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May 2014

Throwback Thursday: Five Years of Knitting

According to my Ravelry projects page, I've knit 111 projects since beginning my blog (in May 2009).  That's a lot of stitches . . . and a whole lot of yarn!

When I started the blog, I was in the midst of the first NaKniSweMoDo . . . the challenge to knit a sweater a month for an entire year.  (That's how I met Margene and Cheryl and Susan, you know.  They were the group moderators for that first NaKniSweMoDo.)  I remember reading about the 12-sweaters challenge on Ravelry, right about the time I was mid-way through my chemo treatments.  I needed a challenge.  I needed to knit.  I joined!

Here's a photo collage I found in my archives, showing the first 9 sweaters I knit that year:

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It's funny to look back at the sweaters now.  I've actually gotten rid of most of them.  (Some were too big, some had memories of chemo knit too tightly into the stitches, and some were just . . . what was I thinking???)  (I still wear my Central Park Hoodie quite often (bottom right corner), and occasionally - if I'm going to be somewhere very cold - I wear the hoodie up top.  All the rest?  Goners.)

I still love to knit sweaters, but I tend to be more thoughtful about the designs I choose.  These days, with the exception of this one, I knit sweaters I actually like to wear!

It's fun to look back at knitting projects with 5 years of perspective.  (Thanks, Ravelry, for making it easy.)  My favorite projects since May 2009?

All of the Duffers I made as Christmas gifts one year . . .

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Scalene . . . probably my most-frequently-worn handknit . . .

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Tinder . . . best-fitting cardigan ever!

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Kirsten Kapur's Germinate . . . I'm still charmed by the stripe-y lace panels (and Kim's yarn).

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And, last but not least, the Grim Reaper I made for Erin.  Oh-so-futzy, but oh-so-worth-it!

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It'll be fun to see what comes off my needles over the NEXT five years!


Picturing . . . POSSIBILITY

The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.
                                                                                            ------  Marcel Proust

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Last month, the One Little Word project had us turning to images . . . to "picture" our word.  So.  What does POSSIBILITY look like?

For me . . . POSSIBILITY looks like this:

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You can't really set out to take a picture of POSSIBILITY. . . but you can find pictures of POSSIBILITY all around you!  Plants growing where they ought not.  Reminders to explore, to wander.  Visible evidence of an emptying out, of making room for something new and different.  Trying new things.  Learning new things.

There are visual reminders of POSSIBILITY all around.  We just need to have . . . new eyes!

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As a side note, I usually struggle with the "creating-a-scrapbook" portion of the OLW project.  This year, I'm finding it quite liberating to just do my own thing instead . . . and incorporate the prompts into my journal.  It still looks a lot like "scrapbooking" I suppose, but it's not a prescribed format.  It's MY format.  And, apparently, that makes All the Difference for me.

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More Learnin'

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All day yesterday, I had fun mulling over today's Ten on Tuesday topic, Ten Things (Subjects) You Wish You Knew More About.  Just what was I interested in learning more about?

Then, when I got home, I pulled this out of my mailbox:

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A catalog from The Great Courses.  (80% off the Pure Joy of Learning!  Act now!)

I get these catalogs from time to time, but I've never actually opened one and looked inside.  Today, though . . . it seemed like serendipity!  So I looked inside.

Their courses are much cheaper than I expected -- and cover the gamut of subjects:  Understanding the Mysteries of Human Behavior.  Daily Life in the Ancient World.  Practicing Mindfulness.  Fundamentals of Photography.  Rediscovering the Lost Art of Cooking.  How to Listen To and Understand Great Music.  Nutrition Made Clear.  Latin 101.  Financial Literacy.  Great World Religions.

Truly. . . something for everyone.

But I don't think I'll be signing up for this one anytime soon:

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Yeah.  The Joy of Mathematics.  (Although I must admit to being charmed by the lectures titled "The Joy of the Imaginary Number i" and "The Joy of the Number e."  Not so much though with "The Joy of Proofs" and "The Joy of Differential Calculus.")

If not The Joy of Mathematics, then. . . what Ten Things DO I Wish I Knew More About?

  1. Italian.  I wish I knew a few handy phrases . . . like . . . "Another glass of chianti, please."  Or "Where are the bathrooms?"  Or "How much for this exquisite leather bag?"  (I think I can do something about this one before September!)
  2. Photoshop.  I have taken 3 (count them. . . 3!) Photoshop classes.  My problem?  I don't practice enough, and then I forget.
  3. Dog Agility Training.  I think Jenny and/or JoJo (but not both at once!) would love agility training.  
  4. Piano.  It sits right there in my living room every day.  All I have to do is practice.  (See Photoshop, above.)
  5. Art History.  Especially before I go to Italy.  (Maybe I should take a closer look at the offerings in The Great Courses catalog, huh?)
  6. Weaving.  But I need another fiber art in my life like I need a hole in the head.
  7. Astronomy.  I'd love to look up at the sky and know more about what it is I'm seeing.
  8. Quantum mechanics.  Really.  I wish I could get my head around this one even just a little bit.
  9. Electricity.  But I give up.  (Actually, I'd be happy to just understand how to get the MENU to show up - reliably - on my TV screen.  But I guess that's not really electricity.  But I bet some of you will understand.)
  10. French cooking.  Like . . . real French cooking.  


How about YOU?  What do you wish you knew more about?

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Join the fun!  Read other Ten on Tuesday posts here, or sign up for weekly prompts here.   


A Feeling of Fullness

Yesterday, in honor of Mother's Day, I made some of my own Mom's favorite things to eat:  roasted chicken wings (à la Ina Garten) and carrot cake.  And after dinner, I was feeling pretty full!

But I realized . . . it was much more than the carrot cake.

Because being part of my family . . . brings a feeling of fullness, too.  

Full of love.  

Full of support.  

Full of a being there that comes deep from the heart.

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It's really easy to celebrate a family-day when life is easy.  When there are graduations or new jobs or a welcoming home, for example.  

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But it's when times are a little more challenging that you really feel that fullness of family.  When there is sickness.  Or when something is broken.  Or when someone is just . . . teetering out there on the edge a little bit.

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So yesterday, as I celebrated Mother's Day with my own family, I was flooded with that feeling of fullness that comes not from carrot cake . . . but from that glorious feeling that I am part of a family that is always there.  Always.

Hope your weekend was a full one, too!

 


Blog Anniversary Quiz Bowl #2

First . . . (drum roll, please!) . . . CONGRATULATIONS to last week's randomly-selected Quiz Bowl Winner . . . BONNY!!!  An exciting prize package will be headed your way soon, Bonny!

And now . . . on to Quiz Bowl #2!

During May, I'm celebrating my fifth anniversary of blogging!  Each Friday, I will provide a Blog Quiz. Answer the questions for a chance to win a prize!  (A random winner will be chosen every week -- PLUS a Grand Prize Winner at the end of the month.)  All answers have been provided, at some point, here on the blog.

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(One of the most fun aspects of celebrating my blog-anniversary is looking through photos from 5 years ago!  Here I am . . . taking a game of skee-ball very, very seriously!  It was May 2009 -- and Tom and I were at Cedar Point Amusement Park in Ohio with Brian and our foreign exchange student, Dominik.  Bonus points if you can tell me where Dominik was from . . . and why I might be pretty good at skee-ball.)

Here are the questions for Week 2:

  1. Where was I born?  (City and state)
  2. How long have Tom and I been married?
  3. Who was my home ec teacher, and what was her motto?
  4. Name the bloggers I have met in real life.  (Hint:  There are 4.)

Just leave your answers in the comments section.  (All correct answers will be eligible for the prize drawing.  If you answer the bonus questions, your name will be entered in the week's drawing twice!)

Happy Friday!

 


Throwback Thursday: Wheels Turnin' Round and Round

When I first started blogging . . . back in May 2009 . . .

Erin had just finished her sophomore year in college.  She had spent time studying in London, she thought she might go to law school, and was just beginning a summer internship in a law office.  She was still studying voice and piano, and hadn't yet met Keith.  College graduation still seemed a long way off.

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Erin . . . then

Brian was just finishing his junior year in high school.  He was sad because most of his friends were graduating and he was feeling left behind.  He was busy with hockey and a job at Little Caesars Pizza and his then-girlfriend.  The college visiting and application process was just beginning.  And, really, he'd rather not have to think about it all.

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Brian . . . then

Who could've known then . . . where they'd end up five years later!  Erin . . . with a Masters degree and a full-time editorial position in Pittsburgh.  Brian . . . finished with college (hurray!) and about to start a full-time lab internship with MSU.  (AND the rock star thing.  It could happen!)

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Erin and Brian . . . now

Wheels turnin' round and round!

Just for fun. . . Today's soundtrack is brought to you by Miss Erin, herself!  (Back at her final piano recital in 2007.  Her piano instructor mixed traditional piano with "fun" and chose to highlight his graduating seniors in a big way!)

 


Virtual Reality

So, last week I alluded to a "special visitor" . . . someone you all knew . . .

It was Kathy - of kmkat and her kneedles fame!

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Kathy and Smokey were driving across Michigan for their son's graduation from the University of Michigan last week.  Which means . . . they were driving right past my house . . . so Kathy and I arranged to meet on Saturday afternoon.

One of the absolute BEST things about blogging is making virtual friends all over the world.  But THE BEST thing . . . is when you get to actually meet them in REAL TIME!

It was wonderful to spend an afternoon with Kathy.  She is as warm and gracious and funny in real life as she is on her blog.  We had a great time eating and knitting and laughing together -- and she was kind enough to imagine what my garden might look like in a month or so (because it ain't much right now, let me tell you!) while we avoided the dog poop in my backyard.  

Thanks so very much for stopping by, Kathy!  It was such a treat to meet you . . . For Reals!


Life Lessons from the Master

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As most of you know, I have a really wonderful relationship with my Mom.  She's my Mom, sure . . . but we're also really great friends.  And, really, we always have been.

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It's been fun to think about today's topic -- 10 Things My Mom Taught Me -- because, when it comes right down to it, my Mom pretty much taught me everything I know today.  Seriously.  When I reflect on who I am now - as a functional grown up - it really all boils down to things my Mom taught me!  She is, truly, the Master Mom.

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10 Things My Mom Taught Me:

  1. To Read - My Mom likes to say that "Kym taught herself to read."  But that isn't true.  Sure, I went off to school, already knowing how to read.  (That part is true.)  But it's only because my Mom read to me all the time.  She took me to the library.  We made "word scrapbooks."  We read and read and read.  
  2. To Knit - My Mom used to knit a lot when I was a little girl.  I still have a little red cardigan with cables that she knit for me in elementary school, and she used to be the master of ripple afghans!  (I wish I still had one of those. . .)  She taught me the basics:  casting on, garter stitch, purl stitch.  I worked . . . s-l-o-w-l-y . . . on a garter stitch scarf.  It ultimately became a doll blanket because I sort of lost my scarf mojo.
  3. To Drive - My Dad was charged with teaching me to drive.  But that didn't work out.  At all.  (He didn't have the patience for a temperamental and rather testy teen-age daughter. . .)  So my Mom did it.  We drove for miles and miles and miles along the backroads of Wyoming (and trust me - it's all backroads in Wyoming!)  and had a lot of fun together.  
  4. To Cook - My Mom used to have me start dinner every night after she had gone back to work when I was in junior high.  I learned a lot about timing, following instructions, and . . . to make sure to "stab" the potatoes before placing them in the oven!
  5. To Love flowers - One of my most lovely early-gardening memories is sitting with my Mom as we weeded the small strip of flower garden along the side of my childhood house.  My Mom showed me how to collect dry seeds - from four-o'clocks and moss roses - and save them in envelopes.  I'm pretty sure this is why I garden today!
  6. To Reconcile my checkbook - When I was in high school and had a job, my Mom helped me open a checking account.  She taught me how to reconcile my checkbook and I have been forever grateful.
  7. To be active (and STAY active) - My Mom was active as a girl -- she danced and swam and skated and curled (!).  She is still active today -- she lap-swims and does weight-training and even Zumbas now and again.  She made sure I had opportunities for activities and sports as a child, and she's a great role model for a lifetime of keeping active and busy. 
  8. That a little bit of "silly" goes a long way - My Mom has a great sense of humor -- and we have laughed our way through nearly every thing we do.  Truly.  We can laugh at anything!
  9. To always do the right thing - My Mom is a model in decorum and good manners.  She taught me to do-what-you-say-you're-going-to-do, be on time for work, only take a sick day when you need a sick day, pay your bills on time, return messages, if you take on a leadership role then follow through with the leadership role (but run like hell from the PTA Presidency!), write thank you notes, and be kind to everyone.
  10. To love your children no matter what ... and to stay outta their shit! - My Mom is the Poster Child for Unconditional Love.  And she really has never interfered with my life.  I am so fortunate.  (And, really, so are my kids.  Because I learned at the feet of the Master.)

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How about YOU?  What did you learn from your Mom?  

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 Join the fun!  Read other Ten on Tuesday posts here, or sign up for weekly prompts here.  


Some Pomp and a Lot of Circumstance

You know . . . how sometimes your life becomes a whirlwind of Stuff?  Deadlines and events and parties and opportunities and, well, Stuff?  I've been caught in one of those whirlwinds lately.

You know what happens when you're caught in a whirlwind of Stuff?   Yeah.  Something usually has to give.  For me, it seems to be the small, niggling details.  Like . . . I remember to bring my camera to my son's graduation.  But I leave the battery pack in the charger at home.  (Thanks, Dad, for coming to my rescue with your old point-and-shoot!)  Or . . . when all the festivities are over, I leave my phone behind at my parents' house.  And have to make a trip back to pick it up.  (Thanks, Mom and Dad, for meeting me half-way.)

So.  Yeah.  Life has been busy.  Whirlwind busy.  

It's nice to have a celebration day -- to step back out of the whilrwind and spend time with people you love best.  To celebrate and recognize and mark a major milestone.  To remember why you deal with the whirlwind in the first place!   (And to realize that life goes on . . . even without your zoom lens.)

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Congratulations, Brian!

What a fabulous celebration - out of the whirlwind - to mark your fabulous achievement!

We're so very proud of you!

 

 


Blog Anniversary Quiz Bowl #1

During May, I'm celebrating my fifth anniversary of blogging!  Each Friday, I will provide a Blog Quiz. Answer the questions for a chance to win a prize!  (A winner chosen every week -- PLUS a Grand Prize Winner at the end of the month.)  All answers have been provided, at some point, here on the blog.

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Here are the questions for Week 1:

  1. What was the name of our family dog BEFORE Jenny?
  2. What is my most-dreaded food?
  3. What kind of car do I drive?  

Just leave your answers in the comments section.  (All correct answers will be eligible for the prize drawing.)

Happy Friday!