Life is full of tradeoffs

February 19, 2007 at 1:29 pm | Posted in country living, dating, faith, family, food, free knitting patterns, health, Holidays, knitting, love, marriage, photography, relationships, romance, weight loss, yarn | 25 Comments

Fireflys Valentines Day FlowersI’m off caffeine.

I’ll just let that sink in for a minute …

I love coffee. I love English Breakfast, Earl Grey, and green teas. Along with loving the beverages, I love the fact and the act of having a cup of coffee with someone I love or with a good friend. Saturday and Sunday mornings, sipping coffee while chatting with my husband … sweet. Late weekday mornings sipping coffee or tea with the readers of my blog … very nice.

However, for health and energy reasons I am off caffeine. The truth of the matter is, I feel much better, when I am not consuming any caffeine; I have more energy, I wake up earlier in the morning, accomplish more during my days, and even lose weight more easily when I am off caffeine. For those and other reasons I am off caffeine entirely now.

Thank goodness for Celestial Seasonings. Although I have not found a place anywhere near our farm with a satisfying assortment of Celestial Seasonings teas, and I cannot find my most favorite varieties, I can find some of their tea and it is a good sip.

My favorite variety of all time was RoastAroma, but that was even difficult to find in Los Angeles (I know not why). Their various fruit teas are quite tasty, and today I will have the last bag out of a box of Madagascar Vanilla Red (I think that was the name).

Fireflys Valentines Day FlowersRecently my mother mailed a couple of bags of their Bengal Spice tea my way, so that we could have a cup of tea together via phone, as we are about fifteen hundred miles separated. Friday we had our tea. There isn’t anything quite like a nice quiet chat over a cup of tea between mothers, daughters, sisters, and friends. It is a sweet, quiet affair providing comfort and charm to a sparkling little corner of a world needing more of both. Our world needs more of such moments, shared, contemplated, and spread out into the void of human consciousness.

During our chat, she told me about a high tea she attended in downtown Denver with two of her daughter-in-laws and one granddaughter. It brought to mind the days just before my now-husband came to Los Angeles last year to fetch me for our wedding and trip across the country to the farm here in New York.

I had returned to Los Angeles, after meeting him face-to-face in New York, on April 5th. I had just over three weeks to prepare myself, my family and friends, and my life for a wedding and a move across the country. He would be flying to Los Angeles on the 28th and we would leave the next day for our wedding and the road trip that was our honeymoon.

It was a happy and sweet thrill ride, the twenty-three days I had to both get ready and say goodbye to California. My rib injury slowed the process down and made it more interesting. Somewhere in the midst of it all I needed to drive up to the California Bay Area for Easter weekend at the beach house with my in-laws from my previous marriage. Although that marriage was brief and had ended twenty years earlier, my in-laws and I had remained friends over the years and I wanted to spend one last beach house vacation with them before the opportunity to do so was more difficult to act on.

The first night I arrived at the beach house, the three of us stayed up late talking about the excitement of what was happening in my life. They were genuinely interested in our love story and wanted as many details as I was willing to share. It was a beautiful evening, and a lovely weekend away … although the drive up and back was a bit hard on my aching rib.

Fireflys Valentines Day FlowersOnce I was back in LA, I had to plan which of my clothing and belongings I absolutely had to have and which I could leave behind in storage. I also had to arrange for a pretty dress for the wedding, shop for a ring for him, help plan our honeymoon road trip, get my hair cut, etc.

Most importantly, however, there was my son, my sister and her family, and my closest friends and associates to spend time with on the west coast while there was still time to do so. And time was whizzing by at a dizzying rate.

The week before he came to get me was filled with lunches, coffees, and teas with dear friends thrilled at my happiness and stunned by my adventure. I had high tea twice that week, plus my sister put on a shower for me that was a tea as well. I had more cucumber sandwiches and scones that week than I will most likely have again in my entire life.

Each get together was sweet and dear in its own way, and treasured as a memory. I had never felt as girly as I did that week, all at once.

Hmm, it’s snowing again. We are dusted yet again and made to look pretty as a dessert.

1I do miss my sweet friends, and being able to just put out a call and say to my sister, “Hey, thought I’d drop by for a few minutes to celebrate the moments of our life.” Or, to my dear friend Christine, “Can you meet me at Penelope’s for tea about ten?” Or, when my friend J.J. who I was renting a room for the few months before leaving, “Want to meet down by he fireplace for a coffee in a couple of minutes?” The warmth, the laughter, the companionship, and the spontaneity … I do miss all of that.

Fireflys Un-Identified Knitted ObjectI look outside at the beautiful snow, the barn, the trees dusted white. I think of my dear husband.

Life is full of tradeoffs. Fruit tea for coffee. Happiness, love, and fulfillment in marriage on a farm in western New York for friends and family in familiar surroundings in Southern California. Though there are many things I miss, I wouldn’t miss this experience for anything.

The beauty of today’s world is that you can be 3,000 miles away, or 1,500 miles away from a friend of loved one and still manage spontaneous contact, a cup of tea, and the sweetness of chatting with a friend.

So, let’s have a cup of whatever together this morning … my friend.

Yarn for Fireflys New Spring HatThe photographs today feature roses sent by my son for Valentine’s day. Lush and healthy and beautiful … three are green. Green roses, beautiful.

The UKO (un-identified knitted object) is just that … un-identified. I’m working on a gift idea, and will share more when I have made more progress.

The yarn, I bought this weekend for a spring time hat I plan to knit for myself.

Thanks for taking the time with me. I wish you a fine and beautiful day.


It’s all a matter of perspective

January 5, 2007 at 3:12 pm | Posted in charity knitting, Christmas, country living, faith, family, free knitting patterns, health, Holidays, knitting, relationships, weight loss | 15 Comments

[Good News! The photos that have been missing from my earlier blog posts are now back. So sorry for the delay.]

Fireflys Christmas TeddyPlease say hello to my new teddy bears … they arrived on Christmas morning. Thank you Mom and Dad, and Carol. These are two-too sweet. Another thank you to Dale … the cypress ball ornament was a dear surprise in the Gracious Parcels box you sent.

Viewpoint is an interesting thing. So often what you experience and feel and see around you is a matter of your own perspective and attitude.

Today it is just over 50 degrees, rainy and a bit foggy. For me, this is winter. In Los Angeles, this would be a very cozy winter day. If I were in Los Angeles and it was rainy, a bit foggy, and about 50 degrees on Christmas day the weather would put me very much in the mood for the holiday. It would be, for me, the equivalent of a white Christmas.

Okay, so I’m not in LA any longer. I am in upstate, western New York. Here, on this day, there should be a gathering pack of snow on the ground and the temperature should be something down below … I think well below … 30 degrees. For people who have lived here all or much of their lives, this isn’t a winter day at all.

My ignorance is bliss, and so I am having a wonderful moody winter day. I love the dark light from the heavy cloud cover and the look of the wet streets. It isn’t so cold that I have to wear several layers of clothing inside, but it is cold enough to make me think it is a fine winter day, according to my meager standards for what a winter day is.

So often we resist whatever our current circumstances are. It is either too much snow, or not enough snow, too warm, too cold, too this, or too that. We humans are quite picky, really.

Fireflys Christmas TeddyI say this: why not change your mind about whatever circumstances you are experiencing. If it seems too cold, look outside and hug yourself and say, “My what a gloriously cold, cold day. I love it!” If it is too warm for your mood, change your mind. Tell yourself it is a beautiful day. If you would rather be at home knitting than at work doing whatever it is you do … change your mind. Tell yourself you love you job (no matter the reality) and that you would not want to be anywhere other than where you are, doing just what you are doing. If someone who normally irritates you passes by and does whatever it is they do to annoy you, change your mind. Smile at that offender, consider him or her to be a good friend and companion. Tell yourself you are happy and maybe even a bit delighted to see them.

You can change your mind. I can change my mind. We can do that, the two of us.

It might seem terribly simplistic and pollyanna for me to say these things. But that’s okay. Those who choose to look at it that way will not have as pleasant of a day as those who take heed. I wish the nay-sayers well, and I smile what to them might seem an idiotic smile and say, “Hello, good day my friend.”

Who is the idiot, afterall? The person who finds and makes and defines their own happiness or the person who goes along with the unhappiness machine that trudges along and plods along in life, looking for people to pick up and give a free ride to.

After my last blog, a number of people left comments asking to know more about choices I had made a while back in living a healthier lifestyle. I do not claim to be any expert in this area whatsoever, nor do I claim to be the slimmest and most fit person around, because I certainly am not.

Thank you DaleHowever, I did manage to lose 42 pounds a few years ago and have mostly kept it off. Sometimes a few pounds return to say hello, but I am able to get them to leave again and even take a few friends with them at times. So, over the course of my next several blogs I will try to remember to share some of the successful actions that worked for me.

The first thing I think, is to just start noticing what you’re doing. By that I mean, if you have some extra pounds on you, start keeping track of what you’re eating. Everything. Make notes over the course of each day, in a little notebook or something. Don’t leave anything out. You will gain two benefits from doing this: 1) you will have a written record of what you’re eating so that you can conciously cut out certain things that most obviously lead to extra pounds, and 2) you will probably start eating less simply because you are paying attention and taking note. That alone can be a powerful thing.

As for knitting, I am currently working on three projects.

First of all, I am completeting sewing together the squares for the first Gracious Parcels blanket. That task is taking longer than I had realized it would, but the blanket is looking quite wonderful. When my family was out here, one afternoon we all participated in arranging the squares together. I spread 49 squares out on the floor and we played around with different color harmonies and disharmonies until we had a layout that everyone seemed to feel good about.

For me, sewing the pieces together is very special. As I join the squares I think of those of you who sent them my way, and this symbolic joining together of us all into one blanket, each knitter contributing her parcel(s) to the entire piece. I also think about the lady who will be receiving this blanket and the comfort it will bring her. She is a Habitat homeowner who has been through a terrible time over the past few months. A medical condition resulted in her losing her job and later, her car. I don’t know what the holidays were like for her and her family. However, within a few days she will have this warm blanket made of well wishes from people from all over the country, and at least one square from Europe. The tags and personal messages will certainly give her encouragement.

It is a good start to a very worthwhile project.

Fireflys Hand Knit Teddy Bear Scarf Pink TeddyAlso on the knitting front is a little teddy bear’s scarf I knit for my mother. She needed it for a teddy bear she sent my sister for Christmas. It is a cute little pink thing I want to share the pattern for. I used Plymouth Yarn’s Dreambaby D.K. in pink, with two size U.S. 3 dpns. I cast on nine stitches, then knit six rows in stockinette stitch, ending with a knit row.

Then I knit one more row. After that, I used a seed stitch (k1, p1, k1, p1, etc.) on each row until the entire scarf measured about 22 inches (depends on the size you need for a doll or bear). Then I made sure to be on the wrong side (purl side of the stockinette stitches) and I knit one row.

Then, I knit one more row and continued in the stockinette stitch until there were seven rows total in stockinette. Then I cast off.

The stockinette rows give the scarf a delightful little curl at the ends. It was a sweet post-Christmas project.

Lastly, my son loved the hat I knit him for Christmas and asked if I would make a scarf to match it. So, I am making him a scarf from the same yarn, using the 3×2 rib as is on the “brim” of the hat. A photo will be available of the scarf and the Gracious Parcels blanket on Monday.

I suppose I have covered quite a bit of ground today, and must end off now. I hope you have had a wonderful first week’s start to a great new year. Mine has been quiet and a little bumpier than expected, but that’s okay. I make happy.


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