Sunday, November 28, 2010

what I'm thankful for...

That this holiday is over. I've been home for four days.

So this two line journal thing... is supposed to free me and make me happy. ummm...
I've posted more often. That's good.
I've said less. That's probably good too. Brevity is the soul of wit.
But sometimes life is ordinary, and I can't see blogging about ordinary, even though ordinary is relative.

But my relatives aren't ordinary in any way. They are all exceptional. Some are exceptionally brilliant, some exceptionally self righteous, some exceptionally kind, some exceptionally selfish, some exceptionally uncommunicative, which is exceptionally OK with me, in some cases.

See, I like the whole stream of consciousness thing going here. I can't do that with two sentences, unless they are exceptionally long.

So I was thinking the other day- I do that sometimes- usually not at work though- that we have become a generation of journalists. We blog more than we would ever write. I have lovely journals started thirty years ago with about five pages written in. I seldom write anything anymore. Everything is electronic. Well, we have a wonderful tie to the past with all the journals of pioneers, surveyors records, letters and written artifacts of the past. it would be wonderful if all this information on the intergoogle will always be there, but what if it isn't? I files saved on 5 1/2" floppies. I'll never be able to get it. I have stories on disc for my word processor that was pre-DOS. I tweet poetry all the time. Will twitter always be there? Sometimes it's not there now. Should I just resign myself that what I have to say isn't important enough for posterity. Well, that's the truth, but I may say something of value someday.

Is someone printing a hard copy of the intergoogle and the tweetybox? If you are, out there then do me a favor. Fucking lose Farmville, OK?

Monday, November 22, 2010

November 22, 2010

I say I work better under pressure, but I don't.

I lie and tell myself the ends justify the means.

Is truth important when lies are kinder?

Saturday, November 20, 2010

November 20, 2010

Saturday. So maybe I should just make these weekly two sentence journal entries...

So the holiday is coming. I really don't care. I think I've decided that holidays are kinda phony. If you don't really spend time with your family all year, then why get all sentimental about them at the holidays? I have completely done away with christmas. No more gifts from me , because I'd rather send gifts when I want, when they are needed, and not when someone else tells me that I have to. My two sentences have become a paragraph, and not what I intended, so....

1. Some people thrive on drama, and have the capability to self manufacture in case of a shortage.
2. I loathe drama.

Monday, November 15, 2010

two line journal three? four? whatever!

So I'm supposed to remember crap? Is this three or four or seventy seven? Who cares...
today's journal

I saw a junco and downy woodpecker discussing feeder protocol when I came home from work. Then a chickadee flew in and made a final judgement.

Birds are smarter than humans.

Friday, November 12, 2010

more one line two line journals

today- November 11, 2010
Many things are ending, short term projects, longer term projects, and soon, the biggest project of all, and I'm feeling relief, no stress, and very calm.

This is wonderful.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

two sentence journal last three days

Tuesday- 11/2 This was election day.
Most people are reasonable, but there are those for whom being right is more important than being gracious.

Wednesday- 11/3 day of preparation
if you have a lot to do, and are very tired, you can get everything done if you break everything down into very small steps.

Thursday- 11/4 it all pays off.

Getting everything done means I can attend a conference with people I like before I even meet them, with no stress or worries, and true relaxation can start.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

One sentence journal

I was poking around online and found something called the Happiness Project, or some such thing.
One way they said to have a happier life was to journal every day, but only do one sentence. I don't know how this can make you happy, unless you focus on the best thing that happened to you each day. I doubt I'll focus on the best each day, but I think that I'll try some kind of two sentence journal. Sentence one is just he one thing that I did that day. Kind of a reference point for me. The second sentence will be how I'm feeling because of it. I don't think happiness is ignoring what makes you unhappy. I think happiness is learning to deal with the bad things without it ruining everything else about your day.

And two sentences aren't much. Life is going to be getting very busy for me very soon.

so here the first two sentences:
1.) I traveled to Iowa for Uncle Fred's 90th birthday party today, and got to visit with family for a few hours.
2.) I am truly grateful for my friends in my life, who have become my real family over the years.

à bientôt!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

This old guitar

I play the guitar. This might be news to my friends, but probably not too surprising. When I was 14 my Dad bought me cheap guitar, used, for Christmas. It was black. I played it until my fingers bled. I played it so much, every waking hour, I wore the wrapping off the strings. I learned everything John Denver wrote, then moved on to Neil Diamond, and then started writing my own very bad songs. I used to fall asleep playing that guitar, wake up with it in the bed, and play again. I could play both parts of Dueling Banjos. My boyfriend (now husband) could play all of Stairway to Heaven. He still can. I played into my twenties. Then I got busy working, paying bills, getting old.

I still had that same old guitar. It got old too. The varnish cracked. Bits fell off. Strings broke and were never replaced. I asked my husband to fix it for me, but it really wasn't worth it. He bought me a new one, all shiny and blond, like a trophy wife. I played it, we played together sometimes. He played it. It's a good, nice guitar.

Then for some reason known only to him, my Dad bought himself a guitar. Dad used to have a gorgeous Martin Archtop guitar and I picked on it when I was about 10. Learned my first song on that Martin. Proud Mary. It had only two chords. That's good, because that's all I knew. I have a tape of my Dad playing and singing that Martin and he sounds like Hank Williams. That's Senior, the really good one. At 70, he bought a new guitar so I could teach him how to finger pick. Dad had arthritis in his hands, but was determined. He had lung cancer, and I think this was on his bucket list. I never heard him play the new guitar, or sing "I'm so Lonesome I Could Cry" in a way that always made me cry.

Now I have Dad's guitar. I'm still very busy paying the bills, running here and there, but sometimes I have to pull out that guitar. It usually starts with a song on the radio that I used to play. Tonight it was "Mr. Bojangles" and Dad's guitar had to come out, get dusted slowly, like a gentle waking caress with a my hand, and it had to sing me another song. My fingers are getting a bit stiff, and I don't have the calluses anymore, but the fingers and the guitar still remember. After a tune-up, a few plinks to warm up, that opening riff for Mr. Bojangles was still there.

Dance, Mr. Bojangles, Dance.

And my old, broken guitar? I see it every day, in the corner of my bedroom. I know the music is still in there, even though it sits silent. I'll probably never play it again, but I don't have to. I can still hear Dad being so lonesome he could cry. The music lives in my heart.

This old guitar taught me to sing a love song
taught me how to laugh, and how to cry.
It introduced me to some friends of mine, and brightened up some days,
and helped me make it through some lonely nights.
What a friend to have on a cold and lonely night.
-This Old Guitar by John Denver

Thanks John. Thanks Dad.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Stitches Midwest

We left home with all the glee of schoolchildren on a snow day. And it only has gotten better so far. After a fast drive up with only the minimum amount of road construction allowed by law, we first stopped at Inspired Needle in Lemont. We weren't planning to, but we were a bit early for lunch, so why not? I found some new scissors and a black sheep measuring tape. Seems very appropriate somehow... baaaaa.

Lunch was outstanding at Old Town cafe in Lemont- an amazing Black Forest Schnitzel, spaetzel and sauerkraut for me. On to Knitche in Downers Grove and some pre market yarn fondling. I got something specifically for a couple projects. And started a new pair of socks tonight.

We got to Schaumberg, checked in, and started exploring. We found the check-in for our conference- we are at Stitches Midwest. Bought some conference bling- and decided out Knaughty Knitters mascot- "tink" was going to be a kangaroo. There are way cool T's here with a knitting kangaroo on the front, and Tink sounds a bit Australian, don't you think? G'day, Tink!

So it's getting late, and everyone else has gone to bed. I'm in this awesome lobby, with music, a fireplace, artwork, fountains, and not a soul in sight. Yeah, it's about 1:30am, but even so....

I'll be tweeting from the conference with a #stitches hashtag. If you have no idea what that is, then don't bother- you are probably not reading this either....

First class at 1:30 tomorrow. Backwards Stitching.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Sizzling Sixteen- spoilers!

I only have a few minutes, but I just wanted to get a new blog post in. I just finished Janet Evanovich's Sizzling Sixteen. I liked it better than fifteen. Good plot, lots of hot Ranger action, and I love the threesome of Lula, Connie and Stephanie working together. There;s just one problem. I feel a slight unease. Maybe it's because Stephanie is feeling the same thing. I wouldn't be too surprised to see this series end soon. With the office being firebombed, everything is up in the air. I could easily see Steph going to work for Ranger, Morelli getting jealous, she finally makes a choice one way or another, and either way, the tension is gone, life finally gets down to business and Stephanie grows up and moves on. The required car gets destroyed, Grandma goes to a couple funerals, there is a few chases, laughs, and I had to read it in one sitting. It was still compelling and funny. not as good as those middle ones 7-10, but well above 15.

And in knitting world? The socks that were on the needle that went into my hand in the car accident are done. It seemed like they took forever! A new pair is well on the way to being done.

And in the world of Craig Ferguson? I continue to be truly infatuated with the sexy scot. I know all my friends are getting tired of hearing about him, but I can't help it. Lucky for me, I'm not alone. There are a few hundred thousand of us who follow him on twitter, and you can find several of us tweeting together every night while we watch the show. I keep my lusty thoughts in the volcano.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Hot! But it's only June

It has been hot, hot here. June isn't typically over 90 degrees, but we've already it it. Bleh!

Haven't finished any books recently, haven't finished any knitting or stitching recently, although I have a scarf, socks, and about three cross stitch pieces all being worked on. Summer school started and time is now a luxury I don't have. Good and bad crap has been happening but then it always does, and I usually come out the better in the end so let's just say fertilizer has been added and with luck a healthy crop will come of it. But for whatever or whomever is delivering said fertilizer- I have enough now, thank you, and you can stop delivering.

For some reason, I've been swearing more lately. Well, I blame Craig Ferguson's cussing bunny, Sid. OK- It's not Sid, it's me. I have to be careful because if I drop an F-Bomb in class, well let's just say that that particular garden has had a bit of over fertilization last week and doesn't need any more. (Yeah, in trouble again...) I really don't know why, but a good swearing has been feeling really satisfying. I stopped swearing when the son-child was born, and never really took it back up, but now...#(%($&^#()$*+!#$(*!+ is becoming commonplace.

Along with that, I've been having trouble sleeping. That's because I'm becoming a Woman Of A Certain Age and I guess insomnia is part of that. I cut out the Dew for about a month, and it didn't help. So here I am, after midnight,hanging out on the Interweb, knowing I have to be at work tomorrow grading papers at 8:00 for my 10:00 class that should be going hiking, except the forecast calls for rain. I really don't care- I'm going to take them anyway.

Oh well, I'm going to try to go to sleep, and maybe I'll dream about swearing and get it out of my system for the day.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Book Review- Between the Bridge and the River-Craig Ferguson

Between the Bridge and the River by Craig Ferguson

First- I'm a huge Craig Ferguson fan. I must say that right up front. I have read his other book (American on Purpose) and have reviewed it down below. This book was written first. To make this simpler, because I'm going to reference both books- Between the Bridge and the River will be BTBATR and American on Purpose will be AOP.

BTBATR uses a few situations found in AOP, so if you enjoyed Killer Ducks on acid and depressing Scottish schools that encouraged beatings, then you will see them again. BTBATR gives some of Craig's life experiences to several different characters, so after reading AOP, this book has a bit of familiarity. If you read the books in the opposite (probably correct) order, you would get that "behind the scenes" feeling you get with the special features on a DVD.

BTBATR follows four people: two American brother Saul and Leon who grow up abused and run away from their group home to fall in with a snake handling religious tent show; and George and Fraser, two Scottish boys who grew up as friends then parted ways around 14 or so. I recognized Fraser as a reflection of Craig, and see George as who Craig would have been if he had made other life choices- staying in school, going to college, being boring and respectable. These three stories intertwine, voyage apart, then come back together in tangents, tangles, and then meet in dream sequences. Yes, there are dream sequences, near death experiences, a ghostly Carl Jung, and an overt view of religion as a soulless money making business, and a covert pondering of religion as personal spirituality.

BTBATR is not a light summer read, but it's one of those books you think about later. It's clever, downright funny in parts, but don't expect to laugh through it. There are small bits cleverly placed to keep this from being too heavy. And those of us who are fans will recognize 100% Craig touches. There are the occasional asides where you hear Craig talking directly to you, explaining something in the book. There are parables. There is sex. Blunt and direct, no euphemism-type sex. Funny, sad, touching, mechanical sex. The way it really is.

This book is even better if you are well read. There are references you might not get otherwise. The current references that needed to be changed to stop lawsuits are worth looking for- like Peephole Magazine. Craig Ferguson describes this book as "dirty.' I don't think so. There is a lot of sex in it, and it's described as these men would. It's honest. This is a book about redemption. That's honest too.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Ahhh... back outside!

There's just something about going outside,without a coat, boot, gloves... While I love winter, there's an ease about spring. I just love taking kids out around our pond, and this spring has brought fishing, exploring, snake hunting, and duckling rescuing all back with a rush! The prairie is still being a bit shy, with only a few Golden Alexanders peeking into bloom. Like it knows May sometimes brings enough cold to make flowers shiver at night. I know how exciting the prairie is going to look, but my young visitors...not so much excitement as wariness about bugs, field mice, and spiders.

There's two types of group that come to campus for greenspace tours. (Well, being totally honest- they come for the Challenger Learning Center, and I'm just the glorified babysitter while the other half of the group discovers comets or walks on Mars or something MUCH more exciting than "oh, this plant will look really cool in two months.") Yeah- so back to the two groups. There's the "raise their hands when outside, never leave the path, can you turn off the wind" group. Then there's the herding cats group that I just follow and explain whatever they've discovered. One group, I do all the talking, hope something gets through, and don't bother telling jokes. The other- as long as no one falls into the pond or eats poison ivy, it's a success, and they usually like my jokes. The ones that stay with me learn whatever I decide to tell them. The ones who tend to wander away learn whatever they want to learn. I'm good either way.

If I'm tired, I like the drag and brag group. I can do this in my sleep, which is good because they are asleep as well. The herding cats group keeps me on my toes, with lots of "What's this?" and "I found something!" and "Can I eat this?" I get tired, but I'm energized by them as well. The problem lies when I'm all WOOHOO let's go hiking and I have an "Outside is icky" class. Or if I'm tired because I stayed up way to late mooning over Craig Ferguson and I have a class of Lewis and Clarks ready to go explore the wilderness. Today is rainy, so we all stay inside and talk about bottled water-

Which reminds me- If you have the chance see the documentary FLOW. Guaranteed to get you pissed off at the World Bank and privatized water suppliers.

Time to go babysit another class- Oh I mean educate young minds about evil bottled water...

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Earth Day!

I spent Earth Day outside, taking a class hiking around the prairie. Can't think of a better way to spend the day! I used to get all excited about having an "event" for Earth Day, but since I've become more of an "Every Day" type, I notice that I feel happier when I'm fighting the good fight. Kind of like when your boss catches you working on something really hard...that feeling of doing what needs to be done every day instead of one day kinda gives me a warm green glow.

So Happy 40th Earth Day! and Happy Living on the Earth Lightly Every

So what else is going on? Not much, except being very busy taking kids outside or teaching them about the evils of bottled water, and teaching adults how to make informed choices about the environment, and helping other people do the same, it's been a very green semester. And I love it! Every day brings a new adventure. Last week middle school students got to see a hidden duck nest, saw a snake swimming on the pond, found the remnants of a rabbit (all fur, no guts) picked up three bags of trash, ate some mustard greens, saw hawks, swallows,and turkey vultures, and learned that geese are never, ever pettable.

Next week- fishing adventures start. I hope to be very, very busy this summer getting kids and adults outdoors.

In the world of knitting, I've finished another pair of socks and signed up for a knitting conference near Chicago in August. A new pair of socks are going on the needles today. I'm going to use my bamboo yarn this time. They should be very soft and pretty.

The finished socks:

Oh yeah- Craig Ferguson and the Robot Skeleton Army ROCK! Just sayin'

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Entrelac Pillow

Here's my latest knitting finish->
Entrelac pillow from free patterns

And a close up of the entrelac, which is easier to do than it looks.

The back of the pillow is a simple stockinette in the green.

Monday, March 1, 2010

This just in!

Finished last night- Mohair and sparkly gold shawl. Sparkly gold is fiber from India brought back by a friend.

Knitting again....

It seems like I spend more time knitting than stitching these days, but that's OK- I seem to like whatever is in my hands at the moment the best. I've been working through the Fearless Knitting Workbook, and becoming...well...fearless!
Here's a couple more of my finishes:

And some stitching:

Top and Bottom of a HUGE bellpull.