Wednesday, October 22, 2008

All The Gifts

It was my birthday on Monday. 40 years, the mind simply boggles.

I’m excited, to tell you the truth. There was a time in my life when surviving to reach 25 seemed well outside the realm of possibility, so this is a pretty big deal to me.

I’m not freaked out, but I am philosophical. I’ve been thinking about birthdays, and about birthday gifts. There have certainly been some doozies.

On my 11th birthday (Mom, is that right?) I was given the gift of a gorgeous bay American Saddlebred 3-gaited show horse. His name was Mod World, and he was a handful. We understood each other, Mod and I, and we had a great season that year, including the day we won an Open Park Saddle class over the top of some truly talented competition. I didn’t stop smiling for a week.

There were other extravagant gifts: another horse, a car, an opal and diamond ring from my husband, which made me cry.

It seems to me, though, that some of the best gifts didn’t come on my birthday, but were given at any time, simply for the joy of it.

A ticket to the ballet to celebrate a good report card.

The road trip to Missouri to visit my brother and his family.

A love (OK, obsession) of reading.

Those poor patient young women who tried to teach me to knit.

All the random smiles of strangers, the people who gave up their bus seats to me when I was on crutches, the way one of my nephews leapt up into my arms, serene in the knowledge that I’d catch him.

All wonderful gifts.

I heard Joseph Campbell tell a story once, about a young boy who wanted to give a birthday gift to his teacher. He left his village and walked to the sea, which was several days away. When he got to the beach, he sat and watched the tides and the birds for a day, watched the sun rise and set and listened to the wind and the waves. Then he picked up a pretty shell from the beach and walked home.

He went to his teacher and gave her the shell. She took it from him, thanked him, and asked, “You walked all the way to the sea to get me this shell?”

“Oh no,” he said, “the shell isn’t the gift. The journey is the gift.”

I think that story is making more sense to me now. This is my gift, this life of mine, these friends I have, this family which loves me. This is my journey.

To all the people who have shared it with me, I thank you most humbly. Shall we see what the next 40 years brings us?

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

All Over The Place

That’s my life in a nutshell, at least the knitting side of it.

I’m still working on Mystery Stole 4, with about six rows to go on Clue 3. I had to rip out about 19 rows of one of the sides due to multiple dropped stitches followed by complete brain lock. It’s slowed me down quite a bit, but I think I’m getting back into the groove on it.

Bells is hosting a very casual Lace-Along called A Long Lacy Summer. Before you point out to me that it is, in fact, Fall, I will point out to you that the world is, in fact, round. This means that in Australia, where Bells blogs to us, it’s actually Spring. She’s dedicated a sidebar on her blog for folks who are participating, and I’d encourage you to check them all out. It’s a great way to find new bloggers, and there’s sure to be some lovely stuff produced in the coming months.

A few (several?) months ago, I counted up all my lace-weight. I came up with approximately six-and-a-half miles, which just boggled my mind.

Well, I’ve gone and done it again. Anybody care to take a guess how much lace-weight I’ve got now?



Beuller? (Sorry, bad ‘80’s joke, I couldn’t resist)

Just under thirteen miles.

As I wrote the last time I did this "clearly, I am obsessed."

Having faced this fact, and wanting to produce a goodly amount of lace to represent the northern hemisphere in A Long Lacy Summer, I did what any sane knitter would do.

I went to the yarn store and bought worsted weight for some new projects.

Oh, stop that snickering… you’ve done something similar and you know it!

I got two skeins of Noro Silk Garden:

Color 267

Color 8

and four skeins of Brown Sheep Lamb’s Pride.

RPM Pink


The Silk Garden is slated to become Jared Flood's Turn-A-Square hat for my stepfather. I started it on Sunday, but I’m pretty sure I’m going to rip it and start over, for several reasons. I’m not convinced that a mere one inch of ribbing is enough, the join into the round is en eyesore, and I’m pretty sure I messed up on the increases. Three strikes, you’re frogged.

The Lamb’s Pride is to make a pair of Fiber Trend’s Felted Clogs for my mother. Since I haven’t started them yet, I’ve not had a chance to mess them up. Yet.

There’s also a pair of socks on the go, which I have been trying on approximately every five rounds. To ensure that they fit my actual feet, you understand, and not the feet of someone else. I should be working the toes soon, and I really ought to get some photos of them.

See what I mean? I’m all over the place.

Oh yeah, and to Kate, who correctly guessed the yarn from my autumnal walk last week, Dream in Color Smooshy in Butter Peeps… either you work for Dream in Color, or you stalked my Ravelry stash! Nice call!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Walk With Me

I took my camera with me to work yesterday and crossed my fingers for a rain-free lunch hour. Apparently crossing your fingers really does work sometimes, because I was able to get a lovely walk in.

Come walk with me, I’d like to take you on a little tour of the neighborhood.

These are the trees I watch out the window of our break room. They’re a welcome sight to rest my eyes on during lunch.


Turning right, there’s a single tree turning colors, trying to outdo its neighbors.


Heading north I like to look straight up into this tree.


And a little further down the street is this truly extravagant bush. It was all green a couple of weeks ago.


A few more blocks north and east, and I encounter one of the banes of a quiet afternoon, a leaf blower.


The artificial flowers in this basket are a good solution for the gardener with no time.


Isn’t that a lovely porch? I wonder if I could talk my husband into a paint job like that?

Gah! Another leaf blower!


We’ll leave him to his work, shall we, and admire these mums instead.


And this climbing rose.


The porch you see in that picture… it leads into one of my favorite yarn stores. The lighting inside is good for picking out yarn, but not so great for non-flash photos. Trust me, it’s lovely.

There are pretty colors in there too.


I thought this was a good fall shade, so I brought it back to work with me.


Heading back south again, this orange just about knocked me out.


Nearly back to the office now, this old fashioned rose made me smile.


As did this dry-rock creek created in a tiny front yard.


This is autumn in the Willamette Valley. Color and texture everywhere, falling leaves and late roses, interesting porches and unusual landscaping. Soon it will be hat and scarf weather and the rainy season will settle in, but we have a few more weeks of this to look forward to.

Monday, October 6, 2008

And Me Without My Camera

For those of you who might have found me through QueerJoe’s blog, welcome! I thought about doing a little sprucing up around the place, but the wireless connection in this room is a bit chancy, so I decided not to risk it.

Fall in my corner of the world… it’s a little different than the one’s I’ve been reading about on the blogs lately. Seasons here in the Willamette Valley tend towards the mild side of things. Not too hot, not too cold, snow a rare occurrence.

But it’s still fall, and today I wish I had my camera to share it with you all.

Looking out of the break-room window during lunch, I can see trees putting shades of yellow and red, with blue skies and puffy clouds as a background. It’s been cool in the evenings, but not what I’d call sweater weather during the day.

We’re having a rainy spell just now, with bands of storms sneaking up on us from the Coast Range to the west. Big boiling clouds come rocketing over the mountains, and the next thing you know the rain is coming down in absolute sheets, with drops the size of quarters hitting the ground so hard that they bounce back up and it almost looks foggy. Then the squall moves on, the sun comes out, and the heat starts to evaporate the rain.

And me without my camera.