Posts Tagged ‘Knitting’

There aren’t too many streaming shows that Bob and I can agree to watch together.

The one exception is After Life on Netflix with Ricky Gervais. Funny while also being poignant, Gervais’ character tries to get on with his work as a small town newspaper reporter after his wife’s untimely death from cancer. I guess all deaths might be considered “untimely,” still he tries therapy to help him dig out of his depression. The only problem here is with the therapist.

Played by Paul Kaye, he is a self-involved, pathetic, know-it-all. While glancing at his cell to keep track of some Twitter feed, the therapist tells Gervais to “… just stop being sad.” Future psychologists take note – watch this show only to find out how not be a therapist.

While Zooming with Dr Jim, my psychologist brother, we laughed about the show. Of course, not all therapists are bumbling idiots. Jim told me he’s reading a book by a psychotherapist who has combined his Buddhist beliefs with his approach to analysis – it’s called The Zen of Therapy, Uncovering a Hidden Kindness in Life.

“…freedom lies ultimately not in understanding what happened to us, but in loosening our grip on it all, so that “things that feel fixed, set, permanent and unchanging” can start to shift. The goal, in a refreshing counterpoint to the excesses of a certain way of thinking about therapy, isn’t to reach the state of feeling glowingly positive about yourself and your life. It’s to become less entangled with that whole question, so that you get to spend your time on more meaningful things instead.”


In other words, let down your hair and get untangled.

Our Mother the Flapper was very Zen in her old age. She surrounded herself with Buddhas the way Grandma Ada (who was a practicing marriage therapist into her 90s) did with glass bluebirds. The Bride is also Zen-centric in her approach to life, becoming a Yoga teacher a few years back. I’m pretty sure her Yoga practice helped save her during the worst of this pandemic.

“What are you clinging to?” Jim asked me.

One might assume it is my grandchildren, but that is not true. I hope they find me interesting for awhile, and I love them immensely. But I’m not clinging to that love. When I look back at my life, my fundamental issue was not that I didn’t feel loved, if anything I felt an abundance of unconditional love.

Because of our Year of Living Dangerously, I would often suffer from a feeling of not belonging – I was shuttled between two mothers, two states, two entirely different worlds for the first 12 years. Today, I am a Jersey Girl in a Southern state; but over the years, I’ve made my peace with not belonging. In fact, I’ve come to accept it as a way of life moving forward. Besides, I married a gypsy who liked my pink hair.

That reminds me of Bob teaching a third year medical student how to suture a wound last week. I made vegetable soup for lunch, and with masks up, they started practicing their stitches on the kitchen island. The first stitch must realign the skin and not be too tight, Bob said. I continued knitting my scarf since I was practicing the cable stitch and thinking about tension on my needles.

And wondering if the postman will marry the sex worker.

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What a difference a day makes. Yesterday I was going to write about yoga. About how I’m dipping my toes into its practice; like an old dancer with creeky knees, I envisioned a newer, Nia-type dancer with fluid joints…or maybe just more synovial fluid in my joints? I’ve tried Slow Flow Vinyasa and Yoga for Arthritis, and I’m looking forward to a class of Restorative or maybe even Yin Yoga. Somewhere between doing it in a chair with octogenarians, and standing on my head with millenniums, will be my sweet spot. After all, the Bride and the Love Bug are practicing Baby Yoga, which looks like a lot of fun!

But today we hear on the news that a suicide bomber has attacked our embassy in Turkey. And all I can think of is the beautiful young woman who was knitting a pink and orange concoction in our Needle Lady circle on Wednesday. She was getting on a plane that night, leaving her 2 small children and husband to fly to Iraq. She works for an NGO and is part of a team that is teaching the Kurds how to manage and develop their architectural and historic monuments. The woman sitting next to her then wanted to hear what she studied (art history – listen up, here is an unusual career path for artists), but I wanted to know if she spoke Kurdish. Unfortunately, she said, she had studied Arabic. Then she told me that although many top schools are teaching Arabic in the states, funding has dried up for research and placements in the Arab world.

After assuring us that northern Iraq is quite safe, we said goodbye to our knitting colleague. Of course, we all thought Turkey is safe too. “A number of illegal groups ranging from Kurdish separatists to leftist and Islamist militants have launched attacks in recent years in Turkey, which is a member of Nato. The last big attack in Ankara in 2007, which killed nine and injured 120, was blamed by police investigators on a lone, leftist suicide bomber.” The French and German embassies are nearby, right off Attaturk Blvd, and it seems that we have been scouting for a different, safer more secure location for our embassy in Ankara for some time.

So instead of regaling yoga, let’s thank those American women who can not only now fight on the battlefield with the best of ’em, but also those in the private and governmental sector who go to the hot spots in the world to try and build on a sense of peace and fledgling democracy. I’d like to wish a fond farewell to our most popular Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton. http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/02/01/16791796-the-making-of-hillary-clinton-15-moments-that-define-her-public-life?lite

Today is her last day of work, she hands the keys over to John Kerry. It seems her biggest worry is what to do without a schedule. Catching up on 20 years of sleep deprivation is also a priority. Clinton’s answers, her attitude and gravitas at the Benghazi hearings were an impressive way to cap her career, to say the least. I thought back to Anita Hill getting grilled on the Hill, and smiled. Clinton’s body language is a serious lesson on how to handle manipulative, political men. http://feministing.com/2013/01/24/how-to-deal-with-a-mansplainer-starring-hillary-clinton-in-gifs/

You say goodbye, but I say hello to a new super-PAC – Hillary for President in 2016. During her tenure at the State Department, “…Clinton had visited 112 countries, logged 956,000 miles and spent the equivalent of 87 days traveling.” Mr Kerry, those are some major heels you’ll have to fill. Namaste.
Hillary Rodham Clinton

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While I was searching for some old pictures, I pulled down a big Frye boot box from the top of my closet. Inside I discovered the purple sweater that my Nana knit, probably around the turn of the last century. It was chock full of cables, an Aryan style, and since I knew it was a tight fit at 16, almost six decades later I didn’t have to try it on. I want to give it to the Bride; and I want to teach the Love Bug how to knit like a laidback knitter when she gets older!

Yesterday I walked into the Haus of Yarn in search of a certain size needle and walked out with this book, “10 Secrets of the Laidback Knitters, A Guide to Holistic Knitting, Yarn and Life,” by Vicki Stiefel and Lisa Souza. Post Christmas sales were in the air, (as in, “Come back on Wednesday when everything is half off”) and a woman was delivering a big box from Nothing Bundt Cakes, http://www.nothingbundtcakes.com I love this knitting store, they had fudge in the back and invited me to their Thursday night knit club. Back to the book, there are all different kinds of knitters, on a spectrum from the up-tight anxious type seeking perfection all the way to someone who knits in a recliner and doesn’t mind a dropped stitch.

I have to admit, I don’t like making mistakes, but I’m aware that what I want to be is a laidback knitter. And now I know how! I may never do any spinning or roving, but I do know where most of the yarn I use comes from. And I can still walk down the road to the Rivanna River Alpaca farm and say “Hey” to my friend DeeDee. Her animals make the softest fiber in the world. Thanks to The Knitting Lady, I don’t fear dropping stitches or even ripping out rows of wool with abandon. I can say with satisfaction, I am the slowest knitter ever! “Slow” in the sense of the slow food movement; and to be fair, in the sense of time spent on a project…

Have a slow moving Sunday y’all. As our President said, “Drink some eggnog.” I’m working on a rosy pink dress for my little Bout de Chou – translation “tiny piece of cauliflower!” I intend to keep knitting…and writing about gun control, in light of the tone deaf statements of the NRA. Let’s bring our voices to Washington via petitions, phone calls and those really hard to ignore, snail mail letters. Slow and steady will win this race.
photo copy

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Here is a picture of Ms Bean this morning, waiting patiently. She is waiting for me to get up, to feed her, to let her out, to pick up her totally demolished Lambie Pie and throw it high in the air so she can jump up and catch it on the fly, thereby exhibiting her long, gorgeous GoGo Gadget legs. She is waiting for Bob to reappear at the door, for the wind to die down so she can go out and look for him. She is waiting for me to drop a little crumb of my granola breakfast since it looks like I’m not moving anytime soon. She is wondering if there is any trace of rabbit or deer in the front yard under her favorite viburnum. She is wondering what I’m looking at. Just because her collar is askew and her ears are floppy doesn’t mean she’s not very particular. She is. She is particularly good at waiting.

Ms Bean’s humans are not quite so patient. Can you guess what we’re waiting for?

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“When an early autumn walks the land, and chills the breeze…” Oh Ella, you had me on the first note. Deep down, I want to be a torch singer. But for now, I’ll share my six worded memoir of Fall so far:

1) Peaceable      

2) Transitional

3) Redeemable   

4) Inconceivable    

5) Autumnal 

6) Magical   

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“That was an expensive loaf of bread,” my English gentleman said as he pulled away from the newest bakery in town.  Matt, the owner, had popped by the knitting circle a few weeks ago with lots of sweet and savory samples for our crew. I was wondering if they teach that merchandizing technique in business school while simultaneously being hooked on some cheesy/spinach rolls.   So naturally, after picking up some Italian Malabrigo yarn this week to make a prayer shawl for a dear friend who is facing some rough times, I stopped in at Great Harvest Bread Company, right next door to Cville Coffee.

Warm gooey baked goods and soft wooly yarn are a match made in heaven.

Their mission statement: “…being loose and having fun, giving generously to others!” They grind fresh, whole grain flour every day and never use dough conditioners or chemicals. I parked my two day old AWD Honda in a safe place, in front of the bakery, and ordered a sandwich. The bread is so scrumptious and soft you almost resent the lettuce and turkey for infusing their flavors. The place was jumping with midday customers. I told Mark he needs to sell their catchy tee shirts about good carbs and looked all around before backing out, right into a Toyota. He was backing out too, from an obliquely angled parking space, dangerously close to the coffee shop. Honda 1 – Toyota 0.


It was a real accident, we didn’t see each other and nobody honked to warn us of our impending 2 mile per hour bump. In true Cville style, we decided to split the cost of repairs. I didn’t tell him to beware of coffee shops in the future, because then I’d have to explain to my noble new British friend that some Irish superstitions run deep. Forgive me Volvo, I still love you even though we can’t drive together anymore.

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