Thursday, March 26, 2009

Cluck Cluck

A chicken update for those of you who MUST know. (And I know you are out there, those chickens are adorable!!!)

They are from the fab folks at Blue Sky----- using their yummy cotton. The chickens are part of a knit along over at Webs, Kathy and Pixie have been talking about them during the podcast knitaglong section and they have been making appearances at Kathy's blog.

In a bit of related sadness, I did hear from customer services at Webs this morning. Billing issue. Operator error of course, this happens when you use the company card to bill and the shipping address for home. Nothing matches, bummer. You know darn well that I'll be doing the happy dance when the chicken pattern does come, to tell the truth I'm a little busy to be getting ready to hatch a chick anyway.

Yarn selection? Oh yeah. Not sure what whimsical combination my chickens would be I got a fun array. Some buttery cream, some creamy white, some pink, some blue, some red------ and I think a very sunny yellow. My new tres chic black buffet (think fab French Country) will be in just in time to make the move and I'm just thinking a fat little chicken or two will look pretty great. I'll post colors later, maybe you can help me come up with great combos!

If you are chickening------ please let me know!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Other thoughts, yes more!

Minimum knitting content up front:

Two sleeves, one diamond repeat under my belt. Increases are marching up the sides, hidden there in ever expanding double seed as the sleeves start to look, well like sleeves. It is official, I'm getting bored with the cardi and ready to move on. It will be some time before this happens so I'm hanging in there. The knit group(s) girls are going crazy, vintage sweater/shells, blankets, almost finished sweaters with glitz----- and even a turtle! My next project was ordered on Monday. I had to have something FUN and maybe even a little silly. I'll be knitting chickens! (This is so totally your fault Kathy!)

The new loft (moving in under a month, yikes) will be done in French Country, I think a whimsical chicken or two will be rather fabulous!! Miles of natural cabled wooly goodness relief!!! I have been saying of late that I am knitting a boat cover. A boat cover!!! That is surely how it feels!

So, back to the vacation, the story, all those bits that you may find too personal or most boring. If that is the case===== wander on! :) I won't get my feelings hurt one bit!

The rest of vacation (outside of a couple shoots for work, one of which was cancelled which really torqued me off!)---- was spent eating seafood, lazing by the pool, going to the beach (one trip with the dogs and one without),-

eating more seafood, and knitting the occasional row or two.

The plate above is short on presentation deets from the kitchen but the shrimp in a sweet and sour bbq sauce were heavenly. Talk about fresh, yum.

When it was finally time to leave Florida, to head back to the realities of moving and work and life in general the weather was a gorgeous 86, bright blue skies and clear as a bell. We pulled out sadly headed for home. Home. Home right now is a gorgeous 100 year old house that I've made mine over the past 5 years with blood sweat and tears. Home that I'll be leaving. It's okay.

My brother lives in Ocala, about 3 hours down the road. He's my brother from 'forever', not by blood but by life. I hadn't seen him in 5 long years and we'd planned to stop and have a cup of coffee. See, the last words we had were shortly after my Mom had passed away and they weren't pretty ones. He was in a bad place financially (not much new there), like REALLY bad. My brother had always lived with my Mom even into his 40's, he worked the back end of the clock so wasn't underfoot, but around to keep an eye out for her and fix the occasional problem. The short verse is that he sold her home (which was paid for) and used all of the proceeds to try and get his butt out of a jam. I was so hurt that not only was I never given the opportunity to have some closure with her home but that every single penny went into his pocket. I told him that I thought he was dead wrong and should be ashamed. Our contacts from that point out were brief, and mostly around the holidays. Personally I think he knew he was an idiot about it all and that is the reason he kept his distance. Even sadder is that his financial jam never did get better, all of that money and the loss of the home I'd always hoped to retire to was gone. Irretrievably gone.

Remember how I said I try not to judge? Well, that still holds true but I do believe that you can't just stuff down feelings. I felt the need to tell my brother that what he did was wrong. I didn't yell or scream, I just told him the facts from my side. So years marched on with small contacts, mostly from me. They felt forced and I know he was hurting and sad. I'd made plans to stop and see him on our way through the sunshine state before my birth brother passed away. After the fact it seemed even more important.

We pulled into my brothers place of employment. The area he lives in is hurting financially like much of the country, especially Florida. He's taken a a pay cut, glad to be working. He lives with a friend and they recently lost their home to foreclosure so he's happy to have a place to live and a job that pays something, though not enough. When I saw him, fresh from the wound of having lost a brother to death, my heart broke. It absolutely broke in two. He works at a car dealer, back in the service department. Good honest work to be sure, he was dirty and just looked so damn tired and old. Thinner in body and hair, carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders that were decidedly less square and upright. So very sad. We hugged and it felt to me like he was just broken, looking for a fix I could not provide. What I can give you is love, and the forgiveness for what you undoubtedly consider the worst sort of treason. We talked, hugged some more and I headed off down the road because he had to get back to work. I know that we will try to build things back, but there is so much under the bridge. I can let it go but my fear is that he can't.

I cried all the way to Atlanta.

We stayed in a dog friendly hotel at a good rate, ate some good delivery pizza and hit the sack. I was worn out. The next day we drove the remainder of the way home-------- where spring had arrived in my absence.

I've been home now long enough to be losing the little tan I had. Touched base with my lovely knit group girls-------- the touchstone always feels sweet. The pay per load junk people have been to my basement which now looks fabulous and the last load of Christmas that will never fit in the loft is almost on the way to storage via the SUV. I've said farewell to tons of fabric and patterns (no yarn!!) and the cleaning and purging of 'stuff' has felt pretty good all in all. I've sold my pink scooter and my matched set of never swung golf clubs. Now if I could sell my gorgeous dining room set and the extra bedroom set.

I think that there is a new somethin-somethin out there...............................

Friday, March 20, 2009

Florida in the headlights

As the story rolls:

Florida was just about a reality. I am an Orlando girl in my heart of hearts and whenever I see that welcome sign with the little oranges on it saying "Welcome to Florida" it makes my heart beat faster. This vacation was what I needed more than anything, winter beats the bejabbers out of me and I limped toward the seasonal finish line battered and weary, out of shape and overweight. (dammit). All in all a lot of sunshine and some good food might be just what I needed to set me back to rights.

We drove hard through the Sunshine State seeing some sunshine but nothing having any resemblance to the HEAT that comes from the sun. It was about 40 degrees, too cold for any vacation without skis attached. I wore my handknit wooly socks all the way to Ft. Myers, how is that for depressing. (A side sock note: they DO look like clown barf! My next pair is going to have to be tonal or something.) I was glad to have had my lapful of wooly cabley goodness although I didn't knit on it nearly as much as I thought I would.

I'd barely driven past Ocala when my daughter sent me a text. Apparently she had seen a post from the night before on Facebook. "Where are you in Florida"? Because she is my child I am legally bound to do the right thing and tell her. When she finds out, it is her job to come from her now residence in Georgia. Not mind you that she misses me. Not that she loves her Mama. Not for any other reason than the fact that she is firmly entrenched in the selfish zone, not working but living with a military spouse and thereby full of funds and footloose. Can they (THEY) come and spend the week? Sorry, call me a jerk but NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! First vacay in years, tiny TINY place, one bedroom, and TWO more people? Have I mentioned no? They did end up coming for two days. Shortly after arrival she was wondering if I might cook her favorite dinner. (Refer back to no!) I know that sounds positively hateful, I am a nice person and a good mother, really. Right now my daughter is on the tough love diet. Personally I think it is hardest on me by a landslide.

Day One of vacation was chilly to be sure. We all (read: all) decided to drive the 50 minutes to San*ibel Island to see what we could see. Besides a brand spankin' new causeway and corresponding $6 bucks to drive the bridge---- we arrived to a jam packed island. If you've ever been the island is always crowded, but this was spring break after all. The bored looking traffic directors were everywhere whistling and gesturing, the license plates on the bumper to bumper traffic read like a map. Those on bicycles had the right idea, bundled against the chill they zipped far quicker than the cars in quicksand. First stop was a drive up to C*aptiva, wonderful and every bit as shishi, we ate lunch at the Bubble Room.

Yum. First fish of the trip, can you argue with anything from the grouper family? Nope. I did not take a photo of my fish, I should have. There were two ladies at a table across the room photographing their lunch and I just knew they had to be bloggers! After lunch we paid another six dollars to park for an hour (which is pretty standard) to walk a bit on the beach near the lighthouse. I love the lighthouse there because it really has nothing in common with the more 'known' lighthouses, smaller in scale and without that New England charm.

When I was a kid (like--- a long time ago) we went to S*anibel. Back then there was one motel and one restaurant, The Nutmeg House. The motel is still there under a different name and seemingly going strong. The Nutmeg House has changed hands several times. Back then the island was largely undeveloped and the shelling was nothing short of amazing. Now the island is developed within an inch of it's life and then some and the shelling while not bad is certainly not as it once was. Many find it necessary to go to several of the seashell shops that buy shells from the pros who dive the sandbars in the gulf finding the bigger prizes like the big lurex, and whelks. I still love Sa*nibel. On a trip back a few years we joined friends and indulged in the sport of sand dollaring. Basically, you go out at low tide when you can just reach the first sand bar with your feet, being able to stand comfortably. To dollar, you shuffle your feet along the smooth sand, leading with your toes which you sort of do a digging action with. With practice you learn to feel the sand dollars, kind of suctioned onto the sand. With a little bit of diggy-toes you lift them up and sort of flip them into your hand. They are not the pretty bleached sand dollars you're used to seeing, when they are fresh from the ocean they are damp and dark grey, sort of looking like cement. We go out with puffy air-filled loungers to hold the dollary booty. After a set period of time, the team with the biggest sand dollar wins. Those are our rules and may not be those set forth by the professional sand dollar academy at all. The loser generally has to make dinner or at least provide frosty beverages. Lots of frosty beverages. The sand dollars are tossed back into the sea, we are humane hunters. The willies for me always come when your toes make a scoopy catch and up comes a squirming and angry starfish-------eeeeeeeeeeeek!

We wrapped at the beach and went back to our (very) small little vacation home away from home with the kids in tow. As it was clear that I would not be preparing a big old dinner, Chinese food was brought in. After an evening of watching the girls watch stupid things on television and text endlessly making conversation difficult, they pushed off the next morning for M*iami and the K*eys. Sigh. I love my youngest but it was time for her to head off. I think that just maybe she will be mature by the time she is 50. Or so. I am holding out hope, after all isn't that what mothers do?

The pelicans are crazy on the gulf coast, really crazy. The odd thing is that it seems that just about everything is named after them. I suppose that this makes me wonder why because it isn't like they are cute birds or anything!

A brief Sweater Alert:

The second front of the cabled cardi has been bound off and both of the sleeves are on my longest Denise cables. While waiting for my car during it's oil change this morning I finished the last of the ribbing (1x1 rib, how boring are you?) So now it is time to set the pattern and get cracking on the sleeves.

The story continues to roll -----

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

A PKM Interlude---

A brief interlude from the story of late:

Lookie Lookie Lookie what the mailman brought today!! It was waiting for me when I got home from the studio! A wonderful winning of goodies from Pam Kitty Morning! I love me some Pam Kitty and what wonderous things came out of this box---- did my heart good I tell ya!

Camo'ed the addy's on the box........... look, PKM's cute little cherry logo right there on the return address!

Yummy green tissue paper-------- the excitement mounts!

OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOH------- the cutest vintagey Moda towel, the kind that gramma used to have with the calendar on it? Too cute. And check out the little box, Moda Bake Shop kids!!!!

LOVE it----

Two completely delicious and delightful Sweet Rolls from PKM, all yummy Moda. One is PATISSERIE (I love love love the new Fig Tree fabric from Joanna!) and Objects of Desire from Sandy Gervais! Both fantastic and gorgeous and yummy. I can't wait to see what lovelies come out of these delightful little strips!

Thanks Pam! You're wonderful!!!!

The story continues latah.........................

Monday, March 16, 2009

The story rolls on...

The phone started ringing when I'd barely finished my first cup of vanilla latte, road trip drink par excellence. “Hello? Hello? You are not even going to believe this!” My cousin Cindy was on the line and by the tone of her voice none too happy. “Aunt Carol isn’t going to the funeral!” I sort of sat there a minute, kind of not believing that a mother wouldn’t attend the funeral of her son, no matter that she was able to see him before he passed away and was able to say goodbye in their way. Not going? How can you not go? “Are you sure? I mean, what did she say?” I asked, sort of stumbling on my words. Apparently the new “hubby”, the one with the ceremony and not the license because we don’t want to lose the goodies, had company coming. He didn’t want to tell them that they couldn’t come. I guess in his highly screwed up world when a child dies you don’t want to miss the occasion to hang out with friends coming into town. Idiot! Moron! Somehow that doesn’t even begin to cover it. Quite frankly, I couldn’t call my Mom, not then, not yet. It sort of percolated.

One of the things I try very hard to do is not to judge, to remember that everyone’s life is their own experience and that they do the best at the time with what they have to work with. I know for a fact that I can’t change my Mother’s mind, nor do I try. I also am aware that she is one stubborn woman; it seems to be a family trait that I recognize for what it is. I know that my Mom (gets confusing doesn’t it, I mean the Mom that raised me) would laugh and say that such stubbornness does not come from her side of the family! No, she was far more refined. We will not speak about jumping on the furniture while speaking one of her only two phrases of Spanish, or how she could get in trouble with the best of them. Gosh, I miss her.

By the time I spoke with Mom, she was upset and in a sort of panic over the whole thing. “Nobody understands that I have to support my husband!” Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiight. Okey dokey. See there goes that whole judgment thing right out the window. “Mom, first of all, you really have to just forget what you think anybody thinks about you, it’s really a big waste of time.” She sniffled into the other end of the phone. “You tell me that you were able to say your goodbyes and that you can’t go to the funeral. What else is up?” Her reply kind of took my breath away when she said “Well hubby doesn’t want to tell his friends that they can’t come and he got so mad that he said if he had someplace else to go he would!” More sniffles, and to tell the truth I kind of felt bad for her. You see, at any age that first hot flush of love and passion can die out when you get the Real Picture. Not that I’m judging or anything but I think the mister’s deal was that he hit the Mother Lode. He got to move out of his little park model and into a nice big house with a pretty lady with a big bank account. And we all know and have flat out whispered about the fact that he was pretty quick about quitting his job at Wal*Mart. Fairly crappy when you think about it and I don’t mind telling you that I’m six ways of pissed off about the whole thing. “Mom, honey, you have to do what you have to do. You have to make the very best decision you can and live with it”. The sigh from the phone was palpable. Poor baby, I really felt bad for her. “Mom, I can’t make this decision for you. I think you should go, you do what you must.” And she mumbled her agreement and she got off the phone telling me she’d call later. Time warp forward to a point after the funeral and this is one sad and miserable woman. Her hubby was a jerk who had no right to ask her to do that, apparently he feels badly about it. Not bad enough if you ask me---- damn there goes that judgment thing again. I feel horrible for her, the gild is not only off the lily of love (so to speak) but in whatever twist of mind made her decide not to go to her son’s funeral is going to be an absolute bitch to live with.

My head still spinning with all things family we rode for awhile listening to “Very V*alentine” (fab-u-lous) and lamented the fact that the further we got away from home the more expensive gas became.

When I drive through that part of the country I get a happy little thrill when going through Monteagle Tennessee. When I was a girl and our family would load the station wagon for vacation it always involved a trip through the mountains. Monteagle is the peak of that particular stretch of road and the vistas are exceptional. Years ago we’d stop for country ham on little biscuits that my Father dreamed all year long about. Now I think it is another restaurant entirely and it was so foggy we were afraid to pull off the road and see if those little biscuits might still be on the menu.

With Atlanta in our sights we pulled into a great weekend deal at the H*ilton., all those businessmen are home leaving the rest of us with lodging we can afford. Nice little suite, excellent soft bed and friendly folks. The other shoe did not drop until the local weatherman said that snow was in the forecast. Yes indeedy. Snow. In Atlanta in mid March. Yikes.

The dogs ran for the bed............ at home they can't scale the heights without help so they just helped themselves. Ah, king sized too! Delightful!

With the alarm clock set to a very un-vacationly time of 6:30 a.m. it was time to head out to try and beat the snow. The word “try” should be noted, there was not snow on the ground but it flurried and blew and snowed almost all the way to Florida. (Where my daughter, She the Difficult One, chose to pop in for a surprise visit). Perhaps the snow was just the beginning of hell freezing over.

More later……….

Saturday, March 14, 2009


I have to revisit the photo of the beach chairs and the umbrella ocean side fairly often these days. It is still cold here at home and although the daffodils and forsythia are making a showing, I still feel as though spring is quite far away. The pundits of weather are calling a couple days next week in the 70's so I suppose that might be true, just not fast enough for me.

So much happened between my ears while I was away (which sounds pretty funny-- as if I'm saying that this is a unique situation)------ and I feel compelled to share.

If you are not so much into the sharing thing and only here for the knitty and quilty bits, I suggest you come back in a week or so and by then I will have something to show you.

I'd SO longed for vacation, it had been too long and to say I was profoundly weary is a huge understatement. Pulling out of home with the car packed to the gills and the dogs in tow felt good, really good. My brother had passed away long enough so it was no longer shocking, but still recently enough that my heart was sore. His wife had decided upon the date for the memorial service and I could not go. During the vacation was a contracted event (the self employed work at every chance after all) that I was bound to. I hated it but made my peace. My brother and I were as close as 15 years together could make us, 15 years of emails and phone calls and seeing each other not often enough. He was my birth brother, the second youngest living way out in California. In the birth order I am the oldest followed with a year apart three brothers, like stair steps, boom boom, and boom. Over the span of my life I always knew I was adopted, my Mother told me the story repeatedly at my request. How she loved me from the second she met me there in the hospital bassinet, looking at her with big brown eyes that promised much. Really I was quite fortunate. My adoptive parents were pretty great, I had everything I needed and much that I did not. Even today 15 years after my Mother's passing I laugh to remember her oft said statement, "Children only need the best education their parent's can afford and a bicycle!" I had both and much, much more. I even had a car when I turned 16, an ice blue C*orvair that my boyfriend and I added a sweet stereo system and a Cherry Bomb Muffler. It was my Mom's old car, given to me when she upgraded to a sassy little tomato red Toyot*a. She had given me a copy of my original birth certificate when I was about 13, "just because" and I did a hunt of sorts. Nothing turned up. Well, one day I placed a phone call to the name on that aging piece of paper and said "I know you don't know me but my birthday is April X. Does that mean anything to you?". The woman's voice on the other end of the line said "Honey, I know what you are saying but I don't know who you are". Disappointed I stopped looking. Today I realize that I reached someone in the family that day, someone that wasn't ready to step into a new relationship. I've lived long enough to know for a fact that timing is everything. It was okay, not like I was heartbroken or anything, I had parents- a brother- a life. That was the summer I was visiting family (where my birth parents lived and had since I was born) and Jim Morrison died in Paris. In a funny way I was more upset about the demise of the Doors.

The Internet popped on the scene and I was right there with my IBM 286 and a connection that today would drive me insane with its speed. How I loved being able to explore and even make friends with people I'd never met, it was heady stuff. Remember the early days of P*rodigy? From there on a whim I found a group that was comprised of children and birth parents separated by adoption. Alone in the house one afternoon with my youngest child sleeping I logged on to the forum with my birthdate and parents names. Less than four hours later the phone rang.

"Hello? Tina? I think I found your birth parents!" the voice was so excited, so full of hope and promise. I couldn't believe it myself, it seemed surreal. But found them we did. My friend from the adoption boards called my parents first, as the intermediary. Of course I did not want to intrude, to push into a family situation where I was not wanted. The word came back to call the next day about Noon.

"Hello?" I said, quietly- nervously- hoping and on edge. "Is this my daughter?" were the first words from my Mom. Actually I didn't call her Mom right off the bat, my Mother was still alive then and in some way it felt improper. We talked for hours that day, and over the next week until I made plans to fly in and meet my Mom and Dad. Unbelievably although she was 13 when I was born, my father 17, they had married after family pressure to give me up and were still married 40 years later. I flew in for the weekend without a clue and came home 48 hours later knowing a lot more about who I was.

Now I believe unequivocally in how both environment and heredity play a huge part in defining us as human beings, in who we are and how we came to be that way. I'm very much a blend of my birth mother's looks and my Mother's creativity. My birth father contributed the gift of gab and the dry sense of humor. My Dad instilled deep in me a practicality, that little piece that bubbles up and with a cool optomism always wants to know what the worst case scenario could possibly be. All a very interesting pot of soup that continues to unfold every day.

Soon, the brothers called, "So I can't believe you haven't called!", "I can't wait to meet you", and the emails and phone calls and letters began our relationships. My youngest brother passed away not long after sending me a hand written letter that he was happy to know he had a sister and that he was the black sheep of the family. Sadly, I never met him. He succumbed to a bad mix of diabetes, drugs and alcohol. I met the other two brothers separately when traveling through their part of the country. We were never as close as siblings that grew up together and shared the "mean years" but we do honestly love each other and have forged a bond. Surely it is because of this that the old adage about blood being thicker than water has been given true meaning.

My brother Mitch, who recently passed away was the second youngest and I can say without a doubt that while the suddenness of his illness and death took our breath away, he wouldn't have had it any other way. He called me 't' from the start, somehow knowing that it was the shorthand name that I prefer. We always had that shorthand, that quick to the chase kind of knowing.

As we drove through Missouri, and Illinois I looked out the window and thought of Mitch, and of this family I stand on the fringe of. I've met most of them, and they have pulled me in with love and grace. It is I who find home on the fringe, standing there because I can't divide my loyalties and still have not found just the right way to dance in both worlds. In that space is where we all fight to remember that I while I was born to it, I have been away a long time and have another family by my side. I guess I would be fairly accurate when I say that it is standing between two worlds and trying to balance them both in a way that honors each.

...more to come...

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Home Again Jiggety

I'm home. Got home yesterday afternoon about 4 actually, tired, stiff, sore, COLD, and not quite ready for time away to be over. I have battled my way through laundry, a big run to Costco and the fill in run at the grocery----- emails, and uploading photos and the general sorting and filing. Slowly but surely I'm getting a grip.

I think. Did I mention that it was COLD....... long gone are the lush temps in the mid-80's.

I did come home to the most wonderful package however!!

I love Valori Wells and all things Val as a matter of fact. She emailed right before I left for Florida to tell me that her darling girls had pulled my name from her blog post and I WON goodies. You know I've been in a little funk so goodies were so exciting to think about.

I opened the Priority envelope to find a yummy fat pillow of green tissue paper-----

Fabric from Valori----- fabric from her "Olive Rose" collection if I'm not mistaken.

With new digs coming up May 1 I know for a fact I'll put these into service somewhere and can't wait to create with their yummyness.


I have loads of thoughts and a photo or two from vacay------- coming up soon. Until then, this was the view on the dashboard coming through the mountains somewhere between Georgia and Tennessee.

With luck the other front of the cabled cardi will bind off this weekend. Two sleeves to go plus the little puttery parts.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

The interim

I have a new camera, and no blog photos. The answer is that this seems to be the interim time when one has a decent internet connection (no mean feat) married with the fact that I have two short days left of vacay. That makes me sad. In this interim I do have a few quips:

  • the weather finally got warm and is in the mid 80's--- heaven to my winter weary soul.
  • as I said on my Facebook page I am no longer the color of white t shirts directly out of the package but have a slight coloring that does look "vacation-esque".
  • the bit of work during the aforementioned vacay has gone well and been for the most part painless.
  • the new camera is small and portable and seems very nice but that sucker is not like the big Canon that's for sure. The change of viewfinder from the little peepy hole to the entire back of the camera is making me bonkers. I may be getting used to it for some time to come. The task of the first time to take photos out of her and plug them in here still looms large.
  • I'm amazed by the lack of knitting happening! Very little, although what does come off the needles is pleasurable and lovely.
  • My goal of eating enough seafood to swim home is coming along nicely. Favorite new restaurant and best fish in the world part two this evening after some beach portraits.
And I don't miss routine at all, like NONE! :) See you at home where the weather is currently most spring like. I'm counting on Mother Nature staying the course.