Monday, November 2, 2015

Standard Time

Can it really be the last time I blogged was July 29th? That's nuts! I suppose I don't feel that I have much worthwhile to say.  Oh, occasionally I have Deep Thoughts, but they soon pass. I really can't talk about work without telling someone else's story - someone else who is entitled to his or her privacy - and besides which, I like my job and would like to keep on doing it. 

Family stuff is similar - my offspring are adults each with their own right to privacy.  I am proud of each and every one of them - kids and grands alike - but their stories are theirs to tell. Or not.

I am left with me and maybe John. 

Oh dear. 

And my life has been pretty much the same cycle: Work gets busy, work slows down, music and other fun things I do follow the Xian church - and academic - year. Knitting is organized, CHAOTIC, then re-organized..... you get the picture.

I continue to be blessed with the same wonderful friends and colleagues and (TBTG!!) family members.  

Deep Thoughts (Or IMHO)

So, I have been thinking about a number of things lately.  A random list would look like this (NOTE: these are my opinions based on my own recent experiences and research):


...are a source of grave embarrassment to this country in the world at large.
Donald Trump is a powerful, wealthy, sometimes crude, probably (ya think?) misogynist.
Benjamin Carson is a brilliant surgeon and an incredibly reckless politician.
Republicans in general are penny-wise and pound-foolish and have been in bed with the Religious Wrong for too long. Time for a divorce, or ferheavenssake at least a pre-nup!
I have no earthly idea of where I stand on gun control, but I do know we need to address the mental health problems in this country (see my  next thought).
While we're at it, let's take the Affordable Care Act to the next level and have a single payor system and save a HEAP of money in the process.
Democrats need to grow a set.
Hillary Clinton is a lot smarter and more capable than the Repubs would have us believe, as she demonstrated in the Benghazi witchhunt hearings.
Bernie Sanders is kinda cool. I think he has at least 10 pairs of underpants and probably uses a washing machine, too.
My husband watches FoxNews' The Five most weekday evenings.  I watch it with him, because he shouldn't be alone at such times. But I won't go there without adequate sustenance - at least a bottle of red.


I have been reading a lot of Frank Schaeffer's books about his personal evolution from fundamentalist Christian to an "Atheist Who Believes in God." He's gotten me thinking. A lot.  I grew up in a "mixed marriage." My mother was a Catholic who was looking to become an Episcopalian (a big deal in the early 60s) and my father has pretty much always been agnostic/atheist. After my mother's death, subsequent stepmothers have had varying degrees of agnosticism/atheism. My husband is still Catholic, my adult kids are a mixed bag- some agnostic, some atheist, some believers. My brothers and sisters are pretty much all agnostic.  I don't drill them on this topic on a regular basis, or come to think of it, at all at this point.  Sometimes the topic of faith comes up in conversation, more often not.  My kids know I'm involved in my church.  At one point one of them called it a "cult." (The Episcopal Church, really????LOL!) Anyway, there is a lot that believers can learn from atheists.  Here are a few things:

If there is no God to piss off or no afterlife for which to strive, helping one's fellow human beings is an unselfish act without hope of reward (well, except for having a better place to live and perhaps leaving this world better for one's children).
If there is no afterlife for which we should strive, then we need to make this world better.
There may be an afterlife, but no God and vice versa.
People of faith - any faith - need to stop trying to make them believe.  It doesn't work.  They are big boys and girls and that question is much too serious and important for anyone to take anyone else's word for it.
People of faith need to start acting like good people now and then.  THAT might work!

What can atheists learn from believers?

We KNOW we are hypocrites! Why the heck do you think we feel we NEED to go to church?
We struggle with faith on a regular basis.  Some days, we're just as much an atheist or agnostic as you are!
We don't need you to believe as we do in order to believe as we do.
Sometimes we have outdated, childish views of God, but we still believe in Her. 
Sometimes we are motivated by fear, rational and irrational, not a good thing.
Assuming we are people of good will, we all want to make the world a better place for the same reasons you do.
Some of us really do love it when you challenge our beliefs. It makes us think.  And you know how dangerous that can be!
We are not all homophobic, misogynistic, repressive, or humorless. In days gone by, people of faith may have been horrible by today's standards.  So were the people who didn't have faith.


I had a job in the summers and after school as an assistant to a local veterinarian when I was in high school.  I often saw my friends or their parents come in with a pet for various reasons.  I learned more about my friends and their families, seeing them with their animals, especially if their pet was in some sort of health crisis. 99.9 percent of the time, I held them in even higher regard after that. 

And in other news....

Choir and Bells and all manner of musical meanderings start back up in the Fall.  As with every year, for that I am extremely grateful.  Nancy remains our organist/choirmaster/music director and she does a fine job of course:). We are going to be doing our usual Sunday/Thanksgiving/Christmas things and in addition, we are going to be singing at the Baltimore Cathedral for an Evensong service next week. Those of you not from this vicinity may not have read of the tragic incident last December when the Suffragan* Bishop was driving, under the influence, texting and possibly under the influence of something else.  She hit a cyclist - a young husband and father - and then compounded her crimes by leaving the scene of the accident. She is now serving a seven-year sentence. The family are serving a life sentence - a horrible tragedy and one that could have possibly been avoided.  So.... we have a new temporary Suffragan Bishop who will be installed next Sunday.  Three choirs will be joining forces and singing at that service. I think the Powers that Be would like to keep it a nice, quiet service. I think.  Not sure.  I am not Privy to Such Things.... nor do I care to be. 

*fancy word for "assistant"

This year - this month actually - John hits 65!! (Shhhh, let's keep it between us, OK?) So we will be going away to see what trouble we can get into that Sunday and Monday.  A colleague is covering my cases and we can then take our time coming back to see what trouble the other inhabitants of our house have gotten into.

I have also for the first time in a while, requested and got approval for taking the week between Christmas and New Year's off. I'm not going anywhere special (unless you are one of my clients, in which case, I am out of town;)). I am hoping it will be a good time to catch up on "stuff" and to see where I want to go/do/become in the new year.


Well let's see, since July - OMG yes I have been knitting.  Arguably some weeks more than others. To start with, I scored a lot of really cool yarn at the yarn swap toward the end of September.  I got rid of a lot of stuff I won't be using any time soon. I also got some alpaca fiber! I have to take an afternoon to clean it up and then figure out how/when I'm going to spin it on the spindle.  Exciting stuff.
The goal of 5 grandkid sweaters by Christmas is looking do-able, that is if I keep my eye on the prize, LOL! So far, I have two complete sweaters, one with only a sleeve and finishing to do, one with the back done (but it may need to be frogged and redone in a larger size, LOL) and one I haven't started.  They are kid-sized and the two biggest ones are finished or close to finish, so I am optimistic.

 IF (and that's a big if) I get those done, I'd love to get a few more projects done:

 Kate Davies' A Hap for Harriet has been languishing, but it would be a fabulous color for my first-born.

This Ashby I really think would be nice on...ME:)
 This is Wendy D. Johnson's Leftovers Cowl - or at least my experimental version of it.  I have bought and also received through the yarn swap, balls of Jamieson and Smith's fingering weight shetland wool.  It is a joy to work with. This and the hap shawl above are the first times I have worked with this wool. And I've been knitting for over 50 years now (I can see Meg Swansen shaking her head....)

 Dryad, still growing s.l.o.w.l.y......

And here is another one that's been languishing! Sorry Danny!

 Meg Swansen's Saddle Shoulder cabled cardigan. Yarn is Briggs and Little Regal, also from  This picture is about a third less than my progress thus far.

So of course, with almost 50 projects on the needles, I've got to cast on yet another one.  Thanks, Bonne Marie Burns, a/k/a Chic Knits!:)
Again, I'm further along with this than just picking out the yarn.  More pics as I get moving.

I do have a couple of finished shawls.  One, the Edinburgh Festival Shawl:

And the other, the Madcap shawl, which incorporates the Yellow shawl and is a mashup of various stitch patterns:

This was a birthday gift for a dear colleague and friend and a fellow former Heartly House attorney:), Kathleen.

Oh, and here's a question for you all, what can one do with this bit of loveliness? Any ideas? It's Zooey from Juniper Moon Farm in a nice cream-ish tone of white.

Recently, my alma mater, Middlebury College in Vermont, had its homecoming.  As a kindness to those of us who never couldn't make it, the college sent a bunch of beautiful Vermont fall pics for the "leaf-peepers" among us. I am an unashamed leaf peeper and will always be one.  The picture below is reason among many why I live in the northeast (well, central Atlantic) US.

Well, life beckons.  Have a good one yourself, and God be with you til we meet again+

Wednesday, July 29, 2015


jamestowngravesAs I was getting up this morning to start my workday, the dear husband was coming home from work.  He is pulling a longer-than-usual workweek for a variety of scheduling reasons this week (and a half), so we are basically ships passing on most days.  Before crashing, he showed me a cover of today's Wall Street Journal  and told me that a similar article was on the front page of  The Washington Post I also found something similar in The New York Times The picture to the right is from the Jamestown Rediscovery Foundation (Preservation Virginia) and shows the painstaking work of recovering the bodies buried on the site of the old church in Jamestown.
Why all the interest? American students are taught in the early years of grade school about the Pilgrims making their way to Plymouth Rock in 1620, about the year of suffering and death all by wiping out that colony in the New World, and subsequent harvest, feast and celebration, giving rise to what we call our Thanksgiving Day in the States.  It isn't until we get into the double digits that we learn about the first colonies in what is now the U.S.: the "Lost Colony" of Roanoke and Jamestown.  There is literally nothing left of the Roanoke colony, but Jamestown, in southern Virginia, still exists as an archeological dig and a tourist spot.  The first wave of settlers from England to Jamestown, supposedly all Anglican, some second and third sons - the losers in the rule of primogeniture  - some there to seek their fortune, and others arriving in this wild land for reasons of their own, sailed here in 1607. In the years that followed, most of them died from disease, starvation, and death during battles with the native peoples. The short articles in todays papers were heartbreaking in the description of the privations and cruelties these poor folk endured. When another wave of settlers arrived approximately three years later, they were devastated by the sight that greeted them: starving survivors and a broken down church building.
It was under the floor of the church that the remains of four individuals were found from various social strata (even in the wilderness, standards were maintained).  One was a clergyman, two were Captains, and a fourth the relative of a leader from whom I would guess the State of Delaware took its name.  All of them were under forty years of age. That the men were buried under the church was an indication of their relatively high status in the eyes of the community. The two most interesting (to me at least) were Rev. Robert Hunt, arguably the first English clergy in the Americas, and Capt. Gabriel Archer. Rev. Hunt, the eldest of the deceased, was approximately 39 at the time of his death and he was buried in a shroud.  Capt. Archer was buried in a coffin and with him was a box that appears to have been a reliquary (a box containing pieces of the bones of a saint along with a few other things)- a very Catholic item.  Capt. Archer's parents had been Catholics who refused to change spiritual allegiances.  The thinking right now is that either Capt. Archer was part of a secret Catholic group or that the reliquary was something he kept with him as a vestige of the "old" religion in England.  Who knows?
So why am I writing about this on a blog that is normally dedicated to knitting? John and I visited Jamestown back in October of 2011 when we went to Colonial Williamsburg for our 35th wedding anniversary.  We walked quite a bit, which was difficult with John's back at the time, we had dinner at the inn there, which was lovely and went to services at the church. We also took a ride to Jamestown to tour the site and soak in the history of the area.  Even today, there is a sense of quiet grimness about the place. We were there on a beautiful autumn day.  The sun was shining, the sky was blue and the water surrounding the area sparkling.  There was a pleasant breeze and the grass was green under our feet, but this was no playground. I remember walking into the old church building which was tiny by today's standards and feeling a hushed sense of awe.  Not terror - these souls are at peace - merely awe.  And gratitude. If not for the people who faced this kind of privation and death, many of us would not be here today. Perhaps we need this kind of courage to face what lies ahead for this country and do what must be done to make it an even better place.
So much and so little have been going on.  Work has been very busy.  Nothing new there - and nothing I can discuss here of course.  The home front, too has been eventful to say the least.  The divorce of one of the adult kids is final, custody and other issues have been resolved, and I am cautiously optimistic that things will start to heal. We now have three graduate degrees in the family - two Masters and one JD and the youngest is taking the Merlin Bar Exam as I type these words. Others of the progeny are having a difficult time with various things. We are all plugging away, taking one step at a time.  Life throws us curveballs - some good and some bad - and then we deal with them. 
In terms of music, the summer months are usually a hiatus for church choirs, but we have had a recent ordination and were happy to participate in that.  I was also very privileged two days prior to the ordination to participate musically in the wedding of the ordinand and his husband, presided over by our Bishop, who sang a blessing in the form of that beautiful Baptist hymn, later adopted by the Quakers, "How Can I Keep from Singing?" It was a wonderful experience, in that small, intimate chapel within the Cathedral, giving witness to love and surrounded by it at the same time. It was equally wonderful to be able to slip away afterwards and catch up with Nancy.
Since then, I have not been back to church.  No major falling out.  In fact, I was supposed to do a reading on Sunday, but got a nasty attack of vertigo and had to find a quick replacement.  We start back up in September with the choirs, but will also have a couple of extra rehearsals the end of August, thank goodness;)! 
Atlas.JaredFlood - Copy
Atlas by Jared Flood
Arlo.michelewang - Copy
Arlo by Michele Wang
LorenCardigan.SaraElizabethSchmidt - Copy
Loren Cardigan by Sara Elizabeth Schmidt
Simplest Sweater by Juliet Romeo Juliet
Lochalsh by Martin Storey
Knitting - oh hell yes - lots of knitting has been going on.  Right now I am in the middle of a project - a sweater for each of the grandkids by Christmas - so far two are done and I'm about a quarter of the way through the third and fourth. 
Not that I haven't added other projects as well.  Currently I have 67
projects on the needles and 50 in hibernation. But I'll have them done.   When I'm 65. Maybe. Here are a few I've been working on:
Dryad.JaredFlood - Copy
Dryad by Jared Flood
A Hap for Harriet by Kate Davies
Some of these are not new, but a little bit has been added on.  I am particularly hopeful of getting Dryad and the Hap done by Christmas.  We'll see. - Copy
Silken Lace Cowl by yours truly
Finally, if I haven't bored you to tears, I'd like to introduce this little number, one of my own designs -  Silken Lace Cowl - still a work in progress.  I am using that beautiful silk yarn sent to me by Hamilton Yarns last month.  So far, not bad:).  If you'd like to try your and at the pattern, it is posted here on my other blog's patterns page.
Well that's all I have for now.  Take care of yourselves and 
God be with you 'til we meet again+

Saturday, May 23, 2015