Something Old (Me), Something New (Knitting)

A lot has changed for me in the past year. I no longer garden, quilt or photograph.

The arthritis pain in my thumbs has reached a point that I can no longer use a garden rake, among other tools. I am able to keep up a small entrance garden at the front of our property, but that is just digging in new plants or digging up weed roots. Starting a new garden, raking up sticks or leaves, cultivating, etc. is out of the question for me as it leaves me in so much pain for the next 5 days or more.

Quilting is too hard for me to hold under my machine now. Plus it just takes up too much room. I end up with fabric everywhere which annoys everyone. In an effort to keep the peace, I’ve stashed my stash or given it away.

Photography went out the window when the propane tank in the back of the car fell over on my camera bag. Ooops!

So now I’m learning about knitting. I’ve read a book about a woman’s yearlong journey making an Alice Starmore sweater out of non-Alice Starmore yarns. It was actually interesting.  It’s called Sweater Quest: My Year of Knitting Dangerously by Adrienne Martini. I’m into The Knitter’s Life List by Gwen W. Steege right now. It’s a bucket list for knitters. I’ve learned a lot already about yarn, and I’ve only finished the first chapter.

Coastal Knitting Pattern by Kay Dunn in [blank] yarn. Unblocked.

As for projects, I’ve completed a shawl project I picked up at Coastal Knitting in Beaufort, SC while at my son’s marine graduation. I’ve decided wherever I go, I’m going to find a yarn shop and pick up a project and supplies for it. I have a binder of page protectors I put the pattern in, along with a business card from the shop, the yarn wrapper and receipt.

I visited my daughter in Paducah, KY and bought some luxurious cotton yarn from the Itty Bitty Knitty shop with which I’m making a sampler stitch shawl. The owner, Lisa, also educated me about shawl sticks! I told her I didn’t wear my shawls much because they always fall off. So she showed her assortment of shawl pins with which to fasten a shawl. Look her up on Facebook at the Itty Bitty Knitty Shop (Coastal Knitting also carries shawl sticks and pins.)

Other projects on my needles include: a baby sweater in Red Heart yarn in which to learn “yarn math” with Cheryl Brunette on Youtube, and another shawl with the Reyna pattern from Ravelry with a yarn containing NETTLES! I used to get stung with those plants all the time as a kid! I’m so glad something good can come from them.

So if any of you are seasoned knitters, comment to let me know:

  1. What brand of needles do you enjoy most and why
  2. What’s your favorite yarn, and why
  3. Do you just buy yarn, or do you have a pattern for it already

Enjoy your spring!


Words From My Mom

My mother had a rather dismall quote that she often repeated. 

“Live and learn, die and forget it all.”

Guppies = 3 second memory

Well, I’ve proven it wrong. I can forget it all WITHOUT dying! When someone in our family is having trouble with memory we often lovingly call them “Guppybrain.”

We had a friend that once said, “I’ve forgotten more than I’ll ever know.So sad, but so true. 

What’s your most forgetful moment? Leaving your daughter at the public library by accident? Leaving another daughter at a Jake’s Day event, getting home and beginning lunch before figuring out she’s missing? I’ve done both. Let’s have some fun and share.

My Husband’s “Game of Thrones”

Everyone is aware of that dreadful feeling when nature is calling and you’re not really close to any particular porcelain throne. About halfway between two thrones (the house and the shop, 0.5 miles apart), the urge to go became a mandate out of nowhere! Is this a natural part of aging to skip transition!!!? 

Rapid fire thoughts possessed me: walk faster, drop ’em-and-go…you’re in the woods anyway, think about something else, run!

Well walking faster didn’t help and only appeared to give the mandate to “GO” a proclamation that it was imminent and about to commence if a new plan wasn’t readily applied. Drop ’em-and-go was not appealing as my arms were full carrying sundry items, TP was not abundant and three inches of rain had fallen in the past two days.

Mind you, detonation is getting ever closer with each failed second to execute a sensible solution to stop this very natural and rhythmic occurrence. My mind on more than one occasion heard: T-minus 10 seconds and counting filled by get it over with already you imbecile.

Thinking about something else didn’t assuage my fears of blastoff, so my mind moved the body quickly to running! Keep in mind all previous measures were executed in a matter of seconds. 

Running seemed to work well, tightening up the drawstring on what was for certain to be the first mishap in my geriatric journey. 

Not so fast, though. A running body in motion will not stay in motion as it begins to tire. Did I mention I was running up hill packing other things? As I began to slow I felt that the force of gravity (9.28 meters per second squared) was acting cruelly upon my intestinal track and this shouldn’t happen.  

I’m out of air. My bowels say RUN. My body says YES, RUN. My lungs say NO! I see the distant shop (one hundred yards is distant when this kind of travail strikes) and there’s a renewed hope. RUN Aaron, run! 

Happily, the report is that running carried the load to the desired throne. It’s said all’s well that ENDS well. Today I concur.

WARNING: Don’t try this at home. People can and do fail in attempting this. Not all participants achieve the same results. Past performance is not an indicator of future success.

Written by Aaron Peters

Easier Lesson Plans – or, Duh, Why didn’t I think of that?

After spending 3/4 of the school year spending most of Sundays writing out lesson plans for my middle school and high schoolers (I also have 3 primary school students) my husband, Aaron, made a statement that totally rocked my world, for the better! I would spend 6-8 hours on Sundays going through the girls books and figuring out when they needed quizzes or tests and also estimate what they needed to accomplish for the week, only to have them not finish it all by the end of the week. I would be so frustrated by Friday I just wanted them to go to public school and let me have my time back. 

Then one day, Aaron suggested I just write in their textbooks when each quiz and test was to be taken for every subject and let them make their own lesson plans as they go. Lightbulb moment! Now I just keep their goal of a summer break in mind and they’ve been doing so much more than I could ever get them to do. On Friday’s they make a list of any photocopies they will need for the next week. I print them out and put them in a binder divider with pockets. Then they can just ask for the test/quiz/worksheet as they need it. They also write down on a prepared lesson plan template what they have accomplished each day. These go into a binder should the authorities ever need to see lesson plans. I have a “Grade Me” folder they put their completed assignments in for me to grade which keeps papers from getting lost and return the assignments to them quickly so they can study for tests.

This method has really made my life easier. I can now spend my Sunday’s doing MY thing, which is usually outside. The record keeping is done by the girls, except for grading, and I can spend more time with my primary students.

Letting Go

My husband and I have raised our children to be leaders. Unfortunately, with so many leaders there are no followers. Everyone marches to their own drum.

In an effort to create cooperation among the crew, we let the older two kids (15 and 17) take their 4 siblings on a camping trip. They were to be gone for 2 nights. After a night laden with rain, and terrible thoughts passing through my mind, I was anxious to hear from them. So at 7:30 a.m. I texted them to see how they were doing. My reply came shortly after, “Come and get us!” 

They had unanimously decided in the middle of the night, with a tent dripping with water, to resume their paddling and get to the pick up site.
A miserable experience, I’m sure, but cooperation won the day!

Internet Heroin

I’ve spent many hours  trying to figure out how to make this blog successful. I researched topics online for 7 minutes, got interrupted by a child for 10. Spent 5 minutes trying to figure out where I was and 1 minute getting somewhere before getting interrupted by the next child. I’ve finally decided that it is the interruptions in life that are the interesting thoughts to blog.

This idea came after being interrupted by my husband. He was voicing his amusement of watching me with new tech toys. He said “It’s really funny watching you in the morning when all you can think of is getting online. You’re like a heroin addict needing a fix,” while he shook his hands as if he had tremors. “And then, if you’ve been on too long, you get the same problem.” Lol.

Yes, I do love the Internet. Sometimes it’s my only connection to adult thought and conversation. Sure children are a blessing. That’s why even as I write this I’ve stopped at least 3 times to help with schoolwork, make strawberry shakes for 7 kids, and inspected a foot to see how a wound was healing. But I still strive to stay abreast of current issues and I like to listen to adult conversation through messages on Facebook and various forums.

So, while I think up the content for my next blog, “Love the one(s) you’re with” as the song goes…. as I tell two of my teens (who are arguing whether or not their 7-year-old sister is a liar) to “SHUT UP!”