Saturday, January 14, 2012

Expectations, Shopping and Lunch

I'm not a big shopper.  To be honest, I typically don't enjoy any part of the process.  With a couple of glaring exceptions that revolve around art supplies, craft supplies, fabrics and notions, books and hardware stores.

Today was that day:  The rare occasion where I am excited to go shopping!  Lists in hand, I headed to Dothan and Hancock's fabric with Mark and our boys in tow.  I got yarn to start a crochet project for myself and fabric to finish out two of my 2011 pay it forwards.  Then we went to Hobby Lobby for cork to finish off another of my 2011 pay it forwards-- but while there, I discovered that this will be the place I go the next time that I'm looking for yarn.  They have a MUCH better selection and the prices are comparable.

Then we headed to Apple Bee's for lunch.  Uncle Kennard had given us gift certificates for Christmas AND the boys, being on the school honor roll, were each given a gift certificate for a free kid's meal.  We've tried the Apple Bee's at home three times, and been sorely disappointed with each-- poor service, icky food, or things served cold that should be hot and vice versa.  So we decided to try out the one in Dothan.

MUCH better!  -This- is a place that could be in their commercials.  Our waitress was attentive and knowledgeable, the food was excellent and the proper temperatures and my guys and I had a wonderful time.  We even played a couple of rounds of tick tack toe on the paper kid menus that they give out and I had the opportunity to introduce my oldest to madlibs (:

Then, right after we placed our order for dessert, my husband reached over to steal a sip of my youngest's soda. He jumped and made a terrible face.  It was Dr. Pepper.  He was expecting Pepsi.  And it was hysterical.

And in that moment, I remembered my summer at Horse Cave Theatre, working in the costume shop and the near weekly gatherings and parties that went on.  For one of them, I made chocolate covered strawberries and grapes.  One of my older co-workers stood staring at the tray for 5 minutes, obviously steeling himself, before he quickly snatched up one of the grapes, tossed it in his mouth, took a bite-- then yelped and jumped back, with obvious shock on his face.

When I asked what was wrong with the grape, he said he's been expecting an olive.  After laughing, I asked him why he'd think I'd bring chocolate covered olives and his response was, "Well...with you, I just didn't know -what- to expect."

In retrospect, I'm pleased that, even believing it to be an olive, he cared enough to try it-- and subsequently also a little offended that he'd think I'd even make such a thing (lol).

Back in the present, our desserts were being served and my youngest and I tried the mousse (which was delicious) and my oldest enjoyed a Sundae.  And after all the certificates, we spent $10 for a $70 meal (:  Made sure to tip our waitress well for her excellent service.

After lunch, we made our last stop at Lowes, because I'm almost done with the one Pay it Forward, and my husband likes it so much, he wants me to make a couple more to give as gifts.

But I'll post about that when I finish it tomorrow (;

Friday, January 13, 2012


I dabble in a lot of them.  Hobbies, I mean.  Most of them are art, craft or learning centric because, well, I like arts, crafts and learning (;

But I recently read one of the absolute best answers to the question, "What is your hobby?"

Alex Osborn answered this question with one word:  Imagination.

I have to admit, that resonates with me.

To me, imagination is a key that opens up a room of unlimited size, filled with an equally unlimited amount of wonders.

It's the pillows that become bunkers in imaginary wars.  It's the unbearably cold tundra just outside the cave of blankets.  It's the water dragon the University uses to water the football field.

It's a chance to be entirely within your own head-- and amused and entertained.

It's also the opportunity to share that with someone else-- or be fortunate enough to have someone else sharing theirs.

It's improvised bed time stories.  And clouds and shadows that look like other things.

And often, it's the inspiration for many of the arts and crafts and learning that I pursue.

 It's all of these, and so many more.

I'd like to say I'll add imagination to my list of hobbies, but I suspect it's already there.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Cast Not Your Purls

Today was my second first day of school.  I was already not really looking forward to it, because my English teacher had sent an email that said she wouldn't be there, but we should all show up to pick up the syllabus and assignment.  After getting the email, I sent one back asking if she could just email them (which seemed perfectly logical to me) but she never responded.

I live 45 minutes away from campus.  My English class is at 10.  Gas is $3.29 a gallon.  And my second class for the day doesn't start until 2:30.

Sigh.  So I went in.  Picked up the assignment.  And was out of that class by 10:15.  Went to the library and completed the homework within 20 minutes.  After lunch, I still had almost 3 1/2 hours before my next class.

Since I'm still in the practice stage of knitting, I didn't want to continue practicing where people were going to be a) asking me questions about it (because I don't know enough to answer them) or b) outright watching (because, lets face it, there just aren't knitter circles on campus).  So I sat in my car and knit.

I was up to 17 rows (:   I was feeling pretty handy, as I'd just added 7 of them then and there-- practically double what I'd already had!  So I figured I'd give purling a try again.

The last time I tried it, even though I was theoretically doing it 'backwards' from the way I knit-- I was somehow still just knitting.  So this time, I figured I'd try it differently.

Made it through a whole row!  Ha!  I've got this! Big grin on my face as I look down at my knitting triumphantly envisioning showing my mother in law that I have -indeed- been practicing!

...and then I tried to add another row.

I couldn't get my needle in.  There was no room.  After forcing my way into the fourth stitch (are knitting loops even called stitches?), I decided I had NOT, in fact, figured out purling.

So I undid those 4-- then pulled my needle out and unraveled the obviously not purled row.

I've been pondering what happened next for the last 6 hours.  I've figured it out -now-...but that's not what happened -then-.

What happened then, was that after I unraveled that entire row, I tried to put my needle back through the loops of the previous row so I could just try again. But each loop I got through, the next would begin to disappear.  Until I lost a loop.  Then the next.  So, naturally, I had to pull out my needle and unravel that row...and when I did it again, that row... (are you starting to see a pattern here?)  By the time it was all said and done,  all I had left was my initial loop to start casting on from.

Yup.  I'd unraveled the entire thing.

After some choice words and tossing the whole thing aside in a bit of disgust, I read for about 30 minutes.  Then, I decided that it was the perfect opportunity to re-practice casting on and knitting.

If you clicked on the link above, you can tell I'm pretty much back to where I started.  See that large pile between the needle and the ball of as yet unused yarn?  Yeah.  I'd knitted all of that.  Sigh.

I'm just ornery enough for this to make me -more- determined to figure it out.

And the moral of the story?

Cast not your purls before you know how to purl

....or at least, until you know how to save yourself from unraveling the entire thing (;

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

First Day of School, Spring 2012

My first day of school didn't start in an organized and pre-planned fashion.  In fact, it completely broke with routine.  I had one child up at a time, spending an hour personally with each of them, instead of 30 minutes with both as I try to get as much breakfast into them as possible before they have to hop on the bus.  It was nice.  I really enjoy the moments when I get to enjoy my boys one on one and none of feel like they have to compete for my attention.  My first lesson of the day began before I even left for school:  I need to make more time to be with my boys individually.  I think we all appreciated it (:

Then it was off to school for my first class of the semester.  That said, today was also my first day on campus in 2012, and the first day of my last year of school.  I parked in the lot that I traditionally do, and headed up a path I walk so often-- but over the break, they'd ground up the stumps for the pines that they cut down last semester.  Though I was a little sad to see how badly they're tearing up the campus in the name of progress, I still smiled and inhaled deeply as I passed those stumps that are no more.  The scent of fresh pine enveloped me as I walked through the small gauntlet of wood shavings that lined both sides of the walk.

And my first class:  Technical Theatre.  If you're like me, you probably think that class sounds like it should happen in a theatre... or at least where tech stuff happens.  So when my schedule did NOT say the shop, I had to figure out where it was directing me, as I wasn't sure where Bibb Graves was.  It turns out that it's the major building on the quad that they've been renovating and working on since I started at Troy...and I get to have a class in it!  I was lucky to choose the side entrance closest to where I came from because it turned out that my class was just around the corner.

I think it's going to be a lot of fun, and has the potential to allow me to make some art projects along the way.  We shall see.  I have high hopes (:  And a lot of ideas.  Oh!  AND part of the assignment requires going out to see a professional level performance not put on by Troy, so I've been given permission to look for a show, or concert somewhere in the area.  Very excited by the prospect!

After a very productive first day on campus getting things in order (returning a wonderful borrowed book, picking up my finished sewing final from last semester, making it through the cashiers office, visiting with friends, and preparing for classes that start next week), I stopped off at Lowes to get the rest of the supplies that I need to finish my second Pay it Forward of 2011.  I should have it all wrapped up and ready to go on Friday (:

I've also decided that on Saturday, I'm going to Dothan to pick up the supplies for 2 of the others.  If it goes quickly enough, I might well have all three projects complete by the end of the weekend!

I also ordered my first crochet pattern.  It's for an absolutely lovely Moorish Mosaic Afghan.  So I'll also have to pick up the recommended yarns (and a little extra for learning and practicing on).

I like having projects to work on.  I just need to get them taken care of before homework eats my free time (;

Shark Teeth

I still remember the day that I learned that shark's teeth grew in rows and rows, with the new teeth coming in behind the old ones.  I couldn't have been more than about nine.  The idea of multiple rows of already deadly sharp teeth was enough to make me even more afraid of swimming... even if the chances of said shark being in the pool were exceptionally small.

But just as this past winter break began, it turned out that I was about to have a much more personal encounter with shark teeth.  This time, in the mouth of my six year old.

Both of his first new bottom teeth started coming up behind the baby teeth.  I checked on-line, and most sites and responses said to give it a month, the roots would wear away and the adult teeth would move forward with no problem.  But to set up an appointment with the dentist if, after that time, they hadn't.

I waited a month.  And one of the teeth finally started getting wiggly.  Last week, we tied a piece of dental floss around it and pulled it out-- and at that moment, it was the longest root on a baby tooth that I'd ever seen.  It was clearly as long as the tooth, on one side.

But then there was that other baby tooth.  That wasn't loose at all.  I waited another week, but it's plain to see that his new grown up teeth are practically in at this point.  So I set him up with a dentist appointment for this morning.

That might not be a great photo, but I didn't realize roots were -ever- that long!  The fat 1/3 on the left?  Yeah-- that's the part that was above the gums.  And I have to queasily admit, I think that little piece that projects funny towards us on the right side might be a bit of jaw.  But the dentist said he should be just fine and the new tooth should move forward just like the other one did.  And my boy was an absolute trooper.  He asked for the laughing gas, said it felt numb when the doctor asked, and even tonight, says it doesn't hurt.

When I showed him his tooth as we were getting in the truck and getting ready to take him to school, his eyes got big and he said, "Whoa!  Maybe the toothfairy'll give me a -dollar- for that one!"

You know what, Buddy, I think she just might!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


So I'm getting my daily fix of Zuma Blitz, when the round ends and, for no apparent reason, I say the word, "Samsara".

Having no idea why this word would be leaving my mouth, nor what it means, I turn to google for some help, because the spelling is clearly in my mind.

I know that this is the word I meant to say.  I just don't know why.

It turns out that it's a Hindu, Buddhist (and several other Indian Religions) concept meaning "continuous flow" in the cycle of birth, life, death, rebirth or reincarnation.  In modern thought, it tends to be the flow and experiences of life.

I can see how it relates in relation to my actions at the time, as I was playing a game with multiple, practically unlimited 'lives', and how the end of each term would be a form or reincarnation.

But I don't think that's what I meant when I spoke the word.

I wasn't thinking about the game at all.  I was thinking about my life and my endless to-do lists and what needed done next.  There's always so much to do.  And thankfully, most of it brings me joy.  Okay (lol), maybe not even most of it, but I tend to focus on the parts that do.  I ask of myself the same that I ask of my little boys when we snuggle at night, "So what was you absolute favorite part of the day?"  A good thought to head to sleep with.  And a good memory to start the next day.

But then I was left wondering how I even knew this word.  I'm fairly certain I didn't just channel it out of the universe (...although, on second thought, that'd be pretty cool.)

I realize that I came across the term in passing while researching my Project 5 Hinduism piece.  And considered making a Samsara Tsemo for my Project 5 Buddhism piece, but decided against making 2 game boards for the show.

Apparently, my subconscious paid more attention to the information I was researching than I did and might be suggesting something for me to ponder on this cool and rainy Tuesday (:

Monday, January 9, 2012


When I was a child, I remember hearing two stories of the dandelion, that stay with me still, though I couldn't tell you who told or read them to me, so you'll just have to make due with my remembered paraphrasing.  (On an aside, if you DO know where they originated, I would appreciate the knowledge!)

The Dandelion and the Rose

Once upon a time, a fine princess traveling in her carriage stopped along the road to pluck a dandelion in full glorious yellow bloom.  She held him carefully in her hands and brought him home to her castle.  On her window sill, in a lovely, long necked glass vase, stood a single, proud red rose.  The princess placed the dandelion within the same narrow vase, smiled as the sunlight played across them, and walked on her way.

The rose, in a huff at the commonness of her new companion, scorned his attempts at introduction.  She could not believe she, a prized hot-house beauty, must share water with an average -weed-.

The humble dandelion answered proudly, "But do we not both make the princess smile in gladness?"

The other is

The Angel's Chosen Flower

Long, long ago, when faith brought angels safely to the world to walk amongst the living, the Angel of the Flowers came to find her chosen, best-beloved flower.  She traveled through forests, towns and valleys, stopping to question the flowers along her way.

She encounter a creeping rose and asked, "Where in all the world would you choose to grow?"

The shy creeping rose answered, "Upon a sturdy wall, to help me climb, as I am weak and too delicate on my own." The angel granted the rose's wish, but continued on her way.  This was not the answer she was searching for.

As she continued on, she came to a field of riotous daffodils, proud on their sturdy stalks and asked, "Where in all the world would you choose to grow?"

The daffodils answered, "Together, against the wind, for we are strong and glorious in our might!"  The angel granted their wish, but again, continued on her way.  This too, was not the answer she was searching for.

Then the angel came across a dandelion, growing in a meadow and again asked, "Where in all the world would you choose to grow?"

The dandelion beamed in his sunny yellowness, to be asked such a question but the Angel of Flowers and answered, "Oh!  To live where happy children might find me in their passing!  I wish to live where people might see me and be gladdened!"

The Angel knew that finally, this, was the answer she had searched for!  And she said to the dandelion, "You are my best-beloved and chosen flower.  You will blossom everywhere--in fields, in meadows, up through the cracks--in every nook and cranny.  You will blossom from early spring and into the fall and bring delight to the children in all your forms."

And that is how the dandelion became the Angel's Chosen Flower.

I share these two stories from my childhood because high school was on my mind tonight.

"How do two stories about this flower have anything to do with that?", you might ask.  It's because I was reminiscing about when they passed out the slips of paper my senior year asking us to choose a class flower.  You can probably surmise that I chose the dandelion, but I've always wished that they'd left us space to say WHY we wanted the particular flower.  I think, if they had, we might have had it for ours.

Because for me, the class flower was meant to be one that represented us.  And I believe it did-- after all, Dandelions are little flowers, that no matter how hard they are squashed, never fail to come back.  It is a flower of determination.  And optimism.  And hope.  And wishes.  How could it NOT be the flower of Seniors about the embark into the world?

And so I leave a quote to ponder:

"The miracles of nature do not seem miracles because they are so common.  If no one had ever seen a flower, even a dandelion would be the most startling event in the world." --(and like the stories, the author is unknown.)

Sunday, January 8, 2012

A Busy, Busy Reader!

Last night, I got my first notice that I'd won a book through goodreads First Reader, for the book Bella Notte by Jesse Kimmel-Freeman!  I was so excited, I cheered on facebook.  I should receive it in the mail within the next month (:  I'm so excited!!

When asked by a friend of mine what goodreads is, I told her it's a bibliophile's dream (:  You can keep track of the books you've read (and review/rate them, if you wish), as well as the books you want to read.  In addition to that, it allows you to connect with other people who read the same kinds of books that you do, for recommendations.  They also have a variety of giveaways that you can sign up for (and I won one!).  I haven't explored it yet, but it also appears that you can list books that you would like to own, as well as get rid of books that you no longer want.

I don't know how many books I read in a year.  But I've decided that I'm going to find out this year (:  The way goodreads keeps track of books should allow me to do that fairly easily.

I also received several wonderful recommendations and responses, one of which included the suggestion to join paperbackswap, an on-line source for trading books.  I wish I'd gotten in to it a month ago, as I took 3 bags of books to goodwill that I could have posted for swapping instead.  Now I'll have to wait, as I don't have any books to post right now.

Another suggestion was to join the on-line bookclub, From Left to Write.  I love that they don't review the books, what they do is post a blog inspired by having read the book.  I also love that you're not required to sign up for all of the books, only the ones that interest you and that you can commit to read and blog about.

It sounds right up my alley, so I've signed up for their first book of the year, Quiet:  The Power of Introverts, by Susan Cain.

Then I checked this morning and I won a second book through First Reader, for the book The Worker Prince by Bryan Thomas Schmidt!

In the course of setting up for all of this, I was also introduced to Netgalley.  I haven't really had a chance to explore them yet, but I look forward to seeing what they have to offer.

So now I have 10 days to read Quiet (:  Time to snuggle down with what I hope is going to be a good book!