Thursday, September 27, 2007

It's my birthday...

...and I am feeling blue. Not because it's my birthday, I don't think. Rather, it is a blue feeling that happens during this post-vacation, re-entry time (and after this vacation, its for other reasons than feeling sad that vacation is over...sheesh!). It's partly a blueness about my camera, which I'm still mourning and the fact that the insurance adjuster still has not called me back...partly blue realizing that in 25 days, my oldest is leaving for Marine boot camp and I'm going to miss him...partly blue because it is just a good "blue" type of day (overcast and rainy in early fall)...partly blue because...I don't know. I just am.

Some days are just blue days. I think this is one of those days, but I know it will pass. The camera can be replaced. My son is doing what is best for him and his family right now and he will return eventually. The rain will stop and the sun will come out and the fall leaves will blow in the breeze.

This morning, I got a big hug from my 2 1/2 yr. old grandson who told me he missed me...that melted my heart and made me smile. Even blue days have their bright spots.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Vacation...the highs, the lows...

See, now this is where I'd usually insert a picture to show something fun or pretty from our trip. However, I cannot do that for this trip. Because all of my camera equipment was stolen on this trip. Camera. Two lenses. Filters. Extra battery. Both CF cards. The whole shebang. Gone in a matter of minutes on the beach. Someone out there is enjoying my stuff. Or else they're enjoying the profits from selling it, which it is likely they've done by now.

So, aside from being out $2,000 in camera stuff, I have...

...driven three hours through torrential downpours on unfamiliar roads.
...suffered a nasty cold for the first half of the trip.
...had a child throw up two nights.
...had the bed I was sleeping in suddenly fall apart and scare the crap out of me.
...been stopped by the police for running a red light.

I do not like dwelling on the negative. I rarely do. I'm the one who is always looking for the silver lining. But this trip? It's been really difficult. I've been so out of sorts through all of this. But in it all, I know there is some sort of message or lesson I'm supposed to be getting. One lesson I've learned for sure is that four trips to Florida within 12 months is too much of a good thing. I'm so ready to just be HOME.

But, in an effort to not be a complete poop about this trip, I will note the following gifts I can recognize from the past week...

...walking on the beach at night under an almost full moon and also seeing people set off fireworks right by the ocean. Very cool.
...attending a Celtic worship service at the local Episcopal church, which was quite beautiful.
...getting whistled at by some guy out on a fishing boat at the piers (how long has it been since *that's* happened??).
...finally getting my new tattoo that I've been designing for months (picture to come, eventually, when I have a camera again...ahem).
...only getting a warning about running the red light. (Whew.) Joshilyn Jackson's second wonderful book, Between, Georgia.

We leave my mom's tomorrow morning, drive to Orlando and fly home through Atlanta. After this week, I'm seriously praying the planes all stay in the sky as they're supposed to. Just get me to Pittsburgh, folks. I want to go home.

Monday, September 17, 2007

No Longer a Mystery!

For months now -- months -- I have been staring at the southerly night sky, seeing the same two celestial bodies night after night, the larger and brighter of the two above the other, the smaller and lower most often twinkling a fabulous red. I've looked on my star chart and tried to figure out just which two bodies they are, but I've never come to a firm conclusion.

Until tonight.

Jupiter and Antares.

Two more faces I can put names to in the night sky. Too kewl.


As I prepare to shut down my old blog, I'm going through my old posts and am publishing here a select few that are worth keeping out. They'll be back-dated to the time of their original posting. If you choose to read them, enjoy.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Recent Knitting

A couple projects from off the needles recently...

Sweater for my grandson. I'm really enjoying sweater knitting. I could never have imagined I'd be able to make sweaters! They seemed to me like they were something that only the most skilled of craftspersons could create. Here it turns out that even someone like me, with enough knitting know-how to be dangerous, can create a reasonable sweater. It's just like my dad told my mom when they first got married: if you can read, you can cook. Well, if you can read a pattern, you can knit a sweater! In this case, if you can read a pattern and switch sizes on the fly, you can knit a sweater that will not look like your grandson is wearing a dress. Because I was not in the mood to start completely over, this sweater was knit width-wise in one size and length-wise in the next size smaller, with some parts falling somewhere in between. But it fits him perfectly and hopefully will last him through the winter. (And doesn't he look stylish modeling it for me over top of his shorts and tank top?)

Next, the felted cottage tea cozy. I'm not so into tea cozies (or any cozies, for that matter), but when I saw the pattern for this in Knitter's Stash, I had to make it because my friends, Will and Becky, lived in Ireland a couple years ago, and the cottage they lived in looked remarkably like this one (only it was not made of wool and the roof was actually not thatched, though it could have been at one time because the cottage was several hundred years old). Anyway, I decided it would make a great birthday gift for Becky, thus I commenced knitting and felting and knitted up the roof, doors and shutters. Then the darned thing sat for a couple of months because doing all of those embroidered silk ribbon flowers? Not a fun time. It was really hard to pull the needle and ribbon through the felted fabric, so I could only work on it in very short amounts of time lest my finger tips feel like they were going to fall off. (I probably should have felted the fabric a little less than I did, but I'm still a felting novice, so I'm still learning these things.) But I got it done in time to give to her at the end of August, so all was well. I have no idea if it actually fits her tea pot, but honestly? I don't care. It's their Irish cottage, in wool, and as far as I'm concerned it is as much a piece of artwork as it is functional, so...whatever. LOL

Here's a close-up of some of the details...

Foggy mountain morning...

I took this photo a couple of weeks ago as the kids and I were on our way home from visiting friends in the Shenandoah Mountains of western Virginia. It was a foggy morning, and the roadside vistas were just beautiful. This was taken on Monterey Mountain. The kids have done enough roadtrips with me that it is de rigeur for Mom to stop on a dime and hop out with the camera.

Monday, September 10, 2007


What a loss the world has suffered this week with the passing of Madeleine L'Engle. She has been my favorite author for many years. Her Crosswicks Journal series is at the top of my list of most-loved work from her. I have some tapes of talks she's given at writers' conferences, and though I've listened to them multiple times, they never cease to inspire me anew every time I hear them.

I had the pleasure of hearing her in person, as well, and at one such event I got to meet her. This is where I tell my funny Madeleine L'Engle story. She was speaking at a local university one day, both morning and in the afternoon. However, I was only able to be at the morning session. Following her morning talk, she was signing autographs, and I stood in line waiting my turn with a friend. Just as I got to the front of the line, her assistant apologized and said that Madeleine was done signing, she needed to eat lunch, but would be back in the afternoon to sign again.

I'm not a pushy person by nature, but I think I offered a fairly pathetic whimper and explained to the assistant that I could not be there later in the day and I loved Madeleine just so, so much and could she pleeeeease just squeeze me in? (I'm not sure I whined like that out loud, but it's what I was thinking inside.) The assistant motioned to me and said, "Follow us." She whisked Madeleine out of the lecture hall and down a corridor as quickly as she could go (this was shortly before she went in for knee surgery, so moving quickly wasn't so easy for her), not to her awaiting lunch but instead to the ladies' room, which was apparently what Madeleine was needing more than food at that moment. Once inside the bathroom, Madeleine very graciously took my copy of "Two-Part Invention," asked my name and autographed the book for me. I thanked her (and her assistant!) profusely and then left her to her business.

This all happened so quickly that I didn't have time to be embarrassed about it all until after I'd left the bathroom. I'd just stalked Madeleine L'Engle to the toilet. At least she was kind about it. :)

I'll miss you, Madeleine.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

About me...

For me, life is not complete if it doesn't involve creativity. However, I don't just dabble. I dive. Most recently, my passion has been knitting. Hats, scarves, mittens, socks, sweaters, shawls, ponchos, tea cozies (ok, just one tea cozy)...I'm into knitting 'em all. Helping to fuel the passion is my part-time job at a yarn shop just minutes from my house. Can we say “employee discount”? Gotta love that, though I'd love the job even without it. It's a great place to work.

Other favored creative endeavors include photography, writing, and spinning (as in yarn, not bicycles) as well as various paper-based crafts, such as scrapbooking.

I live in rural-ish southwestern Pennsylvania with my husband and two youngest kids (whom we homeschool), along with a cat, a dog and a freezer full of formerly living pets that we keep forgetting to bury during the warm weather months. I love fresh flowers but hate to garden. I spend more time outdoors at night than during the day because I'm obsessed with staring at the moon and stars.

I've recently developed an affinity for white merlot, which joins my previously established enjoyment of Yuengling, Jameson Irish whiskey, rum and coke, and Chili's Presidente margaritas (though never all at the same time, thankyouverymuch).

I love to travel. I am in love with Ireland. I live with the sad irony that my husband works for a Japanese company yet I've still never gotten to go to Japan with him. I share my kids' love of Naruto, both the manga and the anime series. I think Hannah Montana, Ned's Declassified and Drake and Josh are some of the funniest shows on TV. I also love Survivor and The Amazing Race. I'm fascinated with Big Love and watch it despite its ability to totally stress me out and make me worry and then I have to remind myself that it is just a TV show. I love to read. I think The Alchemist is one of the most beautiful stories I've ever read.

I love to Google. I'm a trivia addict. Wikipedia is set as my browser home page. I love I’m a writer at heart. Words fascinate me. I love thinking of new names for colors, such as "spawning-male-salmon red". I love playing with color and texture in all of my artwork.

I turned forty last year and decided to quit living my life based on rules grounded in good intentions and fear. I'm a recovering conservative. Recently reading Barbara Brown Taylor's Leaving Church has helped save my sanity. I like living life outside of the box. I try to live with intention and integrity. I believe a life without passion and adventure isn't worth living.