Knit Wit Living

Reflections, Beading, Knitting, Life

Archive for the category “Loss and Life”

InCoWriMo – A New Habit

A friend posted on Instagram that she was challenged to participate in “InCoWriMo,” and to pm her to receive a hand-written note. I signed right up.
Then I looked up InCoWriMo –

InCoWriMo is the short name for International Correspondence Writing Month, otherwise known as February.

With an obvious nod to NaNoWriMo for the inspiration, InCoWriMo challenges you to hand-write and mail/deliver one letter, card, note or postcard every day during the month of February.

Personal notes take me back to receiving and sending notes in my childhood. I remember getting notes from my grandmother that started with “Julie Dear,” instead of “Dear Julie.”  In my mind, my grandmother was very fancy because she had a typewriter (with the changeable ball for different fonts [though I’m not sure they were called fonts back then]) and typed the letters. The only handwriting was her signature at the end. We always sent thank you notes (much to my chagrin) and even letters from sleep away camp or if a friend moved away.

Diane’s note arrived about two weeks after I signed up, and I decided I had to do this too!  The videos on the InCoWriMo site were helpful. Ultimately I decided they were really just to hold my hand to get started.  They didn’t tell me anything new though it was nice to see people having a conversation about personal correspondence, like bringing back old traditions in a modern context.

As I like beating to a different drum, or really because I found out about it late, I decided to start in March, after ordering new note cards.

InCoWriMo

So it’s been 9 days.

On my way home from work I start to think about the person to whom I’m going to write and what I’d like to share.  I come into my home, get my mail, leaf through it, put my things down, write the person’s name on my writing calendar, grab a note card, an envelope, and the object in which I have the person’s address (my phone or an address book), sit down at the kitchen counter, write the note, address the envelope, put a stamp on it, put it in my purse sticking out so I remember to mail it on my way to work the next day.

InCoWriMo

When I come home, I say in my mind, “Hi Honey, I’m home!” and the house answers me back with a greeting. Now, I also sit down and actually talk to someone via my writing.  After I prepare it for mailing, I get to live with the anticipation of having it arrive at the person’s home and surprising them with a hand-written personal note.  Then I get a nice feeling thinking about making them smile, and hopefully feeling appreciated that someone took the time to write and send them a letter. I hope they feel touched that I reached out to them and shared my life.

Sending a hand-written note is the short version of knitting a gift for someone. You think of them while you’re deciding what project to do, what yarn, what colors. You’re thinking of them as you knit. You’re thinking of them while you’re preparing to give it.  The whole object is wrapped up in your thoughts of them.

Texts are good but phone calls are even better. A hand-written note, well, it has its own category.

If you would like me to send you a hand-written note, please email me your name and address to knitwitliving@gmail.com.

My Amish Mistake

I wrote a report on the Amish and Mennonites when I was in middle school. I was bothered by one of their practices to purposely make a mistake in their work based on the belief that only God can make something perfectly.  This really irked me because if only God could make something perfectly, then there was no need to make a mistake, because one would naturally happen.  Their “logic” annoyed me to no end.  As you can probably tell, it still bothers me.  Now, when I make a mistake I usually just refer to it as “my Amish mistake” and carry on with my project.

At what point does one really need to undo the work and redo it?

I have started knitting a 47″ wide Missoni Inspired Chevron Blanket because I am insane and didn’t learn my lesson about doing large projects with the Poncho I recently finished.

My Amish Mistake

This is the pattern picture, i.e. what it’s supposed to look like at the end.

There are 361 stitches, and I repeat the 60-stitch pattern 6 times.  It will be beautiful…when it’s finished….

My Amish Mistake

It took me some time to get the M1 stitches correct, but I figured I could carry on and when it was blocked the rows would come together.

My Amish Mistake

I dropped a stitch at one point and pulled the others up through it.  There was still a slight hole but I figured I could go back later with a needle and yarn and make it look normal.

My Amish Mistake

A lot of work!

BUT THEN….I dropped a S1 K2T PSSO stitch.  Damn! There was no way getting around this one.

My Amish Mistake

The one that could not be absolved.

RIP!  Funny how RIP-ping a piece out also stands for Rest in Peace.  Funny or sad.  Knitting humor. Or not.

Get out the Kleenex.  For the tears while ripping out rows and rows of 361 stitches.

Time to start anew.

My Amish Mistake

December 2015 Reading Report – Books Read

December is a good month for reading.  For those of us not preoccupied with holiday activities, there is plenty of time to read (bead, knit, etc.) and bookstore sales to help feed the hunger.

The second half of December is very quiet in my office.  A lot of people take this time off, which provides those of us still at work the opportunity to catch up on the little tasks that just never get done.  However, enough is enough, and I only worked two days this week.  I would love that to be my new norm. 2 work days each week, but full time pay.  That would be nice!!

I think a lot of people were reading this month because I received 5 books from my library holds list.  The Marriage of Opposites by Alice Hoffman didn’t even make it to this month’s Reading list. I just knew I wouldn’t get through the other books, so I re-entered its Hold line.

Slade House by David Mitchell had been on my To Read list, and LD gave it to me as a holiday gift.  Its reviews referred to it as a haunted house story, so I did not want to read it before bed!  I spent two hours one afternoon to read it.  Among the many reviews –

“An eerie haunted house tale that takes as much from quantum mechanics as from traditional supernatural lore.”

Dean Koontz, #1 New York Times bestselling author

I read it in one sitting because I knew if I put it down, it would be unlikely that I would pick it up again.  The characters were not really developed, except perhaps the Slade House inhabitants; I would not recommend it, but I’m glad I read it so I can take it off my list!

Books Read December 2015

TitleAuthorRating
Stringing, Winter 2016
icon
MagazineGood
Betsy BeadsBetsy HershbergThumbs Up
How to be BothAli SmithSo far so good
Black Box Thinking: Why Most People Never Learn from Their Mistakes--But Some DoMatthew SyedOnly a little way in
Slade HouseDavid Mitchell2 stars
1,000 Foods to Eat Before You Die: A Food Lover's Life ListMimi SheratonDownloaded a Sample - on the fence about next step
Season of Salt and HoneyHannah TunnicliffeNot for me (see below)
Four Funerals and a WeddingJill SmoloweWhat was I thinking?
The Rosie ProjectGraeme SimsionUgh
100 Days of HappinessFausto BrizziNot for me (see below)
The Improbability of LoveHannah Rothschild3 stars

The Improbability of Love was my primary read this month. I give it 3 stars because I skipped a lot of pages that just seemed to be extraneous story telling, but there were 2 primary concepts that kept me engaged. The main character, Annie,  is recovering from divorce and restarting her life. She buys a painting in a thrift shop on a lark, and part of the story that was interesting is about discovering its origins and artist. The other portion of the story that really fascinated me was about her work as a cook for large dinner parties that were based on certain paintings. She would research the food, decor, etiquette and customs of the time of the painting, as well as the painter’s and the painting subject’s lives, and then create a meal and decorations around it. The author should have done more writing in this vein, rather than some of the other avenues she chose.

December 2015 Reading

I’ve really just started How to Be Both, but it seems to be somewhat similar in taking an older painting and seeing how it re-introduces itself in modern life: “How to be both is a novel all about art’s versatility. Borrowing from painting’s fresco technique to make an original literary double-take, it’s a fast-moving genre-bending conversation between forms, times, truths and fictions. There’s a renaissance artist of the 1460s. There’s the child of a child of the 1960s. Two tales of love and injustice twist into a singular yarn where time gets timeless, structural gets playful, knowing gets mysterious, fictional gets real – and all life’s givens get given a second chance.”

December 2015 Reading

I believe I was undergoing some unconscious need for grief counseling or moving on or something this month, when I selected Season of Salt and Honey, Four Funerals and a Wedding, and 100 Days of Happiness. Okay, yes for this theory with Four Funerals and a Wedding which is blatantly described as “With humor and quiet wisdom, and with a lens firmly trained on what helped her tolerate and rebound from so much sorrow, she offers answers to questions we all confront in the face of loss, and reminds us that grief is not only about endings it’s about new beginnings.” I only got this as a sample, because I hate trite sentimentality like “not only about endings it’s about new beginnings.” I think I knew I wouldn’t like it, but somehow couldn’t resist. Then, Season of Salt and Honey was from my library’s Holds list. By the time the book’s in my queue, I’ve forgotten what it’s about or why I wanted to read it. Given my recent trip to Italy, I can see why I might have been attracted to this novel: “A NOVEL OF LOVE, GRIEF AND ANTIPASTI.” However, it starts out at the Italian equivalent of a shiva for the main character’s fiance. That was enough for me. Done. Book over. Finally, I don’t know what I was thinking when I put 100 Days of Happiness on my account as a Hold. “What would you do if you knew you only had 100 days left to live? For Lucio Battistini, it’s a chance to spend the rest of his life the way he always should have—by making every moment count” drew me in for some reason. When DDSO was undergoing chemotherapy, he sent emails to his friends about his experiences. This book reminded me of that. I definitively closed the book and said if I wanted to read this, I would look for those emails. Enough said. No thanks.

December 2015 Reading

I downloaded a sample of Mimi Sheraton’s 1,000 Foods to Eat Before You Die: A Food Lover’s Life List. (I like using the word “sample” with this book because it always makes me smile thinking about getting a sample of each food!) I perused the first chapter, which is centered on English and Scottish food. As one of my friends said, English food is not even supposed to be good – why is that included?! Maybe the author was starting off with the simpler foods in life – like cheddar cheese and clotted cream. Anyway, I think it might be fun to have this book and check off foods as I have them. I haven’t quite decided if this is what I want to do. Maybe a library book version next?

 

 
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I Ironed My Sheets

I know. I want to tell you about the books I read in July.  I’ve also been beading and knitting.  But what I want to really share with you is that I ironed my sheets this morning.

I ironed my sheets

Ye olde ironing board

There is something about taking the time to actually iron these days. And sheets, what a luxury!

I did not have the TV or radio on. Just me, the sheets, the deliciously lemon-verbana scented ironing spray, the iron, and the ironing board.  Taking some leisure time to pamper myself.

I ironed my sheets

Extra pampering with the ironing spray

As I ironed, I treasured that at this point in my life I am able to do this for myself.  No kids running around, no pressing schedule.  I can just iron my sheets.

I am in the midst of reading The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo, whose message is to surround yourself with things that give you joy.  She even discusses folding, and how your intentions and care go into the items you fold.  I paid extra special attention to my folding this morning.

I ironed my sheets

Nicely put away

The sheets almost look like a pile of handkerchiefs in the linen closet.

I have ironed my sheets before, every time they’re washed.  It is such a pleasure (and I usually do my best to avoid ironing!) to take the time to do this for myself.

My linen closet smells better. When the sheets are on my bed, I feel luxurious.  Every time I sleep in them, I take pride in my effort and accomplishment.

I ironed my sheets

It is joy.

December 2014 Reading

Here’s my reading update for December 2014. I found this great quote (from Nick Hornby) to justify (to myself) some of my lighter reading predilections this month.

I’m beginning to see that our appetite for books is the same as our appetite for food, that our brain tells us when we need the equivalent of salads, or chocolate, or meat and potatoes.

My brain was telling me to go light, light, light with a Nora Roberts trilogy, and go deep for relationships with Carol Wall’s memoir, Mister Owita’s Guide to Gardening, and to delve deeper into loss and death with Caitlin Doughty’s Smoke Gets in Your Eyes and Other Lessons from the Crematory and Roz Chast’s Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant?

When I started the month, I thought that I was going to go overboard  by buying too many books, but after two splurges (and one book on back order so it doesn’t count for this month!) the purchases stopped.  I had hit the Interweave book sale and then a book fair at my temple and was satisfied.

Books Bought December 2014

TitleAuthor
150 Scandinavian MotifsJane Mucklestone
Unexpected Afghans Robyn Chachula
Graphic Knits Alexis Winslow
The BetrayersDavid Bezmozgis
The Kosher Carnivore: The Ultimate Meat and Poultry CookbookJune Hersh
The Book of Schmaltz: Love Song to a Forgotten FatMichael Ruhlman
Encyclopedia of Jewish FoodGil Marks

The Betrayers was purchased for a book club meeting in February, so I haven’t even opened it yet. I’ve coveted the three books from Interweave Press for some time, so was thrilled to get them at a discount at an extended Black Friday/Cyber Monday sale. The only thing wrong with the Kosher Carnivore is that it doesn’t have any Pork recipes (can you imagine!). Pork is one of my favorite meats, but I had to buy this book anyway because it has some good recipes (for example, Coffee-Crusted Hanger Steak,  Roasted Veal Shoulder with  chicken liver stuffing, Simple Spatchcocked Chicken and roasted root vegetables) to get me out of my usual cooking methodology.  I think Simple Spatchcocked Chicken was one of the recipes I looked at while determining to buy the book, and this description definitely leveraged my decision:

Grab your dictionary and you’ll find that spatchcock is a method of splitting (butterflying) a chicken. It’s a fun word, which you can use to impress your friends or win at Scrabble. If time is of the essence, but you want to make a crispy, flavorful roast chicken, spatchcocking is a great option.

December 2014 Reading

I completely excelled at reading this month! I rediscovered my library beyond the e-selection, and now juggle between my e-books and my hard books, and my knitting – oh, yeah and work and life too.

December 2014 Reading

TitleAuthorRating
The HeistDaniel SilvaNot a fan
The Next AlwaysNora RobertsEnjoyed it
The Last BoyfriendNora RobertsEnjoyed it
Mister Owita's Guide to Gardening: How I Learned the Unexpected Joy of a Green Thumb and an Open HeartCarol Wall Thumbs Up
Europe on a Budget: Real Stories from Studying and Backpacking Around EuropeMartin Westerman and Mark PearsonEnjoying it
Big Little LiesLiane MoriartyEngaged to the end
The Italian WifeAnn HoodBig Thumbs Down - did not get through the first chapter
Desire LinesChristina Baker KlineCaptivating but un-fulfilling
Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of EverythingSteven D. Levitt, Stephen J. DubnerReturned to the library to read another time
Vogue Knitting, Winter 2014/2105MagazineGood
Eat the Yolks: Discover Paleo, Fight Food Lies, and Reclaim Your HealthLiz Wolfe, NTPGood, have not finished it yet
Smoke Gets in Your Eyes & Other Lessons from the CrematoryCaitlin DoughtyToo much - skimmed through toward the end
Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant?Roz ChastThumbs Up
The Perfect HopeNora RobertsGood

I was thinking which was my favorite book this month. I thought it might be Eat The Yolks because it explains the Primal/Paleo food movement, scientific thought and reasoning so well. I would highly recommend it.  However, the author’s writing style is a little too chatty for me. On one hand, it’s good because the information is presented at a personal level, but on the other hand, it’s annoying.

Then the tales from the Crematory was really fascinating.  We just hit the 3rd year anniversary of DDSO’s passing, and I was wondering what state his body was in at this point. so it was really good timing for me to happen upon this book.  Not that I got this question answered exactly, because the author worked in a crematorium and DDSO is buried, but she expounded upon many cultures’ handling of death, as well as the body’s decaying progress/process.  So it was good, but it went on a little too much for me and I ended up skimming through the last third of the book.  I would still recommend it though.

I also enjoyed Roz Chast’s book. It was funny, it was moving, it was complete.  A complete story that told the story of her parents’ relationship with each other and with her, and the struggle through their final years. A quick read (2-3 hours) and totally engaging.

In the end, I must go with Carol Wall’s memoir, Mister Owita’s Guide to Gardening, as my favorite reading this month.  Carol hired Mister Owita to help with her landscaping and together they also grew a friendship. The book is about how one doesn’t really know what other people are thinking or going through, how one’s perceptions of other people’s lives are never really how you imagine, and how people get along, or don’t. It’s one of those books that you want to know how the relationships and the people turn out but at the same time you don’t want it to end.

Early note for New Year’s Resolutions

I am admittedly into New Year resolutions.

Sometimes the better resolutions come to mind before (or after?!) January!

I found this in some notations I had made over the summer:

I am going to be true to myself, keep my eyes open, and be open to possibilities.

Food for thought as the new year approaches.

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