Wednesday, February 21, 2007

I'm trying to knit a prayer shawl.

I forced my mother to show me how to knit when I was about 7. She had tried a couple of knitting projects, but didn't enjoy it. I can't believe I made her teach me something she hated. Seven-year-olds are insensitive like that. Anyway, by the time I was 12, I had knitted 2 afghans, crocheted a poncho, and made several pairs of slippers, scarves, mittens, and stuffed rabbits. My favorite pastime was grabbing whatever yarn and needles and knitting clothes around my dolls, designing them as I went along.

In college, I started knitting a sweater for a boyfriend. Luckily, my next boyfriend was about the same size. I ended up altering it into a hip-length sweater for myself. Sweaters are hard.

My next boyfriend became my fiancee. A mediocre craftsperson, I married into a family of artists. One of my new sisters-in-law told me that I would have been one of the few who flourished during the industrial revolution, I was so good at doing fast, accurate, repetitive work with my hands. I know she truly believes that she meant it as a compliment. I still find it impossible to take it as one.

More on this saga later. Bottom line, I still like to make things. That never goes away even when I'm not making them.

When I saw an ad in our church bulletin asking people to make and donate "prayer shawls" ( for local people under nursing and hospice care, I knew I had to do it. There was a scrap of a chance that someone in the world might benefit from a skill I had to offer, and I decided to take it.

Oddly, my skill failed me. I've had to rip out more on this project than its simplicity warrants. But I've recovered. This shawl will get finished. And it may keep someone warm...not a moment too soon.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

First thaw.

"First thaw" is ironic, because we only got the first snow a few days ago. Today it finally got above 30 F. After the snow, it stayed around 20 F for a couple of days. Then the ice sheet started to melt. When I opened my hatchback to put the trash and recyclables in the car, that broke the 1.5" thick layer of ice on my roof in half, and sent the front half down onto my windshield.

Ice is heavy. I couldn't lift it off myself. But I could sort of push it off to the side and off the car. When it hit the ground, it broke into chunks, which you can see here. When I got to the dump, I noticed the frozen snow/ice layer on the back half of my roof. Again, I couldn't lift it off, and since the car radio antenna went right through the middle of it, I couldn't push it off without damaging the antenna. I ended up lifting up one side, then the next, so that it broke up into pieces about 1 foot on a side. Then I could slide them off individually.

The man in the second picture is doing the same thing with the ice from his roof, which slid down at the Stop sign in front of our house.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Didn't work.

The flower food didn't work. The roses are drooping and the chocolates are getting eaten.

All we can do is savor the smell and taste.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Valentine's Day presents.

Ben gave me a dozen pink roses. After I took this picture, they started to sag. I'm trying to revive them with freshly cut stems, warm water, and flower food. I'll let you know how it goes.

I also got an unexpected gift: I won a contest at work. It was to guess the number of conversation hearts in the jar. The prize was a box of locally handmade chocolates. Yum. I usually don't win things like this. But I'll let you know the formula that helped me win this time: Try to figure out how many of each item (jelly bean, conversation hearts, whatever) there are in each layer of the container. Then just count how many layers you can see. My winning estimate was 1256 little hearts in a big glass jar.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Nor'easter of '07

After the scary warm fall and early winter, we finally got hit -- and good. Six inches of snow on Valentine's Day, followed by so much cold that the snow and rain turned into ice rather than evaporating away as usual.

The storm alternate between snow, sleet, and freezing rain. Here's a picture of me catching some snowflakes on my arm when the snow was at its fluffiest.

I'm grateful that I can telecommute. Wasn't always the case, not by a long shot. At my previous two companies jobs I was under explicit pressure to get to the workplace, even when doing so was unsafe to the point of being foolhardy. But I did it anyway. :)