Saturday, January 24, 2015

Evening Mitts

Carlotta pulls a stunning pair of fingerless mitts up her bare arms as we head out for a sunset hike along the windswept shore. Her skin glows in the organic orange light; I lace my fingers into hers, and I feel the soft wool stitches warming my palm, the heat racing up my arm and lighting a fire in parts that have long ago settled into a resigned state of hibernation. I shiver.

"You're cold," she says. Her shy voice offers a promise.

I smile. "Right. My father's old beach house is just ahead. We'll find shelter there."

Evening Mitts

Worsted Weight, 150 yards for woman's average size
I used Classy Dream, Sundown Orchid
Size 5-8 circular or straight needles
This is knit flat, and very quick -- knit it in a day.

Provisional CO 55 stitches (or less for a shorter mitt) using waste yarn. Click to see a good video on how to do a provisional cast on.

Measure width of hand across knuckles, multiply by 2 and then subtract 1/2 inch. Add desired yarn and knit every row until you have achieved desired width (wrap around hand as you go to check width -- if you like them snug then you simply knit fewer rows).

Last row: Knit 2 inches and then BO (bind off) 5 stitches for thumb. Knit to the end.

Remove provisional cast on, and slide the revealed stitches onto a straight needle. Using 3 needle bind off, bind off all stitches until you reach the thumb gap, and then bind off 5 stitches on the single needle to complete other side of thumb. Continue to bind off remaining stitches using 3 needle bind off.

To finish, weave in ends.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Collateral Damage

The St. Paul Diocese of the Catholic Church recently filed for bankruptcy in the midst of sexual abuse lawsuits. This has been all over the news -- front page for several days.

Anyway, I hadn't thought much about it until I ran into a friend today, and she disclosed that she had been sexually abused by a relative, over many years, as a child. Then she said, "I am Catholic, but now I can't go to church. I am so angry and sick about the abuse, and I can't look at the newspapers without reliving all the nightmares I thought I'd put behind me."

Needless to say, she says she's now in therapy again, after many years of being "ok".

I suspect there are many members of the church who have experienced the trauma of sexual abuse. Do they feel violated and betrayed again, like this friend? How will the church heal these people?

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy New Year and My Life Path

Authentic living, for me, has always meant that one thing leads to another, in an unpredictable way.

The latest example of this is my uke playing. In my travels earlier last year I noticed that people play the ukelele in Australia. A lot. I've never played a stringed instrument, but my usual attitude of "what the heck" prevailed. I learned that a decent uke can be purchased for around $50-$100, so I bought one up at a little mom and pop music shop south of Brisbane. When I showed it to my daughter, who lives there, she picked it up and was quickly strumming, so I left the instrument with her, came back home, and bought an identical model.

A few hours -- and many youtube instructional videos -- later I had mastered "I've Been Working on the Railroad". Then I found out about a jamming group that meets at a local public library, and showed up to learn more. They've tolerated me pretty well.

One thing leads to another. A couple weeks ago I upgraded to a Les Paul uke that has a pickup installed, so now I can amp it. Last night our library jamming group played at a local establishment. We aren't half bad . . . .

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Price Check in Stillwater, Minnesota -- Historic Restaurant Hamburger

I'm talking about Brine's on Monday Burger Night. Get a 1/3 pound ground beef patty on a homemade butcher bun for $2.50. Add one more for your date, and throw in the order of fries (large, enough for two people), and voila!, a great dinner for two for around $10. If you sit upstairs, in the back, you have a nice view of the historic lift bridge. Seriously, this place has the stuff.

That Jerky Feeling

You know, the one you get when riding in a car, with a driver who has an on-off foot on the gas, and your head drifts forward, then Mr. flippety-foot punches it, and your noggin snaps back, and then he decides to coast for a quarter mile (maybe to save gas? my husband's Scottish uncle used to do this), and when the car starts to slow the foot goes back on, and after about five miles your nausea sets in, and you make a mental note to offer to drive next time.

Yeah, you know that feeling, right?

I'm reading The Snow Queen by Michael Cunningham, and, honest to pete, I'm on that ride. Cunningham is the modern master of the fifteen comma, one sentence paragraph.

I'll give it my best shot. This is a book club pick.