Monday, December 29, 2008
As I drove along Springbrook Rd. the curves and dips in the road seemed particularly apropos to our lives. Up and down, and straight-forward, only to go back again, seemingly repeating what we got through yesterday. So, as I drove down my own snow-covered road, little wider than a driveway, it hit me.
Come, come with me. Into my house, and I will show you Christmas at our house! We will walk arm in arm through the rooms, and feel the warmth and the significance.
But, first, it's out of the car and up six steps to step up into the foyer. Through the front door be-wreathed on both sides. The first thing you notice is the warmth. So cold outside, so warm in here! The kitchen is straight ahead and to the right is the living room. To get there we go up six more steps to the upper floor.
My main Christmas tree sits in this room. Green, tall,bejeweled with all my precious ornaments from years past; some my kids made when in nursery school! Others we picked up on our sojourns to Peddlers Village in Lahaska. The lights are all white and the tinsel glistens so beautifully, especially when day melts into evening and reflections are seen in the wide front windows. Tables hold my Christmas village, the one I've painted and adorned over the years; little primitive snowmen, colored lights, regal glass candles and a glass vase filled with red ornaments trailing red garland which wends its way all around the table are here. Another table is where little ornaments stand; Santa &Mrs Santa waiting to string their popcorn garland, Snoopy decked out in hat & scarf, a Gooseberry Patch marshmallow man holding his hat as he sleds down the tablecloth, and dalmatian snowglobes placed in-between a little double-decker bus and a tiny red book all about Christmas! Across from this is my gold nativity; truly sublime when lit at night and it holds a place of prominence here, for this is the very reason for the Season.
Next to the hutch in the kitchen sits a round table with another Victorian lighted house upon it; in the center of the hutch is my Advent calendar. It's very old, for I can remember opening the windows on it when I was small. It used to have a long poem, each stanza a clue to where the window to be opened on that day was, but it is long gone. Still, the calendar, made in Western Germany is a treasure. I still open its windows faithfully every December.
In the front living room windows, the kitchen windows, and even in the bathroom window, I have pseudo-stained-glass fixtures for Christmas; pretty and colorful when the sun hits them. We walk down the hall from the kitchen to the front corner bedroom, which is my little sitting room. Here I have my Victorian tree; about 5 ft. tall on its own little table, and covered in pretty handmade ornaments and topped with a soft pink sequined ribbon. Snowmen, fluted fans, Old World-type bulbs, stockings, even dalmatians decorate this tree. The lights are soft, and there is a string of bubble lights which “bubble” quietly once the lights have been on for awhile. Under the tree are 3 gifts, pretty boxes all wrapped up as part of the decoration. In this room there is a candle in the front window also; and to sit here of a evening, for a spell, is pure delight. Heading back down the hall and down the stairs, covered in green holly & ivy and we descend to the family room down below. On one bookcase I have all the “Rudolph” decorations; those I received years ago, month after month, and based on the cute TV show. Other craft fair treasures adorn the large bookcase, and a feather tree all in white, complete with angel ornaments, and silver bead garland, sits on the other green bookcase.
Next to the TV is the large coffee table, and here is my new white tree, aglow with soft white lights, and sparkly blue ornaments. All blue. So striking against the pure white of the soft branches. It, too, stands about 4 ft. high and beneath I have a blue angel, a blue poinsettia plant, and blue garland all around the soft white tree blanket. My skating pond reposes here, too and on the shelf behind is my mirrored window frame with the red candle shining through it. Alongside the window frame are my kissing bears, who have been kissing since before Thanksgiving. On the other side is one of my hand-made snowmen sitting next to a seated reindeer. The window frame was a craft item from Toms River from many years ago. As are the sparkly pine cones, and so many other little ornaments and Christmas one-of-a-kinds all through my house. And nearer to one window sits my tealighted “leg lamp”; you know the one from the movie, AChristmas Story. And, in one corner of the room sits my 4-ft snowman, not wanting to miss out on any of what's going on down here.
I'm hoping in the coming years that Christmas will begin to mean Christmas to all of us again. No more rushing to the malls, no more last-minute nonsense gift-buying. Make your own gifts and give them as presents from you. The time that you spend creating them will only open up to you more ideas, so many more that you'll find you won't have time to do them all!
And remember that when you keep Christ in Christmas,you will always do the right things. As we go through theyears, we should be gaining wisdom; enough to understand that Christmas is when Jesus was born, and during the quiet, still nights of Advent, we get the opportunity to prepare our own hearts for Jesus, for his Holy Spirit, to enter there, and remain there, all year long.
So, thank you for coming home with me, and nothing suffices quite like a hot cup of tea and some homemade chocolate-covered cherry cookies, or iced butter cookies. I'll put the kettle on. As we sit down at my kitchen table, replete with red placemats, some knitted by me, and look around at all the abundance, we should keep one thing in mind.
God's gift of Himself to us is a present we will always be unwrapping.
Monday, November 10, 2008
Silly dog, she is just so funny, every day! She's a smooth fox terrier and we never had a terrier before. What a cute face she has, and I get such a kick out of how she sidles down the hall sideways when she's playing with one of her 20+ toys. She literally flies up on the couch with ease; absolute magic. If you are looking for a dog or cat, look no further than your local shelters; she was there, waiting for us!
So, I think I'll do like Piper, and r-e-l-a-x! So much has been going on, and my brain needs a rest! And I keep reminding myself, that nothing is impossible with God; He has everything under control.
Wednesday, September 03, 2008
A bright and beautiful Wedndesday, warm! I'll take these end of summer idylls; they will go fast and leave cold and dark in their wake. Even now, the sun slanting at angles in the sky, leaves us too soon; by 8:00 it is dark. Then the soft lamps lit all around the house will have to do. Lit, so we don't have to turn around and wonder who is there. No one.
mind, and wanting with staunch determinism to find our way out!
Friday, May 23, 2008
It's not good, or even nice, to be so negative, but, you must understand. I am over the age of 50. That, in these greening United States of America, is past it. Over the hill. Old. No longer wanted. Don't call us, we'll call you. Don't bother. Goodbye. Good luck in your future endeavors.
I am not old. I am as alive as you. I read voraciously daily, use the Internet for everything under the sun, exercise, eat right, and watch Jay Leno at 11:30 for a good laugh at the end of my day. I love music, not the Lawrence Welk type of music either; sorry all you Lawrence fans, he just never hit the spot for me. Heard a little Sweet lately, or Neil Diamond or Jeff Brown?
In between all the madness, I love to knit. It is my passion as is writing. I can't live without it. It is something I put time aside for every day because I love to knit!
As you can see!
This is the christening blanket I knitted for Isabella, my new little niece. Sunday she will be baptised and my husband and I are her godparents. That is the best part about being in families. Giving back for all the special times we share together; taking care of those we know best. There really is nothing else in the world like it. There isn't supposed to be. It is what we were made for.
Here is the cat's paw design and the edging, close-up. I used a simple crochet cotton yarn, bedspread weight. Here is the pattern:
Cotton Yarn bedspread weightSize 4 or 5 needles.
Multiple of 16 sts + 9
Row 1 and all odd rows: Purl.
Row 2: K10, *K2tog, yo, k1, yo, ssk,, k11; rep from *, end K10.
Row 4: K9, *k2tog, yo, k3, yo, ssk, k9: rep to end.
Row 6: K10, *yo, ssk, yo, k3tog, yo, k11; rep from * end k10.
Row 8: K11, * yo, sl 1, k2tog, psso, yo, k13; rep from * to end k11.
Row 10: K2, * k2tog, yo, k1, yo, ssk, k11; rep from * to end k2.
Row 12: K1, *k2tog, yo, k3, yo, ssk, k9; rep from * to end k1.
Row 14: K2, *yo, ssk, yo, k3tog, yo, k11; rep from * to end k2.
Row 16: K3, *yo, sl 1, k2tog, psso, yo, k13; rep from * * to end k3.
Repeat rows for desired length.Block panel.
End Panels (make 2)Leaf Point Apron Lace
(taken from "Lace From the Attic" by Nancie Wiseman)
CO 31 sts.
Row 1: Sl 1, k2, yo, k2tog, [k1, yo, k1, k2tog, k1 tbl, k2tog, k1, yo], 2 times, k2, yo, k2tog, k1, yo twice, k2tog, k1, yo, k2tog -- 32 sts.
Row 2: K5, p1, k5, p7, k1, p7, k6.
Row 3: Sl 1, k2, yo, ktog, k1, yo, k1, k2tog, k1 tbl, k2tog, k1, p1, k1, k2tog, k1 tbl, k2tog, k1, yo, k2, yo, k2tog, k7 -- 30 sts.
Row 4: K11, p6, k1, p6, k6.
Row 5: Sl 1, k2, yo, k2tog, [k1, yo] 2 times, k2tog, k1 tbl, k2tog, p1, k2tog, k1 tbl, k2tog,, yo, k1, yo, k2tog, k1, [yo twice, k2tog] 2 times, yo, k2tog -- 32 sts.
Row 6: K4, p1, k2, p1, k5, p6, k1, p6, k6.
Row 7: Sl 1, k2, yo, k2tog, k1, yo, k3, yo, k3tog, p1, k3tog, yo, k3, yo, k2, yo, k2tog, k9.
Row 8: K13, p6, k1, p6, k6.
Row 9: Sl 1, k2, yo, k2tog, k1, yo, k5, yo, k3tog, yo, k5, yo, k2, yo, k2tog, k1, [yo twice, k2tog] 3 times, yo, k2tog -- 37 sts.
Row 10: K4, [p1, k2] 2 times, p1, k5, p7, k1, p7, k6.
Row 11: Sl 1, k2, yo, k2tog, [k1, yo, k1, k2tog, k1 tbl, k2tog, k1, yo] 2 times, k2, yo, k2tog, k12.
Row 12: K16, p7, k1, p7, k6.
Row 13: Sl 1, k2, yo, k2tog, k1, yo, k1, k2tog, k1 tbl, k2tog, k1, p1 , k1, k2tog, k1 tbl, k2tog, k1, yo, k2, yo, k2tog, k1, yo twice, k3tog, [yo twice, k2tog] 3 times, yo, k2tog -- 38 sts.
Row 14: K4, [p1, k2,] 3 times, p1, k5, p6, k1, p6, k6.
Row 15: Sl 1, k2, yo, k2tog, [k1, yo] 2 times, k2tog, k1 tbl, k2tog, p1, k2tog, k1 tbl, k2tog, yo, k1, yo, k2, yo, k2tog, k15.
Row 16 and 18: K19, p6, k1, p6, k6.
Row 17: Sl 1, k2, yo, k2tog, k1, yo, k3, yo, k3tog, p1, k3tog, yo, k3, yo, k2, yo, k2tog, k1, [yo, k2tog] 7 times.
Row 19: Sl 1, k2, yo, k2tog, k1, yo, k5, yo, k3tog, yo, k5, yo, k2, yo, k2tog, k15 -- 40 sts.
Row 20: BO 9 sts, k9, p7, k1, p7, k6 -- 31 sts.
Repeat Rows to match length of center panel.Block end panels.Sew end panels to center panel, right sides together.
Little by little, it will come together. Just like the Beatles said.
Sunday, April 27, 2008
And so it was for me on any sultry summer night last year, when with Chels in hand I would wander up to the gravel road in front of our house and in the dark, look up into the heavens. And wonder. And be wondrous. Of all I had. Of all I am. Of all I still so much want in this life.
It's been a long, hard 8 months since those days, but they will come again. Of that fact I have no doubt! It's true, don't you know, that you will walk through fire now and then; so better be prepared for it. With faith, you will make it through. I can't say what it would be without faith; I've never tried it, and I never will.
Yet, this time, when I walk up the driveway to the gravel road in front of our house and look up into the dark, Chels won't be by my side. For late in March, she died suddenly; in no pain,with no warning, just what we think was a heart-attack or seizure, and she was gone. Just like that. For all time.
She was a 12-year old dalmatian. She was and will remain, the love of our lives, our girlie-girlie, our pupper, our baby-girl. How many silly little names we had for her; and she loved every one!
I remember the day in 1995 when we went to O'Neill's Kennels in West Windsor, NJ and saw an entire bin of dalmatians, just in from the breeder. Although she was not "purebred", Chels was beyond perfect for us. She was hanging out in the back with her little head resting on a brother or sister; I could see those three black dots on the right side of her nose as clear as day.
By the time she was 4-months old, she was housebroken; I never knew a smarter dog in all my life! She could be stubborn in true dalmatian fashion; but I swear she understood English better than most people I know.
So many things she loved to do. Simple things; lovable things. Shouldn't that be telling all of us something? Now, I'm not advocating riding in a car with our heads out the window, but it was sheer heaven to her! As well as those long walks around the lake, and most nights, around the neighborhood, after dark.
There was cuddling on the couch, jumping full-speed ahead onto our laziboys; coming at you from all different angles, all with the same intent in mind, to land in your lap and kiss your face!
She just loved getting her ears rubbed and when it rained hard, she couldn't wait to get toweled off; especially around her head. It must have felt so good! When it was very cold, she would snuggle on the middle cushion of our couch, sleeping contentedly under her blue afghan. When she had settled down, whether there or on the bed, she would sigh deeply, and you knew, all was right with Chelsea's world. Tongue flicking in and out, she would lull herself to sleep, to dream, kicking and barking as she slept.
We took her everywhere we could. Little trips to town or the bank; trips down to see our kids, or relatives in NY or NJ or just anywhere at all. She loved the car!
There were times when her left ear would flap up at the middle crease; it was a funny sight indeed. I tried to capture it in pictures but they could never do the real thing justice. And she would leave it that way for awhile, as if she knew we were amused by this, and allowed us our fun. Then with a typical dalmatian shake of the head, it would be gone!
She loved chicken mixed in with her food; those Alpo sticks, which she would eat every morning and pigs ears! Oh boy, pigs ears! No dog loved them more. She loved watching TV. Especially other dogs in the dog shows. When she was very young, she would sit with you in the chair and watch these dogs taking their turns in the arena; hopping and bopping all around. Then, she couldn't take it anymore and would fly off the seat and charge to the tv screen, looking for this dog, for after all, he had to be there somewhere! Over and over again, year after year, and it was always so funny!
As the years went by, Chels tempered so many disappointments. She survived Cindy and Smokey, our two kitties, who grew old and died in their times. She was always a healthy specimen of a dog; always went to the vet yearly, and was almost always never sick.
She could stalk squirrels in the backyard; in fact, one of them used to wait for her on the fence near the back door and dare her to catch him. Stupid squirrel! There were times she came close! Then she would charge around the yard, with the biggest stick she could find. You could fling it from one side of the yard to the other and she would just keep going.
She was very afraid of fireworks and thunderstorms. And no amount of talking soothingly to her would help. But, she loved to walk along the beach at Lake Carasaljo, tripping happily through the water. She loved water! Had some kind of fascination with it, especially if it was running or in a waterfall configuration.
Then there were all her toys. Her stuffed dalmatians and the other decorative ones. There was her squirrel and little pink pig, and Marty's bunny, which my mom had given her after Marty died. And, last, but not least, there was Squeak. Just a little stuffed dog-head, but almost akin to her puppy. She loved Squeak!! We took it, along with her blanket, any time we went visiting. She had her fancy bed, too, from L.L. Bean, with her name on it and everything!
One month ago on March 26, it was Wednesday and I was working in a job that I thought would become full time. Bob was working and finally, I thought, we can get our heads above water, can have some extra money, can begin to lift out of this mire, which we have been in for too long now. Chels seemed tired that morning; she had not eaten and was laying on her bed when I left for work, but when I came home for lunch she was ok. She was out in the back and didn't know I was home yet; I watched her lumber up the deck steps, slowly, bringing her little back feet up almost together as she had learned to do in her old age. She looked out the railing slats into the backyard for a long time, I remember, and then headed to the back door when she spotted me there. Her face changed, and if a dog can smile, she was smiling! She had 2 hotdogs for lunch and then shared my beef stew, right off the fork, when I ate. I kissed her on her head when I left and told her I would see her after work. I left her there looking at me in the kitchen and she was fine.
One hour later she was gone.
It's taken me all this time to just say that. Happiness is fleeting; Charlotte Vale knew that. Take what you have, immerse in it, let it be absorbed into your being, because one day, it will all be just a memory.
Now, when I look at the stars, my Chels will be looking back at me. And she will be smiling, just like she always did; and I will smile back. And the stars will know.
Thursday, February 21, 2008
Don't you just love it when you go for an interview and "they" never get back to you, ever again? I think, and as the wonderful Mrs. Slocum always said, "and I am unanimous in this", it should be Federal law to reply to all job-seekers who you have interviewed with. It's stressful enough trying to figure out what half these dim-wits are looking for anyway, in the area of their job descriptions, and once I've made the colossal effort of expending my precious time, and even more precious gasoline to go and see them, why, I believe, that's the very least they should be required to do.
Just let me know, one way or the other. Do I have the job or did you give it to someone else? Someone, most likely, most unlikely to fit the bill. But, they are probably more of the age the company is looking for. It's all about image, isn't it? Never mind, the organizational and business skills, I bring to the table. Usually the one hired is hot off of the set of the "Jaywalk All Stars"! That bunch doesn't even know that not only is the Panama Canal in Panama, but there really is a country by that name! As opposed to Suez! Lately, I've yet to see a diplomat from Suez roaming around in Manhattan. Or maybe I'm just not looking in the right places.
Rather than be at the mercy of any of them, you know, those employer types, I just keep plugging away with my knitting projects, and always looking for more. If I had a thousand years left to live, I might just finish everything I want to make! I'm only hoping that the next life looks something like a Barnes & Noble, complete with a tearoom and a cozy fireside corner, all for us enthusiasts called the "knitting-obsessed!" Now that's heaven.
So, in addition to my griping, which is completely deserved and understandable, here is a pretty, pretty scarf!
Now, doesn't this just make your heart sing! I knit this in Rowan Lurex yarn, and the color says pewter, but looks definitely silver. Buy 4 balls, 95mm/25g. And the long strings of fringe just make it look absolutely Art-Deco. (There's another term those new hires never heard of either! I'm not explaining it to them.) Use size 10 needles and co 56 sts.
Knit 1 row, then purl 1 row.
Row 1: K1, *K1, (k2tog) 3x's, (yo, k1) 5x's, yo, (k2tog) 3x's, rep from * to end, k1.
Row 2: K1, p to last st, k1.
Rows 3-5: Knit.
Row 6: K1, p to last st, k1.
Rep until scarf is about 60" then fringe. Cut 112 sections of yarn 12" long for fringe, and do this first! So, as not to run out. It's just good sense; just like reading an entire pattern is good sense, when looking to knit it. This way you know what to expect as you go, because you've seen it all before. Same goes for recipes. Never cook something new until you've read thru the recipe first. Then you won't be surprised by the goat cheese ingredient that you neglected to purchase, and now all the stores are closed.
But, to get back to my scarf. It is so easy to knit, and will look quite classy once you drape it around your neck when done. Wear something black with it, and you can't lose! Then just stand still and wait for compliments.
Friday, January 11, 2008
The Astrid Scarf
Patons “Brilliant” Yarn
Gold Glow – 2 skeins
Black Dazzle – 2 skeins
Size 9 needles.
With black, cast on 46 sts
Row 1 – and all odd numbered rows – (WS) K1, p2, k2, *p1, k2, p2, k2, p1, k2, p2, k2;
repeat from * , end last rep k1.
Rows, 2, 6 and 10 - P1, k2, p2, * k1, p2, k2, p2, k1, p2, k2, p2, repeat from * to end,
end last rep p1.
Rows 4 and 8 - P1, skip 1 st, k next st and keep on needle, k the skipped st, drop both sts from
left needle- a 2 st twist – p2, *k1, p2, k2, p2, k1, p2, twist 2 sts as before, p2; rep from * to end,
last rep p1.
Row 12 – P1, twist 2, p2, * sl next 4 sts to cable hook, hold at back, k1, p2, k1, then k1, p2, k1 from cable needle – a cable twist, p2; rep from *, end last rep p1.
Repeat these 12 rows 5 x's more, change to gold yarn.
Purl one row.
Rows 13 and 21 – (RS) Purl.
Rows 14 and 22 – Knit.
Rows 15, 17 and 19 – K3, * with yarn at back, sl 2 sts as to p, k4; rep from *, end last rep k3.
Rows 16, 18 and 20 - P3, * with yarn at front, sl 2 sts as to p, p4; rep from *, end last rep p3.
Rows 23, 25 and 27 – K1, * with yarn at back, sl 1, k4, sl 1; rep from *, end k1.
Rows 24 and 26 - P1, * with yarn at front, sl 1, p4, sl 1; rep from *, end p1.
Row 28 – Same as row 24.
Repeat rows 13 thru 28 5 x's more, change to black yarn.
Repeat pattern to desired length. Bind off all stitches.