Saturday, February 25, 2012

Dark Lady

The fortune queen of New Orleans 
Was brushing her cat in her black limousine… 

 I went to New Orleans once, in 2004, before the hurricane. I’m not sure I’d miss it if I never went back, but it is one of those things that I can cross off and say, been there done that.

We had a good time. Tried new food, saw some things that most likely won’t be seen again and absorbed the atmosphere. It was exciting, but in a dark, almost evil way. Not everything, of course, but when there is a warning not to go past a certain street, you do wonder.

I was there for a conference, and Alan came with me. We stayed in a hotel directly across from the convention center. I’ve looked at maps and I can’t tell if the hotel is there now. It was a tall building with a lot of glass, but I don’t remember which chain. I’ve stayed in so many hotels and cities in the past ten years they all sort of run together. Anyway, we were within walking distance of Bourbon Street and several other ‘must see’ attractions.

Being a Texan, I couldn’t help but compare Bourbon Street to Sixth Street in Austin, which I’ve visited many times. To me, Austin is a lot cleaner and it certainly didn’t smell as bad as Bourbon Street. As far as sights, it’s the same type places and people. Bums and street people, the sexually confused, and plain people (tourists) out for a good time walked the paths and filled the shops and businesses. Liquor flowed freely and people carried their beverages with them in the open air. That doesn’t happen in Austin, but the rest was quite similar.

A friend of mine had taken a historical walking tour of the area and as we walked around he told us the facts he remembered; where someone lived, what was haunted, who was killed there and other assorted tidbits of the area. We ate at a haunted restaurant but the ghost was apparently busy because none of us saw her that night.

One day Alan and I were walking across a market area when I made eye contact with a lady who read palms. I’ve always had a curiosity for such things, even though I’m not convinced there’s any truth to it. Also, I’m a little scared in case there is! We were talking about whether I should or shouldn’t do it and what the cost would be, etc. She knew what we were discussing and told us a price. I thought what the heck; I’d just see what she had to offer.

I have to say she did surprise me. She told me some things instead of suggesting things. I know a bit how this works, or at least how they told us it worked, from my psychology classes. The statements are usually about general personality traits, personal validation statements that give the impression they are specific to a single person but in reality could be applied to everyone. These generalizations are known as a “Barnum statement” after the circus showman P.T. Barnum. He argued that a good statement could be applied to about eight-five percent of the population.

What happens is the fortune-teller, or palm reader or whatever they may call themselves, will say something that’s ambiguous and even contradictory and the person hearing the statement rationalizes that it fits their personality. For instance, telling a person who has a wedding ring that their spouse is a very important part of their life, will most likely not prompt a denial. Often, after such a statement the listener provides information that can be used later in the conversation.

I let her touch my hand and she began. Instead of saying something like I feel there’s a child in your life, she said, you have a new grandson. Well, that kind of took me off guard because there was nothing that said we had a grandchild at all, much less a grandson. I acknowledged but I didn’t say anything. I wasn’t going to help her out. Next she told me I had been having some trials with the boss at work, but it would work out and I would outlast him. Well, maybe her cousin worked in the store where I asked if I could have a voodoo doll of my boss to poke when he was ugly and they talked so she knew. Well, probably not. And yes, I had discussed some issues with him before the trip. Also, he’s gone…I’m still there. By the way, voodoo is not a joking matter there.

She threw in that I was married to a good man. What could I say to that? He was right there and he was the one who gave her the money so she was impressed! Seriously, he is. But that to me is a Barnum statement. Anyway, there were a few more things, including some statements that were truths. She didn’t ask me anything. Of course there were several general statements thrown in. I was consciously not answering though, just acknowledging with a shake of the head, in order to not give her any information. All in all, though, it was a bit unnerving. There were some specific things she couldn’t have known.

I thanked her and we walked on across the square. Alan asked what she’d said and I told him some of it. I turned and she was watching me. We headed to our next destination and before we were out of sight I glanced back again. She was still watching. I got a chill.

Did she predict my future? I don’t think so. It was more like she told me what was happening at that time, or about things that were bothering me. She told me I’d have a long and happy life, probably her general closing statement. I wonder though, what she didn’t tell me.

Dark lady played black magic 
Til the clock struck on the twelve.
She told me more about me 
Than I knew myself...

When I was in Charleston, South Carolina last year, I had the chance to go to a local yarn shop. Instead of going to lunch at the meeting I just took off and found the yarn store that was in walking distance. It was called Knit, and was a nice little shop in a converted house. The store was very welcoming. There were places to sit and knit and yarn and sample items were artfully placed throughout. It was there I found my first Thomas Kvist yarn.
Knit in Charlotte, SC
Converted house.
Chair seat 'upholstered' in knitting.

Comfy place to knit.
The first place I found Thomas Kvist yarn.
Later I found Thomas Kvist yarn on Facebook, and ‘liked’ their page. They are based in Sweden. Thomas ran a contest in December and every day the ‘Christmas Moose’ asked a question. The answer was on their web page. I decided to enter.

Usually I’m not too lucky. But I won! Since the contest was every day in December, I asked if I could enter again. Thomas said I could enter every day if I liked. So I did. And guess what? I won about six times! Well, I was beginning to feel a little greedy after the third or so time so I shared the contest news with my LSSK friends. I think every one of them who entered also won.

Lin 1.0, Summer Breeze, Lambada, Oh Mercy Me, Colina
It takes a long time for things to get to Texas from Sweden, but I finally got my yarn! The package was in pretty rough shape but I checked with Thomas and nothing had fallen out. He was so generous! I got a lot of yarn. And as much as there is here, I’m waiting for just a little more! It was a fun contest and even more fun to get such a nice surprise. Thank you Thomas Kvist! 
What a haul! :)
Be sure to look at Our Creative Spaces to see all the great things people are creating this week! As for what I’ll make with my new yarn? I might have to go to New Orleans to find out!

Dark lady laughed and danced 
And lit the candles one by one… 
Danced to her gypsy music 
Til her brew was done.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

May The Bird Of Paradise Fly Up Your Nose

I heard him say as I made my retreat, 
"May the bird of paradise fly up your nose…” 

Would you be suspicious if someone who doesn’t speak to you suddenly comes by and chats you up for about ten or more minutes? Yeah, me too. And I don’t know where it came from, but after it was over I had an overwhelming urge to say, “May the bird of paradise fly up your nose!” I didn’t. But I thought it. And I also thought that it would probably be most painful if a bird flew up your nose. And if it did happen I’d much rather it is someone else’s nose than mine.

There’s a funny thing about birds. They can do all sorts of things. They can tell secrets. When I did something that wasn’t quite on the up and up, some dumb little birdie always told my mom. But that’s to be suspected when they have that bird’s eye view of things going on. And all the while I thought I was free as a bird turned out I was just a sitting duck with some stool pigeon reporting all my moves. I never did figure out who it was. However, after she got over being mad as a wet hen she’d let me fly the coop. As I got older I realized she really was a wise old owl.
Check our Our Creative Spaces for all kinds of inspiration!

My grandmother always told me she ate like a bird. That is, until I told her that birds eat constantly and sometimes eat up to twice their weight in food, daily. I guess she didn’t want to know that as she gave me the old eagle eye the rest of that day. To prove a point, (I suppose anyway), there weren’t any snacks that day until supper. As my stomach growled, I really felt liked I’d cooked my own goose!

Speaking of grandmother, I guess my sister and I weren’t always good little girls at her house. Grandmother insisted on being called Grandmother. She wasn’t a mam or a nanny or even a grandma type person. But one thing she definitely hated was to be called granny. Granny was what they called my great grandmother, my granddaddy’s mother, or her mother-in-law. Now, I can understand. Anyway, my sister and I, sitting naked as jay birds in the bathtub, would call for her when we were ready to get out. I don’t know why we had to wait for her. Seems like she was afraid we’d fall or maybe she wanted to make sure we’d washed with soap. Whatever the reason, we would call out, “Granny, we’re done!” Well, maybe it was just me who’d call out while my sister giggled. There would be no answer. Birds of a feather that we were, we (or I) would try again. In a voice sweet as a nightingale I’d cry out, “Granny, we’re done!” Nothing. Finally, shriveled and shivering in the cold bathwater, one of us would call, “Grandmother, we’re done!” Quick as that old roadrunner, she’d dash in, grab us up with a towel and all was well. Meep Meep. She was a sly old bird!

I may just start saying “may the bird of paradise fly up your nose.” I kind of like the sound of it! I can have a “Pretty Woman” plan in the eaves. You know, I almost peed my pants, Pirates of Penzance. Most people just ask how you’re doing to say something when you pass each other in the hall or on the street. They don’t listen and they most likely really don’t care. So if I answer with “may the bird of paradise fly up your nose”, would they even notice? Probably not, but in case they did and asked what I’d just said, I could say, “hey, I really like your clothes.” Or maybe “you’ve got something on your nose.” Or how about “that’s just the way the day goes,” or “good, except for the run in my hose.” And I can just smile, like the cat that swallowed the canary. Yes, think I’ve got it covered!

May the bird of paradise fly up your nose… 
May an elephant caress you with his toes. 
May your wife be plagued with runners in her hose. 
May the bird of paradise fly up your nose. 

I’m on the downside of a pretty powerful cold or something. It zapped every bit of energy I had. I didn’t miss work, except for one day, but by the time I got home I didn’t want to do anything. Two full weekends were spent sleeping or just laying around. I didn’t even want to knit. I still have the cough but I feel okay so it’s time to dig out. I did get the shawl sent off. I didn’t have daylight to take a picture of it after the blocking but maybe my sister will send one. I made some more of those cute little hearts but now that I’ve missed Valentines, I guess I’ll just keep them for later.

Being the bird brain I am, now I have birds on my mind. I have a stained sweater I saved to make an owl. The plans are in my head so there’s a big chance that the finished product won’t look anything like my mental picture!

And I ran across this cute little bird pattern, on Attic 24’s blog. I want to make some of them too.
Birdie decoration. DIY on Attic 24's blog.
Valentine’s day is sweet Belle’s birthday. We went over to help her celebrate. She was in a poofy pink dress and told me I had to call her princess because today was her birthday and she was four. She’s so funny.
My princess on her birthday.
The princess and her pinata.
Finally! Candy!!!
 We lucked out and got some Sweet Sugar Belle cookies for Valentines! We even shared with co-workers. Funny, the people I gifted don’t want to eat them. They say they are too pretty! All I can say is the love bird, or bluebird of happiness, your choice, tasted mighty fine to me!
Valentine cookies from my daughter, Sweet Sugar Belle.

I heard him sayin' as I turned to go, 
"May the bird of paradise fly up your nose"

Saturday, February 11, 2012

I Can See Clearly Now

…the rain is gone, 
I can see all obstacles in my way. 
Gone are the dark clouds that had me blind, 
It’s gonna be a bright, bright Sun-Shiny day. 

My friend Lynn posted a note on Facebook the other day that really hit home. It went something like this.

She was in a hardware store waiting on her husband in the gardening department. An older man and his grown daughter walked by. They laughed and pointed as they walked by. Their childish display astonished her. As she waited, more customers passed by, acting in the same manner. Feeling self conscious, she checked to make sure all was okay and decided to move on and find her husband. As she walked away she saw more people snickering and pointing as they sauntered by where she had just been.

When she turned to look, sitting right behind where she had been standing, was a young man, fully reclined, sound asleep! With his mouth wide open, drooling, he was slouched down in a hammock type lawn chair. He looked like a commercial for the furniture, showing how comfortable the chairs were! She began to laugh at him, but mostly at herself because she thought it had been her people were staring and laughing at. She said she was reminded of an important life lesson; never take anything personally. She said she laughed at herself for thinking she was important enough to have been laughed at to begin with! She said, “It ISN'T always about me!!!”

I have to admit, I would have thought the exact same thing she was thinking. I’d have wondered if my hair looked funny or my zipper was down. I would have naturally assumed it was something I had done. I would have thought it was all about me!

I always thought that ‘all about me’ meant you considered yourself to be something special, something better than the average bear. After reading her note I realized it works the opposite way, just as well. People are self centered. Most people think ‘it’s all about ME’, when in reality nothing others do is because of you. People say and do things that are a projection of their own reality. You are just a character in their personal soap opera!

I tend to take things personally. Eleanor Roosevelt said, “Nobody can make you feel inferior without your consent.” Apparently I give permission freely because I let people make me feel inferior quite often. I need to remember that when I take things personally, I’m not focusing on what someone said or did but more on how I feel. I replay the situation until I agree with whatever negativity they’ve chosen to bestow. Instead, I should focus on that person.

Perhaps this person is negative to everyone. (yes) Perhaps it’s supposed to be funny or it's a bad day. (365) Perhaps they have much insecurity. (myriad) Perhaps it’s just poor communication and emotional management skills. (tirade) Perhaps I should find compassion. (patience)

I need to remind myself that I don’t need anyone’s approval. If I get a compliment I need to remember that it’s the other person’s viewpoint. The same goes for an insult. It’s how the other person sees it and that may or may not be accurate. Compliments don’t make me a better person and insults don’t make me worse. When someone compliments, it makes them better because they're taking the time to be supportive and encouraging. If someone isn't happy with you it doesn't mean you've done something wrong. In most cases it means that person isn't happy and they want you to feel as bad as they feel.

Life can be far more pleasant by not taking things personally. I have to remember that sometimes it is all about me. Most of the time though? It ISN'T about me at all!

I think I can make it now, the pain is gone. 
All of the bad feelings have disappeared. 
Here is the rainbow I’ve been prayin’ for. 
It’s gonna be a bright , bright, 
Sun-Shiny day. 

I still don’t like blocking. But I did it! I blocked the shawl for my sister and now just have to send it on its merry way!
Close up of edge
Probably medium sized

I restarted the rainbow scarf too. It's almost finished.
Where's the pot of gold? :)

I also started another plain old cowl. This is a shiny yarn and will be okay being just plain. The groundhog said six more weeks of winter but I have a feeling it’s going to be warmer than scarf weather soon. That’s a shame as I really like wearing them now. It’s surprising how just that little bit around your neck can keep you warm!
Cast on 150, join and knit, knit, knit
 And to be in the spirit of February, here’s a few hearts from a great pattern over at Cornflower Blue Studio.
Cute little guys!

Our Creative Spaces is back up. Head over there if you want to see some really cool things!

In the meantime just remember, you’re okay just how you are. And I’m okay too! Don’t let anyone tell you differently.

Look all around, there’s nothin' but blue skies. 
Look straight ahead, nothin' but blue skies... 

It’s gonna be a bright, bright, 
Sun-Shiny day.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

My Special Angel

You are my special angel 
Sent from up above. 
The Lord smiled down on me 
And sent an angel to love… 

My precious first grandson recently turned 8 years old. It hardly seems possible that he can be that age already. Just the other day we were all in the delivery room. My daughter’s husband was in the Navy so her dad had agreed to go in the delivery room with her. He does that farm/ranch type stuff so giving birth would not gross him out or anything. I, on the other hand, was prepared to stay in the waiting room. I’d packed a bag of yarn and had some knitting needles and was content to build a nest in the sitting area and wait til all was done. I’d waited with them in the labor room and the doctor came and they were moving her to another room. I gathered my knitting and was walking the other way and the doctor said, "This way mom." Wait. What? This way? As in the delivery room? I don’t think so. He said, "Yes, you too."
The smiling birthday boy!

The delivery room was nothing like I’d experienced when I’d had her. This was an ordinary ‘hospital’ room. Maybe they called it a birthing room. I’m not sure. But there was a TV and the bed, a vanity type thing and a chair. I put my knitting in the chair and squashed myself against the wall. I was fairly sure this wasn’t something I wanted to witness.

I remember Law and Order was on and the Doctor and my husband were taking turns watching the television and comforting/tending to Callye. I was still back out of the way, as much as I could be since we were all in the same room, when suddenly things began to happen. I moved a bit so I couldn’t see anything I didn’t want to see. Push, push and he was here!

The doctor did his thing, let Callye have a look, gave E to the nurse and she wrapped him in a blanket and in turn handed him to me. Yes, here he was. My firstborn’s firstborn, fresh out of the oven!
Sweet baby boy!

I don’t know if that’s the reason or if it’s just because he was the first but we have a bond. Don’t get me wrong. All of the littles are special. Unique and delightful individuals, they are all happy to see us when we go over or they come here. The other two love the visit but are ready to go when mom and dad come. But if given a choice I think E would just as soon stay here permanently!
Frogs and snails and puppy dog tails...

Of course he’s not always an angel. He’s a typical little boy, mischievous and full of energy. Even though he’s getting to that stage little boys get to when they don’t want you to hug or kiss them, he still has a hug for me every time I see him. I know that probably sooner than later there will be a time when he will want to be ‘cool’ and not have his Mamye cuddle him in public! I have a feeling it might still be okay when it’s just us. Until that time comes though, I’ll hug him when I can and let him know I love him always.

The smile from your lips brings the summer sunshine. 
Tears from your eyes bring the rain. I
I feel your touch, your warm embrace, 
And I'm in heaven again… 

I finished the shawl except for (surprise) blocking! That’s this weekend for sure because I have to get it in the mail. Of course I saw something that doesn’t look quite right to me. I don’t think it’s a mistake, just a little loose in one spot. I think I can fix it and nobody will notice.

I had a request for another rainbow scarf, just like the one I made at Christmas. Easy enough, so I got started. I ran into a problem though. I forgot which yarns I used! It’s a scarf where I gather different textures and colors. I started it but it didn’t look right. It was pretty but it was too dark or something so I took it apart.
What it is supposed to look like...and what it looked like.
But I needed something for TV knitting so I made a quick colorful cowl out of some self striping sock yarn I had. It’s not very big but I like it and it can be folded over and pinned if I needed it to be warmer. While that was going on I gathered yarn that I think will make a close copy of the original rainbow. I hope anyway!
Quick and easy.
A little self striping sock yarn and a little cowl!
It’s back into the routine (or drag) at work so there’s little time (or energy) for things I want to do. I think about it but I’ve not been very productive. Good thing I didn’t make any resolutions!

We’ll see the littles in a week or two. That’s something to look forward to!

You are my special angel,
Through eternity.
I'll have my special angel,
Here to watch over me...