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Hello!

Hello and welcome. I stopped blogging after a decade and four months because I believed I’d had my say. Closing down and moving on was the thing to do. I did. I chilled, I did new things, read a small stack of new books, drew a lot, read a slew of blogs, cooked up a storm and worked on being the best me possible. Here I am again in a knitting frame of mind, hoping we can hang out, share our stories, create together and learn from each other. And while we’re at it . . . bring on the yarn if you are so inclined.

Well, I’ll Be!

It was a dark and stormy day.

It’s so humid I don’t see why it, this languid atmospheric moisture, won’t just fall and be done with. The barometric pressure is clamping down on my joints like they’re caught in a water vise bent on reshaping my whole body. I ache. Oh, how I ache. An invisible noose tightens around my head, squeezing the bones of my skull tight enough to pop. Is a good thing my skull is hard bone. My eyes feel like they’re bulging and pulsating in sync with a beat I cannot quite make out but can dance to because the rhythms are all boogie vibrations. The base is heavy.

Bill Withers is dead. His music is an amazing legacy. “Lean On Me” got me through some of the hardest times that came before I was even twenty. They came hard and fast—too powerful for someone like me. Mary J. Blige sings a lamentation for hard times. “Hard times come again no more!” She tells Hard Times how often he has lingered outside her cabin door, and bids he leave and come again no more. 

I’ve listened to her song that sounds more like a prayer, and wonder who composed such soul-baring lyrics. Surely they, too suffered overly long and more deeply than their soul could bear alone. Parents do their children no favors when they are overly protective. They give us no defenses against a dark cruel world bent on breaking, abusing us, and using our innocence and naïveté against us. 

My best friend, Ella bought me the forty-five when I was in a hospital after a failed suicide attempt. We never talked about my failed attempt to die by my own hands, so I never got to tell her how much her gift meant to such a tormented soul. Perhaps she knew. She had to have guessed otherwise, why did she think to buy the song? No one ever asked me why I wanted to escape life so abruptly. Appalled but never curious, no one ever questioned my need to take such drastic measures. I never talked about what drove me to believe that death was the only way out, until decades later. 

I played that record over and over until the pain eased just enough so that I could once again find a reason to keep breathing. Bill made me believe that he, at least, understood my desire to die. He knew, otherwise he couldn’t have written those lyrics. He sang me back with the promise that he, at least, understood. And since someone was better than no one, I lived. One day at a time. Bill and Dr. Privitera brought me through to the other side of hell. 

The most meaningful thing Dr. Privitera ever did was touch my shoulder and whisper, “I understand.” Oh, he checked on me every day on his rounds, but those pauses were all about checking to see if the tranquilizers were working. He never asked why either. Being the only person of color in the place, you’d have thought . . . The funny thing is, the realization never settled in me until this moment. Race wasn’t an issue back then. Or was I too ignorant to know? 

Perhaps he understood in part, our Dr. Privitera. I wonder how he could, seeing as how I was a young African American female and he was a male of another culture. “I understand.” My daddy said the same thing when he drove five hours to visit me. Our eyes locked until I broke contact out of embarrassment. I think part of me understood that Daddy did understand. He’d been trying to drink himself to death since before his tour of duty ended in Vietnam. Drinking to forget continued stateside long after he’d retired from the Army. Daddy should have been in someone’s psychiatric hospital too.

None of the antidepressants helped, at least not that I could tell. I mean they didn’t change anything. Wait. Maybe they did because I was out cold through the hardest days after the pills, razor and gas. Sleep was a magic restorative. Being on a locked ward made me feel safe. We weren’t locked in. The outside world was locked out. Some of the people on the outside needed to be in the hard core ward—straight jacketed, brain-zapped and medicated to within an inch of compliance. But that’s not fair. True but not necessarily fair. 

I see the light, I see the light.
Not your Noah’s rain.

I wish it would rain. Not like rain for a flood. We’ve had enough of those. I pray it will rain hard and just long enough to do us all some good. We’ve had our fill of sadness and sorrow to last a long while. We’ve had our share of making do with misty days and dewy afternoons. Rain already! For now anyway. I hope it will rain just enough to meet the necessary requirements to sustain our part of this earth and us. I long to stand in the middle of the back yard, head tilted back, arms stretched out, hair unbound and . . . 

8:14 P. M. It’s raining. Finally. I felt the atmospheric shift before the sound of rolling thunder registered on my ear drums. Surely the earth smiled. As hard as I strained I couldn’t catch the sound of falling water until a long while later when I answered Nature’s call to ease my bladder. Peering through the bathroom window revealed dull darkness and my own startled reflection. The patter of water hitting solid objects drummed its own sweet rhythm. 

It is a rather an anemic rainfall. I pray for something more substantial. Lord knows we need it. My elbows hurt. Should I take CBD oil or Tylenol? Tramadol? Even my ears ache. My bones want to relax. Dinner might help something. Loss of appetite does not mean I don’t have to eat. Right? But who cooks for the cook when the cook doesn’t feel like cooking? It’s a good thing you cannot hear the primal sigh that just escaped the confines of my lungs. You’d weep. You’d burst into spontaneous tear-letting and be embarrassed for it but still be unable to help it. Yep, it’s that pitiful. 

Minuet just jumped off the bed and wants to be let out. She can’t stand me either. Her bones ache too. She stands and turns in circles—unable to find a soft spot that doesn’t cause hurt. Poor Minuet. Old age is not kind to her. I can’t stand myself for long periods, only I cannot escape so easily. How unfair is this? Oh well. Such is life. You either move on or turn to salt. Stone? A salty stone?

8:33 P. M. And just like that the rain is gone. The air is cooler. 

8:44 P. M.  Wow. The earth just shook. Thunder rolled and I felt the earth tremble and I’m upstairs. Goodness, what a rush. 

sweet n sour
a fine balance
peanut butter cookie

10:53  I’m eating a fat, juicy, lip puckering dill pickle. There’s a rack of peanut butter cookies cooling downstairs. Flour sack dish towels get a workout when there’s baking going on. A loaf of bread tastes better wrapped in organic cotton. The whole house smells good enough to eat. I’m baking from two different recipes. The Martha Stewart recipe is too sandy for my taste. The second recipe is from Cook’s Illustrated. I keep forgetting to use my scale. Measuring is still on my brain. Have you converted yet? Was it a trying time doing the adjustment? 

“The Girl with All the Gifts” is on pause while I type. I’ve seen it before; the book was marginally better. Have you seen it? Seems all the zombie movies have been dumped upon the table and we’re being force-fed a steady diet of contagion movies all because of a virus that has the world by its chin hairs. “Unorthodox” is still squatting in my mind—it won’t leave me alone. Have you seen it? Did you like it? Does it haunt you? Shira Haas is an “actress.” She was born to it. She’s a natural. Her eyes are as expressive as the words from her mouth. Her body tells the story when her eyes rest and her mouth goes silent. Her hair speaks. Her spine tells its own story. Her short waist accentuates its every bit of telling. Her feet. I noticed her feet from the beginning. I wondered out loud if her shoes were on the wrong foot. Scoliosis makes us kin. We recognize our own. Her vocal chords . . . Wait. I have to visit Google to see if she sang for real. BRB.

11:20 P. M.  Yep. Shira sang. Such a soulful rendition. My eyes are leaking. I’ll have to watch it again. 

Solidarity Soup

a book to make you cook

I’ve thumbed through The Daily Soup Cook Book several times since pulling it from the bookcase the other day. I’ve read snippets, taken photos for this blog, dogeared pages I want to examine more carefully, and tossed it to the foot of the bed in frustration. 

I came so close to tossing The Daily Soup Cook Book the very day I brought it home. I discovered it on the cheap table in Barnes & Noble. I’m not big on cook books that don’t have enough faith in themselves to go with color photos. The photos on these pages are weak black and white and gray all over. In TDSCB the models use the same bowls. (sigh) The recipes did not speak to me. I’ve never said, “Oh, wow! I have to make this soup!” No, not once. The book was shelved most of the time since the day I brought it home. A good dust-off and here I sit.

a soup manual

Determined to do something different—out of the ordinary—yet meaningful, I finally sat down to choose at least three recipes to cook from start-to-finish-to-the-dinner-table. Something said, “Start at the very beginning, Bobbie.” And so I did. As a gesture of solidarity for everyone who feels like they are in solitary confinement.

The intro is worth the time it takes to read it. As is the “how to” part. Okay, all of it is worth a read. I promise. There’s a lovely history of soup. Who knew soup had history? I imagine ingredients simmering in an animal skin, or a bladder even, slung over a spit atop an open fire with whatever is foraged during the day on a trek across steppes . . . Would there have been salt? Garlic? Surely there were bones and marrow, barley? According to this little soup cook book “lentil soup, the forefather (not foremother?) of all soups, was discovered as early as 8, 000 B. C.—followed quickly by the invention of the spoon.” Another gem:  “The four basic soup classifications are usually broth, thick, clear, and pureed.” 

the many faces of soupers

I have never made soup from a cook book before. My vegetable soup is my mom’s, modified. No one made vegetable soup like Mama. My chicken soup is my own. Mama never made it for us but she loved making her personalized version later in life. She made it with chicken, rice and okra and only she knew what else. Her love of okra is legendary though. Mama told me she loved it so much she’d eat an okra sandwich if she could. 

 I made soup for JC once when I added okra. I made two pots that day instead of one so we’d both have it our way. He loves him some okra and even eats okra for breakfast! He cooks it for himself knowing I’m not about to eat anything he cooks. He most definitely has it his way. Okra in gumbo is fine, and I like okra with tomatoes, onions, shrimp or even fried or sautéed with onions too, but I can do without it in my soup. It’s a natural thickener. That’s not the problem. Actually there isn’t a problem at all. 

Is my reluctance to change dyed-in-the-DNA eating habits showing? I chalk it up to having chosen the foods I declare to be the best after a lifetime of experimenting and trying. Don’t get me wrong though. I still try new things. It’s just that there are some things that cannot be improved. For instance. I will never put okra in a pot of pinto beans. I will never eat collard greens with biscuits. Everyone knows cornbread is the bread for greens. The roughage of corn balances the plant fiber in greens. And never ever ever will I put file in collards. Shin swears by it. 

Today it’s all about Lentil Roasted Garlic Soup. Imagine the magic of having everything necessary on hand and you’ll understand how good it felt. That rarely happens when I cook something spontaneously. Well, there was everything but balsamic vinegar, which in itself was a stumbling block. There’s always balsamic vinegar. JC loves him a salad dressing built around the condiment. It is as much of a condiment in our kitchen as is Ketchup, mayo and A1 Steak Sauce. Will the missing ingredient make or break my soup? “Hmm. Let me see,” said the blind man.

fresh rosemary
assembly

I read the recipe twice. I collected the ingredients. Prepping was a Zen exercise. Did I mention how I’m not good at following recipes? I did it rather well this time and it wasn’t difficult at all. Measure twice, cut once applies to cooking as well. My celery wasn’t the best, as you will soon see, but a little celery seed ad lib worked just fine. I added the seeds . . . Read on and you will see what I’m hinting at. The soup was not harmed.

I preheated the oven to roast the garlic, sweated the chopped ingredients, added the spices AND the celery seeds, added the cleaned and washed lentils, stock, tomatoes and tomato paste. I knew I was on to something by the time everything came to a boil. And the aroma! Oh, the aroma! 

ready for the boil before the simmer

I’m dealing with the vestiges of guilt from earlier days by hunkering down with the rest of the world in solidarity, doing slowed down, solitary day things by cooking dishes that take time and effort. This will be my lentil soup recipe for the COVID19 Solidarity Initiative. I have every intention of cooking a soup from this little cook book each week until I’ve cooked what appeals to me. There’s no sense in cooking the ones I know we won’t eat, and that’s not casting an ill reflection on the authors. This soup is delicious! Sorry for skipping ahead. The above photo is the boiling stage but I’m eating a bowlful as I write this, and let me tell you . . . It’s better than my recipe.

The recipe calls for 8 cups of vegetable stock or mineral water. There was a single container (32 ounces) of veg stock on hand so I improvised and made another 32 ounces from Knorr bouillon cubes. Set the soup to simmer for an hour. You can believe me when I tell you there’ll be a thank-you letter going out this week to the five people who made this new soup aka Solidarity Soup happen. I am just that pleased. If you want the recipe . . . 

Wait! There’s fun to be had while you stir or eat. The authors offer recommendations for movies and a music playlist to enjoy while eating one of their soups. You really should buy the cook book but here’s a taste:

Movie Recommendations

Tomato Basil, Tomato Fennel:  “Attack of the Killer Tomatoes”

Borscht:  “Reds”

Peking Duck:  “Big Trouble in Little China”

Green Gumbo with Oysters:  “The Exorcist”

Music Recommendations

Cuban Black Bean:  Ricky Ricardo—“Suava Lita”

Jamaican Pumpkin:  Screamin’ Jay Hawkins—“I Put a Spell on You”

Yankee Bean:  “Over There”

What would you recommend? My offering for Roasted Lentil Garlic is “At Last” by Etta James. 

Let us pray, then let us eat.

Amen.

Staycation Stuff

knitting needles, kombucha and light

This is the first time in at least a decade that I have not been gung-ho about the day before me, waiting to be lived. I love dove gray, overcast, cold and rainy as much as I love the opposite. I remind myself that this is the day that the Lord has made. And I will rejoice in it. And no, it hasn’t always been this way. Life is life. But I learned how to lift my own self from out of darkness. Remembering to do it is crucial. Remembering is key. I’m a work in progress, so there are moments when I forget and the darkness careens around a sharp corner, hell bent on running me over. I’ve set up a perimeter guard.

There’s damp and moisture-wicking winds frolicking about. It plays with the trees, the grass, flowers and the patio umbrella. The golden sunflowers, the aloe flowers, and even the majority of the wildflowers are falling before its persistent onslaughts. They’re rotting those free flowers. From too much damp. Pomegranate fruit litters the ground. The fruit refuses to set. And my bones ache. My muscles ache. My eyes are sore and there’s a persistent headache lodged right between my eyes. The annoying mucous plug won’t go away! My ears ache. Allergies. ‘Tis the season to be aggravated.

I told my sister about how my elbows ache and she sent a text with a pair of googly eyes and a question mark. What? Are mine the only ones that ache? I wake up with suffering elbows when I sleep on my stomach with my hands  fisted and tucked under my chin, elbows digging into the mattress. I’m a thrasher-turner, never knowing where I’ll end up when I wake. My bony elbows hurt from contact with chair arms, my desk, and the car armrest too. Perhaps they’re sore because they’re too bony? There’s not enough padding any more? I do have some CBD oil cream but the smell is too invasive; it precedes, stays with and trails in my wake where ever I go. It stains my clothes too. There’s always something to make us aware of just how alive we are, huh? I’ll take it, too. And I will rejoice in it too since the alternative is not appealing.

Barometric pressure bears down on my joints the way keloids pull down on earlobes. So. A little warmth from our sun would have soothed my aches like it did yesterday. The thermometer read eighty-nine degrees before noon but I didn’t complain at all. It ticked up a single degree right at noon, so yes, the air conditioner was on. You can hear the thrumming from  neighboring units. AC in March. Sitting in the sun, soaking up rays and inhaling unperfumed wind does this body good, allergies notwithstanding. I sleep like a baby as a result. Some days I even nap. And, yes, I am browner! Yes! My waning melanin has been boosted.

All of me hurts right now, but come July I’ll be longing for a carbon copy day just like this one. The misty white overcast shields us just enough for now, and I am grateful that it does. A tall thick glass of icy tea-monade:  lemonade and tea tarted up with just the right amount of fresh squeezed lemons, sweetened with honey, a little turbinado sugar, and served over ice is a delicious substitute for actual gel-encapsulated Vitamin C. Now here I sit. 

I had to regroup. Knitting failures were getting to me. It’s those darn socks with all that sitting. Failure stinks. Repeated failures are like doses of cyanide secretly administered in small increments. Or so I imagine. I cut my teeth on Robert Ludlum, John Carré and their genre so what can I say?

julie & julia

Last night I finally watched “Julie & Julia” from beginning to end. It’s hard to believe it was the hot topic back in 2009. It doesn’t seem that long ago. Why then did it take me eleven years? I watched bits and pieces but cannot explain why I didn’t watch from start to finish. No matter. It was better than “Ozark.” For the life of me I cannot find a reason for all the violence, swearing, gratuitous sex, murder and overall darkness. The surrounding landscape shared in dramatic aerial shots takes my breath away, so how can such evil exist in a bit of the show’s edenic setting? How can this be a story about a family? Even the children are dark and evil. I couldn’t watch more than a few minutes of the new season before I turned it off. The new episode began with a scene so dark I felt the force of it in my solar plexus. I don’t think I’ll watch any more.

So again, it was time to regroup. Still under the half-way decent sway of “Julie & Julia” (There was an f word thrown in here too, and for what? Bad measure?) I went in search of a new adventure. A new activity had to fill the time slots devoted to learning how to knit. So. I went foraging in three or five bookcases and gleaned a Penny Garland kit, The Daily Soup Cookbook, M. F. K. Fisher’s The Art of Eating and As Always, Julia! Now we’re on to something! I’ll do the garland kit, I’ll test new soup recipes, I’ll read another third of Fisher’s tome, and I will get to know Julia more. Who knew she and her mister were spies? No matter. I am off to do some making, some reading, cooking, and catching up. Please stay tuned ‘cause I’ll be back. Bon appetite! (Said like Julia said it!)

to be continued . . .

stay·ca·tion| ˌstāˈkāSHn | noun informal a vacation spent in one’s home country rather than abroad, or one spent at home and involving day trips to local attractions. ORIGIN early 21st century: blend of stayand vacation.

A Sock in the Eye

beanie model and confidant

Very little has changed for me while the world seems to have turned itself upside. Here in our home, it’s business as usual but my compassion for the world is affecting me in subtle but significant ways. I’m grinding my teeth. I’ve lost my appetite. I don’t understand the panic or the fear. Yes, I feeI frissons of fear and  anxiety creeping up like a thief in the daytime. I have to fight off encroaching feelings of guilt. Survivor’s remorse? A twisted version? I’m grateful for our health and well-being so I don’t understand the guilt. Bouts of agitation are signs that fear is near—lurking in the indigo shadowed recesses of my mind. I sense what fear is doing to others.

I told myself there would be no more talk of the virus that has the world by the chin. Keep calm and carry on sounds like the sanest advice and I will do well to adhere. So. It is time to let go. It is time to act on my beliefs and be a doer of the word, and not a hearer only, deceiving myself. (James 1:22)

I will believe (be and live) according to the teachings that have are instilled in me. I cannot live them if I don’t believe them. Right? Allowing unwarranted guilt to take up lodging within is foolish and futile. It is already affecting me in harmful ways. The grinding, smoldering iniquity (lack of inner quiet), loss of appetite, difficulty falling asleep . . . All symptoms that need addressing before they take over the asylum (shelter or protection from danger)—the place where we go for sanctuary—inward. My place of peace and comfort. In that vein, I pray that this will be my final fretting-for-others post. Fretting never helps.

I will keep calm and carry on, fortified with the goodness that comes inside every dawn; I will send out good thoughts and pray more. I will help in any way that I can. I will carry on, as I must, and I will not stop until I knit my first sock.  

I unraveled the most recent attempt. Yes, all over again. Last night’s work it was. The stitches came undone because they had to. The undoing was quick and awful and painful. There was a painful unguarded moment in which I teared up, flirted with resignation, frustration, doubt, and a host of negative relatives. So I have slammed and bolted the door to the room of darkness and doubt. 

a sock in the eye!

At four this afternoon, I cast on sixty stitches of the white merino-silk-cashmere yarn, joined them in the round and knit almost two inches of cuff. (Two inches of knit two, purl two.) Then it all went stupid. Yarn Gremlins came out from under the bed, out of the closet, out of pocket books stored on the top shelf, from behind the chest of drawers, from the back of the bookcase and all the other hidey holes they skulk in. Yes, Yarn Gremlins do exist. If I so much as blink they seize the moment to confuse and confound—to destroy and undermine—to make me doubt. 

Failure feels like a sock in the eye.

I have already chosen yarn for another go. 

Donkeys Do Fly

My latest purchase from Jimmy Beans Wool arrived yesterday. When new yarn comes I stop everything to give it a proper welcome. I have to swatch right away because I just can’t seem to help it. 

The new arrivals are from Sublime. “Stone” and “Shadow.” One would think I’d have ordered light spring colors instead. I can’t explain the choice so I suppose I shouldn’t even try. And I won’t. The yarn is soft and gentle, dainty even, and begs to be caressed. And so I did. It is baby cashmere merino silk DK. Speaking of which, have you heard there’s a cashmere crisis? Blame global warming. It is already one of the most sought-after fibers on the planet this cashmere. I suppose there will be a plant alternative by the time I post this. Faux meat, why not faux cashmere? Chances are, I won’t have a seat on the cashmere bandwagon after this splurge. So I’m enjoying my three-balls-full while I can.

Sublime. Machine washable, dry flat, reshape whilst wet. 75% fine merino, 20% silk, 5% cashmere.

It makes perfect stitches that practically fly off the needles, leaving one to wonder how I got to be so lucky since I’m rather conservative when it comes to trying new yarns. Not all yarn is my yarn. My yarn is yarn that is easy to use, worth the price and lives up to the hype. In truth, it makes me look so much more smarter and skilled than I am. In my defense, as Craig prefaces opening arguments for his slightly flawed cases, “In my defense,”I have come a long way for a beginner. For a newbie. For someone who has yet to knit something larger than a beanie. 

Increased skills mean increased abilities to knit with just about any yarn. Right? And let me remind you that we are often only as good as the tools we use. Yes, yarn is a tool. And yes, good tools matter. They are investments, yes? So, who has money to waste? Change me, Lord, since we know that a truly adept knitter could make a scarf out of barbed wire if called upon to do so. 

Still and all, I finally met a yarn I wish I’d passed on. Wouldn’t it be lovely if we could purchase samples before committing to yarn sight unseen. That aforementioned regrettable material is in out-of-sight-out-of-mind mode at this moment, in a stash bag. Perhaps it will magically grow into something totally appealing the next time I give it another test run. An even bigger perhaps is “perhaps I will have grown enough as a it another try. Maybe I knitter by the time I give it another try that maybe I won’t be so picky about a yarn that proves to be a challenge.” I read somewhere once that donkeys do fly.

Knitting Shiva for the Dead

Have you noticed how the Corona Virus dead are being handled the way the dead from the Vietnam war were handled? There’s been another coffin blackout. We see the statistics but not the coffins. Why? 

Who buries the Corona Dead? Can undertakers keep up? Will there be mass burials? Will there be a shortage of caskets and urns? Will there be a formaldehyde shortage? Why is America such a chicken when it comes to mortality? We need to grow up. WHO IS BURYING OUR DEAD? It’s all so skewed. 

We should sit shiva for all the dead. The Corona Dead. All this political correctness surrounding their dying is wrong. They’re not slipping into oblivion simply because the media doesn’t acknowledge their passing except as statistics. They are people. There are no funerals. There’s no one at graveside to witness the interment. Surely this blackout will make mourning more difficult for their loved ones. Shared grief is eased grief. I can no longer go out to buy a condolence or sympathy card. I can pray though. And so I will.

A young relative died several days ago. He lived in Ft. Worth. His mother is taking it hard. Her youngest son died alone. She cannot bury him. A friend from work found him. They missed him. His body had begun to decay. 

His death got me thinking about all the Corona Dead and a prayer comes automatically. I mourn the losses. I mourn the people who make up the statistics. My memorial for them is brief. There is no protocol. It doesn’t matter that they are strangers, are religious or not, I pray for them. 

I knit as I sit, watching television with the sound off. I turn it off when I start to read lips and understand what’s being said. Who wants to make sense of the senseless? I offer up long moments of silence for those who have slipped away. I mourn. I mourn as I knit shiva for the dead. I’m a wake of one. 

I am skewed. It’s these socks. The heel. It’s the heel. My knitting life has been a charmed one until now. From the very beginning everything I touched went gold. I knitted something every single day. Knitting a beanie a day was second nature. I have more knit caps than I could ever want. Learning new stitches with the greatest of ease was as natural as breathing. You know what I mean. After enough practice I had it. So why is a heel making me want to drink? Cuss. I am neither a drinker or a cusser. Not yet anyway. Think of Florida Evans screaming “Damn!” and that’ll me on the brink.

This current failure brings my recent total attempts to five. You cannot accuse me of being a quitter though can you. Or is my persistence a sign that crazy awaits just around the corner? As in doing the same thing over and over while expecting a different outcome kind of crazy. 

I begin at the very beginning after each failure. I can knit the cuff and the leg in my sleep. The heel flap isn’t a problem either. It’s the heel turning that drags me into this heelish nightmare I cannot seem to climb out of. I print the instructions. I read each step out loud as I slip, slip, knit, etc.. The decreases aren’t difficult. So what’s the problem??? (sigh) What am I doing wrong?

Home Alone

The emptiness of Whole Foods Market.
You can hear such silence echoing up and down the aisles in Sprouts.

For the life of me I cannot figure out why so many seem to fret over the notion of self-isolation. Home alone is a good thing. Some of us act like they have never been homebound, or are afraid to spend time alone with themselves or family members. What is wrong with being home? Home alone. There’s no stress that comes with having to interact with others; you will save money by not being tempted to engage in impulse shopping; you are less likely to become ill with the usual cold, flu or other winter weather illnesses. I could go on and on about the benefits of being home alone but what good would it do if you’re a Chicken Little? Well, I must point out one more benefit first though. And it’s this:  There will be fewer carbon footprints during isolation. Less air pollution. But who will collect and dispose of our collective trash?

Silence is golden but good yarn in the time of isolation is sublime.

I am an introvert. All it means is I get along with myself to the point where I prefer my own company until I get tired of myself; when that happens I play well with others. Can one be an introvert with extrovert tendencies? I ask because I think I’m on the extrovert curve too. I do enjoy the company of others. Just not all the time. Not often. For a little while at a time. Never mind.

Introvert ORIGIN: mid 17th century (as a verb in the general sense ‘turn one’s thoughts inwards (in spiritual contemplation’)): from modern Latin introvertere, from intro- ‘to the inside’ + vertere ‘to turn’. Its use as a term in psychology dates from the early 20th century.

See? Being an introvert isn’t a bad thing. Neither is being home alone. We should all turn inwards more often but the majority seem to prefer extroversion.

ex·tro·vert| ˈekstrəˌvərt | (also extravert) noun an outgoing, overtly expressive person. • Psychology a person predominantly concerned with external things or objective considerations. Compare with introvert.

See? There’s nothing wrong with being an extrovert either. Well, there can be extreme degrees of both cases so, c’est la vie. Oui?

New yarn in the time of isolation is a blessing.

I like being home alone. I’m okay with self-isolation. It’s a guilt-free pass to sit and knit more. It’s also extra time for spring cleaning, but where’s the joy in that? Besides, new yarn came from Simply Sock Yarn on Saturday, and I’m itching to try it out beyond a quick swatch. It’s wool and nettle. I know. I know. Go figure.

Onions

So, there’s an up side to everything. Let us enjoy this “up” together. Enjoy being home alone. It’s okay. We humans are resilient. So is our planet. It is older than we know. Have faith. It’s gonna be okay.

Be well.

Love,

B

Out from Under the Weather or The Susurration of Bees

More often than not I do remember to Google words for blog titles before using them, in case someone else beat me to it. Such is the case with “the murmur of bees.” There’s a book by that name. While gently unrooting giant growth of Carolina Geraniums, a low gentle thrum intruded on my exploration of the back forty, and nudged me to give in to my inquisitive nature and navigate a sight path to the source; and just as I’d hoped, the sound was overhead, high up in the willow branches. The bees were harvesting pollen. The willow is a-bloom. 

I’m not surprised since I’ve been expecting them for at least a week. Then, day before yesterday, a small bee fell from a branch and landed on the sleeve of my windbreaker. They were beginning to arrive. 

The patio is my favorite place to be on days when none of the neighbors are doing laundry. It seems every wife and her sisters use artificially scented dryer sheets these days. Silly women. They don’t give a thought to all the plastic they’re poisoning the earth with? The air pollution? Do they take into consideration those of us who are allergic to false scents? No. They want their perfumed clothing, towels, sheets and sundry. And for what? Better living through chemistry?

On a perfect day I get to sit and enjoy all that Mom Nature offers. Everything is fresh and green, light and airy, and free. The jasmine and roses smell so good. The fire ants behave. Wasps, too. I’venot been dive bombed by a single one so far. There are lizards old and new. Tiny little birds flit about and lift their voices in song like they’ve just discovered their ability to sing.

Wow. Pollen is drifting onto my iPhone as I type. Clusters of it! It’s almost obscene. No matter. It’s lovely just the same. I imagine the susurrations are what dislodge the gazillion per square inches of pollen that are dandruffing up everything in the backyard. All those vibrations shake-shake-shake loose those bits of detritus that fall down on my head too. I never go out with my camera without the protection of a windbreaker, a cap and socks. Protection is key from falling nature, flying insects and biting ants. I need protection from all those embryonic leaves, Velcro plants, and yes, even that baby bee. I still marvel over the privilege of bearing witness to its tumble. It wasn’t even stunned though. So, it immediately righted itself and flew up, up, and away before I could pick up my phone for a quick pic. Such a sweet thing it was too—all decked out in pollen-ester. 

Perhaps I will use the title “A Susurration of Bees” instead of “A Murmur.” I rather like it too. It’s a word that might give a handful of my friends a reason to use their dictionaries, seeing as how the word has never been a part of our collective vocabulary. A few will wish a pox on my house because they’re so lazy; having to stop reading just to look up the meaning of a word is as much of an inconvenience as having to wash their hands more than twice a day. I love y’all! 

Citrus-ing up.

My friends might cut me some slack though, seeing as how I’m rebounding from a double whammy. Just as I was getting over the virus/bacteria that landed me in isolation, an allergic reaction to a different batch of CBD oil  morphed into a sinus infection. More mucous,  ague and aches. I could never get my temp higher than 96.6. But today is a different story. While my palms are still a little rosy, a wool cap is no longer necessary. I am on the mend again. I’ve gotten out from under the weather. Here’s to enjoying the susurration of bees.

Sock it to Me! Sock it to Me! Sock it to Me!

After confessing my fear of knitting socks I immediately picked up yarn and needles and got busy. Fall off a horse . . . Excuses don’t knit. The only thing I have to fear is is fear itself. Besides, who has time to wait for the proper needles just to learn how to knit heels? I could knit with chop sticks! Right? Socks can be knitted on any needles if need be, and an extra large sock will come in handy in December. A totally ugly sock can be unraveled.

Super soft white.

Am I still intimidated? Yes. Why? Because I read through a most reliable how-to knit a sock heel pattern and all fear dissipated like mist evaporating before the sun. This new-found assurance did nothing to stop me from making a royal mess of it though. Two inches of stitches were shamefully unravelled but boosted by indignation and determination, I simply started over with new yarn and different needles.

Warts and all.

The end results were heartening although far from perfect. And no, I have not tried the Magic Loop yet. I get lost in the instructions AND the videos. My brain does not process information the way it did pre-seizures. My brain has changed. We adapt. I’m adapting.

Worse warts.

I cut short the cuff because I wasn’t sure it was working. The stitches just did not look right. Patience and a little faith would have made a world of difference. But, since this is merely a test run it’ll fine to have a shorty. I just want a perfect sock. Well, an imperfect sock would work too but why hope for less than, right?

I believe smaller DPN would lessen my struggles considerably since I’ve used them just fine since September. Why should they be a problem now? No matter. Have a look-see. I can only get better. 

Help already? Because I read ahead and stopped a few shudders short of quaking in fear. The heel language is in a foreign tongue! Help a sister? I have a heel to knit!

I’m In the Mood for Food

Good Vibrations Abound

Thanks to “The Oil” I’m in the mood for food. It arrived yesterday. The oil. Not the food. Good Vibes rhymes with Good Times. “These are the good times! A new state of mind.” The lyrics from an oldie, with a little manipulation speaks true. For me, these are the good times. I’m leaving my cares behind because happy days are here again. The time is right for making friends because I’ve put an end to the stress and strife that comes with debilitating and depressing pain. So yes, these are the good times, thanks to Good Vibes. (Songwriters: Bernard Edwards / Nile Rodgers Good Times lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Warner Chappell Music, Inc, Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd.)

Barometric pressure can wreak havoc on my joints and muscles. My body aches and I end up moving less. My appetite takes a hike and leaves me in a wide ditch of despair. Well, metaphorically. I do enjoy the humidity though. Everything is lush and green because of it. And we haven’t even gotten to the actual rain. It’s raining now! Joints are as good as meteorologists, so if we listen to our bodies we can skip watching the nightly weather, huh?

No, I am not compensated for mentioning FEALS or GOOD VIBES. My opinion is my own and I freely and openly speak to the miracle of both because they improve the quality of my life. Neighbors, family and friends want to know what’s going on. Mum’s the word.

JC is puzzled for sure. He’s eating better because I feel better. I FEALS better, is what I FEALS. So life is giving off GOOD VIBES. Get it? Anyway . . .

There were two bunches of collards left in the veg bins at WFM when we did our weekly food shopping. They looked good. We bought them. I cooked them. There will be cornbread. But not baked sweet potatoes. Baked sweet potatoes are good for everyone but especially so for diabetics. JC likes a baked sweet potato. My little Mama used to slice cold, leftover sweet potatoes and fry them in butter. They were the best things ever, even without a drizzle of honey. Yum! Especially on a cold winter day. She told me stories of hot sweet potatoes in pockets keeping hands warm on cold morning walks to school—the perfect antidote to not having a pair of gloves among her nine siblings and her. I miss talking to my mama. She was a grand storyteller. And a marvelous cook. 

I forgot to take pictures of the ribs. Sorry. But they are so finger-licking good I have to tell you about them. They go well with collards and mac and cheese. I haven’t baked the cornbread yet; there wasn’t time to get the full meal cooked before JC left for work. He’ll have some tonight though. I’ll bake a small skillet since I am not a leftover cornbread woman. A small skillet yields four slices. Give me fresh or give me none at all. JC isn’t picky and that translates into rare cornbread leftovers. When there are, the birds are happier. So, dinner will be on the table soon. I do enjoy cooking when my body doesn’t hurt. There’s cake in our future because I FEALS so good. So good! Good enough to bake. Singing:  These are the good times! A new state of mind!”