Let me ‘splain

No, there is too much. Let me sum up.

  1. We were happy to be invited to our friends’ house for Thanksgiving and had a lovely time with lots (and lots) of food.
  2. This was only the second Thanksgiving I have every spent away from family. It was very difficult to be surrounded by four generations of someone else’s family with no members of my family around. I spent much of my time in the corner with my knitting which was pleasant and relaxing, but also kind of lonely and sad.
  3. Erik had a rare five days off and we thoroughly enjoyed the extended time off. We slept in every day and cuddled as much as our hearts desired. We went to see the last Hunger Games movie and The Good Dinosaur. I was disappointed by both movies. We went to Costco twice and took many walks.
  4. I cooked my very first Turkey on Saturday (just for Erik and I). And this holiday, I made paleo stuffing, paleo cranberry sauce, and gravy – all things I had never made before. They were all surprisingly delicious, if I do say so myself and we had a delicious (if late) turkey dinner on Saturday evening.
  5. Sunday we went to the Kitt Peak National Observatory, which is the only national observatory in the country. image_23400036976_oThere are 30ish telescopes on top of Kitt Peak, which is about an hour and a half outside of Tucson proper on the Tohona O’oodham Reservation.image_22799053463_o We were above 6,000 feet, which gave us great views of the surrounding landscape.
  6. Tucson has a rare dark sky ordinance, which limits the lighting at night in and around the city and makes Southern Arizona a fantastic place to stargaze. We participated in the Nightly Observing Program, which is an approximately 4 hour program that includes a light dinner, time with a large telescope, a star-chart lesson, and binocular views of the night sky. Through the telescope, we got to see Andromeda, Uranus, the Owl cluster, a globular cluster, and a few others. With our binoculars, we saw the Pleiades (this was my favorite, so bright and vibrant), Orion, Hercules, Pegasus, the Summer Triangle, Capricorn, Pisces, and many others. We also got to see a rare view of an Iridium Satellite flare as it passed overhead. It was a rare opportunity to see the reflection of the sun flare off of the solar panels as they spun around the satellite. For a few moments it was the brightest thing in the sky.
  7. It was freezing. Which really isn’t surprising for November 29th, except when you remember that I live in Tucson, AZ and the temperature has regularly been in the high 60s and even low 70s during the day. The temperature just finally started dropping below 50 degrees at night. It was in the mid to low 30s up on the mountaing. I had to put on long johns because my legs were numb. Luckily, the website gave us ample warning of the cold temperatures on the mountain, so we were well covered with hats, scarves, gloves, warm socks, and winter coats. But even with all of that, we were still pretty cold after a couple hours of sitting and standing outside looking at the stars.
  8. I would totally do it all again. But fully reccommend, that if you have the opportunity to go to an observatory, you go in the summer.
  9. I think I was frozen solid by the end of the evening, because even after the hour and a half drive home I was still freezing. Erik was sticking his head out the window, while the heat was blasting and I was covered in his winter coat and wrapped up in all of my winter items. When we climbed into bed I was shivering and my skin was cold even under my thick, snuggly socks, a comforter, and another thick blanket. The cold was so exhausting, I slept like the dead.
  10. There are 24 days until Christmas. Tomorrow I’ll show you the knitting accomplished over the holiday. I hope you all had a fabulous holiday and were surrounded by the people you love and who love you.

478

That’s how many of these tiny picot scallops there now exist on the edge of this shawl.

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Towards the end there I timed how long it took me to finish 40 of them. It was about twenty minutes. Which means this cast-off took me approximately 4 hours, not accounting for bathroom, food, water, or itching my foot breaks.

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This is how close I was to done when I suddenly and rather unexpectedly finished a ball of yarn. I had a third ball of that yarn (thank the yarn gods), but I was annoyed that I had to start a new ball that close to the end. Also, we won’t discuss how I almost didn’t buy that third skein of yarn.

I also don’t want to talk about how I’m going to block this shawl and pin out 478  picot scallops on a ruffle edged crescent shaped shawl. I’ll take proper pictures once I figure out how to block it.

On the brightside, I finished all of the cooking yesterday (except for the turkey I’m making just for us, which I’ll cook on Friday I think), so today I get to hang out with my hubby who is off for the rest of the week.

The blog will probably be dark for the rest of the week, while I’m off celebrating the holiday. So, Happy Thanksgiving to You and Yours. I hope you have the merriest and grateful-est of holidays. I’m sending my love.

I have made fire!

You know that scene from Cast Away? The one where Tom Hanks has been stranded for just a little while, but he’s cold and he needs to be able to cook or something, but he can’t get the damn thing going? He sits there for hours with his stick and his rock and his kindling just rubbing them together desperately trying to make it smoke or spark or something. And then miraculously, the grass kindling starts to smoke and he blows on it and it bursts into flame? And then he jumps around yelling, “I HAVE MADE FIRE! I have made fire,” for like five minutes, because holy shit, he’s basically reinvented fire.

This is how I feel every time I make something new with my Vitamix. It makes me feel like a friggin’ genius.

There’s this to balance it out:

I’m making this lovely shawlette for my stepmother, but it’s a little plane for my liking. So I decided to change the bind-off to add a little flare. I picked a picot bind-off. Because of the ruffles the bind-off edge already has 600 stitches, and the picot bind-off requires me to cast-on two stitches for every one stitch I bind-off….which means I have something like 1800 stitches before this damned this is finished.

This much edge took me at least two hours and it’s maybe a quarter of the stitches. I don’t want to talk about what that means for how long this is going to take me. I have to cook a dessert and stuffing and write an article for the magazine I contribute to today. If you need me, I’ll be rocking back and forth in the corner mumbling something about unnecessary ruffle stitches and picot edging.

Mental Health of the World

In light of the utter chaos that occurs every day all around the world, no more so than in the last few weeks, it feels small to talk about mental health. There are so many people starving, struggling to survive, and dying in extreme and violent ways. It can seem insignificant to discuss and worry about other problems.

And then I remember that mental health would go a long way to making our world a better place. If emotionally wounded people could be helped and healed and loved, there would be far less violence in the world. If we could speak and act towards each other with love and kindness, there would be far less fear and misunderstanding between us. If we could learn to accept people of all backgrounds, lifestyles, and ideologies, then we might have hope of peace.

As it is, news all over is full of death and destruction. It is not all that is happening and certainly the news is tailored, but it is happening. And more of the world’s population is in danger with each minute that passes.
In the middle of this gratitude season, I must remember to cherish those around me with love and action. I invite you to join me in being my brother’s keeper and defining brother as widely as I possibly can. I will smile at everyone I see. I will (try to) assume the best of all people no matter the circumstances. I will give everyone the benefit of the doubt. I will remember that we are all human beings. This is how we will heal each other. This is how we will heal the world.
This happened over the weekend.
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This is Margrite Karabella Yarns in color 6 from Grandma’s Spinning Wheel. Yes I bought my yarn and cast it on instead of finishing the two sweaters I have going right now. Also, these have multiplied.
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They are a wonderful break when my other knitting gets boring. This week is for cooking. I will try to resist the urge to take pictures of what I cook. I hope you all have a wonderful Monday to your holiday week.

Things that make me happy

Thing the first:

I may have a case of startitis. In the last two weeks, I bought this yarn destined to be socks.

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And this yarn, also socks.

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And this and this and this and this yarn.

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That second picture is a really cool yarn by Regia that is sent as a scarf and then you knit it from the scarf so you can match the stripes.

And then spent several hours stalking Ravelry for patterns. I cast on this sweater for my nephew.

Out of this yarn that I also got:

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Finally started the sleeves on this sweater for my niece (does this count as starting or finishing?)

Have you seen these yet?

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They’re almost done, just the 2×1 ribbing for the second sock to complete.

I also made this today:

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And we won’t talk about the queue of patterns I’m thinking about casting on.

Thing the second:

I am finally the proud owner of a shiny new vitamix. It was the demonstration on the store that put us over the top. The guy made HOT soup right there with nothing but ingredients and a vitamix. Turns out the blades skin so fast it creates heat and if you let it run for roughly six minutes, you get hot soup! I can’t tell you how impressed I am. We had hot soup for dinner last night that I made in fifteen minutes. Fifteen minutes!! With fresh ingredients. I felt like Midas. Dudes, this is incredible. I can’t tell you.

If I could find a way to combine knitting and this vitamix I would be on top of the world. Maybe I’ll knit the caraf a cozy…

But not until after Christmas.

36 days until Christmas and I’m going to have to knit every last one of them.

Abundance

Sunday, E and I did a bunch of Thanksgiving grocery shopping. We went to Costco and Natural Grocers and spent a pretty penny at both. When we were leaving Natural Grocers we realized that even though we’d spent a lot of money that day on groceries, it was mostly all for the holiday and we didn’t have anything to eat for dinner. So we stopped and got take out.

We were driving home eating our take out in the car because we were too hungry to wait until we got home when we passed several homeless people. The moment we passed the first person holding a sign on the sidewalk, I reflected on the ridiculous abundance of our life and the discrepancies that exist in our society.

E and I and our friends are making an extremely long list of food for Thanksgiving, including at least two kinds of meat, three different kinds of potatoes, two different kinds of stuffing, and at least three desserts. We will be feeding 13 people. That is a lot of people, but even 13 people don’t need three different kinds of potatoes. We’re doing it anyway.

Meanwhile, out on the street, there will be thousands of people around Tucson and millions of people around the country that will have either no or very little food to eat. That is why this holiday season I will be donating to Feeding America. Even $25 helps them provide 275 free meals to people in need. From their website:

The Feeding America network secures and provides food for families in need; operates programs that promote self-sufficiency; educates the public about hunger; and advocates for legislation that protects people from going hungry.

If Feeding America doesn’t work for you, here is a list of the top ten charities that fight hunger around the world. If you look around at your life this holiday season and see how blessed and abundant your table is, please consider sharing some of that abundance with the people who eek by every day. If all you can give is $5, then that is enough. Give what you can, every little bit helps.

Happy Thanksgiving.