Monday, April 13, 2009

The "L" Words -- and the "K" Word

Yesterday was Easter Sunday. That means the season of Lent (my first "l" word) has now ended -- a season which my former Evangelical church paid almost no attention to. I love the fact that is not the case with liturgical (another "l" word) churches such as my small traditional Lutheran (another "l" word!) church. A few weeks ago I asked Pastor Liz (yes, another "l") if Lutherans are supposed to give up something for Lent. She said it was optional, but I thought it would be a good thing to give up some of the carbs (which I will not specifically name here, but God knows what they are) I crave the most. So I did that. Then I started getting a major craving for one of them last week. I looked online to try to determine what day Lent ended and the answer appeared to be Maundy Thursday, the day before Good Friday. So at lunchtime, I gave in to buying my #1 craved carb (which didn't even taste all that irresistible to me - so I've again abstained since then). I hope I didn't err by breaking my Lent fast from this item too soon (even though it's not mandatory in my church) since I subsequently heard Lent didn't officially end till Easter. But it's one of the many things I can't undo!

We had a somber but very nice Good Friday service in which the youth read the Scriptures, and Rex entered the sanctuary a few minutes late, so he stayed in the back row so as not to be disruptive (I was already there since our choir sang at the end -- the beautiful "Tis Midnight and on Olive's Brow"). He didn't say a thing afterwards about the service. It's still too different for him compared to Evangelical services. I was hoping he would come with me for Easter but I felt he wouldn't, and I was right. Hopefully one day. We had a really beautiful and upbeat Easter service preceded by a yummy Easter potluck, for which I made a sausage, mushroom, egg andcheese casserole (all of which got eaten).

Another "l" word is Long Beach -- as in the scenic area on the Washington coast where Dianne and I hoped to stay for two days last year before things got too precarious with her parents' health. She kept going back and forth as to whether we should shoot for mid-May this year or wait till Sept. I kept hoping for a decision on her part, since the "Knit and Crochet Show" in Portland is the same weekend and there were a couple of classes there I was interested in taking. She was not interested in going, but I took a solo vaca to Portland in '05 and had a great time. I would have done that again this year, and thought I would when the cottage we hoped to reserve said they changed their rule regarding dogs and would only let us bring two of her three toy dogs. She would have had to leave Chica behind with Lisa, and I am very fond of Chica. I told Dianne, let's wait till Sept. to go away together, which would give us time to research somewhere else to go. But she was determined we would go to Long Beach in May and found 2 other places online. The first, uh, let's just say they don't cater to conservative Christians like us! But the other place sounded nice and did not list a limit on number of dogs one could bring. I called them and we ended up with a similar cottage to the other place at a lower price, and can bring all three dogs. So no Portland trip this year, but that also means I may look into a solo trip for a few days to Vancouver, BC for my birthday in Sept. (No more 105 in the shade destinations like Vegas last year!)

Another "l" word that's been on my mind is "life expectancy" (OK. that's two words) as in dogs. After Colby passed, I Googled "life expectancy Samoyed" and most of the sources said it's 12 to 15 years. We never knew Colby's birthdate since he was a stray, but his age was estimated at 4 when we adopted him and we had him just over 7 years. So that means he was a bit under the average life expectancy. I don't know if there's a lot we could have done about that. He stopped wanting to go on walks a couple years ago, which he needed to do since he was so overweight. So that could have affected his back end going lame like it did at the end. We gave him a good home and I trust he was happy with us, and aside from getting yappy most every night, he was a good dog. I then looked up life expectancy for Great Pyrenees. Most sources said 11 to 12, with a few going a bit above that. Rex and I feel our precious Heidi, who is now 11 years and 4 months, will beat those odds. She is trim, frisky and healthy, with no problems following the removal of that awful-looking benign cyst last fall. She is also my most special baby girl and I NEED to have her with me as long as possible.

Yet another "l" word is "lazy", which I have been in the whole area of exercising. I've finally been walking to the dock from the park n'ride and back each workday, with the weather finally cooperating. But I need to do more than that. I need to either take long walks or get on my stepper on the weekends, and I haven't done that for a long time. Today I decided I would "splurge" and spend the $5 to park in the lot at the ferry dock. I parked in the "back forty" since those machines accept cash payments, and rationalized that at least this way, I'd still get in over 20% of the full walk to the park n'ride. I didn't get to sleep late Saturday (the reason has to do with the "k" word, explained below) and also had to get up early (for nightowl me) Sunday to get the breakfast casserole in the oven and be at church for breakfast at 8:30. So I figured this would make an easier start to my work week. But at $5 a day, and with the lack of exercise that results, this is a "splurge" I won't often be allowing myself, though it continues to be SO frustrating that the evening walk (slightly uphill and with my being tired after a full day at work) exhausts me so. It wouldn't if I could ever lose this 6 gallons of milk I continue to carry around (one gallon weighing about 8 pounds). But my eating level remains such that the weight doesn't budge despite the 15-ish extra miles of weekly walking....

Now for the "K" word -- that other (and inexplicably more popular) yarn craft, the one I tried on my own to learn a few times over the years, mainly to see what the fuss was about, but also because I've often thought it would be nice to just know the basics and maybe even change off occasionally. In unsuccessfully trying to learn a few times in the past, it often occurred to me that it would be so much more of a hassle to try to coordinate two to four needles than just one hook. But yet, so many women swear by this other craft, and yarn stores cater to those who do it and barely acknowledge us crocheters. So I've often thought, I should have someone try to give me a private lesson, since I've been unable to learn from any videos or books, just to see, once and for all, if this is something I can do and want to do, or if I should officially just forget it! I was supposed to have a lesson with Beverly from my South Sound yarn and fiber group last year, but that didn't happen. Last month, I went to the first evening "K***-in" at the new yarn shop in my town, and virtually everyone was doing the "K" craft while I crocheted my Irish Roses afghan. After that, I said, OK, I'm going to have this lesson. That's the only way I will resolve this in my mind. After all, thousands of women do it and love it, so how hard could it be? I went to the shop two weekends ago and scheduled the lesson for 1:00 p.m. this past Sat., the 11th. They recommended I learn the Continental method which, as both a left-hander and experienced crocheter, they claimed would be easiest for me to learn. Then, assuming I would finally learn the basics, I spent a good amount of time at finding several cute dishcloths I expected to soon be able to make.

The teacher called the evening before and asked if I could come at 10:00 a.m. instead of 1:00 p.m. which I agreed to even though it meant I wouldn't be able to lounge in bed half the morning. I won't go into all the gory details of how I couldn't even hold the needles the right way let alone figure out how to pick the yarn the right way and feed it through the other needle and off the first one to make an actual stitch. We didn't even get to the purl stitch, which she said was more complicated. I could see the writing on the wall after just a few minutes of this lunacy. (When something is just not happening, why force the issue?) After numerous tries, during which I made an actual stitch a few times just by accident but was not enjoying myself in the least and kept asking myself what I was doing here, the teacher said it appeared I was throwing the yarn (which is supposed to be the right hander's preferred method) rather than picking, and maybe I should take a lesson in English style rather than Continental. I told her I would think about it and that I would practice some more, while thinking to myself, "Noooooooo!" and being excited to now officially confirm what I suspected all these years:

I will never be a knitter. I don't WANT to be a knitter. I am SO absolutely fine with not being a knitter!!! I am a devoted, passionate, addicted CROCHETER -- and after trying in vain to be something I'm not, I love my beautiful craft even more than ever. I am more mystified than ever why yarn shops cater to knitters and treat people like me like the stepchildren of the craft world. I don't understand why so many women choose to k*** when they can CROCHET. I can crochet anything they can k*** and it will be prettier! I'd better stop ranting here lest I offend anyone; I honestly do admire people who can k*** beautifully and respect the love they have for their craft. But I am relieved that I don't have to waste any more time wondering if I can or would ever want to do it, and don't have to spend more money I can't afford on needles and k*** patterns. CROCHET RULES!!!! And I will continue to talk it up when I go to that yarn store and hope my craft, and those of us who love it, will begin to get the respect and attention we deserve.

I have not entirely ruled out the possibility of taking a private lesson in loom (another "l" word!) knitting, which supposedly can be learned by those of us who can't master fumbling with two or more needles. I wasn't able to learn that from a book either and don't know anyone who teaches it locally, but I found a gal online 2 hours from me who does, which would be a nice little overnight trip. I also am still interested in seeing if I can learn Tunisian crochet, which does look like knitting but uses just one hook.

As for my crochet projects, I mentioned the Irish Roses ghan. I'm now working steadily to finish it after just bringing sections of it on my commute while concentrating on the Barbie angels at home. I finished my fifth and final angel last week (well, 7 if you count the two I made for Dianne and for Val). I think she turned out best of all even though I improvised a bit. I wanted a fifth angel since that was the amount of room on top of our tv cabinet where they are displayed, but didn't like the stitch of the fifth pattern in the booklet. I tried two other patterns but didn't like either and ripped both out. I finally went with the Silhouette Dress, one of four Barbie dresses I used to sell at craft fairs, making the straight part of her skirt a few rows longer. Her wings and halo I made up as I went along, using the same stitch from the dress but the shape and size of the wings and haloes in the booklet. I used straw (light gold) #10 Opera thread and she's beautiful! I hope to take pics of all of them soon for my upcoming crochet page 4 on my site. Well, my lunch hour at work is long gone, so back to work....