Friday, August 29, 2014

Friday Focus - Crafts

Sock Thing
 I don't  consider myself a "crafty" sort of person  neither in the formal sense, clever in usually a deceptive or dishonest way, nor in the informal sense of being adept at the making of decorative objects and other things by hand. When I think of the former I think of sly espionage agents or crooked lawyers, when I think of the latter the marvelous Lucy at Attic 24, her crochet designs are gorgeous, or my friend Jenny, who can take a plain piece of fabric and make a window valence or pine-cones to make Christmas ornaments, come to mind.

I on the other hand don't even think of stuff like that, until last year I had never even used a hot glue gun! So the other day when I was in the doctors' office laboriously working on what my family has lovingly dubbed the "stress sock", when I heard a lady exclaim oh I wish I could do something like that! I'm just not a crafty person, I immediately looked up, narrowly avoiding poking myself in the eye with one of my knitting needles, wanting to see who this wonderfully crafty person was and if she/he could help me with this muddle of a project I am working on.

The lady gestured to the mass of yarn I had on my lap, "What are you making?"

"A sock," I told her, because that is what the pattern says it is supposed to be even though it more closely resembled a bloated boa constrictor.

She smiled at me, shook her head, "That is wonderful! I could never knit, I am no good at 'crafty' things."

Then she walked away leaving me dumbfounded, because the person she had been talking about was me!

Even though I  crochet, knit, and am learning to sew, it never occurred to me that any of these things counted as being crafty. I always thought a "crafty" person was one who made perfectly frosted cupcakes, and cute snowmen out of cotton balls, one who painted decorative frames to give out as party flavors, someone who does a myriad of things I am too scared to try because I fear I won't do it perfectly the first time. I love playing with yarn, it makes me happy and I love watching the things I make being worn, eaten, and read by others. Maybe being crafty has less to do with natural artistic ability and more to do with a willingness to try and fail and try again. What do you think?

With that in mind am going to keep slogging on the sock and cast on for the scarf Nana wants for Christmas.

Have a good weekend!
I will be participating in Vegan MoFo (Month of Food) this year so starting Monday look for yummy eats and recipes.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Wishful Thinking

The Bumper goes back to school, how odd that sounds given she is only three and a half, on September 8th. She and I are both excited, but for very different reasons I suspect. We met with her new Teacher today, but the Bumper was more impressed with the classroom toys! Much to the Bumper's delight many of her classmates from last year are with her in the new class so she already has lots of friends. There will be some changes this year as she will be attending three days instead of two (one more day is quite a lot in the the eyes of a child). This year she gets to participate in the Thanksgiving play and the Nativity play, plus her class will be taking trips to the local gymnasitics studio, the zoo, and the dentist.
Now that we have only two more weeks to prepare the pressure is on to re-establish some routines that were left by the wayside during these carefree summer months. The Bumper will have to start getting up early again, which means (insert dramatic drum-roll) she will go to bed early and I will have some extra free time in the evenings.  At least that is my plan, we shall see because last year the
only thing I felt like doing during that extra time was sleep.
Of course I can not help planning all of the wonderful things I want to do with the six hours a week I  will have to myself: work on my novel, finish the housework in a timely fashion, write my graduate school essay, actually have time for morning prayer and Bible reading, blog, knit, crochet, finish, my two pending short stories, bake bread, sew, do the grocery shopping, finish the books I have been reading, meal plan, eat my breakfast without interruption -- ooh I get giddy just thinking about it all! Or I might just catch up on some sleep.
At the moment though all these plans will have to wait as I am on my way out the door, Bumper in tow,  to go to Yoga and Zumba class.


Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Away We Go

Last week the Bumper got a bike, a two wheeler with training wheels. She loved it, and couldn't wait to try it out. The only trouble was that the seat was not adjusted properly, so the Bumper trotted next door and asked our neighbor Mr. Jimmy to fix it for her. Since he is the father of two grown girls about to be married, he took one look at the Bumper's big blue eyes and immediately got his toolbox. In short order the Bumper had a bike ready to ride. Just one little hitch, she did not yet know how to ride it! That is where I came in. I spent the next couple of hours pushing her up and down the neighbors driveway, since it is better paved than ours, teaching her how to pedal. It did not take long before she got the hang of it and wanted to try all by herself.

 I was not ready. I knew the day was coming, but I thought it would be a few more years. I wanted to hang on to her and keep her safe, in the end I let her go. It went fine, on the first loop, and on the second loop my heart stopped beating quite so loudly and I allowed myself to relax. Then she fell over, don't ask me how she managed that feat with training wheels on the bike, and before I could rush over to her in a panic she jumped up,brushed herself off with an "I'm okay mom!" and resumed riding.

In spite of my motherly worry I felt quite proud of the Bumper in that moment because she did not quit. She kept going until it was almost too dark to see.

I am thrilled that she is enjoying herself so much. I did, however, put my foot down and tell her she could not practice riding in the house. The rest the week we got outdoors as much as we could so she could practice riding. She can now ride up and down the neighbors driveway with ease. Our next goal is to ride over to the school yard two blocks away. At the rate she is learning I will have to start bike riding myself just to keep up! (Right now she has me running footraces with her on the bike -- not sure how much longer I can do that.)


Friday, August 15, 2014

Friday Focus - Books

I started reading when I was three, and  I read my first "grown up" novel Charlotte's Web by E.B. White when I was seven; somewhere in between I fell in love with books and with reading. I will read just about anything at least once. Yes, this includes the backs of cereal boxes. I have no shame. I am also the sort of person who often reads more than one book at a time. That particular habit used to drive my family bonkers.
Right now this is what is on my reading list:

1. The Bible - always, so I am only going to mention it this once.

2. Where God Was Born: A Daring Adventure Through The Bible's Greatest Stories by Bruce Feiler - I am enjoying this one and finding it eerily relevant given current events in Israel.

3. Knitting Rules by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee - I bought this thinking it would be a book of patterns to teach me to knit. What I found was a laugh out loud look ( with some patterns thrown in) at knitters and their peculiarities.

4. How to be Vegan by Elizabeth Castoria - A nifty practical book that dispels the myth that vegans live off of iceberg lettuce and hothouse tomatoes.

5. The Alphabet Versus the Goddess: The Conflict Between Word and Image by Leonard Shlain - I just finished this one. A fascinating and in-depth look at the rise of the written word and the connection with patriarchy. Not light reading. It took me several weeks to complete.

6. The Sleep Book by Dr. Suess - The Bumper's current bedtime favorite. I think I have it memorized!

So what are you reading this week?


Thursday, August 14, 2014

Random Thoughts on Thursday

Sunset is what this week felt like

This week has flown by in such a blur that I have barely had time to sit down an think, let alone write, knit, or crochet. I even wrote a Meatless Monday post, but I still haven't gotten around to posting it.

What is on my mind most this week are the events in Iraq, and in Ferguson, Missouri USA, and the persistent Ebola outbreak.

Most of the time I can live in my little domestic bubble, concerned with the day to day of raising the Bumper, trying to find work, going back to school, grieving, keeping up with the housework, writing, knitting, and crochet. This week however the headlines have grabbed my attention. I have been praying for everyone of those situations. Praying for the sick in Africa, praying for the persecuted in Iraq, and praying for the sorrowing and desperate in Missouri. I am also praying for the for the doctors and aide-workers, the policemen and the protesters, the government ministers and the militants in Iraq.

I have spent a lot of time on my knees this week.

The Bumper had another first this week. She received her first bicycle and went for her very first ride. I am torn. One part of me is really proud of her because even though she fell down, she kept getting back up until she could pedal up and down the driveway by herself (with training wheels), another part of me is sad because this is another way I know she fast leaving babyhood and toddler-hood behind and becoming a full fledged kid.
There she goes!

I started the heel on my sock. I am excited to see how the thing finally turns out.
Sock start -- I hope.

I have promised myself that I will cast on the second sock as soon as the first is finished-- no matter what it looks like.

I quit drinking coffee this week. This week feels very very long.


Thursday, August 7, 2014

Random Thoughts on Thursday

Marigolds remind me that Autumn is coming
Summer is fast slipping away. I feel like a kid again, because I have been fortunate enough to witness this Summer through the Bumper's eyes. We have gone to the park, made ice-pops and ice-cream from scratch, we have blown bubbles, played soccer in the front yard and run through the sprinklers in the back. This summer has been cooler than most, which has meant more days outside. The Bumper is all for playing outside and I am all for letting her!

I have taken an Algebra course and survived. I will be taking a computer course this fall when the Bumper goes back to school. I have also started free-lance editing/copy reading. I am enjoying it so much!

I am in a bit of a creative backlog. My mind is swimming with all the things I want to do. I have two or three new novel/short story ideas, I have socks to finish. A hat and two infinity scarves to finish by Christmas and the Bumper is under the delusion that her mama can sew. She has requested a monkey costume, a dragon costume and a new dress. I wonder if I can persuade her to get interested in pipe cleaners and construction paper?

I am over run with zucchini. I have roasted it, sauteed it, eaten it raw and baked it into muffins.
I have started taking Tai-Chi which is harder than it looks. I am picking up my Yoga practice and cutting down on the caffeine. While the good weather lasts I am taking long walks in the evening
and I am amazed at how quickly the sun is setting now.

The Bumper and I have started a tradition of reading Bible stories at bedtime on Sundays.

All in all life is thrumming along and we are finding a new rhythm. Our house may not be the neatest, the meals I cook are not always homemade and sometimes dinner is eaten in the living room instead of at the table, but the the Bumper is content. I know because one day as we were pulling into the driveway she announced "I like our house, we have a happy home."

God is good. It is only because of Him that we find purpose and contentment.