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.