".  Irish Cottage is sometimes called "lever" or "flicking".
There are hundreds of YouTube videos which demonstrate each one of these aforementioned ways of knitting.
Trust me, I think I have watched them all.
I decided to give the Continental a try.  I had this brilliant idea to record my progress so I had Ross video me.   I had grandiose ideas.  Well here, check it out...

Anyway after all of that I am back to the way I have always knitted, which is the English or Throwing method.   I realized that knitting faster kind of doesn't make sense to me.  I mean what's the rush?

Okay, back to that "touchy subject".  I like to knit for others.  I mean I have done that many times.  But it is mostly me giving a gift for which the recipient then politely expresses joyful gratitude.  
Oh, there was that small flurry of interest last year from Jimmy D and Jimmy P.  They each requested a hat.  Which, I admit led to hats for a few of Jimmy D's friends.  
But, even though I always carry my work-in-progress (WIP) with me and sometimes someone will ask, "Oh what are you making?", it is almost always never followed up with, "Ooh, would you make one for me?" 
Anyway, I knit for a lot of different reasons.  I rhythmically knit to the point of distraction.   Knitting brings back memories of the many times I waited in rooms while I knitted, as I waited.  Knitting reminds me of new motherhood,  holding my infant girl on my lap, just watching her while I knitted. 
I recall my mother as she tightly held her needles clutching onto them.  I believe she feared to let them go, for so would her life.  
So, I continue to knit and knit.  My cache of finished objects grows.  I make promises to myself (and Ross) to knit or crochet every yard of yarn of I have in my stash before I buy another gorgeous skien of soft cuddly alpaca.  I guess in the end it doesn't matter that you all cannot possibly use another dish cloth, ruffle scarf, afghan or hat, because that is not, I repeat, not going to stop me from my quest.  Whatever that may be.
 I am curious.  Why and how do you knit?  Are you one of those who cannot keep up with requests?
*Ravelry is an online community of knitters and crocheters.
**The Yarn Harlot AKA Stephanie Pearl-McPhee is a knitter, blogger and author who “goes on (and on) about knitting."

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Drop of Doom or Life is Like That

Uh huh, sometimes life is like a wicked roller coaster ride.  I call it the real "Great Adventure".  I always hated those things,  roller coasters, that is.
Basically, I suspect that most would describe riding a roller coaster by saying things like, "...it was so scary",  "my stomach dropped", "my heart stopped",  "I thought I was going to die." These phrases are always, always, though,  followed by "let's do that again!"
That last one, the one about doing it again,  baffles me the most, about those who ride roller coasters, that is.
According to a press release put out by Great Adventure:
"If you plan on visiting New Jersey's Six Flags Great Adventure next year, be sure to bring a sturdy stomach. The amusement park known for hosting some of the world’s most intense roller coasters is adding a new one to the mix -- and it’s determined to take your breath away. And possibly your lunch. Rising 415 feet in the sky -- that’s taller than the Statue of Liberty -- the free fall nightmare Zumanjaro: Drop of Doom will become the tallest tower-drop ride in the world when it opens in 2014. The former champ, Lex Luthor: Drop of Doom at Six Flags Magic Mountain outside of Los Angeles, tops out at a ‘mere’ 400 feet.

I'm sure those "lets do that again" folks will wait in line for hours to experience the briefest few moments of  breath taking, lunch losing, heart stopping, doom dropping thrills.

There are similarities and differences between the real "Great Adventure"(GA) and rides such as Drop of Doom (DOD).
 As you stand in that endless line, waiting to get on DOD,  you are forewarned about the trip you are about to take.  It’s obviously apparent, as you listen to the blood curdling screams from those who came before you, that you are most likely going to be scared witless.  Yet, when it’s your turn you willingly and with heightened anticipation, strap in.
GA is a lot like that, too.  Those who have been on that ride a lot longer than you, are sure to advise, sometimes warn, and most likely are always right, about when to hold on, when to let go or when to lean in.
It’s most important for me to digress a little here.  I recently revisited a post I wrote called Uncovering Her Wings.   For some reason, unknown to me now, I do recall purposely writing it in a cryptic manner.
I do remember that the inspiration for the post was the butterfly.  I spotted this creature in our back yard.  She seemed to be stuck in a gob of mud.  What struck me the most was how large her wings were compared to the rest of her body.  That made me curious enough to wonder how it was that the very things, that is her wings, which made her beautiful and free seemed to be the very burden which kept her down as she struggled to free herself from the mud.
Today, though, after I re-read what I wrote in that post, the words made absolutely no sense to me.    At the time I’m sure I thought  it was oh so clever, poetic even, to be obviously reticent.
I took this detour away from my roller coaster/life analogy in order to reference the Uncovering... post for two reasons. First, I had a good laugh at myself.  Second, I learned that if I ever want to come back to any of my future posts I need to make myself perfectly clear, particularly to myself.
So back to the Life is a Roller Coaster ride.
When I reflect back on my life I realize that I have been a timid passenger for most of the ride.  I almost never let go of the safety bar.
I learned at an early age from those who had been on this ride much longer than I at the time, that the peaceful ascent is sure to be followed by speed bumps and extreme drops.   “Don’t get too comfortable there at the top,” they would say.
I was reminded of this the other day.  I was visiting Jen and our new baby, Jackson.  The weather was gorgeous.  We decided to take Jax for a stroll.  On our way walking down the street,  a car pulled up and then slowed down.  I glanced over and at first I didn’t recognize the driver.  I was a little apprehensive until I realized that it was my son, Jimmy.  I had not seen him for quite awhile and I was beyond thrilled.
As we all visited, I found myself enjoying the moment.  The sun was warm, the baby was peaceful.  Jen and Jimmy were smiling and joking with each other.  I bathed in the joy of just being.
And I wished I could stop the ride right there forever.  At the very top.  Where I could see everything so clearly.
However, that’s not how roller coasters or life works.  Neither ever stay still and each only stop briefly at the top, where you can see forever.
I'm probably too old now and have been through too many plunges lately.  So, it's most likely that I may never learn to let go of the bar, lift my arms up in the air and scream.
But listen, Bella and Ryan, Kenny and Ty, Domani and Jax, as you navigate your way on your Great Adventure, remember you only get one ticket, and it's good for one ride only.
That's the way to ride that ride.

I am reading a book right now called “A Walk In The Dark” by Gianrico Carofiglio.  This quote from one of the first chapters was so very meaningful to me:
"I thought, just for a second, how much I’d like to throw myself into the empty sky, from a plane or somewhere else very high up.  Into the empty sky.  Without being afraid”.

Another One of Those Moments

I spotted these beautiful creatures hanging out in the marshes on Barnegat Bay.  I caught them in the midst of speed dating :)