Monday, September 29, 2008

O' Bailey Boy

It only took a year:

This is Abby's dog Bailey, the second half of a set that included her other dog, Gracie, (I finished her portrait [scroll down] last year).

Stats: 3'x4' acrylic on canvas, begun: April 2007, finished: September 2008.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

M&M's Day

Last year I posted this post when Milo was born.

This year, I still agree. Even one little life on this world can tip the balance for good. Today the radio is talking about economic crises, presidential elections, and the death of Judge Barefoot Sanders who, by all accounts, tipped the balance a little.

And Milo is 1.

Oh, Little Milo, you are blessed. God has big plans for you and your family. And we are all so thankful you are here.


The Armadillo...

...didn't want to have her picture taken.


Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Sock Seminar?!

Look at this: Sock Summit 2009

Oh my. Oh my oh my oh my.


Monday, September 22, 2008

Some Sketches

That last one might be made into a Christmas card. We'll see. :-)


A Little Memory

I think I have officially heard from every single friend that lives in South Texas. All alive, some with more electricity, cable, internet, phone than others. Some with more home than others. But all ok. And this is a blessing.

Due to the evacuating, I got to see my dear A this weekend. I haven't seen here in two years(!), though there was a time when I was in her dorm room all day long. That time is pictured here:

That's me, on the right, in the poncho. Ahem. A in the middle, and R on the left. (R has appeared here on the blog recently as a visitor, too.)

I forgot my camera when I saw here here this weekend, so this old photo will have to do. It's us, as college sophomores, on our way to salsa night. A did my hair and makeup.

I don't miss college really, but it is nice to have these memories (and I am so glad that R took a picture!). These were the people that left me happy notes on my dry-erase board. We thought we were so adult.



Friday, September 19, 2008


I'm considering Christmas.

Considering that it took me a month to finish that clapotis. Considering that though I love to knit, and love my family and friends, I might not be able to make everyone a handmade gift this year.

This is a sad thought.


Thursday, September 18, 2008

The Blahs

Sometimes my creative life hits a hump.

When we were kids, my stepmother told us that there is no such thing as being "bored." That there is always something that can be done. And if we couldn't think of anything to do, she could.

At my mom's house, we had the entire outdoors to play in. (Although usually my sister and I were indoors reading, but occasionally we would go outdoors and read; I particularly liked to read in a tree that had wonderful branches like a recliner. We weren't really the rollicking type, more of the dress up and pretend to be brides type, though we did ride bicycles up and down the road.) We were always busy with one thing or another: reading (there it is again), painting, cutting out pictures from the Sears catalog (that is a story for another day).

So, here I am, living alone, with this industrious history, and I feel... bored.

It's shocking, really. I have more hobbies than anyone I know. I like to knit, to paint, to draw, to sew, to read, to write, to tear paper with my dog.

But I get home and I look at all of the opportunities available to me, and I think, "blah."

The last few nights I've thought about reading but sat on the couch and watched television instead. This is particularly nice since the sun is going down earlier and it is getting cooler. The dog always seems to cuddle more this time of year, and this makes me lethargic, too.

Maybe this is the winter of my discontent?

No, I'm not discontent. Or unhappy. Actually, I'm quite happy enjoying non-productive things like: soaking in the bathtub until the water goes cold, watching television., petting the dog.

Maybe not so blah after all -- I mean those things are good things, right? And, well, blah or not, I'm blogging about it.

But I wanted to notify any readers, in case you were expecting great things. Expect nothing. Then you (and I) will be happily surprised together.

(And I refuse to hear any suggestions, especially along the lines of my stepmother's: no toilet cleaning, no dusting, no vacuuming, no Windex. In case you had one. Please keep it to yourself.)


Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Highly Unusual

So last night I was talking on the phone (this wasn't unusual) when I heard someone knocking on the door of the apartment above me. Loud, insistent knocking. Repeated knocking. But I ignored it (I was on the phone). Then Roxie lept off the couch, barking like she was raving mad. This was unusual. I got up, looked out my peephole, saw nothing, and ignored the dog. She crouched down on the floor and stared at the door much like my parents' cats watch birds through the window. This was odd.

So I walked to my sliding glass door, pushed the blinds aside, and saw a man standing on my balcony trying to get into the balcony above mine (I'm on the first floor). Then, without thinking at all, I threw open my door and yelled at him (I said "you need help or something" which I am a bit embarrassed about saying -- why not "what the hell are you doing"? -- I'm polite, even if you're climbing my balcony) and he jumped down and sort of started walking casually away from me. Then, out of the recesses of my apartment(a few feet behind me), comes Roxie, barking angrily and running toward the man like a mad dog. He said "whoa!" and ran away.

I ended my phone conversation, called the apartments, and they notified the "courtesy officer" who lives there and, as far as I know, he took care of it.

I have no idea who that man was. I heard my neighbors moving around later, but I don't even know what my neighbors look like. Was he trying to break in? Was he my neighbor?

But I know one thing, and that is that I love this ridiculous creature that I live with. I wonder about her sometimes, because she is so easy-going and always so happy to meet a new person. But last night, I wasn't scared at all. I have NO idea why I opened the door (that was a bit crazy, admittedly) except that I was angry. Thank God he didn't have a gun or something. But Roxie definitely "had my back" and she is worth every bite of kibble that she ate last night.

Thanks, Rox.


Sunday, September 14, 2008

Completed Clapotis

Here 'tis! (My Clapotis knit in Araucania "Ulmo Multy" in color 710, exactly to pattern directions, stitch markers and all.)

And a dog picture, just for fun:


Saturday, September 13, 2008

And It's Saturday!

Yesterday I felt fabulous. (Don't get me wrong; I'm still in a bit of pain and still having to "irrigate" my mouth three times a day, BUT I feel blessed to be sort of back to myself after a hard week.) I was even able to get my work done, which is great because everyone can now get paid on Monday and they will still love me.

And so today, to celebrate I had a self-centered day where I only did what I wanted to do. Here is what I did:
1. I got up early and went to Weight Watchers. I lost 3 pounds this week and really enjoyed the meeting leader who shared that he'd quit Weight Watchers six times before he lost his weight. (It makes you feel good, that.) That's 3 pounds of food for someone hungry (see my "Lose for Good" post below)! And now I'm back to my lowest weight from a couple of weeks ago.
2. I went back to bed and slept cuddled up with my darling dog.
3. I got up, put my contacts in and my makeup on (this, in and of itself is a wonderful thing -- when one is laying in bed missing teeth these things tend to get left out in favor of sleep) and drove to a prayer shawl ministry meeting. I was able to borrow a crochet hook to tuck in all the ends of my now finished clapotis (Hooray! Pictures soon!). Then I began a red scarf that, this Christmas, will go to a foster child who is aging out of the foster system, unadopted.
4. I had a yummy healthy lunch with the prayer shawl ladies. (If you'd like to know, it included a tomato stuffed with tuna salad, with sides of soft crackers, fresh cucumbers and watermelon and cantaloupe. Mmmm.)
5. I talked to all of my friends, locating everyone during this storm and finding them all safely evacuated,
6. slept a while. (Seems to be a lot of sleep here.)
7. I ate a Braum's chocolate ice cream soda for dinner. And it was wonderful.
8. All at the same time I accomplished laundry, my first-ever viewing of Pretty Woman which I did like, and knitting on the self-striping sock (I turned the heel).
9. And here most recently, I took a long bath with my Burt's Bees kit and admired myself. I am learning to love my body, despite all its flaws, and, I think, it's a pretty good body. Nothing much wrong with it. It survived the teeth pulling and does me quite well most days. It deserves a little pampering.

Now, I smell like peppermint and rosemary and all manner of yummy things and I am drinking a cup of red zinger tea. And I am happy. Blessed, if you will.


Tuesday, September 9, 2008

In Brief

After surviving the removal of four wisdom teeth last Friday, I am only going to post what I would say to you in person:

Mouth. Hurts.


Thursday, September 4, 2008

We Knitters

We knitters are a crazy group.

Now, there are lots of reasons why I might make that statement, but today it is because of this: The Tsarina's "Lancaster and York Socks". I am taken by them. There are so many things about them that I love, namely, a) the Shakey reference (surely we're not the only family that calls the old bard by a loving nickname?), b) that the "Old Heraldic Pattern" is continued on the heel flap (oh, the genius of that Tsarina), c) that there's an "Old Heraldic Pattern," d)the little intarsia rose on each toe, and e) that they don't match (who needs matching socks anyway?). What I don't like is this: you have to be a member of the sock club to get this kit. Pooh.

Oh well. Someday I'll be able to order it. There are some of her genius little kits that I would like to order now, like this and this and this.

Sigh. If I make one of them and give it to someone else for Christmas, that justifies spending the money, right??? Please don't answer that.

But, as so often in the world of knitting, I have found another joyful moment. There are so many of us nerdy knitters.

Snort. Patterns with literary connections. Anyone, anyone, who loves both knitting and literature is right up my ally.


Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Lubbock in the Rearview Mirror

I went back to Lubbock this weekend, to visit some more "bests."***

When I lived in Lubbock, it didn't seem so bad. It was even good, a lot of the time. There's the big sky, and the university, and the history, and the way that it's kind of "small town" even though more than 200,000 people live there. And it is a good place.

I was so happy to see my best man-friend (what to call him?) and spend several days just chatting and eating (oh the eating!) and enjoying time together. I used to see him every day, and I still talk to him often, and I miss him.

I loved having a veggie burger with some other friends, and laughing and talking and spending way too long in Fudruckers. I miss them, too.

I worshiped with older friends at my old church, and was glad to see what has changed and what has stayed the same, and to hug the people who really taught me to love knitting, and to love knitting for others, my old Prayer Shawl Ministry group.

And yet, I was glad to drive away back toward what is now home knowing that I wasn't going to have to be at work at 7am to file Medical Records, and that I wasn't going to have days that were completely brown with dirt, and there were not nights stretched ahead that smelled like a feed lot, and that I didn't have to stay under that giant sky and think about my life and what went wrong. It can be a bit oppressive, all that openness (and it tends to make me a bit melodramatic).

I hate putting things down, especially places that mean so much to some people. And I do not mean to put this place down. Lubbock has meant a lot to me. I learned so much there -- more than just Old English and Fundamentals of Archaelogy and Calculus -- I grew up there. I learned my limits and found some boundaries I'd set were far too close. I am proud of this place that taught me so much. But, still, I was glad to see "Lubbock in the rearview mirror" as I headed back toward my current home.

Not sure why this affected me now, so many months after leaving, and I will be back in Lubbock soon (for a certain little someone's first birthday), but I found myself simultaneously glad to be leaving and yet, a little proud of this place that has been a stop on so many people's journeys.

And to my Lubbock Friends: I love you all. Thank you for your hospitality and your joy. I was so glad to see you.

***I hope it doesn't cheapen it for you, me calling all these people my "best friend," but it's so true. I have been incredibly lucky and blessed, these past few years, to have such wonderful friends. I have a handful of really close, really wonderful people that I use to buffer the world. :-) Thanks, guys.


Beautiful Baby

Last week my friend Abby visited, and I got to have fun with little Milo for a few hours. He did the cutest things, like "fence" with the silverware -- every time they clicked together and made a "clang" he cracked himself up. Sigh, babies.

So cute. (And thanks, Abby, for taking pictures. And sorry I look like the crazy Aunt with the drippy makeup and waving hair. You know what, folks? It's hot in Texas.)


Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Lose for Good

Just as I was evaluating my weekend, which was WONDERFUL on the seeing friends and eating good food end and not so good on my waistline, I logged onto my e-mail and discovered something cool.

The CEO of Weight Watchers (this is who I am using to lose weight) announced a new fundraising program, "Lose for Good" in which "for every pound of weight lost with Weight Watchers between 9/7/08 and 10/18/08, Weight Watchers will donate the equivalent of one pound of food, up to one million dollars, to one of two organizations: Share Our Strength, the leading organization working to make sure no kid in America grows up hungry, and Action Against Hunger, which brings immediate and long-term solutions for hunger to populations around the world."

I'm not trying to be a commercial here, but I was really glad that just as I was getting back on the proverbial wagon, Weight Watchers was donating money to the hungry, "trying to bring a balance." If you've been thinking about joining, now might be the time... for more info go here.