Saturday, January 3, 2009

By George, I think I've Got It!

Well, I finished the Financially Challenged Person's Neck Warmer last night after a day for me of being work-challenged! Could not get anything scheduled, but I will continue trying today.  Perhaps more people will be home and/or will pick up, because I think there's been a new memo put out in the universe - something about not listening to or
 answering one's voice mail.  If I did that, I'd be out of a job!
OK, enough venting - it's Saturday and I thought I'd post about knitting to begin with.  These are pics of the neckwarmer laid out and being modeled (albeit reluctantly) by S.  I have to admit, it looks pretty good on her:)  But then she would say, everything looks good on her, LOL:) I'm also going to do the Ski Bonnet for her in the same yarn, but I wonder how weird they are going to look if worn together....
I think the Lace Ribbon Scarf is a lovely pattern for the Seven Dwarves yarn. I'm doing using a size 6 US needle, a bit larger than Veronik Avery's pattern calls for, but it's working and I think it will create a lacier effect.   The scarf looks at first as if it is to be knitted sideways - casting on a gazillion stitches, knitting a few rows alternating with dropped stitch rows, but it isn't.  The open "dropped stitch" effect is done with double yarn overs, which on the following row are purled and then knitted into. The open part is stabilized by SSKs and K2togs on either side.  The "zig zagging" is caused by periodic change in the knit side of the pattern.  The purl side
 remains the same.  It's really lovely - I can see why it's so popular on Knitty and Ravelry. 
The pattern is complicated enough to be interesting, but easily memorized, so you're not losing your mind while you're knitting (trust me, I can do that with other activities!).  A little bit 'o yarn goes a long long way with this pattern, so it's really a great stash buster - you know, a lot of lace yarn or sock yarn and you will lose your mind if you have to do another shawl?  You get the picture.  So, I'd recommend both of these patterns as fairly quick projects that will make a dent into one's stash.
Since last I left you, dear 3.5 readers, not a whole heck of a lot has happened, though I wish I had made more of a dent into my considerable to-do list for work! Last night, K stopped by and we chatted for a few hours, watching some silly ghost hunting TV show.  It was nice.  When one's children get married, one doesn't want to be one of those interfering parents who get into the middle of their relationships.  That always causes trouble.  On the other hand, sometimes it's nice to have a conversation - checking in if you will - to see how they're doing without feeling like you're being rude.  I don't know how else to put it.  I do know that at some point in John's and my relationship, I didn't begrudge him the unique relationship he had with his mother and now with his sibs. And I'm pretty sure, S understands that because he's close with his Mom.  It's a think line we all walk sometimes.
Anyway, it was really nice to talk with her and see how she is.  She's a great person, and I'm proud that she's my daughter.  Come to think of it, I'm proud of all my kids.  They seem to have done well sometimes in spite of my best efforts to the contrary, LOL:)!
It's funny, I remember having a conversation with her, my eldest, about 15 years ago.  Looking back, she was obviously struggling with issues of faith.  She asked me if I would care if she were Jewish.  I told her that I would love her no matter what she believed.  The question bothered me - not because she was considering a different faith, but because she thought my love was that conditional.  I know now that what she was really saying was, what if she didn't believe at all, what would I think?  I am a believer, but one thing I know: you cannot make someone believe something if they don't believe it.  You can drive their thinking underground; you can try to cause them to feel shame; you can do all sorts of evil things to force your thinking on them, but you cannot really really make them believe. Colin has often said that teaching children religious beliefs is a form of child abuse.  I wonder if he's right.  Although I do believe that teaching children compassion, the basics of right and wrong, love vs. manipulation, ethics, etc. are vitally important if you want to raise a human being who is connected with his or her world, and presenting one's own beliefs can be a part of that, forcing a world view on a child at the expense of who that child is must be some form of abuse.  I don't know in which of his books I read this, but M. Scott Peck, in one of his books of fiction (A Bed by the Window?)  recounts a scenario where a child asks his father if there is life after death.  The father says to him something like this, "The answer to that question is so important, that I cannot tell you the answer, you have to decide that for yourself."  What a beautiful thing it was to read that!   
Dr. Peck's (he was a psychiatrist) books saved my life spiritually - and I think the experience reading his thoughts gave substance to the as yet unformed beliefs I was starting to form on my own.  Strangely enough, his books gave me the spiritual permission I needed in order to question what was happening in my own faith community and other related ones.  And now that I think of it, John Bradshaw was a precursor to Dr. Peck for me.  Although I had read a book review of Dr. Peck's book, People of the Lie and his concept of evil as a psychiatric diagnosis/disorder, I did not begin reading his books until the early to mid-90s.  However I will never forget the day I first encountered John Bradshaw's dynamic persona. I have probably written about it here before, but at the risk of repeating myself:
It was early January of 1988.  It was snowing like crazy outside.  I was in law school at the time, earning some money as a home proofreader for Waverly, Inc.  The kids were respectively 10, 8, 6, 4, 3 and 20 months old.  School - the kids' and mine - were canceled for the day.  I was downstairs, in my pjs, changing the baby's diaper, supervising the older kids as they made their cereal.  The TV was turned to public television.  I rolled my eyes as I saw it was fund raising time - not that I didn't want to give, I just really couldn't; we were stretched to the max just putting food on the table and paying (or not paying) the rent.  John Bradshaw was presenting his series "On the Family."  No, not Focus on the Family, LOL, Bradshaw on the Family.  He caught my interest big time.  I remember as lunch time rolled around, I was still in my pjs and bathrobe, my eyes glued to the TV set.  Here was someone who had been a Catholic, a seminarian, a priest, an alcoholic, who had lived in a dysfunctional family and who knew something about family dynamics.  Yet, he had a level of real faith.  He helped people work through some of the pain of co-dependency and I drank in what he had to say like a desert survivor with a sandpaper mouth.
Mind you, it's really important to question everything.  What Mr. Bradshaw (or is it Dr - I think he's got a PhD or DDiv or something like that) had to say resonated with things I was starting to see on my own.  What I found fascinating about him was that he was vulnerable and real.  The stories he told of others he had encountered - and parts of his own story - had a ring of truth and authenticity about them.  I was acquainted with some of the work done regarding the family system - work that began with Adult children of Alcholohics and others who could identify how a family system can be a sick as any individual person.  Anyway, I sat glued to this show for 5 hours.  It was the beginning - the embryo really - of change in my life.
By the time I had read every John Bradshaw book I could get ahold of, I was ready to read what Dr. Peck had to offer.  At some point, I decided that I would no longer define myself as a Catholic, although there was much about that religious tradition for which I am grateful.  There are those for whom this kind of process is an instant thing.  For me, it's taken 16 years and I'm still changing.  So if I take 16 years to think the spiritual side of my life through, how can I have the (pardon me) BALLS to tell someone else what he or she should believe?   In the end, it comes to this, one either works on the side of light, love and life or one doesn't.  And to quote the one part of the Bible that doesn't get quoted enough, "In the end three things remain: faith, hope and love, these three; and the greatest of these is LOVE." 1 Cor.13
So, dear 3.5 readers, I choose light, life and love - or perhaps better stated, faith, hope and love and you know what the greatest is:)
More to come tomorrow, until then, God be with you 'til we meet again!
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