This Pilgrim’s Progress…maybe

When I woke up this morning, the snow had not begun falling, but by the time I got to St. J’s, parked the car and donned my choir vestments, the snow had started in earnest. So we went ahead and had the 9 a.m. service, but everything after 11 a.m. was canceled. The snow has really had an impact on people.  A number of us left as soon as we could, but after clearing off the car, I got my toochas home. (Yes, I said toochas. I’m allowed.  I’m from Lawn Guy Land and I have enough Jewish relatives to qualify.)
Anyway, when last I left you, dear reader, I was on my way to a drop-in all day choir “clinic” to help those of us who are musically challenged.  When I got there, only Nancy, our music director/organist/choirmaster and a member of the altar guild were present, so we went over some of the tympani pieces.  A good thing because (1) I hadn’t seen a couple of the pieces before, (2) needed to be sure I could tune fast enough and (3) I sure as *&^% cannot practice the part at home! When we were done, a couple of singers arrived and I got to practice some choral music too.  So it was a productive day musically anyway.  Afterwards, Nancy and I had dinner at nearby Japanese/Korean restaurant and got caught up.  John was sleeping, having done a bunch of graveyard shifts in a row.  It was a quiet, but fun Saturday.
Church this morning was really nice.  The Narthex – the front vestibule one enters before going into the sanctuary proper – is usually abuzz with those gathering or organizing the processionall (including the choir). There are a lot of wonderful friendships at St. J’s, people with whom I have experienced some great conversations, laughter, and even tears. The brief bits of recognition, smiles, and greetings happen in rapid succession and invariably, a member of clergy has to hush us.  Not that we stay hushed for long;)! I often think of this as a foretaste of Heaven.  At least I hope it is. Are we a bunch of hypocrites who make mistakes all week long? We sure are.  Why else do you think we come here? At least I know I need all the help I can get.
In the midst of yesterday’s rehearsals, our seminarian, Bernard, came in.  We talked for a little bit about his upcoming wedding and then two days later, his ordination  – both in July. I think I’ll be playing flute for the wedding.  Fingers crossed I keep my nerve and don’t muck it up.  In the course of our conversation, Bernard shared a bit – almost without really meaning to – about what it is like having gone through the discernment process, i.e. figuring out if you have been “called” to ordained ministry.  That’s always been sort of an odd thing to me.  I find myself avoiding the conversation, maybe because I am actively running from something that seems to be calling me (and no it isn’t always the dinner bell or drunken illusions, LOL!). It may also be that I am delusional. I mean really, I am the last person – or one of the last people – who should be thinking of such things.  I have a career and that’s not going anywhere, (at least I hope not!). I enjoy the musical end of things, and besides, service can happen in a number of different ways, right?  I’m really really open to both possibilities. I suppose I should phone a friend, LOL.  Actually, come to think of it, I did!
It all started a couple of years ago.  I had always felt that it was sort of weird to make a living on things of the spirit.  I still sorta kinda do feel that way.  Then I realized there’s this other ordained ministry called the deaconate,  something that is not a paid position.  Fine with me – I have a job. But remember, I’m that last person they should be calling.  I mean, what good  does one really do after an ordination that you can’t do before one? So that was my state of mind one Sunday when I heard a sermon (remember I was in the choir loft, so I tend to hear one or two of them) by Bishop John Raab, one of our clergy. He was discussing his work as a young priest in a hospital burn ward in Baltimore. There was this one specialist – a doc who was particularly demanding.  He gave John a hard time about not writing enough notes on the chart about his visit with a patient.  I don’t know if I’m remembering all of this correctly, but the gist of the sermon was, “You know these guys go through all sorts of pain and hell, with treatments, skin grafts, dealing with how they look, and wondering if they will ever have any kind of normal life, or even survive their injuries. You guys give them hope, peace, a bit of focus on something other than what they are going through.  I need to know if you’ve been to see these patients and how it went.  It makes a difference in their outlook and often how they are going to do.”
It was a truth I had always known on some level, but that morning it hit me like a thunderbolt. The work John was doing in that hospital wasn’t fluff or theology or even psychology.  It was about hope, about living in the real world and being responsible for our fellow human beings and being with them as they take responsibility for their own lives. And it suddenly meant so much more to me.  It was like I had just gotten this invitation to a really cool party and I really really wanted to go, but wondered if I was cool enough to enjoy being there. (OK I never said I was normal, did I?)
Anyway, I had to check in with someone I trusted to make sure I was dealing in reality and not some bunch of silliness. So I called two friends (John was asleep and already knew I was delusional) – one who has known me since 1972 and another I had only just gotten to know but with whom I had had many theological discussions – and debates.  I also knew both of these people would tell me the truth. In the interests of full disclosure, the longer term friend is a priest – a priest I had told just two years earlier that, yes, I had followed her into the Catholic Church, yes, thirty-one years after that I had followed her into the Episcopal Church, but I was GD’d if I was going to follow her into the priesthood. I called her on a Sunday morning.  She, a brand new priest with duties up the yin yang and busiest time ever is Sunday, called me back in five minutes! As I picked up the phone, all I could hear on the other end was HAHAHAHAHA.  And then we talked for a bit and she gave me some good advice on some books to read and resources to consult. The other friend I emailed. His response was, “I have no idea whatsoever if any of this makes sense.” This friend has never spoken anything but the truth to me and strangely enough, those words made incredible sense and were comforting in their own way.
I made some half-hearted attempts to see if I could do this, even to the extent of having lunch with two of my favoritest deacons ever. It’s a challenge, to be sure, but every so often, I keep getting that spiritual tap on the shoulder.
Well from the sublime to the knitting – if I haven’t lost you knitters out there by now(!!), it’s just been about progress. I’ve gone a few more inches on the first sleeve of the Melissa Leapman sweater and a few more inches on the second sleeve of the Ommegang.  Not the most exciting of things, but progress is progress.
Speaking of which, I have to email the progeny and let them know dinner at the grands is off.  The driveway is pure ice and it is raining ice here in this part of Merlin. And don’t even talk about parking! OY! (yes, I can say “Oy” don’t even…).
Hope you all are warm and safe and have someone to love and be loved by. Back soon.  Until then, God be with you ’til we meet again.+

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Perfect weather for knitting and singing and LESLYE SOLOMON on KNITTING DAILY!!!!!

In about a half hour, I am headed over to St. John’s for an extra “kwar” rehearsal.  Easter is only a few weeks away (or as Nancy S. would say – ‘tomorrow morning’) and I need all the help I can get.  I was supposed to get up early and head over to the Mall to hang out with my Columbia Sip n Knit buddies at Panera, but I overslept – not a bad thing, given that I woke up after three and half hours of sleep yesterday.  So before I head out to improve my not-so-good sight reading and actually learn some of these pieces, I thought I’d post a few things about knitting of course – I am off the clock!:)

In the mode of Dr. Gemma of the Cognknitive Podcast, something I really really like lately is the new Knitting Daily show and format.  Vickie Howell, the newest host of the show, adds a great deal of polish with just enough approachability make knitters and crocheters of any age feel right at home.  I enjoyed her earlier show, Knitty Gritty, though it was clearly meant for younger audience. (Though as a nod to us old farts, she included her mother in a few episodes and that was fun.) What I particularly like about the new format for the Knitting Daily Show is its nod to modern knitting – current fashion trends, technology (the “space to space” segment appears to be done via Skype and introduces us to a host of interesting people in the industry/blogosphere); at the same time, the show provides some excellent tips and technical assistance for the basics as well as the innovative.

This season’s episode about sleeves is a case in point. There is an EXCELLENT tutorial artfully executed by Barry Klein, owner of Trendsetter Yarns, on the topic of Japanese short rows in shaping a sleeve cap. (and BTW Barry, not that it is the main thing here, but lookin’ good, buddy!)  And not for nothing, but it is fun to watch him knit with those gorgeous needles. They appear to be those lovely rosewood things.

The Space to Space segment featured Techknitter (no names, just a picture – I like that she maintains her privacy even while appearing on TV!)  .

And OMG DRUM ROLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL
LESLYE SOLOMON from , yes folks, the great state of Merlin, owner of the LYS in Glyndon,

Merlin, known as Woolstock Knit and Sew was on Knitting Daily! She did a terrific bit on sewing in that sleeve,  She made it look sooooo easy! She did such a great job.  No (apparent) nerves at all.  She totally demystified what has always been a bugaboo for me in finishing work.  Leslye is a teacher at a lot of the XRX-related gatherings and of course in her own shop.  I have been there and have actually had a long conversation with Leslye, who is a kindly gem of a human being.  She gave me some wonderful advice, not about knitting, but about getting adequate education for my granddaughter who has special needs. Anyone who advocates for children the way she has advocated for hers is a gem in my book! If you are ever in the Baltimore area, her shop is worth the little bit of a trip to Glyndon. Oh and did I mention, she carries some amazing yarns and supplies as well as sewing machines and other sewing-related items?  When you see someone good having good things happen for them, it does one’s heart good.

So what else is new? I’ve made some progress on the two sweaters I have set as my March knitting goal (yes I know it’s February, but I also know I have a full time job, people:)!)

I am off now for music practice and will probably take the Ommegang with me.  The sleeve for this is a bit less complex and I won’t need to refer to the chart as much as it’s more easily memorized.
Well, dear reader, I hope you enjoy this weekend and that life is good to you.  See you soon, and
God be with you ’til we meet again+

And the Knit Goes On…

GOOD EVENING:)!

Hope all is well with you.  Today was a fairly quiet day for a person who practices what is euphemistically referred to as “family law.’  No frantic phone calls from my clients, no urgent filings at the courthouse and the one hearing I had today,  my colleague graciously covered for me.  So… having done my paperwork last night, staying late to be sure to finish it, I took today to catch up on phone calls and emails and started the weekend right at 5. Yesterday was not so much fun – one of those mornings when you know you are fighting everyone in a losing battle even though you know in your heart of hearts you are right. But that’s ok live to fight another day;), OR in the words of my dear friend, Kathy M.M., “‘f’em if they can’t take a joke!”
On the good news front, we found out that our firm has been chosen to receive an award from a section of our state Bar Association for our advocacy on behalf of children.  Really cool. 
Not much new on the personal front.  The snow has really put the brakes on getting togeher with the local adult kids and the grands, mostly because there is just no parking around the house when the snow builds up.  Thank goodness for the internet, electricity and social media, LOL! Our son Danny is back from LA for another run in Baltimore’s Everyman Theatre.  It’s nice to have him back, though like most grown kids, he as a life and is not spending his evenings home with Mom and Dad too much.
The snow has also put me a bit behind at work which in turn caused me to miss choir prax last night.  I did make it to handbells, though.
On the knitting front,  I have set myself a goal of finishing two aran-style sweaters by the end of March.  One is a sweater from Melissa Leapman’s book, Continuous Cables – the Man’s Entwined Circles Pullover.  Of course, I took the center panel out and charted another pattern to make the sweater a bit more unique, but it is looking pretty good so far. (picture above) I decided to start with the sleeves first, because they are always the one thing you hate doing at the end and because they can double as gauge swatches. 
I also started a new project, Thea Coleman’s Ommegang. I have one sleeve done and the other started.  Ommegang is an asymmetrical cabled sweater. I’m not usually a big fan of asymmetrical knitwear, but this is a really nice sweater.  I actually found enough yarn in my stash to knit this and it is going really well. But when Dan came back into town, I figured I should catch up more on  his sweater first, since I had been promising him one for about 5 years now. The last sweater I knit him that actually fit was a similar aran-style sweater Unfortunately, he was four years old at the time.  He’s overdue for a new one.
Well, dear friends, it’s time to wrap up this entry.  It’s Friday night – hoping for a quiet dinner and glass or two of vino. How bad can that be? Til next time and
God be with you ’til we meet again+

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Testing testing 1 2 3……

So I got this new keyboard for my Kindle and was kinda sorta hoping I could employ it in the use of posting something to this blog just to see if it would work. Lo and behold, it does! Who knew? The worry I have is that the battery that seems to work well is an Amazon battery.  The commercial ones seems to create havoc. Oh dear.

So, dear 1.8 readers, how have you been? I have been doing a LOT of knitting and living life to the almost full, given that I am human and have my limitations:)

So what’s new -? Not much really. Life is going on. It isn’t getting much easier, but that’s a story for a different day.  In the meantime, I can now post things from my Kindle.  Pretty cool.
Well, I am a bit tired, because it’s been a long day at work today. I plan on posting more tomorrow when things are a wee bit quieter (I know, famous last words, right?)
Anyway, I will try.  Until then, my friends,
God be with you ’til we meet again.+

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Photo taken on February 19, 2015 at 07:09PM

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Alrighty then…

2015-01-27 12.11.55One more project done.  And I can actually use these.  I’m also wearing something else of my own knitting today.  Winter is the one time I can sorta kinda get away with it.  And yes, I have court this afternoon – a shelter hearing yesterday held over until today.

After a rather long day at court and with my back screaming at me, I headed home to a really nice dinner John made for B and me. (Of course I had ‘after,’ but it was worth it!).  Anyway, with not much else I could do, I finished the Burning Love Fingerless Mitts by Dutch Mama and am fairly pleased with the results.  A little thing, but they are my own first pair I’ve kept for myself and they make a good deal of sense for days when you need the extra warmth, but need your fingers for driving, using the phone (NOT at the same time!!!), and other things.

Also made a small inroad into the reversible cable scarf/cowl, but not enough to post a picture at this point.

We in Merlin were rather lucky as far as the weather goes. Our friends and relatives to our north did not fare so well, though their respective states were forewarned and thus for-armed, so I hope the human toll was not as high as it could have been.

Well today I have that hearing, a meeting afterwards at DSS and finally finally bell practice.

Gotta go.  Until next time, God be with you til we meet again+

Alrighty then…

One more project done.  And I can actually use these.  I’m also wearing something else of my own knitting today.  Winter is the one time I can sorta kinda get away with it.  And yes, I have court this afternoon – a shelter hearing yesterday held over until today.  
After a rather long day at court and with my back screaming at me, I headed home to a really nice dinner John made for B and me. (Of course I had ‘after,’ but it was worth it!).  Anyway, with not much else I could do, I finished the Burning Love Fingerless Mitts by Dutch Mama and am fairly pleased with the results.  A little thing, but they are my own first pair I’ve kept for myself and they make a good deal of sense for days when you need the extra warmth, but need your fingers for driving, using the phone (NOT at the same time!!!), and other things.
Also made a small inroad into the reversible cable scarf/cowl, but not enough to post a picture at this point. 
We in Merlin were rather lucky as far as the weather goes. Our friends and relatives to our north did not fare so well, though their respective states were forewarned and thus for-armed, so I hope the human toll was not as high as it could have been.
Well today I have that hearing, a meeting afterwards at DSS and finally finally bell practice.
Gotta go.  Until next time, God be with you til we meet again+

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