Mar 31, 2006

I'm Surrounded

Like many of you, I visit certain people's blogs daily. Somehow, in this blogging ether, we can still find connections with the people we thought we already knew well, and discover new and amazing reasons to admire them even more. I have some knitting stuff waiting in the queue to post about, but I want to take a "time out" to spotlight a few of the entries I was blessed to read just today...

From the Stairway...My girl Kelli has Seinfeld beat down! She writes about things that we take for granted, but by turning a phrase she makes these mundane fer instances and situations into profound observations that are the other side of hilarious. Check out her latest post for a good chin scratch and giggle (I laughed right out loud).

On Emerald Lane...I cannot tell a lie...I literally close my eyes right before Nancy's blog loads so that the pictures of her latest sewn creations will just smack me in the eyes; she never fails to amaze me. One of her latest posts that I really enjoyed talks about what inspires her. Her modesty is so becoming, and I love reading about her feelings on what she takes in, and how it shows in what she puts out. (Oh and you must read all about Scatter and Petunia)

You've got to hear from Mau...I dubbed him the information broker. He turns research into an art form, literally.
In one of his recent entries, he talks about a significant work from the late Ralph Ellison. There is a passage near the end of the post that I had to read twice. It was just that powerful. Here's just a snippet: "What does American society mean when regarded out of my own eyes, when informed by my own sense of the past and viewed by my own complex sense of the present?" Please read the whole thing, you won't regret it.

I'm surrounded by talent, and inspiration, and beauty, and the warmth that comes through friendship with brilliant people who share their gifts and add small chunks of wonderful to my day.

Mar 24, 2006

Miles, Maladies, Middle Seats & Mountains

That pretty much sums up my last week. I travel for work...let me rephrase, I travel ALOT for work, which I didn't actually realize until the last 5 days. I left Florida on Monday morning at 9:30AM. It's now 12:55AM Friday morning (ET) and in that nearly 5 day span I have been from West Palm Beach to Atlanta to Chicago to Milwaukee back to Chicago to Salt Lake City and heading back to Atlanta for a lay over before I fly back home to West Palm Beach.
Yeah....I know. Thank God for the consistency of Marriott's across the nation.

But aside from the miles I've covered, I've been through an entire range of emotions on this trip as well. Anger at my flight disruption (I was supposed to leave Sunday), joy at the extra time I ended up having at home as a result. Fear of that tickle in my sinus that meant a cold was coming on just as I boarded my first flight. Delight at reaching Chicago and connecting with a new friend. Anxiety just before our Tuesday morning client meeting ("You'll have to excuse me...AAAAACHOOO...I seem to have a bit of a ::cough::cough:: sniffle coming on, so you'll forgive me Mr. Client if I don't -AA-CHOO - shake your hand ::cringe::"). Loneliness and misery during the "bad" night - you know the one you always get when the cold turns into a flu and you realize you're in the stage where your body just has to work it's way through the virus battle? Yeah - it's amplified to the nth degree when you can't even cry into the pillows on your own bed. Adoration and love for a hubby who answers the phone at 4AM like he's been awake just waiting for my "I can't take this anymore and I want to come home NOW" desperation call. Pride and relief when the flu symptoms subside and the second client meeting goes off with a bang. Wonder at the sight of the Wasatch Mountain Range of Utah - can that enormity really be part of the same country as the pines and sandy beaches I left back home? Joy and anticipation at the thought of squeezing my girls and telling them - now it's zero sleeps until mommy gets home my darlings, I'm finally here.

Seems like there were as many thoughts and feelings and memorable moments as there were miles this week. Thanks for stopping by on your own journey through your week. Enjoy these photos of my trip to the breathtaking mountains of Utah. For kicks, why not write and tell me about some of the ground you covered this week (emotionally, physically, and otherwise). I'd love to hear about it. Until next time!

Mar 17, 2006

Welcome Janaya Lugg !

Here are some pictures my newest niece!!! I'm just giddy with excitement about her arrival.

Please welcome Janaya Samira Najma Lugg, a most adorable addition to the family. Mommy - Tenika Brown and Daddy - Jermaine Lugg are thrilled. She was born Friday, March 10th at 1:15pm in the Northwest Broward hospital.

After 27 hours of labor and a last minute C-section, Mommy and baby are at home now and doing very well. I'll try to get a shot of her in the umbilical hat I knit for her when we go for a visit ;-)

Mar 16, 2006

A Crochet Creation

I found out about The Crochet Dude (Drew Emborsky) early in 2005 while I was struggling with my first "fer really real" crochet pattern. I was having a really tough time understanding the pattern repeats, and apparently this dress was just rows and rows of the same confusing 5 or 6 lines. It was seriously like learning a strange new language (ch3, sc in the next ch-3 spc, ch3, skip the next sc, dc in the ch3 spc from the prev row, cont for 8 patt rows, ch 3, turn, repeat). Como se llama whoo-what??! I finally gave in and did a google search for "crochet" (or "crochet + HELP ME"...something like that) and I found Drew's site. I used his contact link to email him the segment of the pattern that was confounding me - this after 3 failed attempts and ripping out no less than 15 or so rows to re-start each time. I didn't really think I'd hear back, but he emailed the pattern back to me with his "English" translation below each line. The first non-potholder crochet creation in all it's camera phone fuzziness -

The pattern is called "Sheer Delight" from a Family Circle knitting and crochet book I found in the library.

Special thanks to my girl Kiesha who helped me find just the right "cover your bi'ness camisole". And Dude - MWAH! (fan for life)

Mar 14, 2006

Flowers for Kelli

My sister-girl Kelli is moving away.
Thousands of miles away.
And I'm not sure I'm able to tell her how sad, and thrilled, and devastated and excited I am about it . When in doubt...write it out.

My mother says "give people their flowers before they're gone".

Kel, these flowers are for you, in no particular order:

10 Things I Love About You:
1. You are a friend I can say anything to; you listen, but never judge.
2. You're stunning...and you don't even know it, which just adds to your beauty.
3. You hardly ever speak without thinking through your words first.
4. Your love for your mom is award-worthy. I hope you get that back one day in triplicate.
5. There isn't much you won't try, but you are steadfast in your convictions.
6. You do things at just the right time.
7. You have never given a bad gift. Ever.
8. Your hugs speak louder than your words.
9. You are much so that you inspire loyalty in others.
10. You do friendship right, just by being your beautiful self.

We miss you already...

Mar 13, 2006

From the Mouth of Babes...

(this may have to become a regular blog feature)

Adachi and I were discussing some new words she has learned in context:

Me: So what does it mean if you can't hear?

Adachi: You're deaf!

Me: ...and if you can't see?

Adachi: Blind!

Me: Right! And what about if you can't talk?


Me: What are you if you can't talk honey?

Adachi: You're.....DEAD!


Spoken like the daughter of a true blabber mouth :)

Mar 9, 2006

In Memory of a Renaissance Man...Gordon Parks

Who's the cat that won't cop out
When there's danger all about?
Right On!

The Theme from Shaft, performed by Isaac Hayes

"Newt Winger lay belly-flat at the edge of the cornfield, his brown chin close to the ground, his eyes glued to a hill of busy ants. He singled out one struggling with tree bark twice it's size,
tugging it forward then sideways then backward up the incline. Being a veteran ant-watcher,
Newt tracked its course near perfect over the rough and slippery terrain." excerpt from the Learning Tree, the 1963 autobiographical Novel turned film

Ella Watson, a Washington, D.C. charwoman shown here in one of Parks' most famous photographs taken in 1942. - Library of Congress

Gordon Parks was an author, songwriter, screen writer, musician, and Life Magazine's first black photographer. His passing yesterday at the age of 93 is the subject of a very enlightening NPR interview that I highly recommend. I learned two main things listening to this story...(1) we know and love so many things, but have no idea where they came from or who created them, and (2) you absolutely CAN do all the creative and inspiring things you love and be good at them.

We are so fortunate that people like Mr. Parks honor us for a time, stay for a while, and leave us with so rich a legacy to enjoy.

Yeah - I listen to NPR talk's got a good beat. And sometimes...I dance to it.

Mar 6, 2006

...And He Cooks Too

I just had to give my dear hubby his props. He put together one of the larger pieces of furniture in our home a couple weeks ago - a bookshelf! We had boxes of books that haven't been unpacked (or dusted - cough, cough) since we moved here 3 years ago.

Well, he put these together over a few days time and I'm so proud and grateful for the finished product. (Did I mention he also does laundry...better stop lest I get hate mail).

The proof's in the pics...enjoy!

Patience, time, and a little elbow grease...VOILA!

(the girls thought this might be a good resting place for their bears, who are we to argue?)

My first Stitch-n-B****

**title censored just in case my mom ever actually reads this blog**
So yesterday a girlie get together plan actually came to fruition. I had Kelli & Tanya over to, well, SnB. We haven't roped Kelli into knitting yet, so no stitching for her (none for us either as it turned out) but we all had a great time chatting, fondling each other's yarn, and trading book tips. We even found time to eat and sip some wine! Hubby was out in the yard working on Old Reliable's brakes with our next door neighbor, whose daughters were inside playing with our girls. The 10 year-old, Chris has actually just learned to knit recently from her grandmother. Um...can you guess that I got a little excited??! Yeah. She and her sister are both home schooled, super smart and ultra polite. I see many play dates in our future...for the girls of course!! It's just a total bonus that Chris would love to learn how to knit better by practicing with me. What a treat.

I'll let the photos tell the rest of the story, but note that it is day 11 of my Cotton Classic Jumper Challenge and (drum roll) the front is done!! The light at the end of this tunnel just flickered a little brighter....thanks again to Kel for the fantastic photography:

That blanket was on the horse I rode on our trip to Cozumel last fall - two things I'm quite proud of in one shot.

Mizan takes up the sticks

Tanya's Work in Progress - a hooded jacket with this amazing yarn

Mar 3, 2006

Two Words...Shape Armholes (shudder)

Progress on the jumper is very encouraging at the moment. I've completed at 110 rows (14.5") on the side that will be the back (on the "front" I'll be a pattern pro and those stitches are bound to look more worthy of showing off, right? Right?! Anyone....? Bueller?) Well, that's my story...

Here are some shots taken today at the home of my colleague. His lovely wife indulged me and took some progress shots of the jumper (You notice a trend here? I must have quite the pitiful look when I gush about my inspires such kindness). I'm knitting a sweater for their 14 month old princess and I hope it will be worthy of their hospitality. The yarn is a treasure I found in Huntingdon Valley, PA on a business trip. Anyhoo...the Cotton Classic Jumper now looks like this:

You see those curling edges? Someone is really going to have to do something about those when it comes time to seam this thing...ha! I pity the fool who has to tackle that! (whimper)

One more shot - this is a close up of the 3x1 ribbing that makes up the bodice. Seems funny to call it a "bodice" when it's on an item for a 3 year old...sounds so womanly. Ah well, I'm honored to cover said bodice with a handmade token of love.

Next step - armhole shaping. Not sure why this worries me the way it does. Maybe because it's a critical element. The one that will turn this into something that looks closer to the finished product - a dress. Instead of what it looks like now - a badly misshapen scarf blob thing. Well I'm going to reckon with this next step with gusto. This project is 90% attitude! The other 10% is ripping out and restarting while mumbling bad words you don't want your toddler to associate with knitting or to repeat. Stitching on!

Today's Affirmation: I draw toward me the best things in others by offering them those things from myself.

Mar 2, 2006

Bluesol...Need Your 411

Thanks to each of you that takes a little time out to read my ramblings and leave words of kindness and encouragement. I'm having fun with this blogging bizness, and I'm happy to share that glee with you! Keep it comin'!

Thanks especially to my new found neighbors on the Knitting Help - there are no words...well, there are a few words. Something along the lines of "Oh #@!#!! It's 2am and I'm still on this forum!!!" :-) Totally worth the sleep deprivation though.

bluesol - thanks so much for your comments. I need your contact info to reply to your question please. PM me over at the KH forum, or email me directly from my profile.

More rambling to come....

Mar 1, 2006

Tink Tock, Tink Tock - The Frogs Come Out at Night

It's 12:48am; I had to frog about 6 rows on the Cotton Classic Jumper. Tough call. But you make clutch decisions like that when you have to...or when it's so late that your judgement is completely impaired by fatigue. Eh - either way. The ribbing directions had thrown me for a loop, but that's par for the course in this pattern. I apparently knit a row when I should have purled so the ribs were looking quite disjointed. The silver lining? I realized I had made a mistake...I could actually see my goof in the ribbing and then instead of plowing ahead ("it's handmade, it's supposed to have goofs") I frogged it. Even better, I used a trick Patty at my LYS taught me and got every stitch back on the needles and facing the right direction. Line up troops!! This heeyah jumper's due in 11 days. Let's git 'er done.

I've discovered a bonus treat too! Our library has a new program that allows you to download audio books to your hard drive or a CD...for FREE - very well within my price range. So tonight, I knit as I listened to October Suite by Maxine to find undiscovered stuff by black (female) authors. I'm totally hooked! I'm on a flight to Joi-sey in about 11 hours from now, and you can guess how I'll spend the three hours in the air! Bon nuit!

Today's affirmation: I already have all I need to succeed inside me.