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November 2014

It's a Repeat!

My knitting time has been severely limited of late.  Although I still try to knit - at least a little bit - each day, my production has definitely slowed this year.  I'm okay with that.  Because, really, for me . . .it's all about the process and the feeling-of-calm I get when I knit.

But still.  I'd like to actually finish a project or two!!!

It feels like a long time ago that I started knitting my version of Romi's Cactus Flower shawl.


It was sort of a group project . . . a virtual "knit-along" shared with friends. . . 

It's a great knit.  Very satisfying.  It's full of challenge and enough "change" to make it Never Dull.  But, at the end, here . . . it is becoming quite a slog!


I'm in the home stretch now:  ready to begin repeat #11 (of 18) lace panel repeats. 

And, thanks to these great shawls, I am inspired to keep on . . . repeating!  (I can see now that it will be worth it in the end.)

Time in a Bottle


This week, Carole has us thinking about musicians -- and, specifically, about musicians we'd like to bring back from the dead.

Brian, Tom and I collaborated on this topic, and, for the most part, we agreed on the list.  (But, in the end, it's my blog.  So my choices rule!) 

I'll start off with a soundtrack . . . from one musician we'd all bring back from the dead . . . 


1.  Kurt Cobain
        Brian: Cobain.
        Kym: Definitely.


2.  John Lennon and George Harrison
        Kym:  John.  And George.
        Brian:  Knew it.


3.  Jim Croce
        Tom:  Jim Croce.
        Kym:  Oh, yeah!
        Brian:  Who?


4.  Mozart
        Kym:  I think . . . Mozart.
        Brian:  You would.  (Mom.  Some musicians should just stay dead.)


5.  John Bonham
        Brian:  Bonham.
        Kym:  Knew it.


6.  Jimi Hendrix
        Brian:  Jimi.
        Brian:  Because he was so good.  


7.  Buddy Holly
        Tom:  Buddy Holly.
        Kym:  Buddy Holly?
        Tom:   Yeah.  The Day the Music Died and all . . .


8.  Jerry Garcia
        Tom:  Jerry Garcia.  Definitely.
        Kym:  Knew it!


9.  Freddie Mercury
        Tom:  Freddie Mercury!
        Tom:  Because he was so good, too.


10.  Eva Cassidy
         Kym:  Eva Cassidy.
         Tom:  Who?
         Brian: Who?
         Kym:  See?  She died way too soon.

How about YOU?  Which musicians would you like to bring back from the dead?


Join the fun!  Sign up to recieve Ten on Tuesday prompts here - or read other lists here!




Postcards from Italy: Islands of the Venetian Lagoon

Dear friends, 

Our time here in Venice is running out, but we have one last side trip we've been really excited about.  Join us on our last day in Venice, as we hop aboard a tourist-filled boat at a busy port . . .


and head out for a day trip to visit three islands in the northern Venetian lagoon:  Murano, Burano, and Torcello.  By this point, I must admit, we are touristed-out!  So many people; so many sights.  


I think this will be a fun diversion from the hustle and bustle of Venice!  

First, we visited Murano, home of the famous Murano glass.


Really, our visit to Murano was All About the Glass.  We were herded from the boat to one of the Murano glass factories . . . 


for a demonstration of glass making . . . 


and then we were shown a Murano glass showroom, where the salespeople were not Overly Forceful, but certainly Ever-Present (and they made it very clear, over and over, that they could SHIP TO THE U.S.). 


(We escaped without purchase.)

Next, we headed to neighboring island, Burano.  


Burano is known as one of the most colorful places to visit in the world -- and they aren't kidding!


(My sister LOVED pink as a little girl.  (LOVED.)  This house would've been her childhood dream house.)

Burano was absolutely charming!


(Yeah.  It's really leaning like that.  Cables are holding it up.  For now.)





Burano is also well-known for it's lace.  (We didn't buy any lace . . . but we did a bit of shopping in Burano.)  Burano was an absolutely lovely spot -- refreshing and fun.


Our last stop . . . 


Torcello is the oldest continuously inhabited region of Venice, although not very "habited" now.  It is the home of the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, founded in 639.  (Yeah. 639.)






We were completely charmed by the lovely gardens on Torcello.


So many little surprises!  Like this corridor garden between buildings, full of old statues (and this guy, who looks like he's photo-bombing).


Torcello was such a peaceful interlude - especially after the tourist press of Venice!





Back in Venice, after our delightful day visiting the islands, we enjoyed our "last supper" in Italy, with

Wine . . .


Pasta . . . 


and tiramisu (invented in Venice)!


Next time, I'll give you all one last look at Venice before heading for home.  So . . . 

Ciao, for now my friends!


Sundays . . . Are for Poetry


You Can't Have It All

But you can have the fig tree and its fat leaves like clown hands
gloved with green.  You can have the touch of a single eleven-year-old finger
on your cheek, waking you at one a.m. to say the hamster is back.
You can have the purr of the cat and the soulful look
of the black dog, the look that says, If I could I would bite
every sorrow until it fled, and when it is August,
you can have it August and abundantly so.  You can have love,
though often it will be mysterious, like the white foam
that bubbles up at the top of the bean pot over the red kidneys
until you realize foam's twin is blood.
You can have the skin at the center between a man's legs,
so solid, so doll-like.  You can have the life of the mind,
glowing occasionally in priestly vestements, never admitting pettiness,
never stooping to bribe the sullen guard who'll tell you
all roads narrow at the border.
You can speak a foreign language, sometimes,
and it can mean something.  You can visit the marker on the grave
where you father wept openly.  You can't bring back the dead,
but you can have the words forgive and forget hold hands
as if they meant to spend a lifetime together.  And you can be grateful
for makeup, the way it kisses your face, half spice, half amnesia, grateful
for Mozart, his many notes racing one another towards joy, for towels
sucking up the drops on your clean skin, and for proper thirsts,
for passion fruit, for saliva.  You can have the dream,
the dream of Egypt, the horses of Egypt and you riding in the hot sand.
You can have your grandfather sitting on the side of your bed,
at least for a while, you can have clouds and letters, the leaping
of distances, and Indian food with yellow sauce like sunrise.
You can't count on grace to pick you out of a crowd
but here is your friend to teach you how to high jump,
how to throw yourself over the bar, backwards,
until you learn about love, about sweet surrender,
and here are periwinkles, buses that kneel, farms in the mind
as real as Africa.  And when adulthood fails you,
you can still summon the memory of the black swan on the pond
of your childhood, the rye bread with peanut butter and bananas
your grandmother gave you while the rest of the family slept.
There is the voice you can still summon at will, like your mother's,
it will always whisper, you can't have it all,
but there is this.

--- Barbara Ras, Bite Every Sorrow

Somewhat Nuts III

Saturdays are for . . .

Looking Up.


It was 12 degrees F when I woke up this morning.  (Seriously?  Already?)



When I was a little girl, my mom had pilgrim candles just like these.  I loved them!  I thought they were just the cutest things.  Sometimes, I would sneak them in to play with my Liddle Kiddles, and sometimes my mom let me get away with it.  Over the years, the pilgrim candles took a bit of a beating (those Kiddles being a rough crowd and all), and I'm pretty sure my mom just tossed them at some point.  A few years ago, I found these reproduction pilgrim candles in some catalog, and the Nostalgia Wave washed over me.  Now, I'm really excited to get them out each November.  (No one else in my household is enamored of them.  But for me, they just bring a warm, cozy feeling.)



There is MUCH Dog Joy in our back yard.  (Jenny and JoJo love frolicking in the snow, so they're having a grand time out there!)

Happy Saturday!

Postcards from Italy: On the Water

Dear friends:

Before our trip to Italy, when I imagined Venice . . . I imagined gondolas!


Gondolas . . . complete with gonodoliers in black-and-white striped shirts.  With straw hats.  And ribbons.  Maybe singing . . . with an accordian, too.

And.  Well.  They're there, alright.  (Not so much with the straw hats and ribbons, though.) (And the singing and accordians are available -- for extra fees.)

In fact, some of my first views of Venice - from our water taxi from train station to hotel - included gondolas.  (Another icon.  I giggled.)



Tourist Trap.

And we knew it.  We really did.

But we decided we couldn't resist.  (Although we opted out on the accordian and the singing.)


Because, really.  How can you be in Venice . . . and NOT take a gondola ride???


We started out on the Grand Canal . . . with an awesome view of the Rialto Bridge.  (Really, the best way to SEE the Rialto Bridge is from the middle of the Grand Canal.)


Our twenty-minute ride took us through several canals and under many bridges.


Our gondolier. No straw hat. . .


Was it worth it?  Oh, yeah.  It's overpriced and a total tourist trap.  But I don't regret it for a moment.  If you find yourself in Venice, be sure to hop aboard a gondola!  It's one of those things you've just got to do.  (Shop around a bit, though, because the rates are variable, and the gondoliers are independent; they set their own rates.)

Until next time (because there is still more to show-and-tell you.  . ),



A Little Matter of Semantics


This week, Carole has us talking about ten collections we've had in our lives.  This is an intriguing topic for me, because even though I had a few "collections" when I was a kid (rocks; record albums; movie-star pictures from Teen Beat), I've never really been a "collector."

This topic got me thinking about what it means to "collect" something.

Like . . . well . . . in my kitchen, over all of the cabinets, I have a bunch of chickens.


If you took a look around my kitchen, you might assume I "collect chickens."  But, really, I don't.  They're just a bunch of chickens that sort of . . . showed up . . . over the years.  When we moved into our house, I decided to group them together.  They're more "décor feature" than "collection."  The chickens . . . mean nothing to me (other than a little bit of whimsy in my kitchen).

If you looked a little further in my house, you might also assume I collect . . .


Tote bags.



And, yeah.  I have a lot of those things.  But I don't consider them "collections" either!  They're all just . . . things I like.  And use.


What makes a "collection" -- for me?

First, it needs to Mean Something.


1.  In my family, we bring home a magnet from wherever we happen to travel.  This has been going on for about 20 years, now, and trust me -- our refrigerator is RIDICULOUS covered with magnetic reminders of our travels.  Taken together, these magnets very much represent a "collection."


 2.  Similarly, I bring home a miniature souvenir from each of my trips with my sister.  I keep them together on a shelf in a little cabinet that Brian made in 8th grade shop class.  I love having this quick, visual reminder of some very special trips.  Definitely a "collection."


3.  I have a bracelet (a hybrid of Pandora and Troll Beads) made up of bead-charms that have some meaning to me.  The "R" from my Mom (for "remission"), the turtle (for our lake cottage), a ball of yarn (well, you know), a teacup, my birthstone, garden flowers, etc.  I love being able to wear a "collection" on my wrist.

Second, it needs to be intentional.


4.  While I never meant to collect those chickens in my kitchen, I definitely set out to collect blue transferware!  Ever since I was a very little girl, playing with a tiny Blue Willow china tea set, I have loved blue transferware.  Now, I have quite a nice collection of my own.  Totally intentional, I've lovingly built this "collection" over the years.


5.  Before I was a Knitter, I was a Stitcher.  I loved doing embroidery and sewing.  About the time Tom and I got married (back in 1981!) I had just started to notice decorative thimbles.  When I was picking out things for our gift registry, I signed us up for a little thimble box that could hang on the wall.  I felt a little guilty about it at the time, because I knew that it would be more for "me" than for "us."  But now, 33 years later, two of those little thimble boxes hang on the wall in my sewing room.  And the "spill-over" from my extra thimbles live in my curio cabinet.  Yes.  A "collection!"

Third, it doesn't have to be a tangible, hold-in-your hand object.


6.  As many of you know, I collect "words in the wild" -- words that I just stumble onto out there in the world; words that are meaningful to me in some way.  I'd certainly consider them a "collection!"

7.  Starting when I was young, I've "collected" names-of-places-that-are-fun-to-say.  Chattanooga.  Walla Walla, Washington.  Tallahassee.  Timbuktu.  Kalamazoo.  Uruguay.  Rancho Cucumongo.  Katmandu.  Mississippi.  Marrakesh.  Not tangible -- but still a "collection!"

Lastly, it might just be something sort of accidental; something visual that you're (strangely) drawn to.  One day, you just realize you're just (sort of) "collecting" it -- without even knowing that you are!


8.  I collect wine corks and save them in jars (and sometimes I pass them on to my Dad, who makes awesome cork boards!).  I especially like saving the corks with cool and unique designs or phrases.  Or words.  It started out by accident -- but it's become quite a "collection" over the years.


9.  I have a "thing" for buildings/houses.  I have paintings, drawings, tiny houses, birdhouses, etc.  tucked in --here and there -- all around my house.  I don't know how it happened, or why I'm drawn to them, but "collection" it is!



10.  Same with "grids."  For some reason, I'm drawn to them -- and you can find them all over the place in my house and garden!  An accidental and evolving "collection." 



How about YOU?  What do you collect?  And what makes it a "collection" . . . for you?


Join the fun!  Sign up to recieve Ten on Tuesday prompts here - or read other lists here!