Saturday, July 31, 2010

In The Year 2525

If man is still alive,
If woman can survive
They may find...

When I taught school, the first few days when there were no books, sometimes no computers, and lots of schedule changes, I let my kids watch cartoons. They didn’t watch just any old cartoon. First they would watch a Flintstone cartoon. They made a list of all the things they saw that were not automated that are today. Then they watched a Jetsons cartoon and made a list of the things they saw that we have and don’t have today. The object was to show them that technology had advanced even in fantasy and that is it constantly changing. It sounds kind of hokey now but it was a good lesson back then. Think of the changes.

Did you ever have to get up, off the couch or out of the chair, to change the channel on the TV set? If you were the kid it was your job. I remember being told many times to change the channel! Most places had three channels or maybe four, if you were lucky. I remember four channels where I grew up. There were the major networks, 4, 7 and 13, and the public broadcast system channel, channel 5. I don’t remember for sure what networks went with what channel, except for PBS but those four channels are still on as 4, 5, 7 and 13, today. Now it’s not uncommon to have access to over 600 channels.
One day when the kids were little, we watched the Andy Griffith show, in black and white. Perry Mason came on next and it was also black and white. We watched that too and afterwards looked at AMC to see if any good, old movie was coming on. I don’t remember which movie it was but it was in black and white as well. As it was beginning Bryce looked at the TV and said, “Please! No more gray TV!” It boggled his mind to think someone would choose to watch TV in black and white when there was color!

I am married to a channel changing fanatic. He watches, (and that’s debatable), two, three, sometimes even four shows at once. We don’t have one of those divided screen TVs either. He calls them his commercial shows. Something on the TV or satellite broke. Whatever it was caused the channel to not change automatically. Someone had to get up, scroll through the channels by hand and choose a program. It was tedious changing the channel. I guess it’s not as much fun watching just one show at a time because he napped in his chair quite a bit until the TV was fixed.

We are so used to automation it’s a real inconvenience (in our minds) to have to do something by hand. My grandmother was someone who served leftovers until there was nothing left. There were no microwave ovens. She got a pan out, put the two tablespoons of leftover corn in, warmed it, poured it into a small bowl and served it. There were also no dishwashers at her house. Except for me, of course, when I was there. Somehow my sister always managed to get sick come dish time! It doubled the amount of work to have to put the food in the pan and warm it then put into another dish. And it doubled the amount of dishes!

I turn on the oven. I push the button for the oven I want, push another button to adjust the temperature and push one more button to let the oven know I am through. It pre-heats itself to the ‘right’ temperature. When it’s hot enough to put the food in, there is a beep. I put the food in and push another button to tell the oven how long I want the food to cook. It seems we push buttons for almost everything. I think of the Jetsons. When the Jetsons eat a normal meal, instead of their food pills, everyone sits at the table. Jane, (his wife!), pushes the buttons for the meal on the Foodarackacycle. Rosie the robot maid might serve it or it might just fly to the table. We’ve got the button pushing down. I’m just waiting for the Foodarackacycle...or Rosie!

Now it's been 10,000 years,
Man has cried a billion tears.
For what he never knew
Now man's reign is through.
But through the eternal night,
The twinkling of starlight,
So very far away,
Maybe it's only yesterday...

It’s the end of July. Where has the time gone? Knit a year is still going strong. Day 117, July 26 was a day to stick to it just to get it over with. But the work went well so I can’t complain. I chose a greenish/gold ribbon. I was diligent and I’ll get to do it again tomorrow. July 27, day 118, was finally when I got to relax. I worked hard and I think I’m ready for tomorrow. I picked a variegated light green with sections of gold, pink and aqua. It seemed to be relaxing colors to me. Day 119 was the first workshop. I was successful! It went well. I chose a blue fancy fur. There are colored poofs throughout and it looks like a celebration. Can I do it again? I hope so! Day 120, July 29, was a little stressful. I was pressured to use material I didn’t like. But in the end, this workshop turned out well too. I can’t complain. Gold with purple twisted into it was the choice for this day. Day 121 was another workshop down. Another successful workshop! I chose variegated cotton, bright colors, for a victory! I felt victorious and am now ready for the weekend! We headed to Stamford after the workshop to spend time with friends. Day 122, the last day of July, was spent at Lake Stamford. I chose mint green cotton. It was a relaxing day and I mostly listened and watched. You can learn a lot when you are observant! It was a great ending to a stressful but successful week. And I was just thinking…only 15 more years until 2025…and 500 more after that…

In the year 2525
If man is still alive,
If woman can survive
They may find...

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Changes In Latitudes

It’s these changes in latitudes, changes in attitudes
Nothing remains quite the same…

Did you know that when the letters of the alphabet are assigned a value the letters of ‘attitude’ add up to be 100? When I taught school I would always begin the year by writing ‘attitude’ on the board and adding it up to show the students. I’d tell them their attitude was worth 100%. If a grade was borderline and the student had been fairly positive throughout the class I’d give them the extra points. If they had been awful the whole time I didn’t.

A T T I T U D E = 1 + 20 + 20 + 9 + 20 + 21 + 4 + 5 = 100 %

It’s been said, more than once, that your attitude is everything. A positive attitude can influence your health, your outlook on life, and your general well being. But a positive attitude is not just something you have. It’s something you have to continually work toward.

With the stress of everyday life, it’s hard to keep a positive outlook on things. Money, world affairs, and just plain day to day living create enough anxiety that being positive can become a chore.

The natural thing for me to do when I’m stressed is to retreat. I become a recluse, hide out and avoid interaction with others. I can’t play like all is well when it’s not. So, instead of pretending everything is okay, I withdraw. When it gets better I come out again.

I read something interesting by Bruce Gorton. For years we’ve heard everything was better if you had a positive attitude. It didn’t matter whether you were sick, hated your job or had any other problems. You had to try to be cheerful. The article said that being honest when things weren’t the best, results in less depression than feigning cheerfulness. People have the right to feel bad. False positivism can come off as sarcastic. If you are constantly forcing yourself to be positive any negative thinking results in guilt. We’re sure it’s the pessimistic attitude that made things go wrong.

I got this story the other day in my inbox. It was titled “Attitude” and was explained that attitude makes all the difference in our lives.

There once was a woman who woke up one morning, looked in the mirror, and noticed she had only three hairs on her head. "Well," she said, "I think I'll braid my hair today." So she did and she had a wonderful day.

The next day she woke up, looked in the mirror and saw that she had only two hairs on her head. "Hmmm," she said, "I think I'll part my hair down the middle today" So she did and she had a grand day.

The next day she woke up, looked in the mirror and noticed that she had only one hair on her head. "Well," she said, "today I'm going to wear my hair in a pony tail." So she did and she had a fun, fun day.

The next day she woke up, looked in the mirror and noticed that there wasn't a single hair on her head. "Yay!" she exclaimed, "I don't have to fix my hair today!"

The best idea is to keep things truthful and real, even if it isn’t nice. Don’t dwell on negative events. Think about and focus on the positive things in your life. Positive thinking is all about perspective. You can manage if you put your mind to it. Look for the positive that is happening around you.

It’s true that attitude equals 100%. But if you take some time to add up some other words the truth might come out. Have you ever wondered about people who say they are giving more than 100%? Knowledge is 96% and hard work is 98% but bullshit adds up to 103%. So, it stands to reason that hard work and knowledge will get you close, attitude will get you there, but bullshit will put you over the top. That puts things in perspective.

July has been a busy month, at least as far as keeping up with Knitayear. Vacation, conferences, and travel have all put me a bit behind. I do write my mood down and have even listed a color if I ‘felt’ it. Then I go back and catch up. Hopefully I can get on a regular schedule again. July 17 was day 108. Hard to believe I’ve kept it going this long. It was a day of confusion. There was nothing in particular, just the whole thing. I chose a pink fur yarn with a ribbon that was multicolored mixed with it. The pink fur was kind of wild and the ribbon was a surprise and it was confusing as to why they were put together that way. July 18 I finally got a little rest. Day 109 brought a calming yarn called ticker tape in pale pink, blue, teal and white. July 19, day 110, was a busy day, gathering materials, prepping for a workshop and trying to catch up. I chose red cotton. Everything seemed urgent and red seemed fitting. Day 111 was a good day. I had a workshop and they needed information and I supplied it. I found a thick green yarn. There was no particular reason. When I looked in my stash it looked back! July 21 I was a bit impatient. Well maybe a lot impatient. I was trying to get ready for something I wasn’t very confident that I knew and I kept getting interrupted. I found a variegated rainbow sock yarn. Somehow the jumble of colors fit my mood. Day 113, July 22 was a good day. I had a successful workshop and had worried for nothing. A blue twisted with white called out for this day. July 23, day 114 was a day of patience. I waited all day then we left for Tulsa to move Bryce back. I chose an aqua soy yarn. The color was calming and helped me as the trip went on and on and on! Day 115 was a busy day. We woke up running. We packed, cleaned and headed home. That is a lot of miles, all in one trip. It was a busy day and orange, yellow and hot pink cotton indicated the busyness. Day 116 was a blur. We drove as far as we could and 80 miles out had to stop to sleep in a picnic area. Kind of scary but there was no other choice. We finally got home at 8:00 am and went straight to bed. When I finally did wake up I wasn’t fully awake. It was great that we all made it home safely. To celebrate we either slept or sat the rest of the day. It was exhausting. I chose gray wool because everything seemed kind of fuzzy. It was a no color tired day. I’m thinking about next week and the fun things to come. Yes, I’m being sarcastic. And that proves further I need an attitude adjustment. I’ll work on that.

Summer so far

With these changes in latitudes, changes in attitudes
Nothing remains quite the same
With all of my running and all of my cunning
If I couldn’t laugh I just would go insane
If we couldn’t laugh we just would go insane
If we weren’t all crazy we would go insane

Friday, July 16, 2010

Hey White Liar

The truth comes out a little at a time…

If you say you've never lied, you're probably, well, lying. Nobody wants to admit they lie. But I’ve come to the conclusion that everyone lies. How can we not? Most of us are brought up with lies. Think about the tooth fairy, the Easter Bunny and even Santa Clause. Are those stories we hear, most of the time from a very young age, considered lies? In reality, it is probably so. But often we consider lies like these myths or traditions. Why? Is this for our benefit? To make us feel better?

In the UK, a paper towel company who created a commercial with a dad telling his son the paper towels had thousands of tiny elephants in the paper to slurp up the water, did some research on parents telling white lies to their children. The results were as follows:

• 75% of parents have told a white lie to their children
• 90% tell a white lie to protect their child's innocence
• 44% tell a white lie because they don't know the answer
• 40% have told a white lie in the last month
• Tooth fairy most popular white lie (86%) with Santa Clause, (85%), a close second
(Source: Lotus Thirst pockets (ICM Omnibus))

A research psychologist, Dr. Aric Sigman, then analyzed the findings. According to Dr. Sigman, white lies are half truths, embellishments or outright myths that parents use to explain answers to difficult questions. He says the research proves that parents tell white lies with good intention. Parents tell white lies to protect the child’s innocence and to stimulate their imagination. Some tell white lies because the answer to a question is too complicated and many because they don’t know the answer themselves. That’s all well and good but when does it stop? What about the lies adults tell to each other?

The definition of lie is:
  1. to make an untrue statement with intent to deceive
  2. to create a false or misleading impression
We are lied to daily by the news, media and commercials. We hear opinions voiced as the truth. We are just being told what we are wanted to hear. Everyone has the right to an opinion. But it does not make it the truth. Yet so many people think this is the case.

Not all lies are malicious. Many are told to make it easier for people to get along. That kind of lie is fairly harmless. I’m talking about telling someone that you like their dress when in reality you don’t. If telling the whole truth hurts someone and makes them feel bad about themselves, it might be better to pad the truth. Brutal honesty can be cruel and sometimes used as a toxic weapon. It’s become socially acceptable to not tell the whole truth if it hurts someone’s feelings.

We tell lies for all sorts of reasons. Maybe we want to get something, like a reward or a raise. Or maybe we are trying to protect someone, a family member, a friend or a lover. We tell lies without even thinking. It varies from exaggerating stories, to leaving details out, to wearing a wig or false eyelashes. We ask "How are you?" when we don't really care. We lie to ourselves about how much we eat, how often we exercise and how much time we spend doing various activities. We rationalize the reasons for it to be okay. Maybe we should revise the word ‘rationalize’ to be ‘rationa-lies’.

A friend of mine one time said the main difference between a white lie and a real lie is that a real lie is told to protect you, while a white lie is told to protect someone else. That’s something to think about. Lying is not in the words, or lack of words; it's in the intention of the deceiver. Regardless, it's still a lie.

And it spreads just like a fire,
Slips off of your tongue like turpentine.
And I don't know why, white liar…

Knitayear is still going strong. I am enjoying this project. Day 102, July 11, I was a bit apprehensive. I always get this way before big presentation and/or before seeing and being with a group of friends I love. I chose a brown yarn with a sparkle in it. Brown for the apprehensive feeling and the sparkle because I know it’s going to be good after I get there. July 12, was a comfortable day. I knew it would be. The presentation went well and my buds were happy we were all together to visit. I chose an aqua/blue variegated yarn. The aqua is one of my favorite colors. It makes me feel comfortable to have that color around. I woke up on day 104, July 13, with a nervous feeling. I kept feeling like there was something going on but couldn’t quite put my finger on it. All turned out okay and in fact it was a fun day with one of our friend’s bands playing. We laughed and had a good time. But there was still this feeling. I chose a fuzzy gold yarn with black and white dots throughout. I thought the texture described the background feeling I was having but the black and white was the reality. July 14, day 105 was a reserved day. I went to meetings and watched and learned. If you stay quiet and pay attention you can see and hear a lot of things. I chose a pale variegated ribbon. It’s strong but the colors are subtle, in the background, not popping up front. July 15 was the flight back home to reality. I picked a variegated blue/purple yarn. It’s always sad to leave and I always drift into a melancholy mood. On the bright side though, we went to Seminole and got to see the little guys. That’s always a pleasant experience. Also, my sister and my nephew were there. He got the luck of the draw and won the first leave from Afghanistan. It was so good to see him. They came home with us and spent the night. July 16, day 107 was a visit with my sister and nephew before they went on to El Paso then back to Albuquerque. It was a happy morning. I chose a pink/green camo yarn. It reminded me of my sister and my nephew as he has to go back to Afghanistan. The pink was for her, a mother’s love. The camo, green and brown, was for him, our Army soldier. And I’m thinking about the things people say, for themselves and for and to others. And I know. And I’ll ‘rationa-lies’ and try to be kinder than necessary, because everyone is fighting some kind of battle.

Here's a bombshell just for you.
Turns out I've been lying too…

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Singing In The Rain

I'm singing in the rain,
Just singing in the rain…

Raining off the deck

I love the rain. And because I live in the desert I seldom get the pleasure. But the past couple of weeks have been glorious with cloudy days, cool temperatures and rain! I know it won’t last but it’s amazing what just a little rain can do out here.

Rain Gauge

Rain on the deck

Rain in the back

Crane, Texas, is in Crane County. Crane County encompasses 795 square miles of what is best described as prairie. The Pecos River is on the south and west borders. There’s also a lake called Juan Cardona Lake. I know. If there’s a lake it can’t be all desert. But this is a salt lake. Years ago salt was mined in the lake by Peter Gallagher and Company. At one time it was one of the most important areas in the state. I remember getting one of those junk mail flyers in the mail once, about taking your boat out to Cardona Lake and the great recreation in Crane County. Ha! Obviously they have never been out there.

Juan Cardona Lake

The annual rainfall in Crane is about 13 inches. The past two weeks we got 11 and one half inches of rain at the house. That’s almost a year’s worth at once. Sometimes when it rains out here, even with a significant amount, it soaks into the ground and by the next day you couldn’t even tell it had rained. This time you can definitely tell! The rain has transformed the desert into a lush sea of green! Everywhere you look it’s a verdant patchwork of emerald, lime, and olive. I know it won’t last but for now I’m savoring the vision.

There’s a plant out here we call purple sage. I don’t know a lot about it except that it grows in the dry climate. My mother wanted a bush after seeing it in bloom out here. When she went to the nursery to ask she got a completely different plant. Anyway, it has beautiful purple flowers. When it rains, even just a bit, the bushes pop with purple. Just as suddenly all of the flowers go away. It’s interesting. There are plenty of these in the median between the highways and as landscape along the interstates. You most likely wouldn’t even notice them unless they were blooming. We have some in the back of the house. I took a picture yesterday and the bush was pretty well covered. I went out today and they are gone.

Purple Sage Flowers

Next day no flowers

It’s pretty sparse out here regarding population. There are not many people but a lot of open space. It’s always been that way. In 1890 only fifteen people lived in Crane County, according to census figures. As late as 1900, only fifty-one people lived here. Now, according to the 2000 census figures and the sign at the edge of town, there are 3191 people. The population has gone down since we first got here. The old families with their particular style of evil are starting to die off. But new evil or maybe just descendants who have finally learned the art take their place. Of course there are good people here too. The bad ones just have a bigger presence. I really don’t like it much here. It’s not a nice place. But I’ve been here so long I can’t imagine living somewhere else. I will probably never have the chance anyway so it really doesn’t matter.

There are a lot of people famous in their own minds from Crane. That seems to go with small towns. But there are a couple of ‘real’ famous people from Crane as well. Elmer Kelton, a famous western novelist, was from Crane. He wasn’t born here but his family moved him here when he was three years old. He authored over 40 novels, and published over more than 50 years. Another famous person from Crane is Kenny Walker. When he was two years old, Walker became profoundly deaf from a bout with meningitis. He is one of only two deaf players in the history of the National Football League. Now he works with the Iowa School for the Deaf as a counselor and a football coach.

The green is wonderful even though I know it won’t last. We have temperatures in the high 90s to 100s expected all next week. It won’t take long for the sun to bake the green into the brown it always is. In the meantime I’ll be waiting for the next rain, or at least a cloudy day. It could be a while because it doesn’t rain in hell.

Off the back deck

Knitayear is coming along nicely. I’m looking at the colors and not seeing a lot of brightness. But this too shall pass. Day 97 was a mellow day. Just floating along and relaxing. Packing up to head down the mountain but enjoying the peacefulness of the last day. I chose a yellow fur. I couldn’t get mellow yellow out of my head after I decided yellow was the color! Day 98 was a melancholy day. Coming back to reality when I wasn’t ready is what caused it. I chose light blue cotton for this day. As soon as I get back I pack for two more trips. Ah…the joy of working! Day 99 was July 8 and a day spent getting ready for the next two trips. I put the finishing touches on a presentation, washed, and packed…the same routine. I was diligent and got it all done. I picked a purple/green variegated yarn. I didn’t have a particular reason but when I started looking it called to me. Day 100 should have been a celebration except I didn’t realize it was day 100 already! July 9 was a day of dawdling. I had things ready but I just couldn’t get ready to go. We left late, around 4:00 instead of the morning like we planned. I drove as promised. I didn’t mind as it was relaxing. I chose a magenta/maroon color and worked it in seed stitch. It’s a pretty color and fit my mood. July 10, day 101 was a full day of work! I graded tests and it took us all day. It was a good day though and I stayed energetic because of the people I worked with. I had some big kind of ugly novelty yarn. It’s blue, green, yellow, pink and black. I chose it because it seemed to be full of energy with all of the little pieces of ribbon off the yarn. It looks likes it is going to quit raining now. I can just hope that it will not be too long before it rains again. In the meantime I’ll relish the memory. Until then…

Knitayear Summer

Let the stormy clouds chase
Everyone from the place.

One of the rainy days
Come on with the rain.
I've a smile on my face,
I'll walk down the lane
With a happy refrain.
Singing, singing in the rain.
In the rain.

Monday, July 5, 2010

And I’m Proud To Be An American…

Where at least I know I’m free.
And I won’t forget the men who died, who gave that right to me.

On July 4, 1776, the Declaration of Independence was approved setting 13 colonies on the way to becoming an independent nation. Independence Day is the national day of the United States of America. Wikipedia says National Day is a designated date on which celebrations mark the nationhood of a nation or non-sovereign country. Americans celebrate July 4 with fireworks, parades, barbecues, picnics, baseball games and family. But without the freedom we have being American citizens, this wouldn’t happen.

I wonder sometimes if we take freedom for granted. Freedom means the state of being free. And in America that means we can do almost anything. We have free speech. We can read what we want and watch what we want on television. We can vote and we can worship in the way we are comfortable.

On one of the quotation pages on the Internet I ran across this anonymous quote; “Freedom is never free.” It really spoke to me. My nephew is in Afghanistan. He’s helping people who don’t want our help. He’s fighting for freedom for a country that will never be free. And he’s fighting for us to keep our freedom. He’s been over there since May. By luck of the draw he gets the first leave and will be here in the states to celebrate his 22nd birthday. He has a Facebook page and posts when he can. It’s scary what he’s already had to see and go through. “Kinda messed up that for the month of June my battalion had 1/10th of the NATO KIAs. Even more messed up that for June we had 1/6th of the US KIAs.” They lose comrades and friends and then wonder if it even makes the news over here. According to, approximately 1188 American soldiers have lost their lives so far. It doesn’t make sense.

Next July when you are getting ready for your picnic and fireworks, think about what Independence Day really means. Think about the people that have made the ultimate sacrifice. In fact, don’t wait until next July. Do it now. Think about your freedom and all you are able to do. Then think about the cost associated with it. And be thankful you’re an American.

Well there's pride in every American heart, and it’s time we stand and say.
That I’m proud to be an American, where at least I know I’m free.
And I won’t forget the men who died, who gave that right to me.

I’ve started the summer strip of the knitayear. It’s strange to be starting again. I guess it’s probably a personal thing but I really like how it looks. It doesn’t go together but it comes together. July 1, day 92, brought more rain. I like the rain and it wouldn’t bother me if it rained every day. I was relieved that it’s the last day before vacation. I’m so ready. I chose a pale blue/white yarn to start the summer section. It reminded me of the grayish sky when it’s cloudy and it’s a calming color. July 2 is day 93 and brought still more rain. We leave for vacation and I packed in anticipation of a restful time. I chose a blue/green ribbon yarn with different textures and sections of yarn combined to make one strand. The rain is making everything look so green and pretty. Day 94, and in the mountains it’s raining too. It’s so nice. Everyone who is coming is here. We’ll have a great time and I’ll be patient and take things as they come. I chose a blue/green/orange variegated. It’s a calm color combination and reminds me of spring. July 4, day 95, was a beautiful day. There were no fireworks this year as they had all been canceled either because of rain or drought. It was a day filled with family and fun and we just enjoyed each other. I’m proud I’m American and can make the choices I make. I chose a red/white/pink variegated. It’s patriotic with the red and white and the pink adds calmness. July 5, the 96th day of knitayear, all company gone, a beautiful day in the mountains and feeling revived and ready to face the rest of the week and whatever comes. I chose a peacock color eyelash yarn. It’s green, blue, purple and yellow. It’s bright and vibrant and reminded me of being energetic and alive. We’ll head back tomorrow and hit the next task. It was a good rest. I’m glad I live in America and I can come and go as I please. Thank you soldiers.

I’d thank my lucky stars, to be livin’ here today.
‘ Cause the flag still stands for freedom, and they can’t take that away.
And I gladly stand up, next to you and defend her still today.
‘ Cause there ain’t no doubt I love this land,
God bless the USA.