20 January 2009

These Hallowed Halls

Most mornings I get to work at 7:30, when the state capitol building is still dark and quiet. I enjoy the grand silence as I walk up the marble steps between the first and third floors, and the view. Looking down the length of the building where governors govern, legislators legislate, and justices judge fills me with awe. Working for 138 legislators/politicians can be a cynical business at times, but in the core of my being I still stand in reverent awe over the form of government our forefathers created and that has been refined over generations and centuries.

But today is a historical day, no matter how you voted on November 4, 2008 (or if you voted at all). Our country's history is scattered with moments that turned on racial issues, for the worse and for the better. And while many people supported Barack Obama's presidency because he was an African-American, and many people did not for the very same reason, many more supported him or didn't for reasons that had nothing to do with the color of his skin or the fact that his father was froom Africa and his mother from Kansas. Today is another turning point. It makes me proud to participate in representative democracy. It makes me proud to be an American and know that the people did have a choice, and the choice means another barrier has crumbled.

Happy inauguration day, everyone. I'll be watching from the attic of the capitol in the state where Abraham Lincoln was born. The Great Emancipator would be proud of his country, and so am I.

16 January 2009

Baby, it's COLD outside!

Canada, thank you very much for the generous offer, but you can have your frigid winter temperatures back now. We in the south - even the northern edge of the South/southern edge of the Midwest - aren't prepared to handle this commitment. We have to save up for air conditioning, bug spray and citronella candles for when the temperatures top 100 degrees Fahrenheit and the humidity levels make us feel like we're breathing through water. If we could work out some sort of swap, I would definitely be interested. You can always put on more clothes and find/knit more blankets when it's cold, but there comes a point where taking off more clothes to beat the oppressive heat of summer will get you arrested. So until we can come to a timeshare agreement, you need to come pick up your negative wind chill and take it back to where it belongs. Thank you.

15 January 2009

Honor Thy Father

If he had lived, my father would be 66 today. He died less than one month short of his 60th birthday, the week before Christmas in 2002.

He's been on my mind lately because I have such crystal-clear memories of the days surrounding his death. How I was obsessed with wrapping Christmas gifts and so went to Target at about 10 p.m. on December 23 and came home with everything I would need to wrap gifts because the idea of digging out the wrapping paper I already owned was more than I could contemplate. I used up the last of that paper this past Christmas (I really loved that paper, so it was used sparingly after that initial year).

I remember how I drove back to Louisville on the afternoon of his funeral and collapsed into bed, exhausted. And how I was still just lying there 45 minutes later, unable to sleep. A friend from law school called me all the way from Russia, having just heard the news. How dear of her - I needed that distraction. The call made me realize that sleep wasn't coming, so I got into my car and drove to the movie theater and watched one of the Harry Potter movies, hoping to get lost from my life in the darkness of the movie theater. I started falling asleep half way through the movie and could only laugh at the irony.

Organizing my paperwork (again) a few weeks ago reminded me of the disaster my apartment had become during the six weeks he was in the hospital, and how I came home and realized how horrible it would be for my mother if I were to suddenly die because all of my documents were a total mess and she'd never know where anything was. I started organizing right then and there. Of course, that realization wore off over time, but it shouldn't. It would be horrible for her, and I would hate to burden her like that.

The odd thing about all of these ruminations is that my father and I weren't particularly close, and as horrible as it sounds, I don't miss him. He was an alcoholic, which ultimately led to his death and made it difficult at times growing up. Also, I am very much like my mother, and very not like him. The only thing we ever had in common was education and watching sports. He was very proud to be the first in his family to graduate from college, and was supremely proud of my academic achievements. And he, along with my mother, taught me to love and understand basketball, football, and even baseball (which I understand but don't really appreciate). But you can only have so many conversations about grades and basketball games. Unfortunately, by the time of his death, his drinking was so heavy in the evenings when I would stop by to see him and have dinner that it wasn't a particularly useful few hours, and so I avoided going. My last visit with him, about two weeks before he went into the hospital, was particularly unpleasant.

I never doubted that my father loved me. He told me that every time we saw each other or talked. It was important for him to say that to me, because that was something his Catholic, hard-working, farming parents never said to him. But he didn't "get" me and really didn't understand what I needed him to be as a father. I loved him, too, and resolved my feelings about him years ago. I just wish I could say I missed him.
Instead, I miss what I never had.
Okay ... I promise we'll get back to regularly scheduled programming now, with no more "deep thoughts" posts for awhile! It must be a holdover from the new year contemplations, but I'm done now. Truly. I'm working on a Noro two-stripe scarf for myself and will show you WIP pictures shortly. And there's sewing planned for this weekend, so maybe I'll show some of that too. I'm a little intimidated still by the sewing machine, being a novice, but I'm determined to conquer my fears.

08 January 2009

Coveting is Bad, Right? Giveaway Alert.

I read this post about the Epson Artisan 800 printer and literally, I started to drool. Just reading mommycoddle's description makes my brain start whirling with ideas. I've wanted a scanner/printer/fax for a long time, but with plans for buying a house this year, I was living with the idea that there was definitely no room in the budget anytime soon. Maybe I'll win this one that's she's giving away! Go over there and post a comment. If you win, I promise not to be (too) jealous.

UPDATED: I didn't win. And I'm jealous. But I'm filing away the information about this wonderful toy/machine, for later. Maybe by then something bigger and better will come along and this beauty will be discounted!

06 January 2009

Christmas Knits in Review

Toasty (see link below) in Malabrigo worsted: Vermillion. The color's redder than seen here. These still need to be delivered to their recipient.

Malabrigo worsted in VA (?), basic hat pattern from my LYS. Mustapha, along with Andrew and Rhonda in the pictures below, were nice enough to pose for me, since I didn't get pre-giving pics. Unfortunately, that meant taking the pictures under flourescent lights. Ugh. The colors here are about right, though it's slightly greener and all the colors are much, much richer than appear here.

Same pattern in Malabrigo worsted: Black Forest. The color is very camouflagey, more than advertised when I bought it online. But it works for Andrew, who's in the National Guard.

Toasty in Malabrigo worsted: Indigo. Very "UK blue," which suits Rhonda to a "T". I'm hoping these help keep her fingers warm as she types, since her desk is in a cold hallway and her space heater doesn't do much to warm her hands!

I had bigger handmade plans, but I'm pleased that I got these done and am going to finish up some more gift items to give at random times to a few patient friends and family members!

04 January 2009

Goodbye to Time

Okay, so that may be an exaggeration. But this is the first year since law school that I feel like I've had a Christmas break. Being a single person without children and a very small, flexible family, I'm always the one who happily works during the weeks of Christmas and New Years while others take time off. But this year I've been away from work for a week and a half, and most of the days have been rather unstructured (Read: A few days have been spent in PJs, knitting away and watching football and movies). It's gotten so bad that my roommate and I have been confirming with one another what day of the week it is.

Added to the sense of being out of the normalcy of daily life was the short trip I took with my mom to Daytona Beach. She had to go for a high school boy's basketball tournament for which she was keeping the score books. I "had" to go because it meant a few days staring at the ocean, walking on the beach, enjoying fresh seafood, and generally loving life. It was all of that and more. Our seventh floor hotel room had two walls of windows overlooking the beach, and a long balcony to sit out and enjoy the ocean air. The weather was beautiful, and there was always a nice breeze. The water was pretty darn cold, but I didn't do more than dip my toes. We drove on the beach, explored back roads and ritzy developments, and took in a movie (Doubt: very good acting, mesmerizing story, but you leave with as many questions as you have throughout.). It was the perfect tonic to the gray and cold winter weather of home.

But tomorrow the alarm will go off while it's still dark as night outside and I'll be forced to wear work clothes, put on makeup, and do my hair. I'll be getting to work around the time the sun rises, and I'll leave when the sun is setting. With the legislature coming back to the capitol this week for the beginning of the legislative session, it will be busy. Time to jump back into the regular tempo of life with both feet. As I sat in church this morning, after having taken communion and waiting while others were served, I have to admit my brain started racing on all the things I need to do this evening to prepare for the week to come, and all of the errands that must be done. Sigh. It had to come to an end at some point, and the day has almost arrived.

But first, one more moment of time away. This afternoon, the University of Kentucky plays the University of Louisville in men's basketball. In this basketball-crazed state, this is *the* game of the year. Time to go root, root, root for my team!

02 January 2009


One enduring aspect of being my mother's daughter (and oh, am I ever!) is that at least half the time that I see her she hands me something. Either something she's unearthed from my childhood, like the Christmas ornament from our trip to the Rocky Mountain National Park when I was about 11 years old, or even more likely, a clipping from a newspaper or magazine. Last week when I received the ornament I also got a couple clippings.

There was an article from the October 2008 copy of Southern Living magazine (I can't find a direct link to the article) entitled "Less is More" by Jan DeBlieu. It's a commentary, the kind frequently found at the end of a magazine. She starts off quoting a cross-stitch sampler from her childhood which said "Use it up/Wear it out/Make it do or/Do without." That phrase certainly speaks to me today after spending hours wading through the accumulation of paper from the past year and bringing a certain degree of order to chaos. I love feeling organized, but I'm very lazy about staying organized, so for me these days tend to require Herculean efforts. Tonight I'm feeling good about what's been accomplished and trying not to be overwhelmed by all that has yet to be done to bring order to the house in general.

It also speaks to me as I begin to prepare myself for packing and moving later this summer into a condo of my own. Having moved many, many times since I graduated from high school (4 official addresses in 1998 alone, as I graduated from law school, moved back to my hometown, moved to a small town near where I work, then moved a block away from where I work. Ugh.), I know that I don't handle the rush of packing that every previous move has required, and end up so exhausted by the process of getting everything ready for the move that I live amongst boxes for months afterwards, not caring to see my possessions again. But I want this move to be different because it's finally going to be my stuff in my place, and I want it to feel like mine as soon as possible. So I'm hoping small steps of packing as I purge makes the pre-move period a little less stressful. And as I go through everything, my mantra is to be brutal. I want to take only what I need or love, and nothing more. Sorry Mom, because I know the pack rat in you shivers at the thought of what might be given away or tossed. What you don't know can't hurt you.

01 January 2009

2009. It's About Time.

Cassius says, "It's about darn time you got off your duff and got back onto your blog!" Can I simply say that I don't know what happened. I'm amongst friends, so I'm going to assume you'll forgive me and we can all just move onward and upward. I mean, it's a new year after all, so it's time to let bygones be bygones and start fresh!

I'm excited for the new year. But I always am. I love those times during the year that signal a new beginning - the new year, my birthday, the start of school in the fall (doesn't matter that it's been 10 years since I had a fall term, it still gets me all excited). Yes, I have goals for the new year. They fall under the categories of Health, Create, Simplify, and Learn. I have not set myself up for failure by expecting too much from myself with these goals. I am hopeful, and know that if I even complete half of them, it will be a very good year.

2008 had it's struggles, worldwide, within my circle of friends, and personally (though I am grateful they were not plentiful on the personal front). But I am wealthy in so many, many ways that count more than the stock market or my bank account. And I am deeply grateful for all that has been given to me during this past year and in my life. I am hopeful for what 2009 holds, despite the fears and difficulties that the news brings daily.

I wish nothing but the best for you, my friends, and will let you in on one goal for this new year - I will keep you better informed, right here, on what I'm up to in my corner of the universe. Happy New Year to one and all!