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I read several blogs and honestly can’t say which one I found this link at, but I *LOVE* it!

This woman speaks clearly and persuasively on human size and perceptions, and self deceptions. A great reminder that the number on the scale is just that: a number. And the excuses are just that as well…excuses.

I have no trouble seeing others as they are: beautiful, intelligent, graceful…but I see myself as huge, wrinkly, and OLD. If only I could see myself as clearly as I see the people who populate my landscape so wonderfully.

God ain’t done with me yet ‘cuz I still have a lot to learn! (see blast quote an the top of the blog!)

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I have tackled Mt Washmore and bought it to my knees(level). Clean clothes are a requirement at my place of employment and frankly, I prefer to not wear previously worn and odiferous clothing all day in a small cubicle! (When I checked my spelling of ‘odiferous’, I saw a link for asparagus and odiferous tinkles…I did not make that up.)

Anyhoo (as my DSis says) , feeling all sorts of righteous in my cleanliness, I have been eying one of the birthday presents I received this year. It came from my fun and colorful niece (and you know I love her to pieces!) Now, I know men name a portion of their anatomy, but I was not aware that some women do the same. (No, that is not a non sequitor. ) There are some words that I know are associated with female genitalia, but beyond ‘nethers region’ (quite useful when you are out in public trying to explain what a cat is busily cleaning) I do not use them out loud. I might use ‘betty’ though.

No, I will *not* show after shots! Unless I try it out on Duncan first. Hmmmm…

DN got me a few other things as well…I am wearing the star bracelet now, as a matter of fact. I am scared to death I’ll bang and bend it, but I couldn’t NOT wear it after she said the stars made her think of me and how I make other people feel. ( I told you she was awesome, right?) This is where I just melt all over again remembering her smile as she said it.

Her sister (also a DN – it’s a family thing) is now a fully-fledged landscape architect and finds the bestedest beauty for sunlight and gardens. The colorful blue orb is magnificent! Many of the windowsills inside my house (those not already claimed as watching posts by the dogs) have colorful glass bottles and vases and a prism or two. This will dance over them, hanging from a curtain rod. Now, which one gets the best light….?

My DSis found a pair of dragonfly earrings which I laid down on the bookshelf to hug her and then forgot to pick back up. Arghhh! The wall hanging of the alphabet is POIFECT for hanging indoors and out. I want it where I can enjoy it most often. I am still trying out various locations in the yard. I’ll keep you posted, and post a photo in it’s selected spot.

All in all, from the flowers (and voice lessons!) to the books, to ‘betty’ and beyond, this has been an amazingly lootful natal celebration for me. I love the gifts. I love the givers more.

My DSis told me she agreed to be in a fundraiser (a karaoke bar murder mystery dinner show) and she had to sing solo near the end of it. She was nervous. She shares the same public solo performance angst I do. The song was the Peggy Lee version of “Fever” which is perfect for her mellow alto voice. As a supportive and loving sister I drove the six hours down to NJ (I was going down there anyway this month, so why not make it her performance weekend? – But that isn’t the point. Honest. I would have driven down even I hadn’t had plans to be there) to see the one-time performance. I even got to hear her practice it a couple of times before she had to leave for set-up.
I am going on record here as saying my sister is a frickin’ master of misdirection. It was NOT a “small part” with a solo almost at the very end. She was a principal player and absolutely FAB-u-lous both in the acting and in the singing. I *SO* proud of her! I didn’t use the best camera to record her, but she put her solo up on webshots if you want to take a look.

Now that DSis has survived the event, she is even more pushy to get me to sing at her “Open Mic at the Birdhouse” night this August. Sometimes she can still be a little sister brat, ya know?

The weekend was also special because I got to spend time with my DD and later on, my nieces (and sister) flabbergasted me with a lot of loot for my birthday… but that is another bloggable post…

I have been watching CR knitting. She is the only one I know who knits Continental style. I became fascinated in how efficient the technique was when changing between the knit and purl stitches. I decided I needed to learn the technique and looked for an opportunity to use it.

They are forming a new group at church to create prayer shawls for people with health and/or stressful life experiences. How perfect! I signed up and went to the first gathering to collect instructions, etc.

To begin, I looked up casting on, on the Internet. I *know* (I thought) how to cast on, but I thought there might be another way to cast on for theContinental style. What I discovered was that there is no real “Continental” cast-on style, but there are a whole lot more styles of casting on than I ever heard of!

I determined that the “long tail” cast-on method was a good idea, so I sat before the monitor and stared intently at the video with yarn and needles in hand. After a few aborted tries, I mastered that technique (if only temporarily—I bookmarked the video for later reference!) and then looked for a Continental how-to video. I managed to find one of that, too.

Then began a whole new spastic etch-a-sketch experience of watching the video a ba-zillion times and trying to match it myself. The video was very clear, with both slow and faster demonstrations of both the knit and purl stitches. The hardest part for me was keeping the yarn all in my left hand, trying to deal with yarn tension, all while keeping the yarn on top of my fingers. The resulting stitch is fairly even, but still very slow, and it is also a lot looser than I normally knit.

Initially I started practicing with the yarn I selected from my stash for the prayer shawl – a Lions brand that has a lovely texture…and after a few aborted cast-on attempts, chose a solid worsted for my practice work. I needed to be able to see my stitches and the textured yarn, lovely though it was, was not helping.

Another non-helper was Duncan who decided I was paying far too much attention to that ball of yarn. While I was changing laundry over from the washer to the dryer, he snuck in, grabbed the knitting and scampered off upstairs and through the dog door to the back yard to look at this object of my attention more closely.

Did I mention we are having a LOT of rain here?

When I returned to my chair to pick up my knitting, I was confused. Did I put it down somewhere else? I retraced my recent steps and found the main knitted piece on the steps. I followed the strand of yarn up the stairs, through the kitchen, and through the TV room, to the dog door where it disappeared into the great outdoors.

After retrieving the unraveled strand and pulling it back inside, I decided I was done for the night.

I am still a spastic etch-a-sketch in both the knit and purl Continental style, but I am getting better. In another decade or so I might approach the efficiency I had reached in the “throw over” or “American” style of knitting that I had been doing for more than four decades.

They tell me it is worth it. “They” being the people who suggest that constantly changing styles of learning and learning new things keeps your mind fungible and active into your senior years. I agreed in principal before I began.

Working on this new technique has made me feel more “senior” than I had to begin with!

I am really trying to remember to carry my cell phone with me instead of forgetting it on a dresser or in the bottom of the bag I used two days ago. I have made some progress in this. Most days I do remember to plug it into the recharger before bed, turning it off first for maximum recharge value. I turn it off while I am in church, choir, or chorus rehearsals, and mute it at the movies like the good do-bee that I am.

So I carried it around all day today at the office, on my person, even.

But I forgot to turn it on. I missed two calls.

I never use up all my minutes. Only two people are responsible for 90% of the minutes I do use. Two very important people I enjoy hearing from and talking to. And my cell phone was off.

Often, when I call people, I manage to reach them while they are trying to eat a late dinner, or are in the car on the way to picking someone up. I don’t like encouraging people to talk while they are driving. Even if I am sure they are using a headset or hands-free speaker mode, I get off the phone as quick as I can… frustrated and embarrassed because I didn’t feel comfortable in chit-chatting while they handled a multi-ton vehicle in traffic. It’s enough to give one phobias, I swear.

Gotta remember to turn the bleepin’ thing on!

Weather today was nasty and beastly, even for a Monday. We got off lightly. No power outages, no major debris landing on our house or yard. A co-worker woke up to the darkness brought on by a tree covering the windows on her house. It rolled off her roof, actually. She sent this picture to explain her absence. Yup. Not Kansas.

Another coworker dealt with live wires dancing outside her house and her street was closed waiting for workers to clear the area. She was only two hours late. I looked. She wasn’t glowing or sparking or anything. Lucky lady.

Rain and drizzle all day. Spots of fluffy snow. Where is Spring?

The weather affects attendance at church. We are more apt to be “full up” on sunny days than dreary, wet ones. I hear the grumbling around me of why we should even bother singing with so few in attendance. It troubles me to hear that sentiment. I want to reply “less is more!” like some kind of commercial, but is it really?

On this dreary rain-sodden Sunday morning, where are they, our fair-weather friends in faith?

How many does it take to rejoice? When did the lines from Corinthians “whenever two or more gather in My name” cease to be a valid view?

Why is it that we do not count ourselves (in the choir) as part of the celebrants? I think that the best of all scenarios would be the active participation of the entire congregational gathering–children, adults,–pets, too if they were allowed in.

How many does it take to rejoice? Just one. Me.

I hear the voices around me raised in song, responding in unison, singly offering up prayer requests and celebrations. Most Sundays I get such a rush of joy just being in the company of people of faith! None of of perfect, but all of us trying, in our own way, to be better humans in our daily life.

What a testament to hope. What a blessing to forgive myself for missing the mark as long as I keep trying.

And as long as I am in a forgiving and trying mood, it would be so nice if the weather would keep trying for Spring! I know spring needs rain and all, but the puppies keep going out and playing in it, bringing muddy paws and wet hair inside, over and over again. We use more towels on the puppies than we do on the humans in this household!

At last! A weekend that was
a) at home
b) not raining
c) not so windy that the “DO NOT BURN” sign was posted by the fire dept. and
d) not otherwise time over-committed
—BURN, baby, BURN!!!

Our town allows open burning between January 15 and April 30 every year. You need to get a permit each year. We didn’t get to burn last year so we had both last year’s AND this year’s Christmas tree waiting in the burn pile, along with all the brush and tree trimmings of the last two seasons. This is great—what every pyromaniac longs for—permission to burn! I got to play lumberjack (and I’m okay!) cutting the trees, logs, and branches to manageable lengths…DH thinks no cutting is necessary, just keep feeding them into the fire. I like to cut, hack, and saw them to 18″ length just in case I can use them later in my portable fire pit.

I kept the fire much smaller this year. No 12 foot flames into the branches above giving me heart failure and possibly a ticket from the fire Marshall. I tried burning a handful of the mountains of acorns we have (squirrels love our yard despite the puppies because of the abundance of food). DH was right. They don’t really burn, they just charcoal.

Four hours of constant attention later, we were reduced to this . I smelled of smoke from the skin out. My thighs ached from stooping to pick up branches, twigs and other burnables from the piles edging the yard; my back hurt from lifting and shoving the burning debris around for maximum burn exposure. My nose ran the Boston marathon TWICE. My eyes burned and I was RAVENOUS!

A-hah! The Easter eggs had a new purpose in life—egg salad sandwiches! Yumm! I actually looked up an egg salad recipe but I didn’t have any dried mustard or red peppers so I just did the usual scallions and mayonnaise one on toast. When you are really hungry, anything tastes superb. Only now do I realize that I could have done hot dogs or some-mores (if I actually had the ingredients—a minor detail).

The puppies were thrilled to have company in the yard. I noticed just how shaggy they have become since their last haircut in January. Definitely in need of a trim, yes? It is too early to give them the 1-1/2 inch summer cut but Duncan needs something around his eyes and Dixie is harder to keep groomed when her hair is this long. Hmm…wonder when that will manage to get into the upper levels of the “to-do” list?

After thoroughly dousing the fire I came in and crashed for a well-deserved nap. I can’t tell you how lovely it was to stretch out and feel righteous in my rest!

Remember those cookbooks DH got last week? He tried Empanadillas tonight and they were very good. The only drawbacks to his recipe experiments are that he uses a LOT of dishes and I eat too much…but then, I tend to eat too much when he does his stir fry meals, too. He is a good cook and everything he does smells SO good! Okay…once in a while I admit I am not as enamored of his cooking. He likes cilantro and it makes me gag. He loves lemongrass. Ibid. Curry. Ibid. We deal.

And now some of the geek stuff

There are geek knitters out there. Seriously geek. I found a pattern that requires dice to determine the pattern sequence, patterns using Fibonacci sequences for color change and texture, patterns for DNA scarves and stuffed DNA helix.

The uber-geek of mathematical knitting was Elizabeth Zimmerman. Her “day job” was science professor at Landers University; her passion was knitting. Her patterns are nothing like any other knit pattern I have ever seen. She concentrated on providing a sequence of stitches and invites you to “see” the evolving pattern so you can take the concept and apply it to another knitting project, or expand on the size or shape of the finished piece. Her “EPS” (Elizabeth’s Percentage System) is still widely used by designers: it consists of a mathematical formula to determine how many stitches to cast on for a sweater, given that the sleeves and body are always proportionate no matter what yarn or gauge is used. She saw knitting for its simplicity, not for its complexity. The Baby Surprise sweater was her design. She has a LOT of fans.

One of those fans developed a geek code for knitters. My geek code is:
KER+ Exp++ SPM+ Steel++@ Pl+ Bam Boye Nov+ Cot+ Syn+@ Stash++
Scale+@ Fin-@ Ent+ !Felt Lace- Tex Flat Circ DPN- Swatch- KIP++ Blog EZ++
GaugeF-S-W+B FO++@ WIP+ ALTCr-XSW+!Sp

The world is indeed a very strange and interesting place… 🙂

No, I have no trouble with the Yahoo blog…well, outside of the fact that they do not recognize “me” in my own bleepin’ blog, this is really like hiccups…odd jumps and starts of time suspended and then restarted in another sector of a fractured universe…

Digressing is a character trait of mine, not an error, not a disfunction, and not ADD (oh look! a chicken!…but I digress…again…)

The Yarn Harlot is off on her book tour and sharing photos of her travels. This photo came from her Denver stop last week. I seriously want that t-shirt!

Bloggers can seem like a small community. A link in a blog can traverse the universe and back, making unexpected appearances in multiple blogs. Like this image. Do you see what the sheep are actually made of?

I enjoy the logo-images that Google puts on their web site throughout the year. A coworker gave me the link for the archives of Google logo art back to 1999. I notice they are generally a bit out-of-date. For example, I do not see this year’s Chinese New Year art or todays’ Yuri Gagarin image, but they catch up eventually. I love the droll imagery! There is quite a competition to be considered for the art work, too. People being what they are, a fake archive Google art site also exists for the almost-rans and wish-I-had artists.

Speaking of imagery, DSis had an absolutely AWE-some violet day at her photoblog. Isn’t life often like that? All fuzzy and muddy but for that one small piece that is totally and perfectly, crisply clear perfection?

On the work front, my web application continues to grow…but that is a techie blog for another time. The time now is horizontal. Good night!

I live in a climate controlled world. I have climate at work. I have climate at home. I have climate that is just regular climate. Right now, all of it sucks.

Work climate changes. Some years it is so beastly hot in the winter that I threaten to strip to skivies, or (if I am feeling considerate of my coworkers) a bathing suit. Most summers it is so freezing that I wear turtlenecks in July and go outside to thaw out. This winter, it is both freezing and breezy at work. I am not the only one wearing multiple layers. CR knit a shawl she wears most days, ibid wrist/hand warmers. Today she also donned a hat. It is *that* cold at our desks. Although the building manager tries, the architects of our building should have been shot before designing this heating/cooling monstrosity. If we are cold, other sections are at hot-flash-level hot without benefit of the gender or age-related transition.

Speaking of hot flashes…I am now noticing lots of new “change-of-life” t-shirt slogans. To wit:

  • It is not a hot flash, it’s my inner child playing with matches
  • It’s not a hot flash, it’s a power surge!
  • I’m Flashing!
  • I’m still a hot babe, but now it comes in flashes.
  • Help! I can’t find the menostop button!
  • I don’t have hot flashes. I have short, private vacations in the tropics!
  • et cetera, et cetera…

But I digress (again).

You’d think at home it would be better. Nope. My partner also has issues with temperature. He used to work in the tiny room with all the servers. The heat generated by multiple CPUs and printers had him quite toasty…so he turned on the A/C often and high while wearing a t-shirt under his long-sleeved shirts. I urged him to strip. Not only would he be more comfortable, I’d also enjoy the view.

Drat. He never did that. Instead, he moved to a corner room that is exposed to the afternoon sun. In the summer it had the same effect as staying in the server room, so up went the A/C. In the rest of the house, it was still frigid. Again I had to go outside to warm up. Remember, I LIKE to feel warm!

And now, I am finally enjoying the benefits of the whole change-of-life temperature thing. From being so cold my bones hurt, I am now comfortable most of the time—68 is good if I am moving and 72 is fine if I am working as long as the fans are not blowing cool air on me.

It is now April and we are still having days below 50 and snow is STILL being forecast, so the regular climate is also stuck in February.

Climate seriously sucks right now.

The CA auction raised over $900! What an amazing group!
I got the two pieces I was really hoping for plus the extras I wanted as well. The Baby Surprise sweater that everyone encouraged me to submit was not a fit for anyone so I brought it back home. The event was featured in the Lowell Sun on Friday, but they didn’t put the pictures in the online version.

Happier Birthday Tooo-oo-o Me!
I felt surrounded by well-wishers in both electronic and paper snail-mail form all day. DD called and sang Happy Birthday to me. She also sent an array of rainbow colored roses in a rainbow-striped vase that I didn’t get to see until I got home. DH called as soon as it got in and described them. He couldn’t do them justice. Gorgeous, yes?

A quick meal at Pho ’88 Vietnese Restaurant (now in the throes of a renovation) and then I proceeded to our Good Friday Service—very well-laid-out service BTW, following the last words of Christ from the time of his arrest to his last breath on the cross. Our closing anthem was Tears Slowly Fall – a fitting end to the solemn service.

Birthday treats continued with a trip to Barnes & Nobles where I indulged in a few books (BOOKS!) and the new Norah Jones CD. DH almost made it out the door empty-handed, but a rack of “Last Chance” cookbooks snagged his eyes. He returned inside with a stack of four. A Paella cookbook was on top—an entire cookbook of just Paella—I thought it was the name of a single recipe!

I devoured Twilight by Stephenie Meyer in almost a single sitting (the bath water got too cold). Now I am on the lookout for the next two in the series. Finally, even I had to admit the eyes were not staying open even with the duct tape, so I slept, knowing full-well that the birthday /anniversary would continue in the morning and all weekend, too. Whee!

After a virtuous morning of house cleaning and laundry, I dove into Darkly Dreaming Dexter by Jeff Lindsey. This macabre novel had a a delightful sense of whimsy in the talking-to-self department. Wonderful imagery! Well, not the gross stuff, but everything else. The afghan languished on the couch. I didn’t notice even a hint of reproach from it. Then again, I wasn’t listening!

Puppies were treated to a walk and socializing with neighbors before going *to* a movie. We hardly ever do that anymore (not that we ever did it a lot). We watched Road Hogs (a funny movie like City Slickers on motorcycles) and then at home we watched Cars, my current Netflix rental. My next movie from Netflix will be Happy Feet and I am looking forward very much to that treat!

Assembling Easter—boxes, bags, candy, fluff, “ghastly grass” and baskets
Easter began with bright sun & brass & bells & beautiful choral arrangements. There were slowly-diminishing mounds of snow edging the parking areas. More snow is predicted this week. UGH!! (in unison, now) DOUBLE UGH!!

Every year I put together baskets for Easter. Most years I do an egg tree, too. And every year I curse the cellophane “grass” that gets put in the baskets. I vow never to get the nasty, clingy, fly-away stuff again…and every year I discover I have more bags of it. I seriously do not know which gremlin is producing it but I wish he/she/it would STOP!

We colored eggs with Jess, Conor, and Liam (who had a cold, poor thing) and we had a real honest-to-goodness birthday cake made that day by chef Jess. They tried, but even with a flame thrower there just weren’t have enough candles for us. We compromised on two.

I was able to catch up (a little) with DD, DS, DSis and DM with birthday and Easter wishes so the entire weekend was delightful all-round.

Except for the getting old part (which seriously sucks when I really look in the mirror or check camera shots of myself), I LOVE our birthday/anniversary celebrations!

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