Sunday, December 17, 2017

Yopping Update 25


I am happy to announce that my Spice Market shawl is off the needles!



but, oh my look at all the ends that need to be sewn in!

I have been making great progress on my Peace shawl.  I started the border two nights ago and I love the wavy lace pattern.


I have done quite a few rows on my Dying of the Light shawl as well.  Each row is now 476 stitches so if I posted a picture it wouldn't look much different from last time.

On Friday I went to the McNews stand near me and bought this great bundle of Simply Knitting Magazines.  Hooray, another Hedgehog to knit.

and there is a very cute cotton tee I want to knit so it is now added to my project queue.




Today is the start of the third week of Advent:


"In the third candle of Advent shines
The light of the beasts of every kind,
The animals that tread upon the earth,
And gave their stable for his birth.
Now the beasts are on the Earth,
Waiting for the Christ Child’s birth.|"

The two animals on the wreath are our chinese zodiac animals - the rat and the sheep, both stable denizens.

Also my Hoya is blooming for Christmas - five blossoms!  This plant reminds me of my mom - it is nice to have her memory in my house.


Happy yopping dear friends - may you find peace this last week before Christmas and always.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Pulling towards the heart

The Healthy Knitter talked about her three observations when she sees someone looking at yarn. 

1)  They ooh and aah
2)  They rub it against their nose or face
3) They pull it near their heart. 

Number 3 really really spoke to me.  I do this with yarn I love.   I have seen my sister do this too. 
In fact when I read that post today I had a strong image of my sister pulling wool towards her heart, and my heart responded. 

I started to think of all the expressions with the word heart:  warmhearted, heartfelt, change of heart, cold-hearted, getting to the heart of things, heartache, heartthrob, heavyhearted and knowing something deep in your heart. 

Life is not for the faint of heart. (or is that feint of heart?) 

Heart is the seat of love.

Heart is where we feel joy bursting out of our chest.

Today I am going to reflect on heart things.

I am going to pull towards my heart. 

It has room enough to grow with every encounter, and even times when it has been sorely broken it has mended, stronger and bigger and with even more room for new things to be pulled towards it. 

There are scars.  There will always be scars.  But they are a reminder that I have healed, and lived a life. 

A life where I have pulled things towards my heart.

A heart that holds the memories of loved ones who are no longer physically with me in this life. 

They live in my heart. 

I believe I live in theirs.

Blessings to you, dear reader, as we continue through Advent. 

I am so glad you are with me on this journey. 

I thank you from the bottom of  my heart.


Friday, December 15, 2017

Wishes

Yesterday The Healthy Knitter asked us to write a letter to ourselves making seven wishes for the new year.

I did this last year too and my wishes for myself were:

1)    A good relationship with your daughter
2)    A resolution to your back pain
3)    To be on a long camping trip in 2017
4)    No car troubles
5)    A lessening of your anxiety
6)    Healthy support for your husband

7)    Lots of Time spent with friends and family.

Number 1,2, 5 and 7 came true.  Number 3 will likely happen next month, and the car trouble (4) was minor and all fixed now.  I believe I am making progress on number 6 and I think my own healing journey  (5) has been part of his too.  I am so thankful to The Hope Centre and to my Empathy Group for supporting me these past six months. 

So, that was last year. 

Here is my letter for 2017:

Dear Mary-Anne,

In the coming year I wish for you,

1)  Peace - peace of mind, peace of soul, peace in your family, peace in the world

2)  Physical Health - strong bones, normal blood counts, strong muscles

3) Mental Health - continued healing and practice of all the things you have learned this year.  You have come so far.

4) The ability to make decisions about the future with no regrets or dilly dallying.  It is time to move forward with clarity and  hope and joy.

5)  More time with your loved ones and friends.  Get out more.  Pick up the phone more.  Plan more.  Write more.  Just.  More.

6) A long camping holiday with your dh.  Head south.  Find the sun and the warmth both literally and metaphorically.

7) Make you first response to another's invitation be YES.  Just. yes.

So there they are.  My seven wishes for myself.  Anyone want to join in?  Let's say them out loud and make them come true.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Advent Update

Today we woke up to a glorious sun rise.  The pictures don't do it justice but this is the view to the east.  To the south the sky was awash in pinks and blues and purples.



My daughter sent me a picture of her advent candles, and it is lovely to see traditions carried on in another's house.

Yesterday was another good day (that's three in a row!), and I went for my tea and Croatian lesson and learned the words for things to eat:

riba - fish

mesa - meat

smokva - figs

naranča - orange

baluku - apple

juha- soup

cer - cheese

kokoš- chicken

jaja - egg

palačinke - crepe

kava - coffee

čaj - tea

So next when I go to Croatia I will be able to eat!!

I have so many flashcards now I need to put them in categories!  It is nice to be learning something new and my daughter and I text a little in Croatian.

Most important I learned how to say volim te!

(I love you )

and in keeping with the season

Sretan Božić i Nova godina

Happy Christmas and New Year!

Blessings on you all this Advent Day.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

No better place to be

My dh and I went down to the Quay for a late lunch.  It was a beautiful sunny day, and we took our lunch outside to eat.

The seagulls were circling, the pigeons were cooing, the sparrows were filling the trees with their winter song.  The seabus was going to and fro.

Did I mention the sun was shining? The sky so blue.

It wasn't the least bit cold.

An Advent blessing for sure.

A second happy day.

Baking done.

Cards in the mail.

Skype with my daughter.

Phone call with my son.

And knitting. 






Another good day.

An Advent blessing for sure.


Monday, December 11, 2017

It has been a good day

This morning I walked down to the post office in the glorioius sunshine.  There was quite a line up but I had a lovely chat with the woman behind me and the 35 minute wait flew by. 

Advent parcel in the mail - and I started to walk home.  I passed the Christmas tree sales and there were the cutest little Charlie Brown Christmas trees for sale - only a few left. 

I decided to buy one and carry it home.  I texted my husband as I headed up the last hill to our house and told him to get the camera ready. 




After lunch I decided to make some nuts and bolts, a family tradition in our house, and since they take two hours in the oven with stirring every 15 minutes I decided to write my Christmas cards. 

It has been a pleasant afternoon, sitting at the kitchen table in the sun, watching the hummingbirds flit to and from the feeder and writing to old and new friends. 

Now the sun has set, the advent candles are lit, my husband is making homemade pea soup for dinner and all is right with the world. 

Tonight there will be knitting as I am about to cast-off my Spice Market shawl, and then work the next ripple on my Peace shawl. 

Tomorrow I will walk back to the post office to mail all my letters. 

I am feeling good and strong and dare I say, happy. 

Yes.

Happy. 

It has been a good day. 

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Yopping Update 24 - Advent update 8.

It has been a busyish week and I have lots to show.

First of all necessity is the mother of invention (and so is being cheap).

The part of our car key that attaches to the keyring snapped off.   To replace the key would be $171 plus tax!    Grrrr.   So I took my husband's key.  Cast on 6 pairs of stitches and doubleknit this little hemp key cozy.


When I took my car in for a repair the mechanic said I should sell these.  Hmmmm.... Maybe?

Here's an update on my shawls:

First Dying of the Light is coming along nicely:

 and so is my Spice Market:
Also I am keeping up with the Peace Project and I am almost to ripple 14:


I put this little guy in the mail today - how cute is he?

Our knitgroup had their Christmas party last Thursday and we all swapped mini skeins from our stash.  How pretty is this?


We have been above the fog all week and the sunrises are gorgeous!


As are the sunsets:



I went to the Orpheum theatre  on Monday night with two friends  to attend the Prince tribute.  It was glorious:



This week I have Christmas Cards to write - but I am happy that I did get my daughter's parcel off to Croatia.  (The postage cost more than the present - lol!)

This was the first Christmas Card I received this year - perfect!


Today is the second Sunday of Advent:


In the second candle of Advent shines
The light of the plants of every kind,
The roses red, the grasses long,
The trees that grow so tall and strong.
Now the plants are on the Earth,
Waiting for the Christ Child’s birth. 

This afternoon I am taking my honourary grand-daughters to the East Van Panto - Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.  I was lucky to win four tickets via the miss604 blog.  

It has been quite a lovely week.  A few swims and a long walk  thrown in for good measure.

Also my son has got me signed up for Google Play Music - so I am listening to Prince and Leonard Cohen and Missy Higgins and and and......loving it.  

Have a great week everyone.   Besides the Christmas Cards all I have to do this week is make my mother's famous nuts and bolts recipe.  I make gluten free ones and I bought all the ingredients last week.  Yum.

To follow other yoppers - check out here

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Friday, December 8, 2017

Narnia

I was so grateful this morning to have been invited to the Grade Seven class play - The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe.

The set was magical, the costumes fantastical and the children were stellar in their roles. 

There they were:  the daughters of Eve, the sons or Adam. 

Such hope.

Such bravery.

Such promise.

And Aslan. 

Giving his all to save Narnia where 'it is always winter and Christmas never comes.'

I am going to re-read the Narnia books.  I haven't read them since I was in university. 

It is time to go back to those old friends and see what they have to say to me now. 

Blessings on this sixth day of advent. 

-





Thursday, December 7, 2017

The wings of God

Shining sun
kissing the snow capped mountains

Cold air raising the hair on my arms
as sun beams warm my hair

Apple leaves
a handful
resisting the urge
to fall
reaching toward the
winter sun
with hope
and diligence
bravery and
defiance.

They will fall

We all will fall

but not today

today I am above the fog

today I am nestled in the
wings of God

and safe .

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Sign of the Times

I made a decision to post everyday during Advent, but the odd thing is I don't feel like I have anything to say.  

Weird.  

I have said before that when I am feeling well, both mentally and physically then my words seem to abandon me.  

So, let's talk about Prince!

On Monday I went to a tribute concert for Prince put on by the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra.   
I went with an ex-student of mine who is 19, her mom, who is 47 and yours truly, who is 62.  

So there we were - three generations - all singing along to Prince songs.  

His musicsreally does have meaning for so many generations, and I believe generations to come. 

His song Sign of the Times was written in 1987, but it could have been written today.  

That made me sad that our human condition hasn't improved but on the other hand I was impressed that a song written thirty years ago could still have such relevance.  

Prince once said that he believed one day in the future there would be no black or white, but that we would all be a lovely light brown.   I think he felt the same way about gender roles.  

“One thing I’d like to say is that I don’t live in a prison. I am not afraid of anything. I haven’t built any walls around myself, and I am just like anyone else. I need love and water.”

So, since Monday night I have been reflecting on the world Prince envisioned. 

I have been listening to his songs and re-reading his lyrics. 

And missing him.  

If we could just love each other and find our common ground.

Maybe then there could be peace.  


Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Christmas Cards



This is the first Christmas Card I received this year. So lovely. 

Some years I send them

Some years I don't

I always love getting them

And displaying them above the mantel over the fireplace. 

It was my job to put the display the Christmas Cards on the front door of my family home. 

This year I am sending cards

To those near and those far

Not to everyone, but to the ones I need to reach out to and hear from. 

I rummaged through my card box and found a couple of dozen cards - an eclectic bunch. 

Today I also bought the ingredients for a Christmas care parcel that needs to travel across the world.

I felt like I was on a scavenger hunt. 

It was good to get the Christmas ball rolling. 

My mantra for this year is simplicity, and calm, and peace. 

So I knit another ripple on my Peace Shawl.

I will add a few more rows to my Dying of the Light Shawl.

I will start a new colour on my Spice Market shawl. 

Mostly I will sit quietly, breathing deeply.

I have been dizzy today, and I need to move slowly, and keep my equilibrium. 

Literally.

And Metaphorically. 

Blessings to you all on this third day of Advent. 



Monday, December 4, 2017

In the presence of Grace

In the quiet and calm....


Words from the song I posted about a few days ago. 

It is Monday, the second day of Advent.  I have lit the advent wreath and I am getting going with my day. 

My anxiety is a little obnoxious today, but once I meet the deadline and write up the evaluation I did last week then I can go for a swim and those two things will help ease my fluttery stomach. 

Tonight I am going to dinner and a symphony concert with two friends.  The Vancouver Symphony is performing a tribute to Prince, so of course I am going!

A friend of mine posted yesterday about Hope, and whether it ever is gone.  I don't believe it is ever gone, but sometimes it hides from me, from us.

I do believe so strongly in Grace.  By the Grace of God, or whatever you believe is Holy, I can find my way back to Hope. 

I am knitting my Peace shawl and I am up to ripple 11.  The ripples get farther and farther apart as the shawl progresses - just like the ripples each of us send out into the world.  As I knit today's ripple I will dedicate it to Prince and all he meant and still means to so many.  Here is a youtube of him singing my favourite song, The Cross.

Today's Project Peace post was on Snowflakes, and how individual each one is, but then how they come together and cover us like a blanket of Peace. 



So for today, the second day of Advent, I wish you Peace, and Grace and Hope. 

And a little Prince!

Blessings on your day.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Yopping Update 23 - Peace


Today is the first day of Advent and I have set up my Advent wreath to begin the season.


In the first candle of Advent shines
The light of the crystals in the mines,
The rocks, the jewels, the precious stones,
The oceans’ seashells, and even our bones.
Now the stones are on the Earth,
Waiting for the Christ Child’s birth. 


I have decided to post everyday through Advent as a way to stay calm during this season that can easily become fraught with too much sensory overload, and not enough peace.

Speaking of Peace - Friday marked the first day of Project Peace 2017 and many many knitters around the world are knitting the same beautiful shawl pattern that represents the ripples and waves we send out into the world when we practice Peace.

I didn't start mine on Friday because I wanted to get my Spice Market shawl back to where I was when I frogged those 106 rows last week.    And I did!

Ta-Da!



Last night I started my Peace shawl.  I got to ripple nine and I am loving this pattern.  With every ripple I knit I am sending peace out to a loved one and I am adding their name beside the ripple on the pattern. 

I am knitting with Sport weight yarn and 3.75 mm needles.   I am starting with the colourway called Blue Fog.  It shows up quite grey in the photo, but it does have a lovely blue tinge to it.  It represents the sand and the shoreline on a foggy day.   Then when I get to the lace I will change to a light blue - to represent the waves lapping on the shore, and then finish it with a darker blue for the deeper ocean.



I think it is going to be beautiful.  The wool I am using was the gift I received from my knitterley friend who moved yesterday and gave out yarn at the last knit group she attended.  She didn't want to move ALL her stash so it will be lovely to have this shawl to remember her and her generosity.


Dying of the Light and the mini-sweater were on hiatus this week because I really wanted to get Spice Market back on track.

So I will be back here tomorrow for another Advent post.  Please join me.

Let there be Peace on Earth
And Let it Begin with Me.



Saturday, December 2, 2017

Little Boat on the Ocean

I heard this song a month ago.  It is by Beverley Elliot from her CD Sunday Morning.

It has helped me immensely and I want to share it with all of you.

Little Boat on the Ocean (the 2nd song on her website gives you a taste of the first verses and the chorus.(

Little boat on the ocean rowing along
Little boat on the ocean be strong
There's a light in the harbour
Beckons you in
Little boat on the ocean be strong

Little shell on the seashore
Washed in the sand
Little shell on the seashore be strong
Theres a wave that is coming
to help you along
Little shell on the seashore be strong

Let love take you by the hand
Give you courage to stand
In the holiest place
In the presence of grace
In the quiet and calm
It is clear
In the dark of the night
You will hear Love
calling you,  calling you
Hear Love
calling you, calling you
Hear Love
calling you, calling you
home.

Little bird in the treetop
singing so true
Little bird in the treetop
be strong
There are 10000 people
they're singing with you
Little bird in the treetop
be strong

Let Love take you by the hand
give you courage to stand
In the holiest place
In the presence of Grace
In the quiet and calm
It is clear
In the dark of the night
You will

Hear Love
calling you,  calling you
Hear Love
calling you, calling you
Hear Love
calling you, calling you
Hear love
Calling you, calling you
Hear Love
Calling you, calling you
Hear Love
Calling you, calling you
Home

Little boat on the ocean rowing along
Little boat on the ocean rowing along
Little boat on the ocean
Be strong.





I am planning to post daily through  Advent starting tomorrow. Please join me.

Peace to you all this Advent season.




Thursday, November 30, 2017

As long as we both shall live

Day 30 - finished Nanawrimo, and Nablopomo.  I missed two days of posting, but that is ok.  Sometimes life happens and other things have to be shelved until equilibrium is regained.  
My novel is edited.  I have added 3607 words.  I am ready to put it out into the world for beta-readers.  

I will keep you posted.  

November 30 - Day one

And then she recited the poem by Walt Whitman they had spoken at their wedding so many years ago.  By the second verse his voice had joined hers.

Listen! I will be honest with you,
I do not offer the old smooth prizes, but offer rough new prizes,
These are the days that must happen to you:
You shall not heap up what is call’d riches,
You shall scatter with lavish hand all that you earn or achieve,
***
 Come, I give you my hand!
I give you my love more precious than money,
I give you myself before preaching or law;
Will you give me yourself? will you come travel with me?
Shall we stick by each other as long as we live?

“Shall we?”,  she asked, stroking his hand.

“We shall,” he answered taking her hand to his lips.

And then, being the phlegmatic soul that he was, he offered to make her a big breakfast  of bacon and eggs on toast.  

It tasted wonderful.  

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Disturbed by God

Part of a letter from the second to last chapter:

Dear God,

I visited your house today.  I was afraid you wouldn’t be there after all this time, but you were.  You are always there.

I spoke the corporate confession and was disturbed by the line
Part of a prayer from the second to last chapter:

Most merciful God,
we confess that we have sinned against thee
in thought, word, and deed,
by what we have done,
and by what we have left undone.”

 "By what we have done, and by what we have left undone”. 

I once read a book entitled Disturbed by God. 

I finally understand the feeling.

I have been leaving many things undone for some time. 
And I realize that has been a good thing.  I had thought I was weak because I wasn’t following through on my plans, but now I see that you, and my angels have been hard at work – disturbing my plans. 

You have been giving me patient hands.  You have been helping me to watch and wait, and not to be rash and do something I cannot undo. 

And, I realize, you have tried to come at me in different ways, less obvious ways, not so churchy ways.

The tarot, the horoscope, yoga, the lunches with old friends, the swimming, the fairy tales, the poetry – all of it was you trying to steer me to safer ground.

And you have.  You have not forsaken me, not even when I forsake you. 


And for that I am glad. 

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Losing her mind?

Excerpt # 28 - two more days to go and then I will find some beta readers.

She looked in the fridge and started a real, honest to goodness grocery list.  As she went to pin it to the fridge, she noticed a grocery list already started and pinned by one of her earth magnets.
 She didn’t remember making that list. 

She was losing her mind.  Fact.

Never-the-less, she added ingredients to the list to make some dishes that would take time to prepare and time to cook. 

Then she would make time to sit down and really enjoy them.

She picked up the laundry basket and headed downstairs to start a load.  Why was the basket so heavy?  Surely it hadn’t been that long since she last washed her things. 

And why wasn’t the cat yowling for food?  She quickly padded back upstairs, and sure enough himself was sound asleep and there was food in his dish.  Food she didn’t remember putting there. 

Weird.

When she went to do the dishes it seemed there were more to do than there should be.

Now she was freaking out.

She needed to go do something to gain her equilibrium.  She grabbed her swimming bag.  At least that was where it should be and contained what she had put in there.


Normally she would go to the pool and run drills, but today she walked to the deep end, and dove straight in, swimming underwater for as long as her lungs would let her until she surfaced and started stroking.

Monday, November 27, 2017

One of a Kind

Today's excerpt:

She suddenly thought about her grand nieces and nephews and her honourary grand-daughters.  She had recently come across a crocheted or knitted pattern for little dolls that would fit into a little hand or pocket. 

She headed into her craft room and found a basket of small balls of remnant yarn, and took the correct sized needles out of the drawer. 

She settled on the couch, pulled the afghan around her and started to plan the colours for the first little doll.  She decided to try the crocheted one first, and headed back to get the correct sized crochet needle.

She lit a firelog, and turned on the television.  She tuned into a doctor drama she would watch occasionally, turned up the light beside her, found her glasses and proceeded to learn something new.

She thought of the little one she was knitting for.  She had red curly hair and liked to wear pink.  She also loved striped things, so she busied herself knitting a doll that would look like a mini-me to her grand-niece. After an hour she had it stuffed and sewn up.  She was pleased with the result and started a second for her grand-nephew. 

It was getting dark outside, and probably time for supper but she kept knitting and crocheting, alternating between patterns with each doll she made.

By bedtime she had three little dolls sitting on the coffee table looking up at her expectantly.

Black Friday, or not, it had been a good day, and the three little faces were proof that you could make something out of almost nothing and not have to spend a thing to do it.  No-one could have bought these on Black Friday. They were one of a kind.  Just like her grand nieces and nephews were one of a kind.

Just as she was.


One. Of. A. Kind.  

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Yopping 22 - A reveal and a frog

The Sugarplum Fairy socks are now live so I can reveal my test knit:



I love making fraternal socks.  The yarn was left over from my Iona blanket.  It is an easy lacy pattern and a quick knit.  I love how the ribbed pattern hugs my instep.

I spent all this week work diligently on my Spice Market shawl.  Last night I was on the last colour of the middle section when I discovered this:

Can you see the gold yarn stretching between the two spots.  Ack - My yarn in front should have been a yarn in back.

Then while I was bemoaning this I had a close look at the other colours and saw this:


Where the orange pin is - another one! 
I thought for about five minutes about leaving well enough alone, but I am loving this shawl so much I know it would haunt me when I wore it so I PULLED OUT 106 ROWS!!!!

You know the adage.  " You never regret frogging back, but you do regret not frogging back."

Also as my hubby pointed out I am a process knitter, and I am loving knitting this pattern, so now I get to do it all over again.

Here are my colours ready to be reinstated in the proper order.




I have labelled them so they go back in the correct order as the rows get a little longer with each colour repeat.

By next week I should be back to where I was last night. 

I also started a mini sweater thanks to Marsha's examples:

I found a set of six mini sweater patterns from KnitPicks in my binder of patterns.  This one has a fairisle yoke.

To see what my yopping friends are up to this week go here.



Saturday, November 25, 2017

Close and holy darkness

Ending from yesterday's chapter:

She headed to bed just after midnight.  The cat was nowhere to be found what with his earlier bath and then all the people invading his space.  She knew he would forgive her by the time his stomach reminded him he had missed a meal. 

Suddenly she remembered the quote – It was attributed to Winston Churchill, of all people,

When you are going through Hell, keep going.  

Yes, that was it.  She didn’t need Google after-all.    It was a blessing and a curse to have been an English Literature major all those years ago. 
Another quote came into her brain – the squirrel was active tonight. 

Do not go gentle into that good night. Rage, rage against the dying of the light.


It wasn’t rage she needed, and it wasn’t acceptance.  What was it?

She lay in the darkness and started to give thanks, saying what she wished she had said at the dinner table, and after she was finished she recalled the line from Dylan Thomas’s A Child’s Christmas in Wales.

She wasn’t sure why Dylan Thomas was speaking to her tonight – but she accepted that her angel was trying to tell her something. 

She said some words to the close and holy darkness.

And then she slept. 

Friday, November 24, 2017

Cat astrophe

I little humour for today's excerpt:

She ran the water, adding an extra dollop of bubble bath.  The cat came in and sat on the edge of the tub as he often did, dabbing at the bubbles on top of the water.  He was a funny thing. 

She lay down in the tub putting her head back and letting the water flow over her forehead, her mouth, and finally her nose.  She held her breath, listening to her heart beating in her ears.  Her eyes were closed.  She lay perfectly still.  Perfectly.

Suddenly she felt the oddest sensation just above her navel. She slowly lifted her head out of the water.  The cat was licking the bubbles from her stomach. She sat up quickly, he slipped into the tub, and suddenly she had a very surprised cat leaping off of her, onto the bathroom floor and bolting out the door. 


So much for a relaxing bath.  She checked out the damage, a few scratches, and then lay back in the water trying to recapture the peace.  

It wasn’t going to happen.  Her heart was beating wildly.  

She imagined ‘himself’ to be hiding somewhere, licking his own wounds.  

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Coming clean

Happy Thanksgiving to all my American friends!

Here is my excerpt from the latest chapter. 

At 11:30 she found herself in the waiting room at the doctor’s office.  She had the crumpled up note in her pocket.  She had to use a flashlight to locate it.  It was stuck on the floor in a puddle of something disgusting that had leaked out of the fridge.  It was accompanied by a few cat crunchies, a dried raison, and an errant pink and grey pill.  Ironic she thought.  Totally ironic. 
The receptionist ushered her into the examining room where she fiddled with her phone until she heard the tap on the door.  He came in and settled himself into the chair, as he usually did, he crossed his legs, leaned back and asked her how she was.
She never quite knew how to answer the question.  Usually she said, not fine.  And then she usually smiled.  It wasn’t funny. 
Today though, she didn’t say anything.  She reached into her pocket and took out the sticky crumpled note and handed it to the doctor.
He looked at it.  He looked at her.  He gave it back to her. 
He asked her how long she had had the note.  More exactly how long she had had the thought that was written on the note. 
“Months", she said.  “Many months.  But I never actually get to it.”
“Clearly”, he said. 

They both smiled. 
 It wasn’t funny, but they both smiled.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

We women

Short excerpt today includes one of my favourite quotes:

Some days getting up, feeding yourself, and getting a swim in was as good as it got.  And some days that was enough. 

Today, though, it wasn’t.

She phoned her sister back.  She told her about the crumpled piece of paper lying under the fridge. 

They wept together. 

She told her sister she had made an appointment with the doctor, and she would take the crumpled piece of paper with her. 

She told her she had started to come off the pink and grey pills, but had halted the progress. 

Her sister said she was going to phone her everyday just for a quick check-in, and made her promise to answer the phone. 

She thought of the Nikki Giovanni quote about the women in the fields of Africa. 

We women were the ones in the fields in Africa.  We were communal even then and as we got into bigger fields, we would call to one another.  If you didn’t answer back, we went to see about you.

She knew her sister would come see about her if she didn’t answer and there was comfort in that.

She told her sister she was going to be ok.

And today?


Today she almost believed it.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

To protect or to harm?

Today's excerpt includes a poem I wrote eight years ago today.  I wrote it for a student on her 12th birthday.  My protagonist finds this poem as she is organizing her poetry to publish:



Cusp 

A scorpion’s arched tail, or
An archer’s bow.
To protect or to harm
Lies in a decision
That cannot be made lightly.

One foot in either world
The past or the future
Looking forward, or Looking back?
The choice is ours to make.

Look up.
Look to the stars
They have watched humanity for millennium,
They will not forsake us now.

She stared in disbelief at these words, this poem written by her fifty-two year old self.  She had written them for a student, but now, clearly, these words of hers were a sign from her angel.

To protect or to harm. A decision that cannot be made lightly.  The choice is ours to make. They will not forsake us now. 

She closed the book, marking the page with the bookmark that had come with the journal. 

Her angel was talking to her, trying to get her attention, making her listen. 

There is still time, there is always time. 

 Isn’t that what her daughter had once said? 

“We have time.”

She walked into the kitchen, and poured the cold coffee down the drain.  Reheating it for a second time seemed silly.


She stood in front of the post-it note on the fridge and pulled the earth magnet to free the crumpled, yellow piece of paper.  It fluttered to the ground and slipped under the fridge.  

She left it there.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Dad

Excerpt from chapter 21 - the protagonist has been reading her detailed horoscope chart:

It has not been possible to have a relationship with your father.  Perhaps he disappeared when you were young.

Tears welled up in her eyes.  Her father had died when she was seventeen and he was forty-nine, and she knew she had never really gotten over it. 

Fathers and daughters are complex enough in their relationship, she knew this, but she missed him everyday. 

Her father had a quick and ugly temper, and she had been on the receiving end of it a number of times as a younger child, but that all changed when she became a teenager.  They had developed a close relationship especially after he was diagnosed, for the second time, with cancer.  

After school her younger brother and sister would be out with their mother.  Her brother would be swimming, her sister babysitting, her mother driving them to and fro, and she and her father would sit in the living room talking about real things.  Often he would pour her a small glass of sherry and they would sit across from each other in the expansive living room. In large gatherings she would be snuggled up against him, but in these more intimate moments they chose to sit where they could really see each other as they talked. 

When he was very sick, blind and disfigured, he still would come out into the kitchen to meet her friends, and say hello and vet new boyfriends.  She loved him for that.  That he would put his pride aside to still be ‘the father’ in situations were ‘the father’ needed to show up. 

Often she would arrive home from school, her grade twelve year, and her mother and older sister would be in the kitchen, distraught and weeping.  He would have refused to eat all day, saying he just wanted to die.

She would gather the tray with the stewed prunes, and boiled egg, and walk into his bedroom.  He would be lying in the bed, on the left side, he had shared with her mother for thirty years.  He would be listening to the radio, eyes closed.

She would call his name softly.  “Dad?  Dad, you have to eat something.” 

And he would.  For her, he would eat. 

She would sit with him while he ate, and they would listen to the radio together.  They would joke about all the things he had won in radio contests.  Over the years she would carry this torch, entering and winning numerous items from local radio stations. 

Her mother had promised him he would die at home.  Ultimately, it was not a promise she could keep.  He had fallen one day and she couldn’t get him up.  He was moved to the veteran’s hospital.  Even there he stayed busy, hooking a pillow and making a pink elephant, both items she still had. 

She would read him the paper, sitting on the end of his bed.  She realized that she didn’t remember the last time she saw him.  Her mother wouldn’t let her or her younger brother and sister see him in the last weeks.  To this day it is something she regrets.  Not being able to say good-bye.
  
She remember once he told her and her mother that his Dad had been in to visit him.  His father had died twenty years before, so they all knew that he was close to crossing the veil and his father was there to guide him. 

And then, in the early morning hours of the first day of September, her mother had come downstairs to her room and told her he was gone.  She hadn’t known about “White Rabbit” then, but if she had it would not have made any difference. 

She wept and railed against a God that would do this to him, her siblings, her mother, to her.  She couldn’t comprehend what kind of God would take a young father of six children.  And then she put on her game face and went upstairs to support her mother through the wake, the funeral, the paperwork.

Her father’s death caused her to leave the church that she and her father had so loved.  She didn’t return to the church for twenty-three years, and when she did, it was to find him, not God, again.  

In her forties she was missing him so desperately that she legally added his surname as her middle name. 

By now the horoscope reading was forgotten.  Too many things in it just weren’t her.  She didn’t like change, she wasn’t adventurous, she wasn’t a braggart, she wasn’t artistic, she didn’t care for material things, she didn’t demand aesthetic surroundings.

But she did have a father who had left her far too early and it was a relationship that she could never have, at least not in this lifetime.

She thought, as she often did, how different her life might have been if he had lived.  Would she have dated the men she did?  Would she have married the man she did?  Would she continue to share her struggles with her father?  What advice would he have given her? 

He who had his own struggles with post traumatic stress disorder, although it wasn’t named that then. Shell shock.  That’s what her mother called it.

She imagined meeting him across the veil.  How disappointed would he be in her choices? 

Very disappointed in that to-do list for certain.

And her life?  This gift she had been given to age far beyond the age he had been graced with in this incarnation? Why wasn’t she valuing that for his sake, if not for any other reason. 

Grace. 

Living, with all of life’s struggles, was living in Grace. 

So, she had Grace.  She had her Faith.  All she needed now was Hope.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Yopping update - 21


Dobar dan!  (This means good day in Croatian).

I have had three lessons so far and have used it a bit when skyping with my daughter.  Not an easy language but I have a few words I am comfortable with now.

This week has been all about my two wips - both shawls.

I have spent most of the week on my Dying of the Light.  If you knew the week I have had it seems most appropriate.







And I took my On the Spice Market to knit group on Thursday because I was in the middle of german short rows with Dying of the Light, and I knew that wouldn't end well in a room full of chatter and laughter.





I have been editing my novel at least one chapter a day and at this point I only have eight chapters left to go.  Then I will be sending it out to beta readers. 

I did scour the city for my favourite knitting magazine - Simply Knitting, out of the UK, and third store lucky I now have a sweater I want to add to my queue, and of course another Alan Dart masterpiece.

I was given 300 gms of sportweight yarn on Thursday.  One of the knit group regulars is moving and she brought presents for all of us from her stash.  I am thinking a sweater, or a shawl.  There are 100 grms each of three different shades of blue.  Decisions decisions.

Also last week my friend (Croatian teacher) gave me two lots of sweater quantity yarn - one in shades of green, and another a rainbow boucle.  She too was cleaning out her stash cupboard.

I love getting surprise yarn.

The Healthy Knitter is starting her Project Peace KAL on December 1st and I think I have just the yarn for that - left over from my Iona blanket.  I did this last year with a number of friends and then we all got together on the solstice, December 21, to finish our project and to eat and be in peaceful company.  I even wrote a parody on Twas the Night before Christmas to honour last year's event.

You have probably noticed still no photo of my test socks, but I have heard the pattern is being released on the 24th of November so stay tuned.  They will be revealed next week!

Have a great week everyone.  To follow other intrepid yoppers head here.

zbogom!  (Croatian for goodbye)

Saturday, November 18, 2017

The turning point

Excerpt Chapter Twenty-One - Nine days and counting

She put a linen table cloth on the table and put out the good silverware and good china.  She lit one of her new candles.  She made some rice and chicken, and a Greek salad. 

She put on some soft music and poured herself a glass of wine. 

She remembered something her daughter had once told her.  Her daughter had just come home from having her nails done, and taking herself out to dinner and a movie.  When questioned about being alone, her daughter had said. “I am an awesome date, I take myself out, and I am an awesome date.”

So there she sat: wine, candles, good china, and good food.  She set a second place at the table.  The cat jumped up onto an empty chair. 

She looked out over the city – the lights sparkling in the distance, the waxing moon shining in the window. 

If this was it, would it be enough? 

“Yes”, she whispered softly. 

“Yes, but it doesn’t have to be enough.” 

There is  more. 

You are worthy to have more.  

Ask the question?

“What ails thee?”

Ask it again, to those close to you.

“What ails thee?”

Ask.

“Where does it hurt? “

“Everywhere”, she would answer.

But that wasn’t true.  It didn’t hurt everywhere and it didn’t hurt all the time. 

Why had she forgotten that?

She decided that tomorrow she would leave things as they were – she wouldn’t decrease her little pink and grey (grey and pink) pills any further.  She would just let this past week settle.  There was a lot to think about, and she needed some time.

But for tonight?  Tonight she would just be company for herself.  She picked up her latest knitting project and began the lace section. 

And, yes, she put in a lifeline before she started.


“Better safe than sorry”, she whispered, 

"Better.  Safe." 

Friday, November 17, 2017

The Fisher King

Excerpt from chapter 20 - two-thirds of the editing done.

She went to her bookshelf and found her copy of Parzival and settled on the couch to read.  She noticed all the writing she had done in the margins and her eyes fell on five words she had written in purple ink. 

“How can a question heal?”

As she leafed through her margin notations she again came to those same five words:

“How can a question heal?”

 Only this time there were some other thoughts jotted down:  

     The right question opens up the listener to new possibility
     Empathetic inquiry
     A beginning, an invitation
     A good question is one that hasn’t been asked before

Now she was getting excited.  It was as if this whole month had been leading her here.  There was something about the asking of questions, and also about the not asking of questions.  Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, kind of thing.  If you ask a question your destiny will unfold in one direction.  If you don’t ask a question your destiny will still unfold, but in another direction. 

What was the question?

Who was being asked?

Who was asking?

What was the answer?

She scanned the book, searching for the passage about the king and his wound.  She found it:

“We fell on our knees in prayer before the Grail.  All at once we saw written upon it that a knight should come, and if from him a question came, our sorrow would be ended, but if anyone should prompt him in any way to the question, his question would not help, but the wound would remain as before.  If he does not ask the first night, the power of his question will vanish.  But if at the right time his question is asked, then the king shall be healed. “

So there was a time frame.  And a rule - no prompting.  Her angels were guiding her, not prompting her, to ask the question. Was it already too late?

This month, this day, had lead her to something.  Had she been on a grail quest all along?  And by all along she didn’t just mean this month, but these sixty years?

Finding this book, with these notes, was a treasure.  It had been there on the bookshelf all these years.  Her angels had reminded her earlier this morning.  There must be an answer in this book. 

She opened the book to the first page and began to read. 
She read all through the night – she, and Parzival, and the notes from her younger self, her forty-four year old self. 


On this cold November night she found herself in good company.