Sunday, November 30, 2008

Attitude: Pending...

Ok, so, after spending most of the pre-Thanksgiving days and Thanksgiving Day itself relatively crabby and irritated, it was looking like the same attitude was going to carry over into Christmas, as evidenced by my Facebook status line last night, "Lisa is done with the tree...fa la la...yadda yadda..." 

This is not good.

This whole prolonged stormy mood of mine is rather uncharacteristic for me. (A lot of that going on lately, it seems.) So I've been trying to figure out why I've been such a -- well, let's be honest -- bitch for the past week. 

Part of it, I've deduced, was that I just really did not feel like hosting Thanksgiving this year. I do it every  year. I'd love for someone else to do it, but no one else volunteers, so I do it. And really? It's not that big a deal. I know my family appreciates it, and it gives my mother-in-law a break since she does the rest of the holidays. But this year...I just really didn't want to, but by the time I allowed myself to admit that (because it made me feel horribly selfish to consciously feel that way), it was too late to change plans. Thus, I did it with a bad attitude, which is never a good thing. 

The other part of it is that I've felt so rushed lately. Ever since getting back from our trip earlier this month, I just haven't felt like I've fully regrouped and gotten back into the swing of our routine. (And trying to re-engage in routine at this time of year is fairly ludicrous, you know?) But I felt like I never really caught up with everything...housework, school work, laundry, shopping, just kept snowballing, and I was sorely in need of some down time. Even my precious alone-time Saturdays weren't as helpful as they usually are because they kept getting interrupted.

So now, looking toward Christmas, I keep feeling like it was going to just be another month of the same...more rushing, more work, more commitments...none of which I'm going to ever feel caught up with. 

This is not how I want to spend the Christmas season.

As I take stock further, though, I realize that I'm not as bad off as I could be. In fact, I'm a little ahead of the game! 

...I actually have about 90% of my shopping done, so that's a huge load off (and I did a good bit online this year...paying shipping costs is an acceptable trade-off for not having to face the hordes in the stores, IMO). 

...Last year, I let go of the self-prescribed mandate that I must hand make my Christmas cards, so for the second year now, I've purchased them and just have to write them out and send them (I've even got pictures to send already, since we had family pictures taken this year for the new church directory).  

...I bought a new artificial tree this year, a "slim" tree, which is pre-lit and the branches all work on this hinge system, so putting it up was so fast. We've always had this huge, bushy artificial tree, which I do love because it looks so very pretty, but we have a small living room in our small house, and so for an entire month, I've got furniture displaced and the tree obstructs the view of the TV for anyone sitting in the far corner, which happens to be where I usually sit. TV aside, having half the living room taken up with a fake tree for 1/12 of the year just really stresses me feels so cluttered and claustrophobic. So now that problem is alleviated, and while this tall, skinny tree is going to take some getting used to, I think it will be better in the long run.

...I've consciously decided not to make any knitted gifts this Christmas. I killed myself doing it last year. This year, no. If I do knit any gifts, they'll be small and last-minute, not big and stress-inducing. (Not feeling guilty about this because I knit for my family all year anyway!)

...Growing up, my mom baked out the wazoo for Christmas...dozens and dozens of cookies. When I got married, I didn't know that was actually optional. Ha! Even the year I had a baby on December 2nd -- by c-section --  I was in the kitchen baking my brains out less than a week later. Insane! In recent years, though, I've cut my baking waaaaay back. We pick maybe a half-dozen types of cookies, I bake up a batch of each and that's it. Enough for us and a few cookie trays for gifts. When they're gone, they're gone. I plan to follow the same reasoning this year. No baking-related stress.

So, you see, I've discovered that my attitude is largely related to boundaries...the ones I set for myself as much as the ones I don't set. It's all about knowing my limitations and trying to live within them. Must keep this in mind for the next month. 

"I didn't even have time to close my eyes."

You've probably seen this one before:

  • Grab the closest book (not your favorite book, just whichever one is closest).
  • Go to page 56.
  • Find the 5th sentence.
  • Use it as your blog title or Facebook or MySpace status line.
  • Copy these directions as a comment so others can play along.

The closest book to me was Twilight, as my son is reading it now. (Honest, I did not search it out on was just sitting there on the dining room table!) The 5th sentence of page 56 is from a pretty pivotal scene, actually. I like the simplicity of the line by itself. "I didn't even have time to close my eyes." How many things can we say that about in life, eh?

(Providing commentary about your 5th sentence is completely optional, LOL. I just can't seem to help myself...I'm prone to babbling.)


In relaxation mode tonight...decorated the tree tonight, and now I'm just sittin' here chillin'...listening to the Twilight soundtrack for about the bazillionty-th time (lovelovelove) and reading blogs. (And did I mention that the kids and I went out for a spur-of-the-moment second viewing of Twilight late last night? Fun! I'm so not done, though...must see it again.) Found this Do It, Done It list on Lain's blog (if you're a scrapper, check out Lain's new book!) and we all know what a sucker I am for lists.

The ones in bold are things I've done; the ones in italics are things I'd like to do. 

1. Started your own blog
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band

4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than you can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland
8. Climbed a mountain
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sang a solo

11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown your own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France

20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitch hiked
23. Taken a sick day when you're not ill
24. Built a snow fort

25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping

27. Run a marathon 
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset

31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors

35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught yourself a new language
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person

39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo's David
41. Sung karaoke
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant 
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance

47. Had your portrait painted
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain

53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater
55. Been in a movie (it was a promotional video for a non-profit, but I'm counting it!)

56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia

60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies 
62. Gone whale watching
63. Got flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma

65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial

71. Eaten caviar
72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades

75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem

84. Had your picture in the newspaper
85. Read the entire Bible
86. Visited the White House

87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
88. Had chicken pox
89. Saved someone's life
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one
94. Had a baby

95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a law suit
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee
100. Read an entire book in one day

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

Despite my crabby bad attitude this week leading up to Thanksgiving, which lasted until, oh, about noon today, I'm feeling better and better able to actually celebrate the day. The oldest is on leave this weekend so he and his family are up for the weekend. They were here for a few hours, and it was good...we laughed and played games and, in true boy form, there was much wrestling and rough-housing with his two younger siblings (and the big kid, goofing around, landed a solid punch right in the side of my OUCH! Sheesh!). Some things never change, and I'm glad about that.

The in-laws are here now, so it's just the seven of us for dinner. They usually don't stay late, so I'm toying with the idea of maybe going to see Twilight again later tonight. And tomorrow? I'm staying as far, far away from the malls and stores as I possibly can. I'm looking forward to doing little more than relaxing for the next three days.

However you're celebrating, I hope you're having a good day. Happy Thanksgiving! (Don't eat too much! LOL)

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

What it all comes down to...

Being an evangelical Christian isn't all that popular in today's world climate. I think it gets a bad rap because of those extreme personalities in the media who make the world think we're all a bunch of uber-conservative whackjobs. But I am a Christian, and I do consider myself of an evangelical bent. While it isn't something I try to hide, it isn't something I talk about all the time, either, which probably makes the "evangelical" part a bit ironic. I don't think I'm perfect, and I don't think I live my life better than the rest of the world, nor do I presume that I know what Jesus would do/say/think in every social, political or relational situation. But the bottom line is my faith is important to me, and I'd gladly talk about it to anyone interested in knowing more about it.

That said, here is a Youtube video that states it beautifully. I just saw it recently and can't help but watch it again and again. this time of Thanksgiving, I offer it to it if you want...or not. Either way, Happy Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Sounds familiar...

Ok, so, we went and saw Twilight on Friday afternoon (are you tired of me talking about Twilight yet? Sorry.). I loved the book so much that I chose to go into the movie with neutral expectations because movies, in general, never live up to the original books, and that is especially so when they're books I love. I was surprised by how much I really loved the movie! Clearly, my inner thirteen-year-old girl is alive and well, because I giggled along with my daughter at some points and melted straight into the floor during the romantic parts.

Yes, the movie left out a lot of stuff that I wish they could have developed, and it added things not in the book, which is always irksome (but in their defense, the book had so much narration, I think they had to add new material to help illustrate in a timely manner what was originally narration), and it was kind of corny at some places (which led to audience laughter at places that probably weren't meant to be funny), but overall, I think they did a respectable job of condensing an intricate, well-loved, 500+ page book into the space of two hours of screen time.

But I wasn't really planning to talk about the movie. What I do want to talk about, though, is the music from the movie. I bought the soundtrack a couple weeks before seeing the movie -- I rarely ever buy movie soundtracks and never before a movie comes out, but I was dying to hear Bella's Lullaby and darned iTunes only lets you get it by buying the whole soundtrack, so I just went out and bought the CD instead.

I. Love. It. The music is fabulous. The lullaby permeates the movie at all the pivotal places (though the soundtrack doesn't do it's just too short and too mixed up with other instruments than just the piano). I totally love Muse's Supermassive Black Hole...excellent song to play at full volume in the car. (Though I admit to not reading the song title on the CD and thinking they were saying "super magic vagabond." Yeah. "Black hole" and "vagabond"? Sound nothing alike. But that's what I heard. I'm weird.)

But the song in the movie that most captured me isn't even on the freakin' CD (though it is a bonus song in the iTunes album download, go figure, argh), and that is Debussy's Clair de Lune. It is beautiful. I'm not a big classical music buff, but I recognized the tune as soon as I heard it in the movie. So I came home and Googled it (Ha! "You can Google it." Ahem...let the gratuitous movie quotes begin.) because I'm a geek and that's what I do. I played several versions of it over and over. I definitely love the piano solo versions the best. But what kept nagging at me is that I knew I'd heard it in another movie before -- I'm sure it's been in lots of movies, but I knew there was a specific one that I was thinking of, but I just couldn't place it.

Until tonight! Thank you, YouTube! It is the song that plays at the end of Ocean's Eleven, when the guys are all staring at the Bellagio's fountain show, and they all start to walk away one by one. Love that scene. (Here's the YouTube video that helped me figure it out, though it is not the actual movie clip.)

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Weekend on the couch...

The folks at the Berroco blog have a fun little set of "weekend on the couch" questions up right now, answered by Cirilia, Norah and Margie. Readers are encouraged to answer too, and so I am because you know I can't resist these things. Besides, with the snow coming down right now, it's fun to think about curling up on the couch and just relaxing and staying warm.

Favorite escapist movie: Lord of the Rings (any or all)

Favorite libation or wintery beverage: Coffee

A guilty pleasure snack or comfort food recipe: cheese bread (bread with cheddar cheese melted on it in the toaster dad used to make this for me when I was a kid...mmm...)

Who or what surrounds you on the couch: Well, I don't sit on the couch much but in my comfy arm chair, where I am surrounded on the right by my WIP yarn basket, in front by my ottoman with my laptop and usually at least one WIP, and on the left by a box containing the yarn for an ongoing afghan project.

How do you unwind and shut out the world at the end of the work week: I don't work outside the home right now, but after homeschooling and other tasks keep me busy, so by week's end, I'm always looking forward to having a laid-back Saturday to do what I want...usually reading, knitting, catching up on DVRed shows and maybe going out to dinner with friends.

The last question was specific to the knitting "glitterati"...and since I do not fall into that category I won't bother answering, but I will say that when I just need mindless knitting to chill with, I usually work on my charity hats...simple, in-the-round knitting.

On other fronts...

Twilight comes out tomorrow! We are excited! We've got our tickets for the 1:30 showing! Can! Not! Wait! 

Also, I'm nearly done with Breaking hope was to finish it tonight, but that might depend on how late the Steelers game goes and how awake I am by then. I didn't sleep well last night, and I'm tired.

Lastly, a picture from dinner the other night...pictured from left to right are me, Will and Peggy. Carole outright refused to be in the picture because she hates having her picture taken. We love her anyway. (And I want to know WHY my hair looks so normal to me in the mirror at home, yet when I see it in a picture, it looks weird? What was I thinking, pulling it off my forehead like that? Good grief.)

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


Being an introvert by nature, I can sometimes be too content to hole up in my house and be, well, somewhat anti-social with just my kids, my computer and my yarn for company. But when I get out with friends, it's so good.

Today was such a good friend day.

First I had coffee with my friend Will. I met Will ten years ago (really? ten years?? wow.) when he was the pastor at our church. He now lives with his family in Virginia and, while he still preaches, he spends much of his time writing. C. S. Lewis is his speciality, and he's currently on a book tour promoting his newest release, The Professor of Narnia. He's in town for a few days for that purpose, and that's how we had the opportunity to get together today for coffee. I love talking to Will, because no matter what topic or whether or not we agree, it's always insightful conversation. And though we only see each other once or twice a year at best, its always easy to pick up with him. That's good friendship.

Coffee this afternoon wasn't part of the original plan, but dinner tonight was. I joined Will and two other mutual friends, Carole and Peggy, for a long dinner full of laughter and craziness and a bottle of Australian pinot noir (which was a very good wine that I will now add to my limited list of wines that I actually enjoy). Our waitress was a good sport and seemed to enjoy how much we were enjoying ourselves (as opposed to wanting to throw the four crazy people out of the restaurant). It's so much fun to be with friends who you can laugh with over the most irreverent things and no one really gets embarrassed or offended. The meal was good, but the company was far more satisfying.

I forgot my camera, but Will had his...hopefully I'll be able to snatch a picture from him of our dinner hilarity. 

Monday, November 17, 2008

My kind of Monday...

Outside it is snowing, big, fluffy snow-globe flakes. Inside it is warm, a fire in the fireplace. I have no place I have to be other than here. Nothing pressing. No big agenda. Just school and laundry, reading and yarn and finding something to make for dinner. Maybe I'll clean the bathroom, just for good measure. No pressure. 

I love Mondays like this. I hope yours is lovely, too.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Things that last...

I've been trying not to dwell on it, but it's hard. I have been in such a blue state lately, since the election. (And by "blue state," I am referring to a state of melancholy as opposed to political blue state/red state.) Anyone following my Facebook page that night knows how distraught I was at the outcome. But I promised myself that I would not allow myself to dwell over it. When I woke up Wednesday morning, I made a conscious decision to keep my faith in God, because he IS bigger than any of this, and to believe that things will work out ok.

My faith is still in God, but I am not doing a good job of not dwelling. And this is rather unlike me. I'm not prone to ongoing bouts of anxiety and worry. Not like this. Yet here it is. Every time I hear mention of the president-elect's plans for things like civilian security forces and for confiscating 401Ks and IRAs, my stomach tightens. It scares me. I cannot shake this sense of foreboding. I feel fear that I've never felt before. 

Maybe I am over-reacting...I pray I am, I pray I will be wrong about all of this. I really do. But what if I'm not? I know I'm not alone in feeling this way. But it makes me feel small and alone to feel these feelings, like there is so little I can do, if anything, to change the course of things. And so I pray, because I know that is the one thing I can do that can make a difference. And then I read or knit or listen to music, because those are really the only things that divert my attention from the ominous feelings.

I was out having coffee with a friend the other day, and we'd been talking about a lot of this stuff, so it was fresh on my mind as we parted ways. Before I left, I stopped to use the bathroom, thinking about how much all I really wanted to do was go home and get lost in the book I'd been reading earlier in the day, Eclipse. (I find that these stories of vampires and werewolves and undying love are a wonderful distractor from life's true terrors.) 

It was then, in a bathroom stall in Starbucks, that I had this strange epiphany: no matter what happens in the future, no matter how bleak and terrifying things might become, even if our country is torn from its foundations as a safe, free place, the stories will live on. Stories written through the years, all of them...their words will live on because no matter what the government tries to take away from us, they cannot take away the beauty of the words we've read, or the images of the art we've observed, or the notes of the music we've listened to. Those things -- even if their physical manifestations no longer exist -- their spirits will live on inside of each one of us who has had the privilege and honor of enjoying them. 

And as odd as that thought might be, it was a comfort to me. And I was so thankful for it. Thankful because even though I've never managed to finish a novel myself, as a writer, I fully know how much of one's heart and soul goes into writing. It's a part of you. It is significant. And for it's significance to simply disappear because some worldly entity has chosen to destroy the world around it, that would be so unfair, a true injustice. There's a reason that art manages to sustain throughout the lives despite the odds. Paintings on cave walls, stories passed down orally from generations past. They live. They have life and they give life to us at times when we otherwise feel lifeless. They are important.

So, that is the odd little epiphany that is acting as my glimmer of hope in what is otherwise a dark time for me. We can all use some hope, can't we?

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


Just a brief note to say I am home (got home Sunday evening) and in decompression mode from the trip. Lots of laundry. Getting back into the swing of normal life. Trying to do what needs to be done while totally obsessing over the Twilight books (I started Twilight on Thursday at my mom's, finished it Sunday night after we got home and am now almost done with New Moon. I love stories that totally suck me in like pun intended. LOL) 

Will post more later, with pictures from the trip. :)

Saturday, November 8, 2008

What not to do on a military base....

This is the last night of our vacation. We're spending it hanging out at our oldest son's house...a pretty low-key evening, which is fine considering the fact that I am tired. Twelve days away from home is beginning to take its toll, I think. I'm so, so wishing Stevie (my car) was equipped with transporter technology, or a warp core, so we could avoid that 10+ drive home tomorrow. But alas, it looks like we'll be getting home the old-fashioned way...fueled on petroleum products, coffee and my random assortment of tunes

So, today we met up with my son and his family, and he took us on a driving tour of the base. Now, I'll pause here to point out that there are two things I do on every trip I take: I knit and I take pictures. I learned today that one of those activities is illegal when done at certain strategic locations. Or two.

Yes, I no sooner got back in my car after taking the second such picture and an unmarked car containing two non-uniformed Marines zipped up behind me and followed me with a distinct purpose until I finally pulled over.

Now, I should point out that I assumed my son knew what was off limits for picture-taking purposes since he is, you know, stationed here. I clearly assumed wrong. Actually, as soon as this happened, my son was like, "Hm, maybe that wasn't a good idea..." Ya THINK??? So. The two guys came up to my car and asked, "Why were you taking pictures?" I explained that I just thought my husband would enjoy seeing them. "Is that the only reason?" This is the point in some conversations that I might come back with some witty retort, but I was sufficiently freaked out by the whole episode that it didn't even cross my mind to do so until hours later (which was probably a good thing). Instead, I said, "Yes." 

"You know it is illegal to take pictures here?" they asked. Again, another invitation for sarcasm that didn't happen. "No, I didn't know that." "Well, it is." Okay then. 

They continued to be lean in my car window, and my son and I were just sitting there and my kids are in the back seat being very quiet because I threatened them with bodily harm as I was pulling over should they say anything at all to make matters worse. 

At this point, the bigger of the two men was eyeing my camera and my first thought was they were going to confiscate it.  Now, I have a pretty nice digital SLR, which happened to get stolen a year ago when I was in Florida. It took some time, but my insurance company finally reimbursed me for the loss, which is why I now once again have a nice camera. I'm pretty sure they won't buy me another one for any reason. The one the big guy was looking at. He could not take my camera. 

Then I thought perhaps they'd be satisfied to let me just hand over the memory card. Only it was the same memory card I had all of our other vacation photos on because I'm a moron and put all my eggs in one basket like that because I totally forget I have extra memory cards and it is good to use more than one in case one malfunctions or gets confiscated as evidence against you for possibly being a terrorist.

I finally broke the silence. "Um, I could delete the pictures if you'd like me to?" And the big said, "Yes, I would really like you to delete those pictures." Ok then! No problem! I sat there, deleted the two offending images and assured him that all of the rest were from the beach. At that, the two Marines were satisfied and went on their merry way and let us go on ours. (I will say that throughout this whole event, they were both incredibly polite and didn't appear to be armed, which was a plus in my book.)

Have you ever gotten that totally drained feeling after a truly frightening experience, like your blood sugar has plummeted completely and you're become completely translucent from lack of blood flowing through your body? That's how I felt. I was totally shaken. I don't know why. I mean....had they been dressed in uniforms with fire arms and made me get out of the car and possibly threatened me in any real way, then that would have warranted some sort of fear reaction. But this experience just pretty much illustrated how much of a total wuss I must be because I wanted to both barf and pass out when it was over.

My son...the one in the front seat with me...the Marine? He burst out laughing as soon as we were on the road again. He thought it was the funniest thing in the world that "Mom got busted." Never mind the fact that it was his freakin' fault as far as I was concerned. How could he have not known this was a bad idea? Especially when, later, we realized there were signed posted, like, EVERYWHERE saying things like "Restricted Area"? Good grief. (For the record, I wasn't reading signs because I was trying to see the sights, and I was trying to watch how fast I was going because they're also pretty picky about people speeding on base, and I didn't want to, you know, get in trouble.)

I didn't touch my camera again the rest of the day until we were back at my son's house. (I was thinking I might just wait until we were out of the state to use it, just to be safe.) Though now I'm wondering what the two guys would have said if, after deleting the two offending photos, I'd have asked them if I could take their picture? You know, for my go along with this story that I have to record for posterity...since I don't have the illegal photos anymore....

Maybe I should just stick to knitting.

Thursday, November 6, 2008


Reading through the blogs on my blog list over there to the right (I don't read them all every day. I usually read all of the knitting ones every day, but the others only every so often. I mention this just so you know I don't spend my entire day reading blogs, which actually would not be hard to do!)...anyway, as I was reading through my favorite knitting blogs today, I found the Giving Thanks Challenge at the South Breeze Farm blog. Christina at Knitting Mania had it posted on her site (she's a new favorite for me...found her blog a few weeks ago, it's great!). I thought it was a really nice idea. Not only is it a traditionally "thankful" time of year, but really it's never a wrong time of year to focus on thankfulness! 

For a while, I used a little Moleskine notebook as a "Thankfulness Journal." I still have it in my purse, but I admit I write in it very infrequently anymore. Not because I'm not thankful, but because I don't think of writing it down. Somehow, though, writing it down makes me think a little more about all of the wonderful things in my life, big and small. I don't mean to, but sometimes I can get pretty cynical, if only in my own mind (though sometimes out of my mouth, too). It's good to break out of that.

So, I'll be taking part in this challenge this month, adding an item a day to the list below the button in the sidebar. (I started by listing six things in order to get current!) Why not join in? :)


Our time in Florida is quickly coming to an end. Today was our last full day...and of course, it was beautiful. Sunny and warm. Go figure. LOL We made the most of it. The kids and I went to a lovely little cafe where we sat outside and had lunch, then we walked by the piers and watched the boats for a while, and finally we made our way to the beach (twice) to walk around, dance in the surf, pick up shells and take pictures. Tonight we hit the hot tub again, under the moon and stars. Now I'm packing and we'll be on the road tomorrow morning, driving about eight hours to my oldest son's house in North Carolina. Can't wait to see him. It's been a while! 

In the mean time, I cannot believe we've been gone over a week. It's gone quickly, yet it's been a really relaxed, laid-back trip. And I think this may be the first trip I've taken where I didn't go through a major bout of homesickness at some point. Interesting.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


Ok. Morning after. Moving on.

After a short night of sleep, I woke up with incredibly blurred vision in my left eye. At first, I thought I'd forgotten to take my contacts out last night...that's how it felt. Still groggy, I actually went in the bathroom and checked my lens case. Yep. The contacts were in there. Thus, they were not in my eye. Looking at my eye, it seemed completely normal. No redness or crustiness or goo that might indicate a problem. Just the blurriness, like someone had put a big fingerprint right in the center of my field of vision. I admit, I started freaking out a little because this didn't seem good.

My mom worked as an optometrist assistant for about 20 years, thus it would seem fortuitous that I am at her house. It would seem that way, but no. She is not a good person to go to about weird eye issues because she immediately informs you of the worst possible scenario. "Detached retina!" she posited when I explained my blurriness. I then did what I do and got on the Internet and Googled. The symptoms kind of matched, though it said detached retinas usually have no pain associated with them, and I was having a tiny bit of discomfort in one area. I went up a notch on the freak-out-o-meter nonetheless.

On the upside, my mom works right next door to the local hospital, so it was very convenient for her to drop me off at the ER on her way to work, which she did. She even came in long enough to go to triage with me and have the nurse ask me how much I weighed. I do not talk weight issues with my mom. Ever. It has taken me YEARS to get her to stop harping on me about my weight, to get her to understand that not everyone in this world can subsist on a cup of yogurt and an apple to get them through the day, to get her to understand I have bonafide medical issues, not simply a lack of will power, that make my weight difficult to control. 

And it has taken me years to come to terms with the fact that no matter what I do, no matter how zealously I watch my calories or carbs or fat grams, no matter how many minutes of exercise I get in a week, I am never going to be thin. It has only been in the past two years that I've honestly come to accept myself for who I am regardless of what the outer package looks like and to not let my mom's judgmental attitude depress me and make me feel bad about myself. (It's helped that in the past two year period, my mother has lived 15 hours away from me for the first time ever.)

Yes, I've made these strides, but as of this moment, they had not been tested in any up front way. And now I had to verbalize my weight to this nurse in front of my mother? (And it was a male nurse, to add insult to injury, for Pete's sake.) 

Had I been thinking more rationally, I'd have written the number on a slip of paper, but I was still on my vision-related freak out, so I took a deep breath and said it out loud hoping my mother would give me a pass on this one, due to the nature of why I was in a position to be saying that number to begin with at that time. But no. She sighed, loudly, audibly, accompanied by her patented head shake of disappointment with grimaced jaw of repulsion. Fortunately, she had to leave and go to work shortly after that, so I was spared any more visible signs of incredulity, let alone the possibility that she was going to start lecturing me. 

On the upside, I was in and out of the ER in record time, about an hour, and the issue causing my problems was a scratched cornea, not a detached retina...much less scary and far easier to cure. 

Already my vision is far less blurry than it was first thing this morning, and it seems that today of all days -- the morning after, so to speak -- this is a pretty symbolic thing. Last night, my ability to see an optimistic future for our country over the next four years was severely blurred. Inside I knew God was bigger than the outcome of our election, as he would have been bigger than it had it gone the other way. But when you're faced with disappointment borne out of a blow to your strongly held, viscerally felt convictions, it is hard to not come across a little bitter. Or maybe a lot of bitter. Or at least angry and snipe-y. 

I gave in to all of that in the hours before I went to sleep, but even in the midst of it, I knew I would greet today with the decision to accept what has happened and move on. As the Obama campaign said over and over, it is time for change. And I know that is true for us as individuals as well as a country. We each have the responsibility to really live our convictions, to question what is presented as truth and weigh it against the absolutes that guide each of our lives. If they do not align, it is our responsibility to do something about it in a constructive way. Over the next few weeks, I intent to make it a priority to figure out just how that might look for me. 

Here's to new vision for us all.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Insert heavy sigh here...

"So this is how liberty dies -- with thunderous applause." 
Padme Amadala, Revenge of the Sith

I am very sad. Profoundly disappointed. Not surprised, but still...sad.

:::heavy, heavy sigh:::

McCain's concession speech was classy. I wish he  hadn't had to give it.

Tomorrow, I will begin to think about how I will live my life in response to having Obama's politics running the country I love. But tonight, I will wallow in the realization that liberty, as we've known it and as this country was built to offer and protect it, has been dealt a death blow. 


I'm wondering what percentage of Facebook status lines today contain a message about voting? I'll bet it's high. Of the 29 of my FB friends who have updated their status lines since this morning, 24 of them have referenced voting or the election in some way. (Granted, several of them are automated messages generated by the "Causes" application encouraging people to vote, some for one candidate, some for the other, or some just to go do it.) Not that my 29 friends are a truly representative sampling, but it does work out to just under 83%. So the real question is:

Why is Lisa doing ridiculous math problems like this?

Yeah. Well. Lisa has to do something with her morning other than risk obsessing about how the election will turn out. And this prompts yet another questions:

Why is Lisa speaking about herself in the third person?

There is no answer for why Lisa does the things she does, other than the fact that she is a passionate, modern nerd. That probably explains it all. 

Honestly, just under my questionably sane surface, I've been on edge about this election for weeks (well, the election and the economy). It took me a while to realize that, and when I did, it both annoyed and troubled me because I do not tend to get rilly-rilly anxious about most things. Yes, there are certain issues that can send me into full-on spirals of anxiety, especially things involving supposedly grown, mature children and middle-of-the-night phone calls of dread, but what parent doesn't get anxious at times like that? I'm talking about normal life stuff. 

As a general rule, I do not get overly anxious. I actively believe that God is bigger than anything I might be tempted to get anxious about, so I try to put these things in his hands and go about my life doing my part to improve the situation or, at the very least, to not make it any worse.

But this election...this so-called pivotal election (I think we should consider every election pivotal, really) and its campaign has gotten the better of me. I can't wait for it to be over today, but at the same time, I cannot help but dread how it may turn out. And that could lead to four years of dread. So I'm trying to remember, today of all days, God is bigger than this

So, instead of focusing on politics today (after all, I voted before I left for vacation and my FB status line is doing it's, I can do no more), I'm going to focus on more pleasant things. Like taking myself to lunch at my favorite lunch spot here in Fernandina Beach, Cafe Karibou. And I'm going to seek out the art of Wyanne Thompson, because I think she's pretty darned cool. And I am going to work on my own art...including a new sock!

Isn't she pretty? The picture isn't as good as the sock in real life (the MacBook camera is only so good). I'm using Numma Numma "Toasty" in a colorway called Blackberry Jam. This is the first time I've knit with this yarn, and it is sooooo soft and beautiful, and the colors are so incredibly yummy (here is a better picture of the true colors...the yarn I'm using is like the bottom two images). 

I didn't want to do a heavily patterned sock because I wanted to just enjoy the colors of the yarn, but this seems to be a slightly finer gauge yarn than many sock yarns I use, so I opted for a rib rather than a stockinette sock since the only sock needles I brought with me are size 2s, and past experience tells me it would not make a very tight stockinette sock on that size needle, and I do like to knit my socks tight. I did deviate from my usual 2x2 rib, though, and am doing a 3x1 instead. Ooooo. I so live on the edge sometimes. Witness the passion, baby. Yeow. ;)

Monday, November 3, 2008

Passing time...

Listening to the Steeler game from the other room...trying not to obsess about the election tomorrow...perfect time for quizzes!

First, the best thing about me! ;)

Your result for The Best Thing About You Test...


Hot! Passion is your greatest virtue

Passion is an intense emotion that compels feeling, enthusiasm, or desire for anything, and that often requires action. Get that? Requires action. It's very likely you submit to your deepest needs and live life with a flair few others achieve, but many envy. All 7 virtues are a part of you, but your passion runs deepest.

Passionate types: artists, writers, composers, athletes, and heroine addicts.

Your raw relative scores follow. 0% is low, and 100% is perfect, nearly impossible. Note that I pitted the virtues against each other, so in some way these are relative scores. It's impossible to score high on all of them, and a low score on one is just relatively low compared to the other virtues.


50% Compassion

56% Intelligence

38% Humility

56% Honesty

25% Discipline

14% Courage

58% Passion

Take The Best Thing About You Test at HelloQuizzy

This is pretty accurate for me, I think. I'm definitely a passionate person...not just "romance" passionate, but passionate about the things important to me in my life. I don't do much of anything just a little bit. LOL I'm either all in, or I don't bother. And when I find that I don't want to be all in, I know it's time to move on. I think it's pretty cool that my other highest scoring areas are intelligence, compassion and honesty, as I definitely value all of those things in myself as well as other people. 

And now, am I a nerd, geek or dork? (Do I really want to know? LOL)

Your result for The Nerd? Geek? or Dork? Test...

Modern, Cool Nerd

65 % Nerd, 70% Geek, 30% Dork

For The Record:

A Nerd is someone who is passionate about learning/being smart/academia.

A Geek is someone who is passionate about some particular area or subject, often an obscure or difficult one.

A Dork is someone who has difficulty with common social expectations/interactions.

You scored better than half in Nerd and Geek, earning you the title of: Modern, Cool Nerd.

Nerds didn't use to be cool, but in the 90's that all changed. It used to be that, if you were a computer expert, you had to wear plaid or a pocket protector or suspenders or something that announced to the world that you couldn't quite fit in. Not anymore. Now, the intelligent and geeky have eked out for themselves a modicum of respect at the very least, and "geek is chic." The Modern, Cool Nerd is intelligent, knowledgable and always the person to call in a crisis (needing computer advice/an arcane bit of trivia knowledge). They are the one you want as your lifeline in Who Wants to Be a Millionaire (or the one up there, winning the million bucks)!


Take The Nerd? Geek? or Dork? Test at HelloQuizzy

Not sure I really agree with this one...actually, I do think I'm more a geek than a nerd, and I seem to have scored higher as a geek, but they're still classifying me as a nerd. That makes no sense to me. Hm.

(BTW, found both of these quizzes referenced on And She Knits, Too!)

Sunday, November 2, 2008

A Vacation Yarn...

...or several yarns. As I've said many times before, yarn is the perfect souvenir for me. No need for localized bobbles or bits for me (unless, of course, it is locally grown/spun/dyed yarn!) Just take me to the local yarn shop and I'm a happy girl.

Here in Fernandina Beach is where my yen for knitting was rediscovered a couple years ago, while visiting my mom. There was a little yarn shop I passed by several times, and I finally stopped in. That started it all. That shop has since closed, making my yarn shopping when I'm here a little more of an effort. (Not that any effort is too great to go yarn shopping.) 

Within the last year, though, the local bead shop, Beadlemania (great name, no?), decided to dedicate its front corner to yarn! Yeay! Happy! And while their yarn stock is probably a fraction of my entire yarn stash (not bragging, just stating frightening fact), they have very good taste in what their limited stock includes. Lots and lots of Berroco varieties (they could stop there and be awesome), much beautiful lace yarn including Jade Mongolian Cashmere, and several sock brands. They also stock Addi Turbo needles, which makes it a happy place for me because Addis aren't always easy for me to find for some reason. 

I went in on Friday intending to buy needles -- Addi Turbos, size 2 (I can never have enough pairs of these for magic loop socks, and I swear there is a needle gremlin in my house stealing the pairs I have when I'm not looking because I can never find them!). There were two pair left, and I bought them both, even though I usually would not do this because I feel like it is gluttonous and there might be some other poor knitter in dire need of this same size and I will have scarfed both of them up leaving them with none. However, I also rationalized to assuage any guilt used reason to deduce that beads, not yarn and needles, were this store's primary merchandise, so it was likely that the needles might not be in as high demand as they would be somewhere else. 

I was only going to look at the yarn. Maybe feel it up a little. I was not going to buy. Unless...unless that pretty, pretty teal Ultra Alpaca was still there that I'd seen back in May. And (gulp), it was. It was there. And it was still pretty. But! I didn't buy it! Ha! You thought I did, didn't you? But no! I exercised restraint, and I also reminded myself I'd just finished a blue and turquoise sweater and I really didn't need a second sweater in such a similar color in so short a period of time (not that buying the yarn now is any indication that the sweater would be knit any time soon). This, my friends, is an accomplishment.

Instead, I bought sock yarn:

Plymouth Happy Feet, a brand I've not yet used. I love adding new sock yarns to my collection and knitting with them (eventually!).

Then yesterday, the day which local inhabitants revered as holy (the Gators vs. Bulldogs football goodness, the hoopla!), I opted to head to another yarn shop I'd been to a couple of times, KnitWitz, south of downtown Jacksonville. As an effort to save space and to save me the embarrassment, I will not regale you of how I did not write down directions to this shop, assuming I'd remember how to get there or, at the very least, my mom would remember since she does, after all, live here. Suffice it to say, we were driving I-95 south, took one wrong exit, had to turn around, realized we had to actually go farther south, and it was three hours before game time. Can we say football traffic? Oh yeah. 

Finally, though, we did make it to the store. I really only intended to look. To look, and maybe to feel up the yarn. Give it a good sniff and a rub here and there. But see...the nice thing about being in "foreign" yarn shops is they carry things you might not have easy access to at your own LYS, or they maybe carry things you know you can get online but you have never seen in person. Or maybe the yarn fumes simply overcome you and you find yourself sitting on the floor, digging to the back of the shelf, pulling out bags of backstock to count how many hanks of purple Cuzco are actually available (eight) and if there are for the sweater you'd like to make with it (there aren't, as you need nine). 

Thankfully, this yarn shop owner is very kind and gave me full permission to dig in her shelves (really, I was trying to be polite about it). Alas, I came up empty on the Cuzco in any color that appealed to me, but I did come away with these:

More sock yarn. (Sock yarn seems like such an innocuous purchase for the yarn obsessed, doesn't it? One skein is all you need. Though it's really like the alcoholic saying, "It's just one beer." We know you can't just stop at one.) From left to right, Cascade Heritage Handpaints (no color name, just a number, but it is a brown/rust/olive-y colorway, which is hard to see in this picture), Colinette Jitterbug (Toscana) and J. Knits Superwash Me Light Sock (Cincinnati). I do not have any of these yarns in my collection either, though I know The Loopy Ewe also carries the latter two, and now I'm excited because I've seen them in person. 

And though it is not sock yarn, and though I am not generally a bulky yarn person, I bought these as well:

Misty Alpaca Baby Alpaca Handpainted Chunky. 

Oh. My. Gosh.

If I was rich, I would buy a bathtub full of this stuff and just immerse my naked self in it for eight hours a day. 

Bonnie's (the shop I used to work at) carried this yarn, but in the closing sale mayhem, all the colors I liked went before I could buy any, so I am tickled to have some of this. I see a big, squishy scarf in my future this winter.

KnitWitz was the shop who brought the Yarn Harlot to Jacksonville a couple of weeks ago. They had pictures from the event there, and as I was checking out, I was commenting to the owner how cool it was that they'd had her there and how I wished I'd have been in town at that time. She was so sweet...she went in the back and gave me a little giftie bag they'd had left over from the event, in which was this button:

And it was at this point I started babbling like an idiot. "Oh, and she'd Canadian!" I said, (a fact that apparently the Yarn Harlot herself pointed out, LOL) Then I said, "What a great choice! We should all vote for her! No one likes any of our other choices, anyway!" At this point, the owner got this funny look on her face, which immediately told me either a) she was sensing I was a crazy person and was hoping I'd just leave, or b) she wasn't experiencing the same presidential campaign frustration I was and knew exactly who she wanted to see as president and was possibly even enthusiastic about it, which then most likely means, c) she is voting for the one candidate I would not vote for in a million years. 

See, there is a reason I don't talk politics in public. 

Anyway. Yarn. We can all talk about yarn. We all love the yarn, the pretty-pretty yarn. Let's just focus on the YARN, ok?

P.S. Pictures in this post and the last post courtesy the CamGrabber application I downloaded onto my MacBook, which allows me to take still shots using the computer's built in camera. Totally kewl! This would also explain why you're seeing still shots of still rather than, say, picture of pretty beach scenery...I would look funnier than usual walking around aiming my MacBook camera at the world, and really, people already have enough reasons to point and whisper about me behind my back. I refer you to the above-referenced yarn shop conversation. :::sigh:::