Monthly Archives: December 2006

Do you think this laptop will fit on my finger?

The Drake got me a new laptop this Christmas and I am loving it. Electronics gizmos are my diamonds and DH has gifted me these little gems since we came together, almost 3 years ago… seems like yesterday. You know, I just love this man! But, not because of the electronics. If he can’t be generous with his time, he makes up for it in many other ways. Let me explain.

We had a death in the family on Christmas day, and another sort of pending. My sister-in-law’s mother passed away and DH was going to see if he could take a day off to come out with me to Long Island, NY for the wake. Now, I had commented to my dad on the phone that I would really have liked to make it out there for the wake and the funeral, but that DH would not be able to get two days off. When I got off the phone, DH said that he would like to pay for the hotel to get me out there for both days. I could not believe it; but I told him that I would think about it. The next day, I called my dad. He was looking to hitch a ride with us because of the traveling. We all live in the regional area, but far from each other. We are in eastern NJ, dad is up in the Poconos, PA, and brother is out on Long Island, NY. The traffic to LINY almost doubles the actual driving time.

Anyway, told my dad that if he wanted to come with me, that I was staying out there overnight for the funeral. I asked DH to make reservations for them as well as us over the internet and he did. He surprised me by giving me the cash to pay for my dad’s room, as well as mine. I told him no, but he insisted. As a side note, when we got there, I could not actually pay for their room because we didn’t take into consideration that they would want $100. deposit for each room in addition to payment for the rooms, and I just didn’t have it. My dad paid for his own room, but I felt bad that I could not complete my hubby’s request. You see, I also took Gabriel with us and DH was grateful for the peace of mind he would have because of my dad and his wife being with us for the time away… well, not like I’ve never driven with the baby alone before, but I was even glad that we were not alone, though I’ve driven farther than that on my own.

This week has surely been a hectic one for me, trying to remember all the things I wanted to do, obligations, and calls I want to make while tending to baby. Yesterday, was my turn to babysit the girl upstairs, so did not have the time to recoup from the funeral before that came up. Today, we will probably go out grocery shopping and will sleep through the new year’s ball drop. I suspect that tomorrow will be quiet, too… which is just fine with me. DH is actually off today! Whoo hoo! Today and tomorrow.

See, I got into the narration of this whole thing, but got away from what I wanted to express about DH. Geez, he’s got his faults, like every one of us, but each day I find something else to be grateful to God for this gift of a husband I have. He never ceases to surprise and, indeed, impress me with all that he is. I just can’t seem to remember what I did right to be found worthy of him. He sacrifice so much just for me. Even though I know that he is getting alone time, that is not the important thing. He knew that he would miss us, worry about us being away from him; but he, without hesitation, suggested that I could just go. It was a sacrifice. He is truly a man of deeds and not of talk… literally!

Quality = High Price?

I don’t know about you, but I’ve always used price or cost as a quick guide to tell the quality of things.  Like, when buying meat, I don’t really look at the weight, I look at the price and know that the higher the price, the more it weighs.  My eyes can never catch the number for the weight and the printed price is usually the easiest and fastest thing to catch my eye.  Dumb thing to do, at least for hair products.  Using this same “formula”, I’ve often viewed the priciest hair dye as the most “affluent” or the one with the most quality ingredients; and have viewed the cheapest as low end and almost as generic brands.  I just realized something tonight.

I think I mentioned that DH works for L’Oreal.   What I realized tonight is that what is probably is factored into the high price of this “high end” hair product is the cost for all the batches that don’t make it into the packaging dept.  They are behind right now in successfully producing their hair products because of batches that go bad for various reasons and get deep sixed down the drain.  This apparent revelation gets me to wondering about my own system that basically judges things from the surface.  I am just not one of those people who patiently read every label on the stuff they buy, and that is probably what these big companies are banking on.

The revelation:  L’Oreal products are not expensive necessarily because the product is of higher quality than other, cheaper brands.  It could be that they are more expensive because of the bumbling way they run their factories.  I might be paying for their mistakes and the results of corporate greed.  Yeah, I threw that in because some of these mistakes are the result of mismanagement.   In other words, they are pushing the limit when trying to get more with less, much less.

I guess I am blowing off some steam because I never see DH any more.  They are way behind in making their stuff and all the OT they work is “manditory” and there is nothing anyone can do about it.  There was a stretch when he was working 12 hour days, 5 days a week (sometimes longer), then 8 hours on Saturdays- all manditory.  Is this legal?  I am wondering though DH says that it is.  He’s got time off coming to him that he can’t take because they don’t have enough people.   Honestly, the stories I hear could curl your toes, but not your hair!

My Fantasy Yarn Project

Northern Lights Wrap

Fantasy? Yes. Fantasy because the yarn needed was a LOT more expensive than I usually buy and I would need tons of it, because of low yardage, to complete my project. It’s a sort of scarf-wrap knitted (or loomed) with LB (Lion Brand) Moonlight Mohair and the LB Trellis novelty yarn. The LB site page is here. It’s made using 1 strand of each yarn. I love how the fringes look. The yarns I wanted to use are MM Rainbow Falls and Trellis Rainbow. Love the colors with the black undertone; the colors just jump out at you, or so I think they would.

I select my yarns according to the most yardage.. just a quirk of mine. I usually try to counterbalance price vs. yardage and it usually ends up being stuff from Red Heart or Carron, big skeins, the one pounders. Now Moonlight Mohair has a total of 82 yards/75 meters, and the Trellis yarn has a total of 115 yards/105 meters. I am used to skeins of 200, 300 something yards when I get worsted yarn, and for the novelty yarns, go for the brand that has the most yardage. Moonlight Mohair costs something like $7-$8, and Trellis I saw today for $5.99 per skein. Now that is mega bucks when you consider that this project calls for 8 skeins of the MM and 6 skeins of the Trellis….you do the math. In addition, my project would require me to make it wider and possibly longer than the dimensions on the instruction sheet… which, BTW, used to be a free in the isles of the stores, and now costs $2.50 off the LB site. I am still searching stores around here to see if they still have it out, but I see so little of that now, in general.

Now, one of the reasons that I took up knitting was to SAVE money. I can’t believe some of the prices of the yarn out there. I can actually rectify hefty prices for the natural materials out there, but not the artificial ones… that seems ironic since there must be some kind of labor used to create all the novelty yarns out there. I even got some of that recycled silk yarn from somewhere online and it was cheaper!

I was surfing the other day and found myself at Smiley’s Yarns and what to my surprise should appear? Moonlight Mohair and Trellis dancing in the air! On sale for $2.99 and $1.99… whoa… still that trigger happy mouse button and take a look! My colors were available, so I ordered some. I was so happy because I had given up on this project using my fantasy yarn… now, I got my xmas present to myself. The box came just today, which was pretty darn quick, just a couple of days. DH accepted it at the door and I was beside myself because he has already commented on the fact that I have yarn coming out of my ears over here… oh well, couldn’t be helped as the return address was from SMILEY’S YARNS. Also, in the past, he was never home when I got my “special deliveries”. Now he calls me the “Secret Shopper” and I kind of like that… maybe I’ll start a blog with that name. To be honest, he probably called me that because today I got his present at Modell’s with him there, then I chased him out of the store so that I could maybe get something else that would be a surprise; but to be sure, my online shopping had a hand in it, too.

So, now my mission is to recreate this scarf/wrap without actually paying for the instructions since there were free at one time. If I cannot find the sheet with the instructions in some craft store around here, I will wing it and judge for myself. Should be easy enough. Basic knitting, with garter stitches thrown in at the ends and maybe on the sides to keep it from curling. I won’t be able to start this right away as I am still working on a couple of projects for friends and one of them is a Xmas gift. But soon.

Happy Holidays, everybody.

Of Blessings

Life Blessing

Let me preface by advising that all quotations in this post are in italics, unless otherwise stated, and taken from an article in the Liguorian, a Catholic magazine we subscribe to, entitled “Discovering the Blessings of Kindness”, written by Patricia H. Livingston. I feel that I must say that if I attempted to write on this subject after reading this article, I would have used much the same wording as she, so I thought it better to just quote her. My own thoughts will be in plain old regular text. I apologize ahead of time if this becomes confused, but I will do my best to keep my words separate from her words.

“The Jewish concept of blessing, the b’rahah, is a prayer of praise and thanksgiving, blessing God for giving us any of countless gifts or moments in our lives.”~ “Discovering the Blessings of Kindness”

I felt moved to take numerous quotes from this article because they express what I wish that I could. My opinions and feelings are reflected through them. Sure we can be charitable by donating a gift to the poor, whether it be money or clothing or food. Most of us will do so in anonymity, and there is a good in that because it does not draw attention to our acts of kindness, our egos are not encouraged to get a big head. The reason a lot of us move in this way, however, is specifically so that they do not have to come into contact with a person in need, for whatever reason. It seems to be a giving, when, where and how, of convenience and not necessarily where the true need is. I will not attempt to analyze this now because it will draw me away from what I intend to write about, which is the blessing that comes when we DO interact with people.

In my own opinion, I’ve always felt that the act was incomplete unless I could see the person on the receiving end; to see their face light up, receive acknowledgement. In addition, I’ve always felt that this was very self-centered of me to think and very ego-based. I always felt that I needed to actively work against satisfying myself of this need. Then I read this article and gained new insight. A bit of background on this is that this speaker is the sister of the author and was diagnosed with serious illness.

“I get a break from my preoccupation with the endless road of suffering ahead when I am doing something loving for someone else, someone who needs my help. It has to be in person. And they have to want it; they need to respond somehow so that I can see it matters to them…… Unappreciated efforts to little for my angst! Something has to pass between us, be given and received. Their receiving is as important as the gift…. I guess what I am saying is that what helps me is knowing that I can still be a blessing to someone else.”

I found this profound and identified with it right way. I suddenly felt that maybe it was not selfish of me to desire to see the results of my actions. Just maybe it was not my own ego desiring praise that was motivating my actions. I have since trained myself to think to what my thoughts were, what my motivation was before I did some good deed. I dwell on that because at some point, I will look back with pride and I feel that this pride is damning thing and contaminates whatever good was done. Now, I feel that the greater thing is the blessing created from the personal interaction with another. Read on:

“The capacity to bless life is in everybody. The power of our blessing is not diminished by illness or age. On the contrary, our blessings become even more powerful as we grow older. They have survived the buffeting of our experience….A blessing is not something that one person gives another. A blessing is a moment of meeting, a certain kind of relationship in which both people involved remember and acknowledge their true nature and worth, and strengthen what is whole in one another….. I think this mutuality of blessing, of helping one another to live, is enormously important…. The receiving is as important as the giving. We strengthen one another in the exchange.”

This seems right. A blessing is not to be just one sided; both parties, the giver and the receiver, contribute to it’s manifestation. I have had experiences that confirm this dynamic of blessing since I first began to understand it. I have a friend from church who is poor and she wanted to learn how to knit and crochet. She is slow to pick up the techniques, but she is optimistic and persistent. To be truthful, when I first learned how to knit, I gave up on it because of my impatience with myself; but she is wonderful. I told her that I have plenty of extra yarn, needles and hooks she could use, or even keep if she wants; but I thought it would be better that she used my tools until she knew which sizes she best liked to work with before she went out and bought them.

Anyway, she learned how to make chains first with the crochet hook; but she stuck with that and doesn’t seem interested in learning the actual crochet stitches to make things. She is content to make seriously long chains. That first day, I sent her home to practice. The next time she came over, she had long chain necklaces for my son to play with. I didn’t tell her that it might be dangerous for him to play with them; and accepted them with awe because I never expected her zeal for giving back in her own way. The next time, she brought beautiful little mats that I could put on my couch. They were made with chains and sewn together in a spiral. I consider her to be very creative because on her own she combined multiple strands of yarn and had the idea to sew them together for mats, or if bigger, rugs. It gave me much joy to witness this happening between us… and to RECEIVE gifts of two mats from her learning hands.

“It might seem like such a little thing, but I believe that it was a blessing being exchanged. Her receiving is as significant to me as the giving was to her“; and visa versa. I realized, as the author of this article did, what a very important point this is.

“We can be ashamed of our need to receive. Yet the receiving is just as important. The blessing happens. We need the kindness.” I can relate to this, too, because I was the one ashamed of being financially needy after my divorce.

“This is sacred truth: We bless one another when we meet in kindness. In those moments we are one with the primal energy of God’s outpouring of life and love…. This realization has helped me understand our part in God’s blessing… God is constantly offering abundant blessing, but our receiving, our appreciation, and our gratitude in response are a necessary part of what makes the blessing fully happen.

“Each time we notice, each time we pause and say thank you, each time we savor a gift and remember it, we deepen the sacred moment, we increase the kindness in the world… When we meet in blessing ‘the light of the world is strengthened, around us and in us’.”

And I am never broken
We are never broken
We are God’s eyes
God’s hands
God’s mind

~ “Hands”, Jewel ~ Only Kindness Matters

New Look

Winter Solstice

Like my new look? Love this blog, though I miss my dragon…

Will change back to my old look in January….

unless something better comes along!~

Until then,

Merry Christmas
Happy Holidays
Happy Chanukah
Happy Winter Solstice Night
Happy Kwanzaa
Did I forget anyone?
Peace on Earth
Good Will To Men and WOMEN

Search Terms To Find My Blog

Do you have a burning desire to know something, have done a search and voila, have found my blog? Have you done this and have been disappointed because my content didn’t satisfy your curiosity or give the information you were specifically looking for? If you answered yes to any or all, please read further:

real sightings of dragons in 2006
Knifty Knitter Toddler Poncho
“see saw knock at the door”
health related Words of Wisdom
head size percentile
asparagus crock
“vegetarian stew”

These are just a few. Nothing really quirky here, but I’ve had some doosies over the months. It’s occured to me that I can actually provide information for some of these searches if I could only contact these people, but they do not leave any comments with questions, nor do they email me. Like, I do know how to make a KK Toddler Poncho, but don’t have the email to contact that person who searched for it.

Lot’s of people lurk here and never comment, and that is okay; but I would like to encourage people to either contact me via email or comment on my blog with a question concerning what they are searching for if they don’t find it on the surface. I might even have a site in my favorites that you could use. You just never know where you will find the answer.

Oh, and for your info, the dragon in the top header is a REAL dragon, sighted in some tropic haven my brother visited. It showed up on his back balcony.

Don’t be a stranger!

Poncho Delivered & Log Cabin Blanket

Yep, finally I delivered the green poncho to Florie, the lucky recipient… or I should say that I am the lucky one because I was challenged and had to use my brain to improvise to her taste. To be challenged, promotes growth and that is always a good thing.

Here, I post Florie modeling her poncho… just in time for Christmas:

Florie in Green Poncho

This was done with two strands of yarn from Knitpicks. Can’t remember the name, but it’s a moss color and look and feel of mohair, soft, light and warm. The third strand is Red Heart worsted Frosty Green. These two colors could not have been matched better. The Frosty Green, a bit lighter, blends in great, creating a sort of 3D look. I used the yellow KK loom to make two flat panels, then sewed them together. Florie did not want fringes and it was just as well because it came out on the longish side. She wanted a square neck, so I crocheted the neck to fill in the “v”. Florie just “loves” it and that made me very happy. Now I am going to start something for myself.

Next, is a current pic of the Log Cabin Blanket. I just finished the pink strip. It’s coming out as a rectangle… duh! look at the middle piece.. it’s a rectangle, too! Right now I am at the point where the strips are so long that they cannot be finished in one sitting… I am getting bored with it, too, so this will be finished soon. I also want to get some more repeated colors in there, and more blended colored yarn. The pink strip, finished a complete row, so if I continue, I will have to do at least four more strips, then when it’s done, I want to make an edging which will just be either crocheted or for more thinner strips, all in the same color to create the edge.

Log Cabin Blanket

Saving a Life is Easy~Donate Blood

I wrote about my platelet donation back on Nov. 21st.  and today I got a really nice and motivational comment that I want to share with you.  I felt it was important because I wanted Kelly’s comment to be more accessible to someone doing a search on the subject and here it is:

“Today I gave platelets for the first time and experienced the same “tingling” and “vibrating” sensations that you described. I hated it and was so tempted to ask them to stop the machine and let me off!! I actually eat 7 tums during the two hours it took to take my single unit. The crazy thing is, I signed up to do it again in 3 weeks. But, I’m going to eat a calcium-rich diet between now and then. However, the friend I went with had no problems at all with her donation and she gave two units in the amount of time it took for me to give one.

“With all that said, I want to thank you for donating platelets, for I have a very personal reason to encourage people to donate any blood products. This past January my 19 year old son was diagnosed with leukemia. We lost track of how many bags of platelets, plasma, and packed red blood cells he used. He relapsed in June and had a bone marrow transplant in August. While waiting to recover from the transplant he had daily transfusions of all blood products, but mostly platelets. It grieves me to say that he died in September due to complications after the transplant.

“And now it has taken me 3 months to get myself back to the same clinic where he was initially diagnosed and donate platelets. I am so grateful to people like you, who have given this life-saving gift and would encourage anyone else who reads this to please consider giving blood. The need is greater than you can ever imagine. Thank you for your gift.”

Kelly, thanks for sharing your experiences.  I am sorry to hear about the passing of your son… but I am also glad that you’ve decided to donate platelets.  His life will be remembered and truly a blessing for those who receive your platelets.

As I mentioned in my email to you, I need to straighten out some medical issues before I donate again… hopefully by January.

If anyone is interested in learning more about donating blood or apheresis, you can check out this site, Blood Center of NJ.

Knitted Project Update

Okay! I am posting two pics of projects just recently done; one completed and one “almost”. I am posting pics so that you guys can see what I’ve been working on that keeps me away from writing. I still have other projects in the pot, but maybe I’ll still take pics of the works in progress. Keep in mind that I hardly ever work from patterns and shy away from any sort of discipline…. as evidenced here:

Forgotten sweater/vest

As most of you knitters can see, to be kind, it’s well, flawed. This is the vest (sort of) that someone asked me to make for her grandson. I realize that I made so many mistakes in it, like not making a v-neck. If I didn’t put a collar on it, it would’ve stretched to fit any sized head that baby has. The body of it was done on a loom, while the white parts were done on needles. While the waist and arms look okay, the collar came out too tight for some reason. I think maybe I should have cast on two stitches instead of one into each stitch to allow for stretching. She wanted a pull over so I thought this would be okay, but then when she saw it, she said that it was too small. Oh man, I do not look forward to frogging this thing, but it looks as if that is just what I’ll have to do. I never saw the kid and she never brought one of his sweaters to the party we both were at this past Tuesday, so I am giving up the idea that I will ever get it done, let alone for Christmas.

This next one is the green poncho I’ve been prattling on about:

Green Poncho

This was made for my husband’s cousin. When I give it to her, I am going to post a pic of her wearing it, perhaps replace this one. This was done completely on a loom, with the v-neck line squared off by filling in the “V” with either double or triple crochet stitches. I forget which and the poncho is sitting in the car waiting to go to it’s new home. I wanted to do just that part with the lighter green, but cuz didn’t want that. Still looks good. We got the darker green from Knitpicks and the lighter green is from Red Heart. She did not want fringes, so I left it as is. It’s warm and very soft. You can hardly tell that even here I just went longer than normal, which is why the neck opening was so big, I think. Ah, I don’t think you can tell by this pic, but hopefully the next pic will be taken in better light.

Now I am off to knit more of the log cabin blanket. You know, I LONG to make something for myself. What is holding me back? Well, other than all these projects for other people, for whom which only “I” am to blame, I just can’t seem to decide on what exactly to make, though I really want a really long and wide scarf that can double as a wrap. I can do it on the loom, but I’ve not come to decide what kind of yarn to use. I am a “feeling” person who lets my feelings tell me to either go ahead or hesitate. So far, nothing really moves me enough to push my hand. This LC blanket was intended for me, but then I got the idea to give it to Gabriel’s godmother. I DID make wristlets for myself, but that was when it was still warm out… now that I need them, they are lost…. ugh!

Have a great rest-of-the-day!

Praise Through Music

Chant Page……Thought I’d better write something, so just got Little Drake off to nap and I’ll write a little about last Sunday, when I was the cantor(ess?) for the mass. Serving the Lord through music, ah, for lack of better words, and time to think of them; serving Him through music brings me much joy. I have always felt it right, for me, that prayer and praise should be more of a “feeling” experience than a “wordy” one, though I am aware that the spoken word has power. For me, praising the Lord, even praying to Him, doesn’t come easily to me with words. I stand before Him and I am revealed. He knows already what I need, what my soul needs; all I need to do is trust. Through music my heart flows to Him, bringing everything of me, seen and unseen, my heart’s desire and all the waves of emotion inside me that can fill all the oceans of the earth.

I believe that God knows our thoughts, our desires, even before we do. Words of prayer do not resonate with me, but something flows through me when I am singing or just listening to music, especially the chants. It lifts my spirit, it does; and I believe that it’s a form or communication. The heart is revealed in music, whether happy, sad, angry, triumphant, in love or yearning for love. Everything is revealed in music. Lyrics are good, and I do require the lyrics to be of quality, along with the music before I will say that I like it. A song must stir me heart, mind, body and soul. When I sing or listen to music, I feel as if my body and spirit are lifted up, sliding along the threads of the song… the music carries me. All the better if there are no lyrics. I love Celtic music, pipes, rain sticks, chants, drums… Mickey Hart’s “Planet Drums”… oh man!

Last week was my once-a-year chance to sing the psalm. Very exciting and I got so very nervous though I have sung before in front of the very same people. Solo parts… this is when people get to see whether I actually have a voice that can stand by itself…. ugh… Though I know that this is a service to my God that I perform with love, you cannot be a public singer without your ego getting in there somewhere, at some point. Anyway, I practiced and practiced with the music director… who told me that the introduction will be the whole response part, and then I start. Another thing is that I had to remember where to take deeper breaths than normal to reach the high notes. Well, sadly to say, the pianist flubbed the introduction and that made me even more nervous… and well, that set the tone of the whole thing for me. I relaxed myself and continued… then I forgot to take the deep breaths and, though I made the notes, they cracked. Oh well, I acknowledge that I am not a trained vocalist AND, most importantly, my service was to the Lord. I believe that however it was delivered, the Lord accepts it with the love that it is intended. Plus, the music director makes us sing higher than our natural voices to get that church-feel!

If anyone is interested, our psalm was “Save Us O Lord” and that link is to the lyrics on a prior post of mine. I have not tried out the sonic song site yet… if anyone has, please let me know how they like it and how to get started… Thanks!

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