Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Growing Older and the 50 + Lessons Life Taught Me

Yes, aren't we all...growing older, that is. Another step towards 60 is looming on my horizon. A dear friend just sent the following to me by email. I do not know who wrote the piece, but, in light of my earlier comments about gratitude and not feeling much lately, I was lovingly but firmly put in my place.

1. Life isn't fair, but it's still good.
2. When in doubt, just take the next small step.
3. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.
4. Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does.
5. Pay off your credit cards every month.
6. You don't have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.
7. Cry with someone. It's more healing than crying alone.
8. It's OK to get angry with God. He can take it.
9. Save for retirement starting with your first paycheck.
10. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.
11. Make peace with your past so it won't screw up the present.
12. It's OK to let your children see you cry.
13. Don't compare your life to others'. You have no idea what their journey is all about.
14. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn't be in it.
15. Everything can change in the blink of an eye. But don't worry; God never blinks.
16. Life is too short for long pity parties. Get busy living, or get busy dying.
17. You can get through anything if you stay put in today.
18. A writer writes. If you want to be a writer, write.
19. It's never too late to have a happy childhood. But the second one is up to you and no one else.
20. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don't take no for an answer.
21. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. Don't save it for a special occasion. Today is a special occasion.
22. Over prepare, then go with the flow.
23. Be eccentric now. Don't wait for old age to wear purple.
24. The most important sex organ is the brain.
25. No one is in charge of your happiness except you.
26. Frame every so-called disaster with these words: "In five years, will this matter?"
27. Always choose life.
28. Forgive everyone everything.
29. What other people think of you is none of your business.
30. Time heals almost everything. Give time time.
31. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.
32. Your job won't take care of you when you are sick. Your friends will. Stay in touch.
33. Believe in miracles.
34. God loves you because of who God is, not because of anything you did or didn't do.
35. Whatever doesn't kill you really does make you stronger.
36. Growing old beats the alternative -- dying young.
37. Your children get only one childhood. Make it memorable.
38. Read the Psalms. They cover every human emotion.
39. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere.
40. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else's, we'd grab ours back.
41. Don't audit life. Show up and make the most of it now.
42. Get rid of anything that isn't useful, beautiful or joyful.
43. All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.
44. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.
45. The best is yet to come.
46. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.
47. Take a deep breath. It calms the mind.
48. If you don't ask, you don't get.
49. Yield.
50. Life isn't tied with a bow, but it's still a gift.


Character contributes to beauty. It fortifies a woman as her youth fades. A mode of conduct, a standard of courage, discipline, fortitude and integrity can do a great deal to make a woman beautiful. - Jacqueline Bisset

New Favorite

I finished the pullover in Bernat Denim from stash. The pattern is called "The Magic Raglan", originally published in Threads Magazine (back when they still had a knitting section in every issue), later reprinted in Handknitting Techniques from Threads. I must have done this pattern at least 10 times over the years for various members of the family. It is the world's easiest thing to make fit, it almost knits itself, and is the best of mindless knitting. I have worn it constantly since weaving in the last loose end. Sooo comfortable, fits perfectly.

Now on the needles is a lace scarf in the "Liesel" pattern from somewhere on the web (don't ask me where, I printed it out a long time ago). Easy enough, but the yarn is frustrating to knit with. Douceur et Soie (from stash) is lovely, soft, very luxurious, but a real bugger. I have to work very slowly. Here is progress so far. I know I have made and could not correct at least two major mistakes, which is maddening since I have knit this thing before, and the pattern is not exactly the most difficult thing on earth. I am determined to finish and get these two balls of yarn out of my stash. Then I will feel that I have earned -- no, DESERVE -- the chance to use the two balls of cashmere that I have been dreaming about.

I have to post some more gratitude, if I can think of anything. I have been feeling most ungrateful for the past few days.

Oh yeah, I ordered two books yesterday from Amazon:


They will be shipped in the middle of February (the Merton book will not be in print until then), so I will have something to look forward to. Catholic spirituality and monasticism are a special fascination for me, a little odd as
  1. I am a married woman with children
  2. I (still) really like sex
  3. I was raised to be a hard-assed, evangelical, gospel-music-loving, southern Baptist
  4. I am still very much a highly-opinionated free thinker

God does, indeed, move in mysterious ways.

Perhaps these are not the issues that I need to confront.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

For the Apple of Your Eye

Baby hat as a gift for an expecting friend. So easy, so cute.

It was mostly knit from stash, but I did not have enought red, so I had to buy some more (this is permissable under the rules!).

Update on the denim pullover: I am knitting the bottom ribbing, which should be finished today. Then on to the sleeves.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Getting A Little Ahead

Tomorrow is dialysis, and I don't know when I will be at the computer (funny how something that takes just a few hours tends to expand to fill the whole day), so I thought I would get a head start on my weekend gratitude.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007


Every day brings a new one, mostly from the offspring.

DD#2 starts college next week. She is 20 years old. When she started high school, she had a really terrible time, unable to fit in, impatient with classes, unsure if she had enough brains to compete with her peers. She switched to an alternative, home-study program, did very well, and was even able to ace the biology class she had to take at the local community college to get her high school diploma at age 17. Since she did not know what she wanted to do with her life, she saw no need to rush into college, which shows a rare bit of wisdom. She worked. Lots of different jobs.

Our local community college is very, very good, and I am confident that she will do well. It won't be easy, as she will also be working full-time, but she can do it.

I was really lucky to have gone through the California public school system when I did (before "relevance" education came into vogue). I got a challenging, first-rate education and loved it. I also loved my college years, even though I worked 2 jobs, married, and was expecting my third child when I discovered that Superwoman had found her limits. I quit school, had more children, worked.

I have no regrets.

I consider my education the greatest gift and look back on those years with affection and not a little nostalgia. I have no patience with people who consider education an entitlement or a burden or a joke or something to be pissed away. I also have no patience with a system that allows -- no, encourages -- young men and women to borrow so much money that they finish college with a debt that could have bought a house. There is something seriously wrong here.

End of soapbox.

Monday, January 08, 2007


Ceallach Knits had an excellent idea yesterday. GRATITUDE STARTS NOW.

For the next 30 days I will post one thing per day that I am grateful for.

It is so easy to get caught up in the negativity of day-to-day news, misery, mistakes, and general drech that it is necessary to consciously lift oneself out of what can become a very, very deep hole.

Here is #1: I am grateful that DH's health continues to improve.

This might also prompt me to post something every day? That is a great responsibility. Let's see if I am up to it (although I can always play catch-up).

Friday, January 05, 2007

Knitting and Tagging

I am hard at work on the Bernat Denim pullover. Finally got down to the armhole and have started the boring part, the body.

What should I do next? I have lots of yarns (stash), lots of needles, countless patterns, and no desire to plan ahead.

Unlike many of my fellow knitters, my stash and patterns have no organization whatsoever. I know that I have 2 balls of olive cashmere and a killer scarf pattern but have no idea where they are.

For me it is the thrill of the hunt.

Reading Coloursknits most recent post, I got to the bottom and understood that I was tagged.

OK, here are Six Weird Things About Me

  1. I retch when drinking sweetened coffee (but it has to have cream or milk in it) but cannot drink hot tea without milk AND sugar (and it has to be black tea, very strong; herbal teas are like drinking grass clippings).
  2. IMHO, there is no excuse for speaking or writing ungrammatical English. Sloppy, sloppy, sloppy. It takes all my strict Southern-hospitality upbringing to keep me from screaming corrections at people. My current bete-noire is "I'm good!" as the answer to "How are you?" No, sweetheart, I am asking about your health and/or sense of well-being, not your behavoir.
  3. My knee-jerk good manners almost totally disappear when I drive behind some idiot who should have never been allowed to even try for a drivers license. I do not tailgate, lean on my horn, indulge in obscene gestures, or bellow insults out the car window, but, trust me, you'd better turn down your hearing aid because I have a large and active vocabulary of obscenities in 10 languages, living and dead, and I know how to use it.
  4. I am a really poor passenger, always stomping on that imaginary brake pedal. This may not be a surprise, given #3, above.
  5. I do not like music as background for conversation, meals, knitting, or reading. When I listen to music, I listen to music, all the voices, all the parts, all the timing, all the instruments. I do, however, find it acceptable background for walking, housecleaning, and other forms of exercise.
  6. I do not like house slippers that enclose the whole foot, like a shoe (my feet sweat), BUT I generally wear socks with slippers. And I do not like to walk in bare feet.

Hmmm. Not so much weird as booooooring.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

The Old & The New

As a rule, when one of my children asks what I want for Christmas (or birthday), I make modest noises of the "whatever you think I'll like" or "surprise me" ilk.

Not this year. This year I wanted eye candy and so I asked for and received this

Lovely, lovely, lovely. I might even make something from it!

My ESP must have been spot on target because my oldest daughter gave me this:

If you are a woman of a certain level of maturity (i.e. NOT an old lady but a foxy chick who has already been around the block a few times), YOU WILL LOVE THIS BOOK!

Here is my list of knitting projects from 2006:

  1. Beret in alpaca from stash

  2. Clapotis in Woolease from stash

  3. Ponchedtte in Gedifra Flamme from stash

  4. Clapotis in lace-weight from stash

  5. 2 ball-band washcloths

  6. Fair Isle vest for DH

  7. Alpaca lace scarf from stash

  8. Highland Shawl in Blackwater Abbey yarn from stash

  9. Oregon vest in Wendy Aran from stash

  10. Two hats in Red Heart Soft (orange/rust for me, blue tweed for DH)

  11. Yarn Harlot's Snowdrop Shawl in Jaeger Zephyrfrom stash

  12. One sock (the other is half-finished) in Regia from stash

  13. Three dish cloths

Projects begun in 2007

  1. Top-down raglan in Bernat Denim from stash

Although the stash-busting list looks impressive, it is a mere drop in the bucket. Over Christmas, however, my oldest daughter and I cleaned out one of my storage cupboards, and I sent her off with a huge garbage bag full of yarn. She crochets. Scarves. That's it. She does, however, want to branch out into other garments (but not other crafts; she does know how to knit but does not enjoy it). So I am looking for books/magazines that might be interesting to a bohemian-minded, intellectual 24-year-old. I am not much of a crochet person (except for doilies and table cloths). Suggestions are welcomed.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Knit From your Stash 2007

This is just up my alley.

Since I have been doing this through most of 2006, why not make it official?

Here are the guidelines:

1. The Knit-From-Your-Stash-a-Thon will start January 1, 2007 and run through September 30, 2007 -- a period of nine months.

2. We will not buy any yarn during that period, with the following exceptions:

  • 2.a. Sock yarn does not count. What? You think we are made of stone?
  • 2.b. If someone asks for a specific knitted gift that we really and truly do not have the yarn for, we may buy yarn to knit that gift.
  • 2.c. If we are knitting something and run out of yarn, we may purchase enough to complete the project.
  • 2.d. We each get one "Get Out of Jail Free" card -- we are each allowed to fall off the wagon one time.

3. We are allowed to receive gifts of yarn.

4. Spinning fiber of any sort is exempt.

This works for me.

Wanna join up? To get your guidelines and choice of logo, link on over to the Wendy Knits page.

Monday, January 01, 2007

R.I.P. 2006

This is a copy of my parent's wedding picture. Fun, very fun people. They were wildly in love for more than 62 years. My mother passed in 1999.

On November 18, just before Thanksgiving, my father died. He was 95 years and two days old. His last years were spent in a nursing home. He suffered from dementia (officially, although I think it was a broken heart after losing my mother) and was wheelchair bound because of a broken hip. Sad last years for such an active and wonderful man. Now, however, he is finally with Mom, having a happy and glorious time.