Revolving Door

It’s time for company at our house; ’tis the season here in Florida. Fellow Floridians told me we’d have visitors, and I love it! It’s great to finally be sharing this place with old friends after being here this past year. I now know my way around town, and feel a sense of “home” finally.

I’m washing bed linens a lot.

Last month, we had our first guests of the “season” – they were staying with family in the area but hanging at our place a couple of days too. Then a few weeks later, we had the same thing with another couple – friends we’ve had for 26+ years. The day they left, we met a couple for dinner and sunset and they stayed overnight. Arriving the next night, we had friends who stayed with us for four nights, then 36 hours later another family has arrived for this week.

So in between guests, it’s been wash the linens and dust and vacuum and get some groceries in, and then be ready to relax and enjoy the time with friends again.

My husband’s family comes to visit later this week, which will also mean hurry and clean so we can relax and play. It’s all good.

And lots of fun! Nice to finally be welcoming old friends into my new home, and sharing the vacation place of Florida with them. Beach time, sunsets, pool, palm trees, warm breezes, sitting on the lanai. Relaxing with good friends.

It reminds me of the importance of old friendships. And I marvel at how easy it is to maintain these relationships – with social media and texting and messaging and photo sharing. It’s not hard to stay in touch in this modern-day. Even a good old-fashioned phone call (on a new-fashioned smart phone) – I have a “coffee” date with a few friends over a phone call once in a while. It’s great to schedule a talk-time.

I have two friends who do a fantastic job of sending notes to tell me that they are thinking of me. I don’t mean texts – I mean snail mail. And I thrill every time I open the mailbox and see their handwriting. There’s something so special about a hand written note! They are inspiring me to do the same – I will answer them with my own stationery. And I will send more personal notes – to remind those I love with a hard copy.

As soon as I make the beds again.

 

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Scale

img_2588  Another project for the photography class I’m taking-Photo101.

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Knitting a throw blanket

I put the throw blanket in the washing machine, on gentle because I’m not sure how it will hold together. I hope I made every knot tight, every loop attached.

This is the first blanket I have ever made. I have knitted straight scarves – lots of scarves. And I’ve attached the ends of scarves and made them into infinity scarves – more scarves. For awhile there, I was even taking requests for scarves for my coworkers and family members. Yarn to my right, scarf accumulating to my left, needles in the center to keep good posture. I loved making those scarves, and even got creative mixing it up with multiple yarns. I never got complicated though – I really only know the knit stitch.

One night back in December, I was having a hard time sleeping so I moved to the couch for a change of venue. In snuggling down to close my eyes, I realized that the throw blanket in the living room was too heavy me, too much blanket for Florida temperatures. It was too short – my feet stuck out. And the color of the blanket didn’t really match our decor, not even in the low-lit living room – light dusty blue amid greens and browns and golds. The blanket was the color of an 80’s bridesmaid’s dress instead of a Southern Utah sunset. I decided that my next knitting project would be to make an appropriate throw blanket. It’s really a giant scarf, right? Just bigger needles and more yarn.

I ordered large circular needles for the project. I wasn’t sure what size, so I ordered the largest diameter. I figured it would make big “holes” in the blanket, which would allow for air to pass through and keep the it from being too warm.

I was excited to find the bin of yarn skeins on sale as I was walking through a big box store on my way to Groceries. There was a very pretty off-white yarn, and gold skeins with teal and coral flecks. I was surprised at how much I liked the gold – not usually a color I’m drawn to. But this was so rich looking, such lovely warm tones, and the two yarns complemented each other nicely. They would look great with the living room rug and curtains. So I bought what I hoped would be enough, and began to knit a blanket.

At first, the hardest thing was adapting to the circular needles. I wasn’t knitting in a circle, but the cording in the middle of circular needles is what held the blanket as I knitted. In the beginning, I kept getting the needles twisted and curled around, and it took me several days to figure out how to straighten the needles when trading the ends back and forth.

The needles were very big, and that also took some getting used to. It was hard to hold both needles in one hand when I was looping my yarn. Several times one needle slipped and I had to very carefully thread everything back on without dropping any stitches. Eventually I figured out the right grasp and developed a rhythm.

Then came the problem of the pattern. I knew I didn’t really want to count rows – I was fine with the blanket stripes being random. But the skeins weren’t the same length  – the gold versus the off-white – so it wasn’t as simple as switching out colors at the end of a skein. Each time, I had to decide if I wanted to switch, or knit with both colors for a while, making a third stripe. In many ways, that was the easiest way to knit, and I might have done the entire blanket that way if I had originally bought enough of each color. The two yarns together made the holes a little tighter, less likely for a toe to poke through!

As the blanket got longer, it became difficult to flip the needles’ ends because I had to flip the whole blanket. When I didn’t flip it as I switched ends, the blanket lay twisted to the left of my lap. I’m just now wondering if it might have been easier to keep the blanket in my lap instead of off to the side.

My sweet kitten Annabelle was the last obstacle. She seemed to notice the blanket each time I flipped it, and that brought her running to see if there were loose ends to grab. Most often there weren’t, so she would just grab any yarn loop and pull. Stop, kitty! She’d pull a stitch or two, and I had to tug things back into place.

After several weeks of knitting, mostly in the evenings when we were watching TV, I finished this morning. I very carefully bound off the last row, tied and weaved other yarn ends into the blanket, and cut off loose pieces. I checked every connection so it won’t unravel.

Now if it holds together in the washing machine, I’m ready to pick the next colors. Maybe a blanket for the bedroom. With smaller needles, of course. No toes peeking!

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Telling Time in Florida

There’s (barely) a downside to living in paradise – no changing leaves, no completely clouded skies, no ice cold breezes, no snow in the air. No visual calendar to keep track of time.

I’ve lived with four seasons all of my life. At least, until this past March. And I’ve been confused as to what month it is ever since!

Shortly after we moved to Florida, I saw a road construction alert sign warning that work would begin May 1st. I couldn’t seem to remember that was just a few weeks away. It felt like mid-summer.  I mean, every day was sunny and warm – how was I to keep track?!

I knew summer was here when the morning temperatures started in the upper 70s with 100% humidity and just got warmer from there. But I’d handled heat and humidity in the Midwest, so that wasn’t completely new. What was different was the fact that those super warm temperatures lasted until mid-November! It rained last Sunday morning, and when the clouds cleared, the weather did too.

Now I forget it’s November – when I look outside, I’m sure it’s early June. The temperatures are beautiful, the humidity is manageable, and we have all the windows and doors open again. I’m grateful for the countdown-to-Christmas signs, because I have no visual clues that Christmas is 26 days away! I’ve never needed those placards before now.

Yesterday at the beach, as I floated in the Gulf’s waves under sunny skies with puffy white clouds, I thanked God for the opportunity to live here. It’s like I live in a picture postcard, and I am truly blessed.

 

 

Water mindfulness

The hot water heater is in the garage, and the closest faucet is in kitchen, yet it takes 5+ minutes for the water in the sink to get hot enough to wash dishes. It’s faster to get hot water into the master bathroom shower, all the way across the house – the opposite corner from the garage!

The time it takes to get hot water to the sink in the master bathroom is almost as long as to the kitchen. None of this makes any sense to me. Why does it take so long for the water at the closest location to the water heater to be hot? Why does the shower get hot water before the bathroom sink? Plumbing should be pretty straight forward, right? Straight pipes whenever possible, so straight forward. I don’t get it. Hot water in the shower, but not in the sinks.

As I was waiting for hot water to arrive to my sink last night so I could wash off mascara and makeup and the day, I held the fingers of my left hand under the running water. I stood there with my fingers and my thumb, but not my entire hand, seeing and feeling the water pour over them. I thought what a great time to practice mindfulness – simply notice what I feel and describe it. But how do I describe water? Just try.

It’s a smooth, silky, soft, slippery slender stream coming from the faucet to my hand. It’s warm (not yet hot). It cascades over one finger at a time. Before it falls off the last finger, it converges on my pinkie and becomes a narrow single stream again, looking as it does from the faucet to my fingers, before it gently splays into the basin and becomes a shiny surface. It gathers at the drain and disappears.

But does that describe it? And then I thought of Helen Keller and Anne Sullivan, and wondered about the miracle of the language breakthrough, as Helen suddenly understood what Anne was trying to communicate. The trepidation, the excitement, the joy that must have broken over them separately but simultaneously. Helen so eager to know words for everything, Anne delighted yet knowing there was so much more to be taught. Now my focus was off the water and running down the story from a childhood book.

Wait. Bring my thoughts back to the water. Ahh, it’s hot enough to wash my face now. Time for bed.