Sunday, December 20, 2009

Another sunday and here i am on that westbound train

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


I have been bombed! Yes, it happened to me. Renegade knitters snuck into my yard (climbing a six foot chain linked fence) and installed a green and a purple heart on my fence. I saw the bomb before I even parked the car, I was overwhelmed with yarn love. So overwhelmed that I stood in the cold for a very long time with my arms full of my daily my burden (purse, knitting bag, and empty lunch sack). The cold drove me in, but only to drop my stuff and grab my camera to snap these shots.
I was excited, but I want to know who would tag me. I have my suspicions, but no confirmations. I will get to the bottom of this even if it includes going through the stashes of all my friends. Of course I love my yarn bomb, but enquiring minds still want to know.

For those who don't know exactly what a yarn bomb is, it is a knitted item installed in a public place for the enjoyment or confusion of all. Lately with all the drama in my life I have noticed these little bombs popping up all over the place. I have seen them on Grand, at the local yarn shop, and outside some of my friends homes. Every time I see these little missives of yarn love; I smile. The sighting lifts my spirits and remind me that in this sad place I find myself in right now I am not alone. My hearts are much appreciated and warm my soul, thank you mad yarn bomber, I love you, too.

Julie & Julia

Last night I watched the movie Julie and Julia. I loved it. The story touched my heart, made me hungry, and amazed me that Meryl Streep can even act to project tallness. The connection between Julia Child's struggle to publish a French cookbook and Julie's own personal turmoil at not being a writer connected to me. I understood the want to be published and the want to be read. The want to connect with someone else. My pet theory is that we are all trying in our way to connect to a world that has increasingly become more distant to us. I know that is why I blog, I am trying to connect with people I do not get to see as regularly as I would like.

Julie's story was exceptionally moving for me. Her friends have prestigious jobs with assistants while she menially answers the phone for a post 9/11 municipal office. She dreams of writing, but can't get published. Her salvation is her thoughtful partner and cooking her way through Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking. She finds passion and purpose through this daily task. Granted I am not really in love with French cooking, but I did love the idea of finding ones passion. One day I will find that passion that fulfills me and then I too will be able to act taller.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Sunday morning waiting for train sounds like i am in a country song.

Friday, December 4, 2009


I have spent a great deal of time talking about my dad and his battle with cancer. On December first my dad went to the doctor and they found his cancer which was in his pancreas has actually moved to his liver. In a short period of time the cancer has taken over about 30% of his liver. The doctor has not given us much hope, but did put my dad back on chemo to slow the progress of the cancer.

As you can guess I am not feeling very upbeat. I am trying to focus on how at this time last year we thought we would not even have my dad with us now. But for my family this news has been devastating. I am trying to move forward, but I don't have to tell you it is hard.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Day Thirty: Gratitude

I have come to the end of my project. I committed myself to not fill the days on my blog with things like, I am grateful for electricity, running water, not getting a speeding ticket on my way to work today, that kind of thing. I wanted to be grateful for things that mattered to me. Things tangible and intangible which I I sometimes forget to put in the plus column of my life. I hope I was genuine in my daily gratitudes and to be fair I did find many things and people that I need to appreciate.

I can't thank everyone enough for all the comments here, on facebook, and in person. Your support meant so much to me and it helped me to stay true to my intention. Even though I am at the end of my project, I will be working everyday to find the big and little gratitudes that make my life worth continuing.

Today on day thirty, I am grateful for you. All of you who enrich my life and help me to make it through another day of my frenetic life. Those of you who have no choice to love me because you are related to me. All of you who have held my hand and listened to me cry. Anyone who has rolled their eyes at the end of one of my corny jokes. All the people I love and like and want to get to know better. Anyone who has helped me learned to knit or that I taught to knit. Those who make me smile and certainly anyone who has ever fed me. If you have commented on my blog, friended me on facebook, favorited one of my knitting projects, or follow me on twitter.

I would be so lost without you all. You make so much of the other stuff in my life bearable and give meaning to why I get up everyday and do it all over again. You make me try harder to be the person you think I am. To be the friend, daughter, sister, aunt, cousin, girlfriend who brings a smile to your face when I walk through the door and a last moment hug on my way out.

You are of my tribe and I will always be grateful that you are in my life. Thank you for allowing me in and thank you for keeping me there. For you I will always be grateful. Much Love!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Day Twenty-nine: Gratitude

My day was all about my knitting, I got four projects soaked and blocked out. These finished items are hanging out together on my ironing board drying. Three of the finished items are part of my Christmas knitting. I feel like I am making progress towards my holiday. I still have five more project to go and I will be done. I am hoping the goddesses of knitting will bless with with speedy needles and error free projects. When I look at the items they make me smile and the thing that makes me smile the most is looking at stash yarn now beautifully knitted up into something wonderful. So today I am grateful for my yarn stash.

My yarn stash is all about possibility. When I look at the hanks, skeins, and balls of wool, alpaca, cotton, and whatever fiber fell off a shelf and into my basket I see more than just the string. I see warm afghans, fabulous scarves, fun wristwarmers, and stylish socks. They are all there waiting for me to knit them up.

Not surprisingly, I have shade after shade of green. A whole spring worth of greens patiently biding their time until they become something fun, something made by me. This Christmas as I paged through knitting books and patterns on ravelry, I thought about what I had waiting for me in my pie safe which houses my stash. I dug through my yarn and reviewed my candidates and was able to find exactly what I wanted. Don't get me wrong, I bought new yarn just yesterday, but still it is nice to come home to a cabinet of possibilities just waiting for the right pattern to be knitted up. For all of these possibilities from my stash I am grateful.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Day Twenty-eight: Gratitude

With no preamble, today I am grateful for shopping! Call me a capitalist pig if you want, but I love to shop. If I had to cite one thing I am good at it is shopping, I am after all my mother's daughter. I cut my eye teeth at Venture (sadly now in the realms of the departed along with Grandpa's, Famous Barr, and Stix, Baer, and Fuller) and moved up to malls. I may have math issues, but trust me I know to the penny how much 20% off is on something that is $29.99 ($23.99 without tax).
In other words if shopping was a sporting event, I think I could at least achieve semi-pro status. With the economy and my finances I have to be a little on the careful side, but today I was ready for some retail therapy. I managed my day quite handily, I planned my day based on sales and coupons. Currently I am heady with the rush of my success. I went to two yarn stores, a new age store, Barnes and Noble, and Quiktrip. It was a fine day. I scored some books, some Christmas presents, and of course yarn.

My day had the added bonus of my lovely wife accompanying me on the excursion. She and my mother are my two favorite shopping buddies. The three of us can close down a mall. Natalie may not look like the avid shopper I am, and maybe she isn't, but she does come along for the ride. We don't really have the same taste, but you know we still have a lot of fun. Who knew you could find miniature Elvis statues at Barnes and Noble anyway?
As we went, we spread joy and cash to all the business we visited today. I think my favorite moment was when she loaded me down with huge puffs of yarn and left me stranded in the middle of a yarn shop. All I could do was smile when she turned around and saw me struggling to balance all of the yarn in my arms as I went to the counter. It was bliss, shopping, my wife, and yarn. How could I not be grateful?

Friday, November 27, 2009

Day Twenty-Seven: Gratitude

There are so many things I could be grateful for today. A day off, spending a time with friends, cooking an awesome meal, and having an all around satisfying day. I can't even begin to tell you how happy my day has made me. It was such a good day. I am also overwhelmed by the new quilt my mom pieced together for me. So let me just say that I am grateful for my good day and the new quilt.

The quilt has history and not all of it pretty, but you know what, I am just so pleased to have it done. I did all the embroidery work, and I bought most of the fabric. I had even started to piece the thing together, but that did not work out so well. I made so many mistakes my mom had to pull the whole thing apart. It broke my heart and I put the pieces away giving up on it for several years.
A couple of years ago I boxed up the whole thing and gave it to my mom to complete. Yesterday on top of all the family love, I got a very beautiful quilt. I have unfolded it and looked at the quilt half a dozen times. I am humbled by the how perfectly it was pieced and quilted. The combination of our work makes me giddy with love. I am so lucky to have such a talented mother.
In addition to the quilt to have such a beautiful day with so many good things in it, I am grateful. Good days like today help me make it through to be grateful for another day.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Day Twenty-Six: Gratitude

(Family at the table)
My family is not a Norman Rockwell Thanksgiving picture perfect group, but you know what it felt like it to me. Amidst the noise and the disorganization I experienced the warmth and love of my family and it felt good. Today on Thanksgiving, I am grateful for my crazy, dysfunctional family and how much I love them all just the way they are.

(Mom with her three great-grandchildren)
The cacophony of my this group makes it hard to even think. The three little guys were constantly into everything, stomping, yelling, and generally causing a racket. The adults, myself included, kept getting louder and louder to be heard of the din. The sound of soo much love is what I thought of the noise.

(Baby Sis and Boyfriend, Will)

There were new faces with the usual suspects. Baby Sis brought her boyfriend, Will. I don't know how Will dealt with the circus of the day, but he brought cake and seem to keep pace with the rest of us. In fact at several points I felt he actually enjoyed the company and added to the decibels.

(Mom and Tammy in the kitchen)

We smiled, we laughed, and boy did we eat. The atmosphere this year was more like a party than a wake. My dad was still with us and though we have no idea what the future holds, today we celebrated. Our day was all about gravy, one more holiday with each other, and one more chance to be a family. This dinner was true thanksgiving. We had made it through a very rough year and all survived to enjoy each other and of course some very fine eats. I am truly grateful for family and as crazy as we all are I would not want it any other way.

(Cheyenne enjoying her cake)

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Day Twenty-Five:Gratitude

Today I am grateful for the feeling of anticipation. I know that is an abstract thing to be my daily gratitude, and I have no idea how to capture this feeling on film. I have had this excited gnawing feeling in my stomach, like at any moment everything in my life will be transformed into something wondrous. I say bring on the wondrousness!

I looked the word Anticipation up in Merriam-Webster online and the definition reads: The act of looking forward; especially: pleasurable expectation. Yes, that describes how I feel. I am looking forward to four days away from the customers at the library. I am expecting to enjoy spending time with my family this year. Especially since my dad will be numbered among those sitting at the table. I am bursting with energy of all the possibilities of things I will do this holiday weekend. Everything feels so hopeful right now and for that I am grateful.

I have a busy night I need to go home and make sweet potato casserole. This casserole is a favorite in my family and if I don't show up with it, I am likely to be ejected from Thanksgiving. So to be a good sport here is my recipe, enjoy.

A sweet potato casserole recipe, made with mashed sweet potatoes and a crunchy pecan topping. Scroll down to see more sweet potato recipes.
3 cups mashed sweet potatoes
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup melted butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup flour
1/3 cup melted butter
1 cup chopped pecans
Combine first 6 ingredients. Pour into a buttered 1 1/2 to 2-quart casserole dish. Mix remaining ingredients together and sprinkle over top. Bake at 350° for 30 to 40 minutes, until hot and browned.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Day Twenty-four: Gratitude

I am a person enslaved to her possession, I know it, I accept it, and I move on. But when I started the month of gratitude I promised myself I would not litter my month with things I am grateful for like my soft bed, my green leather jacket,etc. I have been very careful to choose only items with meaning and resonance for me. With that in mind today I am grateful for Fiestaware dishes. Yes, I love my Fiestaware dishes and I am not ashamed to admit it. The bright colors and clever designs make me happy. I love setting a table with the dishes and playing mix and match with hues.

I wait desperately for new colors to come out and stalk websites looking for new serving pieces. I obsess over when I will get a new item even if I have no purpose for the new marigold anniversary serving platter. I have made the pilgrimage to Newell, West Virginia to tour the factory and got all excited when I meet the lady who actually puts the round handles on the teapots. I am such a fanatic of Fiestaware that I even have large tattoos on each of my shoulders with a cup, saucer, teapot, sugar bowl, creamer, and spoon all falling down my back.

Like most avid collectors, my dishes are connected to something in my past. When I was a little girl my grandmother would always make me hot tea and serve it in a brightly colored Fiestaware cup. She would always add cream and let me put in as much sugar as I wanted. I can hear her voice even now warning me, "Don't scald your tongue." The dishes remind me of those amber tinted moments with her before things would get complicated in our lives. My dishes are place markers for those times and for that I am grateful, very grateful.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Day Twenty-Three: Gratitude


I am not really feeling the blog love tonight, but I am so close to my goal that I am soldiering on. I try very hard not to litter my blog with animal photos because much like children, pets are only interesting to the people connected to them. It is like, "Look here are more photos of things you are completely uninterested in." However, I am hoping to get away with it today because of the gratitude project. I am grateful today that my pets are always glad to see me.

(Grasshopper sans fur)

No matter how crabby I get or how crappy my day has been my cats don't care. They are just happy I am back to scratch them behind the ears, refill the food and water bowls, and of course to turn on my electric blanket. I can tell them how much my day sucked and they listen, they have no clue what I am saying, but they at least watch my lips move. All of them are up for a cuddle and lovefest (except Grasshopper she is a touch me not kind of cat).

(7 Cs taking a bath)
7 even waits on the other side of the door yelling, "Mom, Mom, Mom get in here now I miss you." Okay maybe, it is more like, "My human, My human, feed me, NOW!" 7 is always up for a tummy rub and chin tickle. 7 sleeps with me every night, right on top of my head. I think he is afraid I am going to sneak out in the middle of the night and be unfaithful to him to with other felines.
(Lanie Lou and Ria Sou)
I also live with two dogs, Lanie and Ria. First I am not a dog person. Don't get me wrong, I like dogs, but prefer cats. However, these two little charmers are different. They are Natalie's dogs, but I do co-habitat with them. They are always tail wagging happy to see me. Both vie for my attention and love nothing more for me to lay on the bed with them and share a lovefest with them. Much petting and ear scratching are involved. After a bad day seeing these two eager faces waiting at the gate for me helps remove some of the ick from my day. They don't care that I couldn't solve all the problems of the world and that some man in North County thinks I am evil incarnate because he owes too much money in overdue fines. They don't even now what library are. All of my critters treat me like I am their hero and you know in many ways it makes me feel a little more important, a little less beaten down. They can never read this post about them and you know what they don't care. All they care is that I come home everyday and make sure there is food in their bowls. For my four & three legged babies, I say thank you, I am very grateful you are all in my life.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Day Twenty-Two:Gratitude

Beauty and art are linked in most of our minds as interchangeable. I will admit I even fall into this category. Something that is beautiful often seems like artistic to me. I am no critic, but I know what I like. I like stylized flowers and lots and lots of colors. In the company of my beautiful friend, Fiona, and her daughter we took in Five Centuries of Japanese Screens at the St Louis Art Museum. After a lovely afternoon, I find I am very grateful for sharing art with people I care for.

Our small party stopped and paid our respect to St. Louis before heading into the museum and then we headed straight into the exhibit. We opted for the audio tour and head back to the sixteenth century Japan. I know so little about Japan and Japanese art; all of it was new to me. The panels were stunning from the deceptively simple and seeming monochromatic ones, to the very showy colorful panels overrun with characters. The panels with all the kimono clad people were remarkable because each figure had an unique expression on their tiny faces.
The botanical inspired panels covered in maples, willows, bamboos, cherry blossoms, and irises took my breath away. The irises next to a bridge over a stream popped off the screen in luscious colors. For a brief moment I could hear the rush of the water it was so sublime. Another series had panels of willow trees with each leaf made from a ground malachite paint. Fiona has spent some time in Japan and her insights into the some of the images was invaluable.

After the exhibit we did look at a few of the other treasures at the art museum. I showed the ladies my favorite piece, The convent doors from St. Isabel in Spain. The massive doors make my heart beat a little faster every time I see them. They are so intricate and impressive I am always swept away by the grandeur of the doors.

We might have lingered longer at the museum, but the stomach of a ten year old could not be staved off. Our excursion was at an end, but what a lovely way to spend the day surrounded by beauty, art, and people I love. How could I not be grateful?

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Day Twenty-one: Gratitude

I am eking this post in at the last minute so I have to make it down dirty. Today I am grateful for my hair-dresser, Woody. Woody has been my friend for almost twenty years and my hair-dresser for almost six years. He has helped my transition from my real hair color to the best version of my hair color before the grey started popping up in the most noticeable of places.

If I had to pinpoint one thing that I am the most vain about, it is my hair. I am very particular about how it looks and work very hard to have every hair in place. A windy or a rainy day can really put me out of sorts, if my hair gets mussed. I don't know how or when I got so fixated with my coiffure, but it is true. And don't get me started on a bad hair day, it is ugly.

Woody puts up with my pickyness, and he gets my need to have perfect hair. My previous hairgod and I worked very hard to get to the correct angle of my bob and the just right shade of my locks. Sadly Ramie died taking those secrets with him. I miss my friend Ramie more than his hair-dressing skills, but Woody picked up the dye bottle and scissors for my fallen friend. I sat in the chair crying the first time I went to Woody. He just kept soothing me and reminding me that Ramie preferred to laugh. And laugh is exactly what Woody and I do when he works on my hair.

We laugh and tell blond jokes. We laugh and talk about my knitting. We laugh and gossip about some of the people we know. That really is the key here, Woody not only does a good job on my hair, he makes me laugh. I am so grateful he puts up with my demand for redder hair and the world's most perfect bob. I am grateful I found someone who gets just how vain I am about my hair and thinks it is asset, Thanks Woody I look fabulous because you care.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Day Twenty: Gratitude

DAY TWENTY!!! I can't believe I have been this grateful! Two-thirds of the way to my goal and I am feeling like I rock! Lots of exclamation points there, but I have earned the right to use them. First I want to thank everyone for the awesome feedback and support. You have made this project seem more than an exercise, but, well to pound in the word, it has been gratifying. However, I still refuse to cheat and use that as my daily gratitude. Today I am grateful for dinner with friends.

I love social activities and when you combine friendship with food. Well, it is bliss. Tonight was a double treat, my friends Bard and Kim joined my beautiful wife and I dinner. Kim continues to be a source of gratitude, you may remember her from Day Ten. When you add her partner, Barb, to the mix, the result is just delightful. The conversation always sparkles and the laughter is frequent.

Tonight they were especially gracious trying Japanese for the first time. Bravely, they tried new food and found edamame, tempura and udon noodles to be new favorites. I was just happy with the joy of sharing something I love with people I love. After dinner we sat around my dining room table, drinking hot tea, and just enjoying the warmth of each other company. Tonight it was Barb and Kim, but that feeling of comfort is always appreciated wherever it is found for this feeling I am grateful.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Day Nineteen:Gratitude

Tonight Beloved Cuz and I went to dinner and then went home and watched The Botany of Desire. Like most good documentaries it inspired us to talk on subjects like evolution, politics, responsibility, and memory. As we philosophized I pondered what would be my daily gratitude. I kept coming back to the thought of memory and how it is so vital to me that I remember the important and the minutia of my life. I catalogue, cross-reference, and archive these reminiscences in my mind like priceless manuscripts. My sense of self is so inextricably tied to these precious strings of synapse in my brain.

I was about to shuck this idea, how can a person be grateful for memory and then I made a cup of hot tea. There it was on the flap of my Celestial Seasonings, the reason to be grateful for my memories.

Oft in the stilly night Ere Slumber's chain has bound me, Fond Memory brings the light Of other days around me --Thomas Moore

On dreary days like today, I can remember better times on sunlit beaches, walks holding hands with my parents while my sandals slapped on the pavement, and sharing stolen kisses with my wife on a deserted dock in Rockaway Beach. All available to me whenever I need them to cope with the drama of my day. I can hit play and while solving the problems of the world for a cranky customer, I can emotionally separate myself and relive a more pleasant moment in life.

Memory can be tricky. Somethings are better forgotten and I lack control to filter out the bad memories, but I will keep them all for the memories of my grandmothers, my first kiss, learning to knit, and the first time I saw my wife. I am grateful that I remember, always grateful.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Day Eighteen: Gratitude

Another day of no sun and lots of hyperactive dew. I don't really mind the rain, I just get tired of the wet and cold after a couple of days. And it is Wednesday, not my favorite day. Wednesday seems to be the day that everything catches up with me. I start to slid down into the spiral of despair. Grasping for my daily gratitude I started focusing on something that makes me hum. At first I thought I would be grateful for the color green, I LOVE the color green, especially the shade chartreuse.
As much as I love green, I think about all the other colors I have grown to love: azure, blue, lavender, lemon, lime, magenta, melon, pink, purple, red, rose, salmon, tangerine, turquoise, etc. Bright colors on even the most dreary of days make me smile and give me hope. I am a woman who collects brightly colored dinnerware, has had the inside of her home painted like an Easter egg, and I am a sucker for colored stones in my jewelry.
Once I got this beautiful teapot from some friends, but the package was wrapped with the most audacious bow, ever. I loved the gift, but that bow was awesome. I wore the silly thing on my head like a hat all night. Another time I came home from vacation and found my kitchen tangerine, it is beautiful and it still makes me smile when I walk into the room. My closet is a riot of colors and you know I will wear almost any color with another color. Call me garish I don't mind.
Colors are moods, I am blue, seeing red, green with envy, mellow yellow, and again I say etc. I like the idea that I can effect my mood with a color change. Nothing will make me smile more than a brilliant bouquet of flowers. Maybe I should always wear bright colors on Wednesday, color means no spirals on Wednesday. Today I am grateful for all the beautiful colors in my life.