Monday, September 26, 2011

Hummingbird Don't Fly Away

Hummingbird don't fly away, fly away. Hummingbird don't fly away, fly away.
The sweetness of your nectar has drawn me like a fly.
I just love you, love you, love you. I don't even know the reason why.

I like hummingbirds. It’s a treat when we are at the mountain house to get to see them cluster around the feeder. The feeder hadn’t been up long, so there weren’t too many this time. Just three or four that battled the bees and wasps to get to the sugar water. But now they know it’s there, they will be back, and bring friends!

Imagine my surprise when I was on my deck at home the other day and something buzzed my head! I thought it was the biggest mosquito ever and I’d better take cover! I watched for a minute and there it was. A hummingbird! She, because she wasn’t bright and pretty, was getting nectar from the blooming trumpet vine. I couldn’t believe it! I ran to get the camera and you guessed it, she was gone. I didn’t even know we had them out here in the desert.
Female Hummingbird

The next morning I was ready. I waited outside because I was determined to get a picture. No such luck. This little bird was camera shy! As soon as I got ready away she flew! Darn.
That's where it was before the camera was ready.

I didn’t think much about it until the other day I when I went out around noon. BZZZZZZZ. There was another one! This one was a male, beautiful green and yellow colored. Don’t you think Mother Nature has it backwards? The female should be the pretty one! He buzzed some hanging things I had put up, he buzzed another colored string of turtles in the corner, and then he went to the trumpet vine. Soon he was joined by two more, both dull females, and I ran to get the camera. Alas, they sensed it and again, left as soon as I got the camera positioned.
There were three then there were none!

I do know why the females are dull colored. It’s to protect them while they nest. They blend in instead of sticking out and trying to take center stage. They usually only lay about two eggs and after they lay they become single bird parents and don’t need the male around. Hey, maybe Mother Nature had it right after all! That male bird is gonna need something catchy to snag another friend!

I did manage to get some pictures of the birds at the feeder at the mountain house. Not good, mind you, but you can see a little black dot that IS a hummingbird! Maybe I need a better camera!

My friend Lydia has a cabin in East Texas. She’s recently posted a video of the hummingbirds at her feeder. You should check it out. It’s awesome! That is if you like hummingbirds!
Not Lydia's. It's what I wish a feeder here looked like!

Oh hummingbird, mankind was waiting for you to come flying along...

I’m having serious knock you out stress here so I have been trying to keep busy, so I’ve been crocheting and knitting. While sorting and trying to store some yarn I happened across the ugliest yarn ever, black and orange striped, which would be great if you were a Bengals fan, or lived in the rival town about twenty miles away. But I was neither and really am not sure why I got it. Anyway, I’m turning it into a small Halloween blanket for the Littles. It’s ugly, but hey, it’s Halloween!
A Halloween blankie in the making

I also blocked…yes, really, and actually finished a shawl. It’s little, and I’m not sure I like it although I really liked the yarn when I made it. But that’s the beauty of knit and crochet. If you don’t like it you just rip it out!
Pinned and blocking.
Up close pinned loops.
Back view of shawl.
Front. A little dark on the color.
I also started another of the magic granny square jackets, this on lighter and in a more subdued color. I think I am truly ADHD! Come to think of it though, the shawl colors remind me of hummingbirds.
Small enough to become a scarf!

Hummingbird don't fly away, fly away. Hummingbird don't fly away, fly away.
In you I've found a fragrance. I'll love you 'til I die.
I just love you, love you, love you. I don't even know the reason why.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

It’s Magic …

Oh, ho, ho    
It's magic, you know…
Never believe it's not so! 

Is there such thing as magic? Probably not or else I’d be twitching my nose and turning people into toads all over the place! Sometimes things seem magical though. Sometimes yarn is magical to me. I made a cute little ‘shrug’ the other day. It was quick and the way it went together was almost like magic!
The original picture I saw;

A knitting friend of mine, Carrie K, pinned a picture of the jacket to Pinterest. If you don’t know what Pinterest is, you surely need to find out! Anyway, I thought it was cute, repinned it and went to the originating site. There was a free pattern! Besides that, there was a video, and step by step instructions with pictures!

So I went to the yarn stash, and looked around. I found something in the blue cabinet that would work. It’s a little bright, but it’s fun, so what the heck! It’s kind of a blue/green boucle, something from Hobby Lobby called Fleece Lite. What made it even better is that it had a sale sticker on it and I’d only paid 2.00 a skein! So, the jacket would cost about $10.00 to $12.00!
Blue stash cabinet #2
There were six of these...for something!
This jacket is crocheted, not knitted. It required a giant hook, size “Q” in America, and when I started looking I found I had two of them. If that wasn’t big enough I even found an “S”! I can’t imagine working with one that big. The “Q” feels like a dowel!

I followed the instructions and started crocheting. At first it felt a bit awkward, mostly because the hook is so big around. But after I figured how to hold it in a more comfortable position it became easier.
Crocheting with a pole!
Just a granny square...but not square!

One thing about a big hook and fat yarn is that the project goes fast. It took me about three days, and that wasn’t working on it continuously. I’ve got a couple of other projects going so if my hands got tired I switched to one of them just for some relief.

If you can make a granny square you can make this shrug! That’s what it is. I was glad, though, that there were pictures because it seems a bit wonky. But the further along you go, the better it gets.
When it gets a certain size you can fold it and start to see how it will work. It becomes an “L” and you can see the sleeve and the body. It’s magic!

One of the hexagrams was finished! It was kind of floppy and I was skeptical. I folded it. Then I knew I had done it right! I anxiously started the second one.
Wonky hexagon
Folded to make an L. See the sleeve and body?

The second went fairly fast. It was still a little hard on my hands. Then it was finished as well. I laid them out to see what they’d look like. Surprise! They looked like a sweater!
Both sides now!

I sewed the back seam then sewed the sleeves. I decided I wanted the sleeves longer so I added three rows of granny stitch on each sleeve. It was easy. Just make rounds like you’d normally do. Then I edged the whole thing in single crochet.
Looks pretty good on her!
Close up front
From the back
Close up back
Not bad! I like it. In fact, I like it so well I might just make another one!
This will work!
Back on me
Funny how some things can make you happy.

It's magic, you know
Never believe, it's not so…

Sunday, September 18, 2011

The Great Pretender

Oh-oh, yes I'm the great pretender.  
Pretending that I'm doing well... 
My need is such I pretend too much,
I'm lonely but no one can tell...  

She turned the key and as she opened the door she felt the relief wash over her. She stepped inside, took off her heels and immediately found some comfy sleep pants to slip on. It had been one of those weeks and she was so thankful for the coming weekend where she could close herself off from the world and forget her worries.

She poured a glass of wine and settled on the couch. Romeo came out from somewhere and rubbed around her legs. She reached for him but he didn’t choose to be touched so she let it go. Romeo was her rescue cat. He was big, gray, with deep green eyes and no tail. He was a Manx cat. She called him Romeo because he was forever hiding from her. She’d call, “O Romeo, Romeo! Wherefore art thou Romeo?” and he’d appear from wherever it was he had concealed himself. Especially if there was something to eat! He was a typical cat.

She switched on the television and found an old movie. She preferred old movies or chick flicks over the action, blood, guts and gore movies that were so popular nowadays. She liked old detective and who done its but didn’t watch horror movies. All of the jumping out and scaring wasn’t a good thing when living alone.

She picked up her latest project. It was another shawl. She didn’t need another shawl, but they were easy, fun and she enjoyed making them. She wore them occasionally and saw through the fake compliments she received. But she didn’t care. She liked them and she would wear them when she pleased. It was a choice she had control over.

She appreciated the texture of the yarn as it slipped through her fingers. The colors were soothing. As she completed each stitch she pondered the events of the previous week. She wasn’t sure when it hit but she finally got it. It wasn’t that she was a hard study. Not at all. In fact, she had a brain. She used it and she had opinions. That’s what the problem was. The expectation was to conform, to complete without questioning. Obey orders, don’t think. Just say yes. It was a Stepford like experience. She finally realized that’s what it would take.

She sighed as she reached the end of the row. Why couldn’t she have been born independently wealthy? Why wasn’t she smart enough to have made her own fortune? Why did she have to depend on other people’s decisions and choices, just to pay her bills? It wasn’t fair. But at least she had a couple of days to be herself. To think her thoughts, agree, disagree and even have an idea. It wouldn’t last, but she’d savor the time while she had it.

Too soon it would be Monday. She’d swallow the bottle of yes sir yes ma’ams before she went to bed. She’d have to get the mask out of the closet when she got dressed and place it on her face as she headed out the door. She’d pretend all was great and nobody would be the wiser. It was stressful, but if that’s what it took, she’d do it. She’d go on pretending until she didn’t have to pretend any more.

Oh-oh, yes I'm the great pretender.
Adrift in a world of my own.
I've played the game but to my real shame,
You've left me to grieve all alone...

Supposedly there are two kinds of knitting; knitting to finish or knitting as a process. I’ve come to realize I’m a process knitter. I just like the knitting part. I do actually finish things. I give them away or wear them myself.
A Rollercoaster...scarf, shawl thing.
Kind of asymmetrical. Completely finished!
But I have a pile of things that just need the ends worked in or they need to be blocked or have a button sewn on. Maybe I’m ADHD or whatever the current term is. If I was allowed to knit I would be able to concentrate and listen so much better. It’s not socially acceptable though. People don’t believe that I could knit and listen at the same time. So I’ll just go on pretending I’m interested and doodle or play games on my phone and think about something else entirely. I’m pretty good at it. I’m a great pretender.

Yes I'm the great pretender.
Just laughin' and gay like a clown.
I seem to be what I'm not, you see…

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

I Am I Said

"I am," I said,
To no one there.
And no one heard at all.
Not even the chair…

Lately I’ve taken to listening to the old time radio station on my satellite radio. They broadcast radio shows from the past. There is a big variety, from comedy to drama, with the mystery and suspense programs being my favorite. I can almost see my grandparents gathered around the big radio in the blonde cabinet in their living room.

Before you think I’m really weird, remember I have an hour or so drive, each way to work. It’s an easy drive but the radio helps pass the time. These programs are much like listening to a book.

The other day I heard a tale, in the suspense category, according to the announcer, which was actually a short story by Ray Bradbury. After checking on the Internet I found out it’s a chapter in a book he wrote. The story was about an old woman, seventy-two, who saves all the memorabilia from her past. Her name is Mrs. Bentley. Seventy-two doesn’t seem all that old to me, but I guess back then it was. Anyway, two little girls come by and play in her yard one day. Being lonely, she calls to them to come up on her porch. They visit and Mrs. Bentley tells them that she was as young as they are once. The girls don’t believe it and argue with her. Then they say she’s lying and run away laughing. Mrs. Bentley is furious.

A few days later the girls are back. Mrs. Bentley calls them to the porch to show them some of the mementos she’s saved from her past, proving she was young as they once. The girls argue, saying the objects don’t prove a thing because she could have gotten them from anywhere. Frustrated, Mrs. Bentley insists that they too, will become old like she is one day. The girls grab her possessions and run from the porch, laughing as they go.

All of this makes Mrs. Bentley start to wonder about her childhood and her past. She looks through more of her souvenirs and hears the voice of her late husband speaking to her, explaining that the items no longer belong to her because they are from the past. She is no longer the person the items were saved for because she’s living now, in the present, and not in the past. None of the saved clothes will fit. The saved pictures don’t look like she looks now. They are not who she is today.

Finally, she understands and with the girls’ help, discards the tokens of her past. From that moment on she lives only in the present. The girls’ believe they were right and Mrs. Bentley was never young in a “million trillion years.”

For some reason this story really made me think. Perhaps it’s because I’m from a family of ‘savers’. Or maybe it’s because I heard and still hear the ‘remember when’ stories of my grandparents and parents past. Then again, maybe it’s because I’m the one who the girls would never believe was a little girl in a million trillion years.

I think that what happened in the past makes us who we are today, but, as Mrs. Bentley finds out, we aren’t that person. Think of a reunion. The cheerleaders are not cheerleaders any longer. The football stars are bald and overweight. Nobody looks like the picture in the yearbook. People who were close friends no longer know what the other likes, feels, thinks.

Remembering the past, loved ones who are gone, pleasant memories, is not a bad thing. Dwelling on the wrongs, the should haves, could haves and whys is not productive. Living for today may be the answer. We are who we are, because of who we were. But we can’t go back. I heard a quote in a movie once that stuck with me. “Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift. That’s why they call it the present!” So, make the most of today and be who you are.

"I am," I cried.
"I am," said I.
And I am lost, and I can't even say why.
Leavin' me lonely still…

There’s a bead store in Odessa that offers different classes on things I’ve been interested in but never tried. I can read directions and even follow them fairly well, but sometimes I like for someone to show me first so I can actually see how something is done. I guess I’m mostly visual when it comes to learning. Anyway, recently I took a class on wire crochet jewelry. It was fun and very easy. It’s also very forgiving, since it’s wire instead of thread. I took some great pictures with my phone but my phone is crazy and they aren’t there. I have a few pictures in progress from my camera, that aren’t very good, but the finished product turned out okay! It’s three separate strands, braided and twisted together.

Three chains braided. Blurry but you get the jist...
Then you just kind of shape the necklace, because it is a little bit stiff. Not real stiff, but not flexible, like a chain.

A better picture.
Framed. Ha!
 I do plan to experiment and try some other bead and wire combinations. It’s fun and I’m trying things I never tried. I guess on class day I'm living for the day!

"I am," I said.
To no one there.
And no one heard at all…

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Hot Stuff

Lookin' for some hot stuff baby this evenin'
I need some hot stuff baby tonight
I want some hot stuff baby this evenin'
gotta have some hot stuff…

Yeah baby, there’s some hot stuff out here! When it’s 86 degrees at 6:30am, you know it’s headed for another triple digit day! According to the news there have been 60+ days of triple digit temperatures in a row! It’s one of the hottest (and driest) summers on record. It’s been said that it’s so dry out here in Texas that the trees are signing up dogs!

When you turn the tap on to get a glass of cold water and you get water hot enough to steep tea, you know it’s hot. Seriously, we had some plumbing issues lately. The shower in the bathroom I use went wonky. Something was wrong when it was fixed and only the cold side of the water worked. Taking a shower in the cold water was warm enough to not notice a difference!

When it’s this hot your car becomes a weapon against yourself. You get sunburned through the car window! The best parking places are the spots in the shade instead of those closest to the door. If you aren’t lucky enough to get a shaded spot you’ll burn your hand opening the car door! And be careful with the seat belt. It makes a pretty good branding iron! Driving your car with two fingers is the norm. What if you don’t have air conditioning in the car? You probably just stay home.
Texas rain gauge...from an email...

A friend of mine did an experiment recently. She and her kids decided to see if they could bake cookies in the hot car. They put the dough on a cookie sheet in the back window. It took a while, around three hours, but the cookies actually baked! She said not only did they have fresh baked cookies, her car smelled great!

Hopefully this heat wave/drought will end soon. It’s just too hot to enjoy anything. Until then, I’ll stay in some air conditioned space, sipping on a cool drink and think of snow!
Hot, hot, hot, hot stuff
hot, hot, hot...

Knitting is slow in the heat. I have a scarf/shawlette that I’m working on, because it’s not too big. But the progress is slow. It’s funny how being hot makes you not want to do a thing. And if there’s one thing I’m good at? Doing nothing! The weather did say a cold front was coming through soon. Temperatures are only supposed to be in the high eighties. And everyone is excited about that news!

Lookin' for some hot stuff baby this evenin' …