Monday, December 27, 2010

Post Christmas Hibernation

So, lots of people are taking down their Christmas decor- my cat seems to be doing that for me, slowly but surely.

Others are indulging in using every function of their sparkly new electronics- mine sit in the box waiting until it "feels right" to take them out and try them.   Perhaps using them will be my reward for straightening up my house.

  (365 days 351-353)

I'm really not ocd about it, things are just not organized enough for me to feel safe pulling out my new pretties for a new project.  In other words I haven't been following everyone through the house barking orders to clean up their breadcrumb trails.  It is Christmas.  Instead, I've totally let things go, knit a lot on my daughter's cardigan, watched many episodes of Monk, and as I write this, I realize I'm only wearing one sock.
Everyone needs a rumpled week.  And that's what this is.  It's my week to be comfortable, rumpled, and procrastinate big time.  I am shrugging off the call of the kombucha that needs to be brewed, the floor that needs to be swept, the mounds of laundry, and the dinner that needs to have it's ingredients shopped for.  My children are ipod zombies and rousing them to watch a different screen with me is my nod to providing a varied, enriching environment.

Ah, there's nothing like the after-Christmas hibernation period.  A time to just wallow around in warm clothes, eat leftovers and chocolate, and watch dorky tv marathons.  I'm accepting it- no, embracing it!   I think I fell asleep twice during the day yesterday (this may actually be a sinus infection.)  But why not?  I scrambled around making and shopping for everyone in our combined families the last few weeks.  I made and sent a zillion cards, hosted company, went to lots of functions (that term cracks me up especially when they come in rapid fire succession.)  So, I'm a bum today.

I did try the Diana + lens adapter.  What a bummer that I didn't search reviews on it before I bought.  With a Rebel xsi I can get the same blurry vignette-less effect by skipping while taking a photo - no purchase required.  I could probably use the "happy-feel -good" effect, but I think I'll wait til the triptopan has worn off.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas

Just a quick greeting before I sign out for the weekend.  
Looking forward to seeing my family and celebrating what Christ did for me, and you, and them.

 (365 Day 350)
Now I have to go because my oldest child is giving my youngest a super wedgie and by the sound of the screams, I think I need to intervene.

Channeling Old Possum

365 Day 349
I have a Gumbie Cat in mind, her name is Jennyanydots;
Her equal would be hard to find, she likes the warm and sunny spots.
All day she sits beside the hearth or in the sun or on my hat:
She sits and sits and sits and sits- and that's what makes a Gumbie Cat!
But when the day's hustle and bustle is done,
Then the Gumbie cat's work has but hardly begun.
And when all the family's in bed and asleep,
She tucks up her skirts to the basement to creep.
She is deeply concerned with the ways of the mice-
Their behavior's not good and their manners not nice;
So when she has got them lined up on the matting,
She teaches them music, crocheting, and tatting...
...I have a Gumbie Cat in mind, her name is Jennyanydots;
The curtain-cord she likes to wind, and tie it into sailor-knots.
She sits upon the window-sill, or anything that's smooth and flat;
She sits and sits and sits and sits-and that's what makes a Gumbie Cat!
 But when the day's hustle and bustle is done,
Then the Gumbie Cat's work has but hardly begun.
She thinks that the cockroaches just need employment 
to prevent them from idle and wanton destroyment.
So she's formed, from that lot of disorderly louts,
A troop of well-disciplined helpful boy-scouts,
With a purpose in life and a good deed to do-
And she's even created a Beetles' Tattoo.
So for old Gumbie Cats let us now give three cheers-
On whom well-ordered households depend, it appears.

-T.S. Eliot, Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats









Wednesday, December 22, 2010

New Hat

My son calls it "hangy and floppy."  This is another Jane Richmond pattern I got to use up the last of my cheap yarn.  It took just a little more than a skein of Lion Brand Wool Ease Chunky (pattern calls for worsted)  Though it looks cabled, it's just a series of increases for eyelets and decreases by slipping one stitch over others.  I love the double thick brim on this.   Now, all I have to do is wait for the temp to drop below the seventies.

(365 day 348)

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Makin' It

It's been a busy week of making Christmas gifts.   As I was clicking the mouse to arrange the same pictures differently for calendars over and over, or wrapping wire to make the same charm over and over, or knitting the same sweater with the same yarn over and over, I realized I was singing the same song in my head, over and over.



(bookmarked, 365 day 346)


That's something my mom used to do.  As a girl it just made me roll my eyes that she had a chorus ready for every situation.  But here I am singing, "Makin' It" as I make bookmark charms and lengthen sweater sleeves.  Changing lyrics like "breakin' these chains" to "makin' these chains", etc.

And like I once was, my kids are hearing songs on the radio and realizing that lyrics like "Mama pajama" weren't really about me, that Dolly Parton never sang about Go Lean cereal but about "Jolene."

(365 day 345)

Wow, this is almost painful.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Blurry Highlights

The results of my test roll on the Fed: my skills are defective, not the camera.  
And that thought brings me great joy.  

(365 day 344)

 Oh man I wish that last one had been centered a little more...and focused,
 cause I just love that old man.
Last night, I dreamed that he'd been lost and then I saw him floating down a lazy river, in a tire, toward me and I was so happy.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Time on My Hands

Today I had extra time to read through some blogs I haven't seen in a while.  These are my rambling thoughts after reading theirs: 

I've been engaging in what The Sweatshop of Love calls selfish knitting.  And I love it.  It's the one area of my life I am not a bit convicted about being selfish in.  I have made everything from potholders to purses to yoga mat bags to leg warmers for people.  I don't regret any of it, but let's face it, not everyone gets the idea of love in every stitch.  After someone told me she must have spent an hour or so picking the woven ends out of a child's knitted tea set I'd made to unravel  and use the yarn for a dishrag... well I carefully backed away, hid sharp objects from her, and decided gift cards might be the best received gifts for most people.   I have other things I can make, though I fear, the necklace may be unwound and fashioned into makeshift braces.

I 'll still knit gifts- but I'm just not going to do a marathon session the week before Christmas or a birthday.  Even now, I'm about to start a cardigan for my daughter (not so selfish), but I'm chasing it with one for me :) 

(365 day 342)

Then Brooke at Playing Grownup posted a wonderful reminder of why I have so much reason to be happy this Christmas.  I wanted to cheer when I read it, but afterward, couldn't get the phrase, "Epic Fail" out of my head.   My son and his friends say it all the time.   I even heard my Grandmommy say it with her hint of a Mississppi accent (she was reading one of my sons cartoons, but still...talk about surreal)  When did this become part of the common vernacular?  You can see I have some time on my hands today to sort through life's deep-seated mysteries, so I googled it and read through some very sincere, if strangely opinionated, answers.  I don't know,  I'm going with the Dungeons and Dragons rationale.  It makes it more fun to hear that way.

Just before logging off, I read a post by Jane, of C Jane Enjoy It,  on finally getting to have all that sweet, snuggly fun of staying home and playing with kids.  It was sweet but, in a semi-related way, reminded me of the day my son watched Scooby Doo with me for my benefit.  He didn't want to hurt my feelings, but the mysteries weren't doing it for him like they used to.  I smiled, ruffled his hair, then turned my head away and bit my fist in agony.  Why!?

You know what?  I'm about to have two weeks with those not- so- grown kids all to myself, and along with Mansfield Park and Tron, we are watching some old cheesy kid show , playing board games (even never-ending Mousetrap,) and having an evening of Blind Man's Bluff- so there, maturity!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Less is More, Literally

I had to make sure this Christmas present was working, in case it has to be returned.  Hee hee. 
Why, I've chosen to step back to film when there is literally one drugstore that does processing for prices  higher than I remember... I don't know.  Maybe it's because I have a soft spot for every film photo I ever took- from junior high silliness to beautiful images of my babies.  It's what I want to get better at next year.  Plus, the cameras are cool and cost so little.   So, I'm reviewing the Sunny 16, downloading old manuals, and learning the particulars of different models.  In other words, I still haven't finished my first roll and am scared of what the results will be.  

When did I begin shunning full manual control?  When did I become so dependent on reviewing the 50 photos of the same object I just took on an LCD screen?   When did I begin to feel that taking 50 photos of the same thing to "get it right" was normal and not a little ocd? It's too much.

(365 day 337)
Oh, digital, you've clipped my wings by giving me so many options.  But I was never super confident about my settings choices on the old Minolta either. Then, before I knew it, everything was digital, and I hadn't taken the time to learn.  So, I'd like to try now.  
As I finished off this year in pictures, I knew I was ready to do more straight out of the camera (no matter what camera it is) or at least limit my shots to a few that felt meaningful, in order to streamline my photo habit.  Besides, less is more, right?  This is especially true of 35mm and polaroid film, on my film budget.

And with that said, I am getting a lot of "Less is More" themed photography goodies for Christmas.  I'm not chunking the Rebel, (I love it and it's practical) just trying something new.  Scary as it is to pay for film that I may ruin or be kind of "huh?" about, I am excited.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Absentee

I have been, but only here and at Flickr.  I've been very present at home where it counts.  As you can see here: I've taken cocoa breaks with my daughter,  painted the bathroom green while wearing entirely too much mismatched green, and taken care of my sick little boy.  

That is, if you even have time for blog browsing right now.  I'm all behind on everyone's.

 (365 day 336)
(365 day 339)
(365 day 340)


Saturday, December 11, 2010

Blue Eggs with Breakfast

I've hijacked the kitchen table all week for making jewelry as Christmas gifts.  Somehow we've been eating breakfast around this mess, passing the milk over boxes of hemp and wire.  

The bird's next idea came from this book I got a few years ago to rework some of my mother's broken jewelry and antique store finds. 

(365 Day 335)
  (365 Day 334)

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Speaking of Cloistered...

I have to make more of an effort to be outside during the winter.   Some days I force myself to run and  force my kids to bundle up with me and walk the dogs, who never need to be coerced to go outside with us.  In fact they do the pressuring.  Around 5 every evening they start pacing and looking at me so intently, trying to figure out if my opening the refrigerator door will somehow lead to me reaching into the closet for my coat and the leashes.   They sit, all tense and concentrating to hear the magic word we now have to spell (W-A-L-K) so they won't go bananas.
Poor guys, they haven't given up yet, even though we haven't been able to walk them for months due to a whole new crop of loose, aggressive dogs in the neighborhood.  I just don't think my old guy is up for fighting a pit bull.    
And this is where I was going with this post: a rant.

(a lover not a fighter, 365 Day 333)

Why do people in the suburbs, with nothing worth stealing have to have pit bulls?  In the last 2 weeks I have been chased twice, had a couple of them run toward me but be frightened by my stick, narrowly avoided two that were off of their property,  and seen a man beat one almost to death with a golf club to get it off of one of his little puppies.  It coughed up blood on my driveway.  I felt sick about it.  When I approached it, it shied away to hide under a house.   The owner said it jumped through a closed window to get a cat and must've wandered to my street.  (Maybe this was supposed to reassure me.)  He said he'd bring it to a clinic.  Right.  Then, he mentioned that the dog had attacked another dog before and they'd beat it with a shovel to get it off of him!  At times like this I hate my refinery-fried neighborhood.  And I'm not just talking about dilapidated rent houses with confederate flags flying in place of curtains.   Some of these dogs are coming from very nice homes on a nearby lake.  

Yesterday the owner of one that chased me ran out of his house with a baseball bat that he seemed to have ready at the door for such an occasion, swatting at his dog with it.   
Of course, they never, ever apologize.  



Maybe it's a southern, red-neck thing to think dogs bred for fighting are cool to tie up in your unfenced yard while your neighbor has small children at play.  
Do you think they get wormed, or vaccinated, or trained, or handled at all?  Most of the time they seem to multiply with each week that I run by.   The people with the least business having an animal, collect more and more.  



So, I have to find a new place to run.  My son can't ride his bike unless I'm with him and armed, and my old dog that needs to lose 10 pounds can't go for a walk unless I get him in the car and drive to someone else's neighborhood.  Maybe this is why I've felt a little cloistered lately.   The face above is a "can we go now?" face.

And below is one of resignation. Or laziness.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Cloistered

I've been feeling a little cloistered lately.  Maybe it's the early hour that it gets dark, or the stuffy noses from marsh burnings that has me slowing down.  Maybe it's the cold weather or the fact that so many people I've known have died near Christmas that's had me feeling a little blue lately.   I've read that people have a built in emotional memory surrounding an event in their life and each year, near the date the event occurred, the feelings return without them even being aware of it.  But, I'm not overpowered by emotion here, just slow and thoughtful.  

 (365 day 331)

One thing I have been able to do is reflect on things: where I messed up and where I could do better next year.  And then there's the things I have no control over, but have to accept just the same.



I guess this is an emotional memory of sorts for me, because every year at this time, I consider my life and, sometimes, things change because of it.

(365 Day 332)

That or else I just need to break down and buy a sad visor and dawn light to trick myself into a spring frame of mind.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Not Too Slouchy

I decided to use 365 as an excuse to take new photos of some of my sweaters for my Ravelry.  The old ones were either taken with a poor camera or a phone, and done hastily because it was spring here in Texas, which means hot.

I made the Slouchy Cardigan, from this book, a few years ago and it remains my all time favorite.  Knit in Rowan Cashcotton it is slouchy, but the cashmere keeps it respectable.

 (365 Day 330)


Saturday, December 4, 2010

A Hectic Little Christmas

That's what I heard in my head all day: "Have yourself a hectic little Christmas."  I know, it sounds kind of humbug-ish.  But if you read my last post, you see how much I value quality time at home.  Two Christmas parades today... two Christmas parties yesterday...decorated two trees the day before that.   All of which is a gift to be able to see and do.  I have a pretty good attitude about the busyness.  I'm not complaining, just stating the obvious.  I would feel like a total fraud if I accompanied these photos with platitudes about joy, cheer, and the peace of the holiday season right now.

 (365 day 328)


But that's okay because, in keeping with the list of twos, the kids are about to have two weeks off with us and we get to celebrate with two family get-togethers, and I know two kids who are going to be really happy Christmas morning, plus we'll have two functioning bathrooms by then. Oh look, there's the joy and Christmas cheer!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Homebody

That's me.  
 I love to be outdoors, running, camping, canoeing- all that.  I loved our different family vacations and missions.  But when I'm home- I like to be home.  I don't like jillions of little meetings that stretch a five minute informational into an hour.  I'm getting to where I don't really care about eating out, ever.  I'd rather have the time to make exactly what we want to eat here at home.  I don't like the mall or the grocery store.  I don't care about that new little shop everyone is talking about.  If I had the money I'd order all of my Christmas gifts, except the ones we make, rather than look for things amid loud Christmas sales. 
I think it's hereditary.
At any given moment, I can think of twenty things I'd love to do more than all that stuff:  like read Mansfield Park or take a bunch of silly pictures of myself, or drink coffee with my sister after 5, knowing I'll be up most of the night, or play records for my patient children to say, "That's nice." about,  or make something, etc.    

I don't know what got me thinking about this subject.  Maybe the idea of travel and this suitcase.  (Isn't the name American Tourister the best?)  The luggage was an event all by itself.


I've gone through spells of living in a less than peaceful home and of being lonely in my life.   But, when you're really grateful for a peaceful home, for quiet moments with your closest family, for people to love and be loved by, why not be a homebody?  
See, I just elevated anti-social behavior to a state of serene, self-awareness and gratitude.  

Works for me.

(365 Days 326,327,329- or something like that)

Monday, November 29, 2010

A Shot of Green in Fall

I noticed a little color theme in these thrown together shots.  But nothing else in common except that they were taken in the restful atmosphere of a holiday. 

 (365 Day 323)
Friday the kids and I stayed in our pajamas until 3.  That was nice.
 (365 Day 324)
I needed this shot of unrealistic, happy color.
 Can I just say I love my Meatbagz bag?  
(365 Day 325)
If you cover all of my face, except the eyes, with your hand, this last one looks kind of creepy.