Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Hectic Holiday Completing

Last minute preparations are finished
(only because there are no more last minutes).
Big dinner was cooked Christmas Eve.
Traditional Christmas morning breakfast eaten.
Presents are unwrapped.
Wrapping paper has been cleaned up.
One more big dinner today
(consisting mostly of leftovers).
Finally, time to sit and think
about this almost finished year,
about the coming new year,
new hopes, and new goals.
New years resolutions contemplating.

Monday, December 23, 2013

multiple white lights
cascading from the roof's edge
– Southern icicles

Friday, December 20, 2013

The Barking Must Stop

My ears are ringing.


I never understood why anyone would want silence.
I like noise,
children playing,
the radio or television,
something, just not silence.

Today I am home alone.
My kids are at school.
My husband is at work.
The radio and TV are off.
My ears are ringing
from this dog's piercing loud bark.

What do you want?
I fed you.
You have water.
You've been out and gone potty.
All the other dogs are laying down,
quiet and still.

Das Bellen muss aufhรถren.
The barking must stop.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

FDA Allows Fly Eggs and Maggots in Sauce

Did you know

“On the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's reports on "Inspections, Compliance, Enforcement and Criminal Investigations," the agency says it's acceptable for sauces to contain "30 or more fly eggs per 100 grams" and "1 or more maggot per 100 grams." At those levels, you probably wouldn't notice, and if you did, it's really just protein anyways. But still ... yum.”

For those of us who are used to dealing with ounces and pounds...
100 grams equals 3.5274 ounces (just under ¼ pound)

So...a quarter pound of tomato-based sauce at your favorite chain restaurant
is allowed to have 30 or more fly eggs and 1 or more maggot.

I recommend that you take a few minutes to look through this article by the Huffington Post.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Barbie Girl

My 2 year old granddaughter's favorite song is “Barbie Girl.” We play it continually whenever she is in my car. My favorite line of the song is

“Imagination.       Life is your creation.”

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Meatballs Everywhere

It's the beginning of December. I'm just getting home from school. I forgot my key...again. There is snow on the ground. It is cold. But, the backdoor is unlocked? That's a nice surprise. I smell meatballs. Dado is here, and he's been cooking. He must have brought his cookie sheets with him because there are cookie sheets full of hot baked meatballs on the stove, on the counter beside the sink, balanced over the sink, on the counter above the dishwasher, on the table, and some still in the oven. There is no place to set anything. Meatballs are everywhere.

The first weekend of December, every year, my mom hosts a Christmas party. I know it's coming because we've spent evenings baking dozens of cookies for the cookie exchange, 13 dozen, and small batches of what seems like a dozen different cookies to serve at the party. “There needs to be a variety on the trays to look pretty,” my mom tells me. Rosettes, Krumkaka, Candy Cane cookies, Mint Meltaways, Russian Tea Cakes, Stained Glass Window cookies, Cornflake Wreaths, Peanutbutter Kiss cookies, Star Spice cookies, but NO Chocolate Chip cookies. Chocolate Chip cookies are NOT Christmas cookies. Chocolate Chip cookies are everyday, ordinary cookies. 13 people are exchanging cookies this year. Everybody takes home one dozen of each others cookies, hence the 13 dozen of one kind of cookie we made (really I made, with little supervision – Mom is always busy, and I am a perfectionist, good at following directions).

I never got Dado's meatball recipe. I think they were applesauce meatballs, but I really have no idea. I'm sure the recipe was in his head, not on paper. I remember scalding my tongue eating a meatball, and eating another immediately, knowing, and not caring, that it would burn my mouth too. He made the best meatballs, a once a year treat.

Since then, I've run across a meatball recipe that is as close to Dado's recipe as I remember. My recipe is a microwave recipe, that I have to double to make enough for everyone. I make them once each winter, but not for Christmas (everybody wants ham for Christmas). As the smell fills my kitchen, I remember coming home to my always happy, smiling grandfather, Dado, in mom's kitchen, and meatballs everywhere.

There was no sauce on Dado's meatballs, but he was Swedish, and I like these, and their sauce.
I leave out the allspice and the brown bouquet sauce, but add ginger and parsley flakes.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Christmas Cookie List 2013

Dark Pfeffernuse
Gingerbread Men
Cornflake Wreaths
Rita's Kiss Cookies
Candy Cane Cookies
Peppermint Meltaways
Stained Glass Window Cookies, and
Peanut butter Elf Bites (which I will make several batches of)
There are so many fun flavors of peanut butter available now. We make this with regular peanut butter, and with chocolate peanut butter. You could even substitute Nutella for the peanut butter.

At my house, making Christmas cookies is a family thing. We do it together. Even my grown-up kids come home and help. Some of these cookies have steps that must be done quickly before they cool. So, many helpers make better cookies.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

December Flowers, Narcissus and Holly

According to the Old Farmer's Almanac, December's birth flower, the narcissus, embodies the idea that you want your beloved to stay just the way they are. The other December flower, holly, symbolizes your wish for domestic happiness.

 NARCISSUS: a beautiful youth in Greek mythology who pines away for love of his own reflection and is then turned into the narcissus flower.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas

Christmas trees in the parking lots
Decorations on the street lights
Candy canes in the grocery stores
Carols play in the restaurants
My mom has all her presents bought
Her tree is up, and the stockings hung
My children are counting down the days
until the Thanksgiving holiday.

Wait                                 What?

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas
Soon the bells will start”
And the wonder to me is that
It isn't Thanksgiving yet
At least not on my chart

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

My Little Sweetheart

My little sweetheart
          sleeping in the car.
Running errands all day,
          driving near and driving far.
Buckle-up, unbuckle,
          and buckle-up again.
An interrupted nap time,
           Somehow you found your zen.

by: Paula Dean Nevison

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Monday, November 18, 2013

Apple Pies

My sister-in-law and I made Dutch Apple Pies today.
We used my grandmother's pie crust recipe,
and my mother-in-law's pie recipe.
I baked this one.
She took one home to bake.
I have 3 in the freezer to bake at
Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years.
My daughter wants a rose apple pie.
It is in the oven right now.
We will eat pie tonight.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

gray car
stopped at the light –
long pink eyelashes
-Paula DeanNevison

Saturday, November 16, 2013

dog walking me,
cute scarecrow by a mailbox
startles her
         -Paula Dean Nevison

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

“No”vember Update

Since it is easier to change a habit than to break a habit. I have been trying to substitute healthy foods for unhealthy foods.

The first couple of days were difficult, but I'm okay now. Celery sticks were my easy immediate substitute for chips. (And by chips, I mean potato chips, tortilla chips, cheetos, doritos, fritos, etc.) Celery gets boring, and the last stalk I bought was bitter. So, I've started peeling and slicing carrots & apples in the moring too. I also bought grapes.

Ice water, lots of ice. I keep it conveniently near.

I let my kids eat the Halloween candy, a little at a time, in their lunches each day. It's gone now. I'm glad I don't have to look at it anymore. But I'm not intending to torture them, so I baked banana bread for a little treat to put in their lunchboxes. I'm going to bake an apple something next because I have the apples for the Dutch Apple Pies that we make-ahead and freeze for the holidays.

I think I will survive, and not feel too deprived, this “No”vember.

Monday, November 11, 2013


“Every haiku makes a common claim: I was there! Like Kilroy with his nose over the fence.”

“... haiku contain a moment in time caught in the amber of the poet's attention and the poem's words. It is the only genre fully devoted to setting down a simple observation in the here-and-now so as to produce in the reader a little gasp. In honoring small events by italicizing moments in time, haiku should remind us of the multitude of forgotten moments, past and present, that surround each perfectly arrested one. The stop-time instant at the heart of haiku might be said to offer resistance to the remorseless powers of forgetfulness.”

midday heat
soldiers on both sides
roll up their sleeves
- Lenard D Moore

Sunday, November 10, 2013

filling the grave
more earth
than will go back in
- David Cobb

Zeus by recently buried Maximus

Friday, November 8, 2013

at the edge of the precipice     I grow logical
     -George Swede

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Why Must We Rake These Leaves?

poem by:  David Moloney

I stood in the rows of stones
sitting in growing columns,
as the trees littered the carefully laid
orange and white wreathes with
dying leaves.
Pink chrysanthemums root
readying for winter.

I question
why must we do these things;
the dishes,
brush our teeth,
wear clothes,
paint the baseboard,
return things borrowed,
fix the handle on the drawer.

the sink may stink,
but the flies well fed.
bad breathe brings distance,
but distance breeds fondness.
and no one asks a nudist hermit
to lose weight.

These leaves within these stones tuck
a blanket over the raw Earth,
readying for winter,
keeping warm the maggots and beetles.

With the shadow of the raised
scythe looming over us all,
it’s silhouette shrinking as the sun
leaves us

I ask why,
Why must we rake these leaves?

Monday, November 4, 2013

November Flower, Chrysanthemum

Chrysanthemum, which stands for cheerfulness and love, is associated with the month of November. According to Feng Shui, Chrysanthemums brings happiness and laughter in the house.

Friday, November 1, 2013


After finding out about aspartame, in an effort to be healthier, I declare this to be the first day of “No”vember. No candy, no chips, no pop, no alcohol. My husband said something about no caffeine, but he can do that without me.

Fruit instead of candy. Instead of chips, I'm going to look through my recipe books and see if I can cook something we will enjoy that will contain less salt, yet still satisfy like chips. Water instead of pop and alcohol. To make water more fun, I've pulled out from the cupboard, and washed, some of the fancy glassware we never use.

This will clean up our diet before the holidays. Then we can enjoy them, Thanksgiving and all the Christmas cookies, with moderation. If we can follow through with “No”vember, January can be the start of a New Year instead of another new diet.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Aspartame: The Bitter Truth Behind This Toxic Sweetener

Very Scary. Check out this video about aspartame tonight while eating your Halloween candy.

Aspartame is found in over 6,000 products worldwide. It is the most consumed artificial sweetener in the United States. It accounts for 75% of adverse reactions to food additives reported to the FDA, including seizures and death. There are over 900 published studies revealing the detrimental effects of aspartame. Aspartame can make you gain weight by stimulating your appetite, increasing your cravings for carbohydrates, and promoting fat storage.
Then there is also high fructose corn syrup which I wrote about last April.

 Happy Halloween

Friday, October 25, 2013

Finishing Friday

I finished the little black shrug.
I finished the hat made from the leftovers of the camo yarn.
I also made 3 more hats.
Thermosby Yarn-Madness
 the cap quadratoby pamela w allen
 Terzettoby Lisa Gutierrez
I started another hat, Bus Hat by Kylie McDonnell-Wade, but my "Energizer Bunny" decided to eat it when I wasn't paying attention. The hat is fixable and washable, but I need a new needle.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Tapping at the Window

Waiting, tired.
Fell asleep.
Tap, tap, tap.
What is that?
It's a bird,
back window.
Take picture.
Where's my phone?
Find the app.
Just in time.
Flew away.


Tap, tap, tap.
Sounds familiar...
Tapping at my window,
Isn't there a poem?
Rapping at my window,
That's it.

Wee Willie Winkie

Wee Willie Winkie runs through the town,
Upstairs and downstairs in his nightgown,
Rapping at the window, crying through the lock,
"Are the children all in bed, for now it's eight o'clock?"

That's horrible. If, when I was putting my little kids to bed at eight o'clock, somebody rapped at the window. The dogs would bark, and startle my kids awake. It would take a long time to settle them back down. I would grab wee Willie by his arm, march him right back home, and fuss at his mother for letting him run around at night, in a nightgown, rapping on people's windows.

I never thought of this poem so literally before being startled awake by the bird. There was no going back to sleep after the bird left. He startled me awake, but I didn't mind. A bird pecking at his reflection in the window is not something I have ever seen before. Thankfully, Wee Willie Winkie is make-believe and does not run around at night startling people awake.

I used to read this poem to my children when they were little because it reiterated to them that eight o'clock is bedtime.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

My Energizer Bunny

This bounding, biting, barking, black and brindle Energizer bunny follows me everywhere, every move I make. I stand. He gets up. I sit. He slobbers on me. I've been taking him for walks, but I tire before he does. He's not a bad dog, just young, teething, and full of energy.

He belongs to my daughter, who bought him for her two year old. She's a busy young single mom who has to work many hours to support herself and take care of her daughter (who is annoyed with, and afraid of him. He takes her dollies right out of her hands to play 'keep away' and then chew on them).

My old dog recently died. Maybe that's why I volunteered. “Bring him to my house. I'm home. I'll train him.”

Monday, October 14, 2013

What I Knit Last Weekend

I worked on this afghan. It's easy to knit in the car.
  I finished the third of the three hunting hats (for husband, brother, & nephew).
 I started a black shrug for my granddaughter. It's this pattern called Eve, by Debbie Bliss.
The back and left front are finished. Working on the right front. I bought the purple yarn, but will use that for an aran pullover sweater. I decided to make this little shrug for her first out of some yarn I already had. She can wear it in our cool evenings as soon as I finish knitting it. The purple sweater will be for colder weather. I also started another hat for charity from the leftovers of the camo yarn (also easy to knit in the car). It will not be reversible. I will edge it with orange if there isn't enough camo.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Marigolds by Robert Graves

With a fork drive Nature out,
She will ever yet return;
Hedge the flowerbed all about,
Pull or stab or cut or burn,
She will ever yet return.

Look: the constant marigold
Springs again from hidden roots.
Baffled gardener, you behold
New beginnings and new shoots
Spring again from hidden roots.
Pull or stab or cut or burn,
They will ever yet return.

Gardener, cursing at the weed,
Ere you curse it further, say:
Who but you planted the seed
In my fertile heart, one day?
Ere you curse me further, say!
New beginnings and new shoots
Spring again from hidden roots.
Pull or stab or cut or burn,
Love must ever yet return.


Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Deciding What to Knit in Court

Last time I was knitting in court, I was working on another Spanish Armada, like this except red.
Mine isn't finished yet, but is too big to carry around. So, now I must start something smaller to bring with to the courthouse.

I've been debating whether I should start the baby blanket for my friend who is expecting a little boy, or should I start the little purple aran sweater for my granddaughter? I have the yarn for the baby blanket, but the baby isn't due until next year. It will be getting cold enough for my granddaughter to wear a sweater by the end of this month, but I need to buy the yarn.

Or, I could work on the already started sweater I am making for a friend of mine, that should already be finished, but it is a boring pattern and I keep putting it off. I'm sure she would like to have it as it starts getting colder. That's what I should probably bring to work on in court. It is a pretty turquoise color and has a matching furry yarn to add into the collar and cuffs. I'll get that out, figure out where I am in the pattern, and get it finished up for her.

If I get a chance to run to the store, I will buy the yarn for my granddaughter's sweater. It is a complicated pattern that I can work on when I'm riding in the car. If there's no time to yarn shop, I will bring the baby blanket as a car project. It's complicated too, and it's crocheted. Then I can knit one project and crochet another to change up the motion of my fingers, hands, and wrists.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

October Flower Calendula/Marigold

Symbolizes winning grace; protection; comfort; healing
Calendula, marigold, is a genus of about 15–20 species of annual and perennial herbaceous plants in the daisy family Asteraceae. Other plants are also known as marigolds, such as corn marigold, desert marigold, marsh marigold, and plants of the genus Tagetes.

The name calendula is a modern Latin diminutive of calendae, meaning "little calendar", "little clock" or possibly "little weather-glass". The common name "marigold" possibly refers to the Virgin Mary.
The most commonly cultivated and used member of the genus is the pot marigold (Calendula officinalis). Popular herbal and cosmetic products named 'calendula' invariably derive from C. Officinalis.

Calendula species have been used traditionally as culinary and medicinal herbs. The petals are edible and can be used fresh in salads or dried and used to color cheese or as a replacement for saffron. A yellow dye has been extracted from the flowers.

Calendula is known to cause allergic reactions. It should be avoided during pregnancy.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

The Outdoor Pre-owned Auto Parts Warehouse

I went to the junk yard with my husband today. I was surprised at how not junky it was. The cars were lined up neatly in numbered rows, and divided into labeled sections of different types of cars. It was like an outdoor warehouse, like a Sam's Club for car parts with no ceiling.

At Sam's Club
you walk through the giant parking lot to get to the store (sometimes in the rain)
you show them your ID
they point you in the right direction, but don't wait on you
you procure the items that you want
you buy your items
you bag them yourself with bags you brought, or fumble with not bagged items
you walk through the giant parking lot to find your car (sometimes in the rain)

At the junk yard
you sign in
they point you in the right direction, but don't wait on you
you walk through the giant parking lot to find your car (sometimes in the rain)
you procure the items that you want
you walk through the giant parking lot back to the check-out (sometimes in the rain)
you buy your items
you bag them yourself with bags you brought, or fumble with not bagged items.

Very similar, except it's up-cycling when you buy parts at the junk yard.
They should call it the Outdoor Pre-owned Auto Parts Warehouse.

Today, we were lucky. We missed the rain.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Finish, Finish, Finish

I like to work on more than one project at a time, and more than one craft at a time.

Working on several projects at once keeps me from getting bored with a project, and then setting it aside for too long.

Making sure that those projects are from a variety of different crafts keeps my hands, wrists, and elbows from developing repetitive use problems.

It is fun to finish them one right after the other. Finish, finish, finish. Yippee!
I have just finished a knitted afghan, a crocheted hat, and a crocheted granny square lap afghan.

Monday, September 30, 2013


Clear turquoise sky
Fasten helmet
Hold him tightly
Low rumbling
Heavy traffic
Searing Sunshine
Freezing Freeway
Long Scenic road
Twisting, Turning
Leaning left, right
Friends, family
Hug them again
Fasten Helmet
Hold him tightly
Leaning left, right
Twisting, turning
Long scenic road
Freezing Freeway
Descending dusk
City traffic
Vrum, vrum, vrum, vrum
Let go. Get down
Unstrap helmet
Purple, orange

by: Paula Dean Nevison

Friday, September 27, 2013

Sonnet to Straight Hair

At night, I brush the tangles from my hair.
I sleek it back, and braid behind my head.
Next morning, let it free without a care.
There are no tangles there to fear, or dread.

The braid keeps hair from rolling all around,
and tying knots itself while I'm asleep.
It holds it tight. No tangles will be found,
and no split ends from tearing tangles reap.

Loosed braids cascading into gentle waves,
like shiny smoothly flowing silken thread.
A momentary curly lock conclaves,
dismantled as the shower hits my head.

I let it dry before I brush it through.
Sport no more braidy waves, now straight anew.

By: Paula Dean Nevison

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Knitting a Gauge in Life

Every time I knit something that needs to be a certain size, like a sweater, I knit a sample first. Cast on 20 to 25 stitches, and knit three to four inches in stockinette stitch, and knit an additional three to four inches in the pattern stitch for the piece. Then I measure. Is this little piece the same gauge as the pattern? If the pattern says the gauge is 4.5 stitches per inch (sts/in), and this piece I made is 4.75 sts/in then the finished product, if I use these same needles and yarn, will be smaller than what the patten says it will be. It doesn't seem like a big difference, only ¼ inch. 198 sts makes a 44 inch around sweater, if my gauge is 4.5 sts/in. But when my gauge is off by ¼ in, then 198 sts only makes a 41 ½ inch sweater. That could be the difference between fitting, and not fitting. A sweater is a lot of knitting. It is better to knit another sample with bigger needles, or thicker yarn, and measure again, then to just forge ahead, and knit the sweater with the size needles the pattern calls for, and the yarn I picked.

Sometimes a gauge is not necessary in the beginning of a project, but is important as the project proceeds. For example, an afghan usually doesn't have to be a specific size. Approximately the same is good enough, but when the knitting changes direction, then gauge becomes important. Rarely is the number of sts/in the same as the number of rows/in. Something that has 4.5 sts/in may have 6 rows/in. If I need to pick up stitches along the edge to knit an edging, and I pick up one stitch in every row, the edge will have too many stitches, and ruffle. If a ruffled edge was my goal, then fine. However, if I want the piece to lay flat, then I need to (if I'm using the same needles, and same yarn, and same stitch as in the body of the afghan) measure what I've already knitted to determine how many sts/in and how many rows/in. But, if needles, or yarn, or pattern is to change in my edging, then I need to knit a little sample, and measure it for gauge. I will still need to measure the piece I want to add the edge to. If it is 49 in long, and my new gauge is 5 sts/in, I will need to pick up 245 sts. If my old gauge had 6 rows/in, then there are 294 rows. I can't just pick up one stitch in every row, or I'll have 49 sts extra. I'll have to pick up one stitch in each of five rows, then skip one row. I don't want to skip the last row, so I would split the first five into 2 + 3. Pick up two stitches, skip one row, *pick up five stitches, skip one row, repeat form * until the end, when I pick up the last 3 stitches. This probably doesn't mean anything to people who don't knit.

The point is, I would rather knit a sample and measure, so that when I pick up the stitches and knit the edge, it will be correct. Otherwise, I could just guess, pick up stitches, knit the edge, and hope it is correct. It probably won't be. Then I'll have to unravel all my edge work, start over with another guess, and chance unraveling again, or make a sample and measure.

This same thing applies for a lot of situations in my day to day life. I have a goal in mind, and I jump right in and do (which is better than never doing anything). But then I pause, look back at what I've started, and evaluate it. If I continue in this manner, will I accomplish what I want? If I change what I am doing, even just a little, will this proceed faster, or easier? Like knitting a sample, I start a small part of the project, and then measure my results. Am I getting the desired results? Is my process not quite right? Should I change any part of it? My original plan may be a good one, but stubbornly forging forward when it is not working out exactly as planned, won't make the results miraculously change into what I wanted.

The way the pattern says, or the way mom did it, or the way dad did it, or the way grandma did it, isn't always the best way. It was the best way for the person who originally knit the pattern. It was the best way for mom, dad, or grandma. But is it the best way for me? Yarns change. And I may knit tighter, or looser than the person who wrote the pattern. Times change. Situations change. Places change. I am not my mom, or my dad, or my grandma.

When I get a sample that I like, I must work the rest of the project with the same consistency that I put into the sample, or my sample making was in vain.

Gauge is important to more than just knitting.

Measure/Asses what is done so far.
Change something if needed.
Then proceed with the same consistency as when making the sample. 
The afghan with 245 sts on each edge is almost finished

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

I can't wait to go see the movie, Tokarev!

I found an article about the director of Tokarev, Paco Cabezas. It's in Spanish, and I don't read Spanish, but there is a picture of my husband with the director. My husband is usually a bald man with a goatee, but he had to grow his hair, and a full beard, for this movie. My husband plays David, a Russian bad guy, in the movie.

Director, Paco Cabezas & David, my husband, Brent Nevison

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Eggs – Over Medium

Dado is boiling eggs, two at a time, on the gas stove. Gum is standing by the light blue counter next to the sink peeling the eggs, one per bowl, mushing them up small with the tines of a fork. She adds a little butter, a pinch of salt, and continues mushing. Parish is sitting in her chair, and I am sitting in Dado's chair on either side of the little kitchen table pushed up under the window that overlooks the backyard. Dado was trying to boil the perfect egg; white all the way cooked, yellow not yucky runny, but still a little runny. A creamy, buttery, chopped up tiny with the fork, wonderful egg. I don't know how many eggs were cooked and eaten that morning, probably all of them. Gum and Dado had patience, the patience only a grandparent has, to stand there and cook, and cook, and cook, laughing, joking, smiling all the while; and peel, and mush, and peel, and mush, and peel, and mush eggs all morning, without complaining, or being in a hurry.

I like to cook breakfast, especially eggs. But when I cook breakfast, I want to cook it for everyone all at once, and be finished. I don't want to be cooking breakfast all morning long.

I have found that ordering med+ boiled eggs at a restaurant, well...they don't know how to do that. A medium poached egg, too watery, they don't drain them enough. But a fried egg, over medium, while sometimes a little underdone, when mushed up with my fork, and stirred into buttery hashbrowns, is the closest thing to Gum & Dado's eggs that I don't have to make for myself.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Astors loaded with thought

English Poetry III: From Tennyson to Whitman.
The Harvard Classics.  1909–14.
764. The Apology
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803–1882)

THINK me not unkind and rude
  That I walk alone in grove and glen;
I go to the god of the wood
  To fetch his word to men.
Tax not my sloth that I        5
  Fold my arms beside the brook;
Each cloud that floated in the sky
  Writes a letter in my book.
Chide me not, laborious band,
  For the idle flowers I brought;        10
Every aster in my hand
  Goes home loaded with a thought.
There was never mystery
  But ’tis figured in the flowers;
Was never secret history        15
  But birds tell it in the bowers.
One harvest from thy field
  Homeward brought the oxen strong;
A second crop thine acres yield,
  Which I gather in a song.        20  

Monday, September 16, 2013

A Late Walk

When I go up through the mowing field,
The headless aftermath,
Smooth-laid like thatch with the heavy dew,
Half closes the garden path.
And when I come to the garden ground,
The whir of sober birds
Up from the tangle of withered weeds
Is sadder than any words

A tree beside the wall stands bare,
But a leaf that lingered brown,
Disturbed, I doubt not, by my thought,
Comes softly rattling down.

I end not far from my going forth
By picking the faded blue
Of the last remaining aster flower
To carry again to you.
Robert Frost

Sunday, September 15, 2013

The Aster, Birth Flower of September

September's birth flower is the aster. Asters are mainly symbols of powerful love, and are also called starworts, and the September Flower. I like that they are showy daisy-like flowers (daisies being one of my favorite). The other September flower is the morning glory. Morning glories are simple symbols of affection.

The name "aster" has Latin origins meaning "star". Many stories tell the origins of the Aster, but the most popular ancient myth explains how asters were created from stardust as Virgo, also known as Astaea, the goddess of innocence cries over sin on earth. Her tears fell as stardust, covering the earth with asters. This myth gives light to the Aster's star-like beauty and shape. 

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Knitting in Court in Texas

Last Sunday, in the spur of the moment, my husband and I decided to drive to Houston. I grabbed a dress from my closet, hung it in the car, and we left. I have two very responsible, almost grown children at home. I had everything ready for them for school the next day. They ride the school bus that stops almost in front of my house. And, in case there was any emergency, my brother lives only about a mile away. Even though it was dark most of the way, it was a pleasant drive. There was a little road construction in one place, much less than I had expected.

We drove to my ex-husband's ex-wife's house. Sounds a little nuts, right? I'm ex-wife number two (divorced 1989), and she is ex-wife number three (divorced 2010). We've been dealing with old issues in court in Alabama with this same man that she is dealing with current issues in court in Texas. I have talked with her on the phone a few times, and it was nice to finally meet her in person.

We went to court with her Monday morning, to be of assistance if needed. My ex-husband knows that I hold a hand full of high trump cards, and I think he is physically afraid of my huge husband. He folded, and signed off to all her demands to prevent me from showing any of my cards in Texas. Then he bolted from the courthouse as soon as he was allowed. I am a little disappointed. I thought I would actually get to do more than just knitting in court. But, that's okay. I like to knit. And, my Alabama case has been domesticated in Texas.

My husband has some friends in North Carolina that recently had twins. Maybe we should drive to visit them, and I can do some knitting along the way.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

One Week Into School

This first week was killer. Early 5 AM mornings, making breakfasts and school lunches (nobody wants the same thing), extra mid-week laundry, and still late midnight and 1 AM bedtimes (babysitting granddaughter, her mommy works late shifts). I was joking with my husband on the first 1 AM night that we were going to have to have concentrated sleep to get our 8 hours in in only 4. He said, “Ja, maybe we should drink some energy drinks before we go to bed so that we can sleep faster.” Too bad it doesn't work that way, but babysitting my little sweetheart is totally worth every second of lost sleep.

When we picked up the school schedules, before school started, both of my children's schedules were messed up. Thankfully, they were given corrected schedules on the first day of school. I think we have all the extra class fees paid, have bought the extra supplies each teacher requires for their class, and filled out and signed all the forms sent home.

My son seems to have no homework. My daughter has hours of homework every night. She has found a way to get it all finished and still have time to visit with her friends. I have an idea of what they like to eat, and how long it takes to get it all ready. And I'm kind of proud of myself, I made homemade bread, apple cranberry muffins, kept up with all the laundry, sorted though some old files, and nobody missed the bus last week. I expect mornings to run smoothly now, despite the lack of sleep.

Until I'm six feet under
I don't need a bed
Gonna live while I'm alive
I'll sleep when I'm dead
Till they roll me over
And lay my bones to rest
Gonna live while I'm alive
I'll sleep when I'm dead

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Charity Begins at Home, with Hats

I'm working on hats again. I hope to have a bunch of them finished by mid October when it starts to get a little chilly here. I have a friend going through chemo right now, so I will bring these to her to pick from. The rest will be saved and added to until October when I will donate them to the Waterfront Rescue Mission, and/or some other local charity. The gray one in progress will look like the cranberry colored ones above it.

Charity begins at home. This is how I live. Take care of my family first, then others around me, then the rest of the world. I see no need to send aid to other countries when there are so many people around me (in my city) that need help. Hats may seem silly, but I have yarn, and knitting hats is one thing I do.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Joy can spring like a flower

“For happiness one needs security, but joy can spring like a flower even from the cliffs of despair.”
- Anne Morrow Lindbergh

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Tatter's Guild Meeting, August

Our Tatter's Guild, this month, started tatting a Christmas tree angel. The lady with the copies of the pattern could not make it to the meeting, but a different lady with the pattern did come. So, thanks to my wonderful gadgety cell phone, I photographed the pattern and can start my angel. But...I can't start yet...because I cut my left hand index finger (crucial to right-handed tatting) last Thursday when I was chopping leftover chicken for chicken salad.

Oh, DUH! Typing that made me remember that I can tat left-handed. Super cool! I can start mine. I haven't tatted left-handed in a while. This will be slow, but fun. Woo-hoo! 
Round 1 makes a circle with 16 rings and 16 chains. 14 more of each to tat.
At the meeting, we also talked about stringing pearls. What string to use. How to prepare it. Two different ways to tie the knots between the pearls. How to use the little tool that helps tie the knots, and how to tie the knots without the tool. A pearl necklace is a very involved project. They may revisit this topic in a couple months, and demonstrate it with the proper thread and pearls, instead of the on-hand substitute things we used last Sunday. Now I'm going to start that angel, so I don't get too far behind.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Glorious Gladiolus

Magic is in the air which you breathe,
O' strange and lovely gladioli!
Your blade shaped leaves and tall spikes
Have caused you to be christened valiant 'sword lily'.

Towering stately over other worthy neighbours,
You are a constant reminder of the strength of character over glory,
and the power of sincerity over artificiality.

Here are the charming salmon orange tones,
and there a glad pink dwarf stands
Why, look at the regal dew-adorned purple and the gay yellow,
Even while a red eyed white bride blushes quietly in the corner; sweet and mellow.

Every warm and passionate color,
Spreading the bewitching sheen of remembrance and love
And amongst its dazzling plethora of displays,
There are no 'blues' to talk of woes and melancholy days.

Offering the eye a visual cacophony of shapes and rainbows,
Representing the victorious gladiators who defeated all foes,
A jewel of this earth, August's birthflower,
Charismatic, brilliant and beauteous
Oh! gladiolus, you are truly glorious!

Written by apramita

Monday, August 12, 2013

Gladiolus - August birth month flower

The gladiolus is the birth month flower of August, bringing luck to all births in August. Symbolically this flower signifies remembrance, infatuation, and strength of character. Its name comes from Latin's "gladius" meaning "sword" for its sword shaped leaves. This flower has also represented the Roman gladiators who carried swords. In mythology, there are many tales told of gladioli springing from blood shed by a sword. The flowers are available in a varietyof colors, that include red, pink, yellow, purple, orange, white andbi-colors. The gladiolus is also known as the sword lily or the gladiola. The Gladiolus is native chiefly to tropical and South Africa, but are easy to grow and are widely cultivated.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Don't judge a book by its cover.

Meandering through a bookstore, without the need to buy a specific book, like a school required summer reading book for my child, I will, most definitely, be judging the books by their covers. I do this with people too, and if you say that you don't, you are lying. In a crowd of strangers it is a matter of self-preservation. I do this judging unconsciously. It could determine whether I meet a helpful friend, or a demented mugger/rapist.

Anytime I am outside of my own home, it is necessary for me to be aware of who is around me, and what they are doing, especially when I am with my children or my granddaughter. When I was a child, I was told, “Walk like you know where you're going.” This shows confidence and purpose, and makes you a less desirable target to a “bad person”. Also, of course, “Don't talk to strangers.”

Who is a stranger? Duh. Everybody. But, it is unrealistic to think I am not going to talk to anybody. I pick and choose who to talk to based on what they look like. There is nothing else to base it on. If I need help, somebody who works at the store that I am shopping in is the best help available. I find them based on...what they look like. They will have on a uniform, or at least a name tag. If I'm not in a store, then who do I get help from if I need it? A policeman? How do I know if somebody is a policeman? By what they look like, of course. They will be wearing a police uniform. But policemen aren't always around, nor do they want to be bothered with something trivial. So, if there is a reason for me to talk to a stranger, then I have to judge them by what they look like, how well they fit in to this particular environment, and their demeanor.

Everybody is judged by what they look like, everyday, everywhere. That's why I tell my kids to dress nicely for a job interview. First impressions matter. First impressions are formed the first moment somebody sees you, and are based on what you look like. My first impression of somebody can change as I start to talk to them, and who they are on the inside starts to find its way out. But, I might never dare, or bother, to talk to somebody because of my first impression of them, like I won't pick up a book with a bad cover, much less read it.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Six Dogs

One is tall, and tan, and boney.
One is small, and brown, and barks.
One is dumb as raw baloney.
One is good for walks in parks.

One is pretty as a princess,
eyes encircled round with black.
One chews herself. She itches.
Throw a stick, she'll bring it back.

Six dogs that live together,
in our house most of the time.
They bring us so much pleasure.
We were lucky, them to find.

By: Paula D. Nevison

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Altered Jeans not Altered People

When I was a little girl, my mother, cousin, neighbor, grandmother, and grandmother's neighbor,
all went to great lengths to try to curl my straight hair. I rebelled and brushed out the curls. By the time they gave up, I wanted curly hair. I used hot rollers, curling irons, gel, mousse, and hair spray to no avail. “You can't curl sticks.” my great-grandfather used to tell my mother when she was a little girl. My curly haired friends spend hours straightening their hair. My brown haired friends bleach their hair blond. I already have straight blond hair. What am I doing?

Hair is a minor thing that we change about ourselves. There are other changes we choose to make; tanning our skin, trying to lighten our skin, collagen injections, botulism (a sometimes fatal paralytic illness) injections, and plastic surgery, like brow lifts, nose jobs, liposuction, and implants (breast, or chin, or cheekbones, or whatever else there is).

People say that we should be true to ourselves, be who we really are on the inside. I wonder how a person can be true to who they are on the inside when focused on conforming the outward appearance to some perceived ideal, especially when that person claims to be a “Christian” made by God, in His image, and after His likeness, yet insists on tampering with God's creation, as if God didn't do it right.


Whatsoever thing I see,
Rich or poore although it be;
'Tis a Mistresse unto mee.

Be my Girle, or faire, or browne,
Do's she smile, or do's she frowne:
Still I write a Sweet-heart downe.

Be she rough, or smooth of skin;
When I touch, I then begin
For to let Affection in.

Be she bald, or do's she weare
Locks incurl'd of other haire;
I shall find enchantment there.

Be she whole, or be she rent,
So my fancie be content,
She's to me most excellent.

Be she fat, or be she leane,
Be she sluttish, be she cleane,
I'm a man for ev'ry Sceane.

Robert Herrick (1591-1674)

Monday, August 5, 2013

Dishcloth Swap on Ravelry is Finished

I mailed the five robin dishcloths I knitted to the swap headquarters before the deadline. Today, I received these five beautiful dishcloths in exchange, three knitted, and two crocheted. This was a lot of fun. I hope they decide to do another swap soon.

Friday, August 2, 2013

The Impending Start of School

Summer is almost over. I am not ready for school to start. I still need to buy some of the school supplies, and both of my kids don't have complete uniforms yet. It is scary to have to wait until the last minute to buy the things I know they'll need. I'm going to take both of them shopping with me tomorrow. Shopping with either one of them is fine, but both together, Uffdah! And, it's “Tax Free Weekend.” Tax free is always a good thing, but the mob of shoppers makes everything take longer, and equals fewer choices. Maybe my kids will agree to bring their required summer reading books with them to read while we wait in the long lines.

Next Tuesday is registration at school. Hopefully, the repairs have stayed on schedule after the tornado hit last year around Christmas. I'm looking forward to seeing the condition of the campus. It is not located in an area en route to things I normally do, so I haven't seen it much this summer. And, finally, after the last six years apart in different schools (because of their age difference, and because of where our local school system splits the grades for elementary, middle, and high school), both of my two youngest children will be at the same school once again. I am looking forward to only having to deal with one school bus, one set of administrators, and one time table. I am not looking forward to getting up at 6 AM.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

School Lunch

I happened upon that TV show where two families swap mothers for two weeks. One mother was trying to help ready her children for adulthood by making them responsible for setting their own morning alarms, getting themselves ready for school, and making their own breakfasts and lunches.

Hmm, whatever. Then I flipped the channel.

Last weekend, reminiscing with my brother and his wife (really with his wife, because my brother and husband had left to run an errand), we somehow landed on the topic of our mothers making, or not making, our school lunches when we were children. With much indignation, she told me that my brother had to make his own school lunches. I had to stop and think. I am the older sister, two years older. I should know this, but I only have a couple vague memories of school lunch.

I remember that grades one through six, we went to a small Christian school. They only had school lunch available once a month, if we signed up, and paid for it in advance. So we must have brought a lunch every day. I don't remember what it was, but I don't remember being hungry in elementary school. I do remember braking my arm outside during playtime after lunch in either fifth or sixth grade.

I remember not having lunch many days in Junior High, and sometimes bringing a dollar and buying an ice cream sandwich for lunch.

I don't remember much about lunch in high school other than the short amount of time we were allowed to eat, and not wanting to bother with the long lunch line. I remember throwing up seven times one morning at school in 11th grade, the seventh time being when I decided that maybe I could drink some milk for lunch (that was stupid). My 12th grade was at a different school. We had moved. My only memory of lunch there is like a photo in my head of me and three girls sitting together at a table in the cafeteria. I don't recall any particular food, or if there was or wasn't any, or if any of us even ate.

The consensus between my sister-in-law and me was that mom must not have cared enough to make our lunches, or to at least make sure that we had lunches.

I have always made my children's school lunches. When I saw that on TV, I just flippantly dismissed it. I know that my children that are still at home, teenagers now, are completely capable of setting an alarm and making sandwiches. But, why should they have to do this? I am a stay-at-home mom. I can do this small thing for them while they live with me for this short time of growing up. It's more efficient if one person makes many sandwiches at one time than if many people make one sandwich each. Everyone gets in the way of everyone else. The refrigerator gets opened and closed multiple times. There is a higher risk of dropping and breaking something which could injure someone and takes up extra un-allowed-for time. They will have many years as adults to “fend for themselves,” and there are so many other, more difficult, grown-up things to teach to them.

Some of the mothers of some of their friends have told me to let them make their own lunches. I reply that I can do it, and I don't mind.

Until now, I have never wondered why I get up, wake them up, and make their breakfasts and lunches. When they grow up and reminisce about their childhood, will the topic of mom making their school lunches be discussed? Will they like that I made their lunches? Will they think I was being controlling, or that I thought they weren't capable of doing it themselves? Will this be a good memory, or a bad memory, or will they even remember it at all? Should I discuss it with them before this next school year starts, or should I keep doing what I've always done?