Food for Thought

I’ve said many times before that I’m not really a big believer in astrology, but Bob Breszny’s horoscopes are extremely thought provoking. For example, here’s the one for this week:

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): If I were dressing you for Halloween, I would
be inclined to draw on the inspiration of those old fairy tales that feature the
theme of restoration: like the prince who, because of a curse, has lived for
years as a frog, only to be returned to his rightful body and role through the
kiss of a merciful soul; or like a princess who is stolen as a baby from the
royal family by an old bear and raised by the beast in a forest cave, but is
finally tracked down and rescued by the queen on one of her endless searches. I
bet your actual life will feature a story line similar to those.

But isn’t that simply truth? That who and what we are, while unique to us and unique in the universe, is often truly only brought forth from the love that we gain through others? Maybe that’s why horoscopes ring true for most people. who knows?


Everyone knows it’s Windy!

Well, if you’ve got to be in a conference and you can’t get outside to the beach, it might as well be an overcast, windy, chilly day with an awesome view of the Atlantic every time you look outside.

For those of you, dear 2.5 readers, who have never been “Down de oh-shun” in Merlin, Ocean City is one long strip of land – a long SKINNY strip of land – its length running North and South. It is a very built up piece of land with real estate values running high, I’m sure. It’s been the resort town of all of Merlin for as long as I’ve known. Like the beaches in Florida, it hosts any number of college and high school students for a week of fun for Spring Vacation or post-graduation fun – and for summer jobs. There are a gazillion restaurants, hotels and myriad condos, time-shares and shops, all angling for the best view of the beach or the bay. As you can see above, the view from the 12th floor of the Clarion Hotel afforded me a view of the Atlantic and the Assowoman Bay. The Chesapeake is on the other side of that shared peninsula, known as the DelMarVa (for Delaware, Maryland and Virgina). Seeing the Ocean so near made me just a little homesick for Lawn Guy Land where I grew up – at various times near the Atlantic on the South Shaw or Lawn Guy Land Sound on the Nawth Shaw. Ocean City is a double whammy, although there was a lot more green where I grew up:)
Thursday at the Conference was the “Multi-D” day. Oy. On the suggestions section of our evaluation, I suggested that perhaps we all – Bench, Bar, and Social Workers – get a realistic glimpse of the tasks of the other side instead of trying to do “activities” that were somewhat elementary in nature. On the plus side, we had a WONDERFUL Keynote speaker – a woman I had seen previously on Tavis Smiley’s show a few years back. Regina Louise wrote the book, Somebody’s Someone which chronicles the abusive and often soul-numbing years she spent in various foster care systems in Amurikka. Irrepressible? This lady defines the word! Connie R and I spoke with her afterwards. We thanked her effusively. Later, a group of former foster care youth spoke with the participants in the form of a panel discussion. As we were leaving for lunch, Ms. Louise was sitting with them, chatting. There was an almost tangible electric connection between her and them. It so did my heart good to see them talking! I cannot begin to describe it! If we did nothing else during this conference, Regina Louise and the former foster youth made it worth the trip:)
The rest of the day was spent trying to hold my own and stay on task. I brought my knitting and actually got a bit done – but endless stockinette hurts my heart. What can I say? I mentioned indulging in some guilty (political) pleasures the night before. One guilty pleasure I was unable to have was getting a walk in with Nancy – and she actually called thursday morning! I had to remind her I was out of town and would not only be missing a walk, but kwar prax that evening. Believe me, there are only four things that keep me from that: family obligation, work obligation (this time), serious illness or death, the last not necessarily being a deal breaker, LOL.
Thursday evening, we went out to an Italian restaurant. Here are (left to right) Priya, Ellen, Connie R, Connie D and I. The food was good, although I finally realized I REALLY don’t like goat cheese, LOL. I’m pretty sure a good time was had by all.
Next morning, it was not more of the same. The “touchy feely” stuff was over (thank you, G*D!) and we hunkered down with Ann Haralambie with “Red Book” training. The Red Book, pictured below, is an excellent reference source for practitioners in Child Welfare law. Ms. Haralambie, who was instrumental in the book’s creation, had a herculean task: a day of lecturing about 700 pages of material. And she did it well. She was very matter of fact in her presentation, certainly not flashy, but she held our interest, with good humor and intelligence. Finally! Some meat to this conference! I was fascinated, and stayed until the very end. I am determined to plow through that book, and I have set myself a new goal, to be qualified by NACC in my area of practice. Wish me luck – it’ll take a while, LOL! But I’m going to do it!
We were allowed out for lunch in the same restaurant we’d had dinner in on Wednesday (and lunch on Thursday also). I took another picture of the “two Connies” with whom I ate and the darkly beautiful, brooding ocean view provided with our window backdrop.
After the last section of the lecture was over, I had to take a picture to show myself (and you, dear 2.5 readers) how much paying attention I had done whilst knitting away at what would have otherwise been mind-numbing stockinette in the round.
And guess what? Knitting in public is gaining respect or at least is getting to be more tolerated! I used to think it was in the same league as nursing one’s baby in public back when I had babies and the you-know-whats to nurse them with. I even saw a member of the bench who brought her knitting along too! Plus, I figure at my age if I still need to “look professional” I’ve got a bigger problem. For me, “looking professional” is in the same batch of cookies as “acting natural.” Ain’t gonna happen:)
Conference over, I took a brief journey to the north just to see what the Delaware end of OC looks like – not so built up:) Then I was on my merry way home without incident except for the brief foray into locking my keys in the trunk of my car near Panera and borrowing my daughter’s car to go home, get another set of keys and get the car unpacked before John left for work. It’s all good…:)
This morning, I was up relatively early to babysit the grand ladies:) It was still rainy and windy, but not too cold. Heaven forbid we should really have an autumn around here! A couple of geraniums rescued from a hanging plant that became a bird’s nest (don’t ask about the time I thought I was watering the plants – oy!) are beginning to bloom again! Who knew? I wouldn’t believe this picture myself if it weren’t for the obviously turning leaves in the background.
The “clickety-click” part of the Daily Sweater is starting to get on my nerves. I’m thinking of cabled ribbing like the left and right twists in the raglan shaping, but then I’d be impinging on the flap thingies that give this sweater it’s panache, so…. I have to think about this. But I’ve got three more inches to go – about 5,544 stitches – to make up my mind, so believe me, I’ve got time!
Tomorrow, I was going to go see Casie’s play, but it’s sold out! And I turned down a chance to see Bernstein’s Mass in Baltimore with a friend!! But then, the grand ladies and their parental units are going to Baughers in Westminster for pumpkins and Halloween fun, so what grandma wouldn’t go along? Decisions, decisions!OY!!!
Well, I will leave you, dear 2.5 readers, as I sit here, glass of Saturday vino in hand, perched on the sharp points of a thorny dilemna. May God be with you ’til we meet again.

Conference and about 35,000 stitches to go

Today was a beautiful day. Unfortunately I was unable to get a proper walk in, but I was able to get some paperwork done, get it mailed off, requested a subpoena and covered a shelter for a colleague in my county. Having those basics attended to, I was able to set off for Ocean City, Merlin. Above are a few pictures literally snapped as I drove by. The first two are a view from the Severn River Bridge in the Annapolis area. I can never do that breathtaking view justice and not kill myself or others as I drive. Someday, I will cross that bridge in the driver’s seat and wow boy, just wait, LOL:) The other picture is a view of the basic landscape for the Eastern Shore of Merlin – FLAT! It was a lovely day and I made great time, despite some road construction in Easton.
When I arrived, it was dinner time, so after settling into my room and getting this computer plugged in and checking a few e-mails, I went to dinner with the “two Connies” – Connie D and Connie R – who work in my “residential county” representing children. One of my numerous daughters works for them and, in their unprompted, unsolicited opinions, she does well:) One of the hotel restaurants afforded a beautiful view of the Atlantic Ocean and dinner wasn’t bad. I had a crab cake – have to do that when you’re on Merlin’s Eastern Shore – a really good salad and some crab soup. We hadn’t really seen each other in a while, and we did a lot of catching up. By the time we were done, we were all pretty tired. I was glad to get to my room; the conference begins early enough in the morning and I want to at least try a short walk before getting ready.
Like any dutiful knitter, I brought at least two projects with me. Tonight I worked on that Daily
Sweater and I’m now at the “clickety click” phase as Mmes Shayne and Gardiner would describe it in their book – just perfect for long conference sessions. I’ll just sit in the back and try to act natural – nah…. never happen!
I also enjoyed a somewhat guilty pleasure – no – not THAT!!! Good Lord, I forgot how to do THAT! (Besides, I’m here alone – ewwww) Nope – I watched MSNBC with Keith Olbermann and later Rachel Maddow’s show. They are just too easy to watch, and we don’t watch them much at home – John, bless his heart, balances the news shows between public TV and Fox. I give his Repub heart credit for that, but sometimes I need a liberal fix and I got one tonight:)
Well, I’m going to hit the proverbial, away from home, from family, but thankfully with a few friends and colleagues a phone call away, and with the crashing of the waves and the winds over the Atlantic lulling me to sleep. Hopefully I’ll learn something tomorrow.
Until then, dear 2.5 readers, God be with you ’til we meet again!

Another gem from Bob Brezsny


AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): No faking allowed, Aquarius. I mean it. You must do no pretending, tell no dirty lies, and never act as if you knowthings you don’t truly know. Instead, say exactly what you mean; be more real than you have ever dared to be; be nothing more and nothing less than who you actually are. Why is this authenticity crusade so important right now? Because in the coming weeks, you’ll be setting your life’s tone for months to come. You will be planting more seeds than you can imagine.
Wow, don’t know what to make of that. It’s interesting, but I imagine it would be true of everyone. But I’ll take it. We’ll see.
God be with you ’til we meet again. +

OK, you non-knitters out there – take a nap!

I posted this query at the Mason Dixon Knitting blog this morning:

Hi – I have been raving about your new book to everyone and anyone who will listen to me – it’s fabulous!!! I am at the end of the “Periodic
Table of the Elements” for the XXL sweater and I think I may have found an
error. Please tell me if this makes sense. I think you’re supposed to end up
with 145 stitches on the back, 4 stitches for the cable, 80 stitches on the
sleeve, 4 stitches for the cable, 145 on the front, 4 cable, 80 sleeve and 4
cable – a total of 466 stitches. Then 84 are taken for each sleeve (168 total),
and five cast on for each underarm (10 total added back) leaving you with 308
stitches for the body and 84 left for each sleeve.OK, and that information is in the instructions. HOWEVER, the table that you have for the size XXL leaves you short four stitches for the back and front(141 stitches each) and short 2 stitches for each sleeve (78 stitches each). So,I figured I’d do the following additional 2 rows to get me to those numbers:TBS (143/80) and B (145/80). Then I’m ready to divide per your instructions.Two rows are not a big deal in my plus-sized universe and it gets me to the right numbers in an orderly fashion.Whaddya think? Am I missing something?TIA, Joan *******, Ellicott City “Merlin”About an hour away from the Mason-Dixon line:)a/k/a fuguestateknits

OK, so if you’re working on the largest sized Daily Sweater in their book (Mason Dixon Knitting Outside the Lines) that’s what I found. I may be wrong, but hey, I believe in sharing. The sweater is moving along, bit by bit. I have those last two rows to go and then yards of stockinette in the round (not even purling, LOL!). As I said in an earlier post, it’s good TV watching, church meeting, stopped in traffic knitting!

And it has gotten so cold I’ll need that sweater SOON! But for now it’s still a mound of amorphous stockinette, admittedly shaped rather nicely with raglan increases and a tiny twisting cable.

This week has not been terribly busy, but that’s OK, I have tons to do in terms of paperwork and I’m happy for the time to do it. Yesterday, I had a really nice walk with Nancy, although I fear I talk too much sometimes. Last night was Stephen Ministry training – interesting stuff. Tonight will be bell prax. Well, I’d better go – work beckons. I leave you, dear 2.5 readers, with a view from the back door. The foliage is really lovely, but not very vibrant in my back yard. Centennial Lake has some lovely deciduous trees. I’ll take pictures at my next walk. In the meantime, God be with you ’til we meet again.


Never on a Sunday

Well, at least not this Sunday – didn’t get a walk in today, but I did have a great time, singing in the choir – and it looks like I’m back to singing with my own gender again, LOL! Yes, this tenor is back to being an alto and without benefit of hormones or surgery:) It appears I can hit the high notes, so I’m back with the girls. Oh well, I will miss the wisecracking in the tenor section, but I can be bad again with Ann M:) in the front row with the altos.

I did, however get a walk in yesterday and it was lovely:) because it followed about two and a half hours of rehearsing various parts of Morton Lauridsen’s Lux Aeterna. I realize I really have to focus on the second movement, which is chock full of some serious dissonances (i.e. one voice singing an A flat, whilst the other sings a G at the same time!) and there’s one spot where the tenors have to pull an A natural out of their (ahem) nether regions, since the orchestra gives them no quarter! But practice was fun and I think very productive, in spite of my walking in on a room full of people from our church (St. John’s), St. Bart’s and the Cathedral in Baltimore who had already begun practicing. After exclaiming a huge “WOW!!!” and garnering a small bunch of giggles and guffaws for my outburst. I settled right down to make myself as invisible as possible, finding a seat among my fellow tenors and got down to work, not wanting to disrupt the practice any more than I had done already. The Cathedral’s music director, Ken Brown, was with them, singing tenor (he lives practically down the street from St. John’s, so it was an easy commute for him. Because there was another music director there, he took over the rehearsal for the second half and Nancy was able to practice her alto part. I sat down next to Dick, a tenor from the Cathedral choir and the person with whom I always seem to sit when we’ve had a part in services there. He’s a really nice fellow. The Cathedral choir has always given us a warm welcome – I think because we are typical Episcopalians – getting down to business when we need to, but devilishly bad when we can afford to be, LOL!
I was grateful to see Barry, and later Drew, at the rehearsal. Between the two of them and Ken Brown’s tenor, I had a better means of navigating the somewhat difficult tonalities during the In Te Speravi, Domine (“In Thee I hope, Lord” (lit.)). Nancy was of course wonderful and kept us all on task. Ken’s style is a little different, but not so much that it was uncomfortable singing with him. He focused primarily on the notes and less so on the finer points of dynamics and tempo. But that will come later as we become more sure of ourselves with the notes and text.
After the rehearsal, Nancy and I went walking around Centennial Lake. The weather was cool, verging on cold, with a slight breeze. The colors were vivid, the lake still and clear and the foliage breathtaking. In short, it was a glorious day. I think we walked just a wee bit faster – or I hope so, unless I’m delusional. The walked helped her bs (not the term you think it is) and I was grateful for the exercise because I need it as part of getting healthier. After a brief trip to the store to return a damaged shirt, I arrived home feeling less tired, stiff and achy than I usually do – a very good thing:)! That and the fact that the walked helped Nancy made my day!
Last night John was home – no graveyard shift last night. We watched a movie on HBO (Michael Clayton) about a law firm “fixer” and his brilliant, but mentally ill fellow attorney. It was a somewhat dark drama, but it kept your attention and the cast was excellent: Tom Wilkinson, George Clooney, Sydney Pollack (his last performance) and Tilda Swinton. We had a really good dinner – very low on carbs and very tasty. I got to bed at a decent hour because I had choir for the early service today and John didn’t get much sleep after his Friday night shift.
After choir today, I went to lunch with Nancy and Rennie and we talked our usual politics and about our families and friends. I really like Rennie and of course I love Nancy – so what better way to spend the afternoon?
Since John is bartending this afternoon at a late Redskins game, I figured I do some fried chicken (so healthy, right?!) for whatever of our offspring make it over this evening. Hopefully, we’ll have leftovers for John when he gets back.
This coming week, I have no scheduled hearings (doesn’t mean I won’t have an emergency hearing, although that’s unlikely). So, it will be a wonderful opportunity to catch up on filings, pleadings and other paperwork and a subpoena I need to serve on a willing (thank goodness) witness. So, that’s all I have as far as the real world is concerned.
In my make-believe world of knitting (OK, now c’mon I’m just kidding), I restarted the Halloween Mystery Shawl. They are up to clue 4, but I’m about to start Row 33 of Clue 1. But I’m not complaining! I’ve got to stop adding projects to my list. At least I do finish one or two a month, so it’s not that bad.
Here’s what it looks like so far:
It’s going to be a half-hexagon, with various designs depicting the holier side of Halloween. This portion of the shawl is reminiscent of the Yew tree, a prominent figure in graveyards and in some societies was considered sacred, its dried wood burned to contact the spirits of the dead. Well, I’m not doing that any time soon! But it’s nice to have something like this – I’m not into bats and witches on brooms anyway:)
Tonight, I’m going to settle into some knitting after dinner and hope for the best next week.
Until then, dear 2.5 readers, may God be with you ’til we meet again.

Starting the weekend

There’s something about that quiet time late on a Friday afternoon. The work week is pretty much over. I’m done with court and meetings for the day. My desk is lousy with work, knitting patterns, tech stuff and, well, it’s a mess, LOL! I will pretty soon be cleaning up this area, trying to figure out what to do with the pile of books with which I’ve recently increased my knitting library and putting away some projects so I will continue to work on one or two and hopefully make some meaningful progress:). I’ve spent a lot of money this week on clothes and I am feeling terribly guilty. Remember my rant yesterday about not finding skirts? Well, I went to a shop in Pikesville called Lexington Lady and they had Everything. on. sale. On. Sale!
But right now, I’m enjoying the quiet time. John is still sleeping – he works graveyard shift and has a chance to sleep, so I’m not waking him. The two youngest of our progeny who live with us are out working at their house-sitting gigs. The quiet is strange, but nice.
This came in the mail today:
Another Thing On Sale. And it will be the genesis of what I hope to be a lot of Christmas gifts- although I should have begun them some time last February, LOL! Knitpicks makes some nice laceweight yarn.
The weather has finally broken. It actually felt like autumn today, cool enough that I was glad for the ubiquitous blazer instead of tolerating it as (1) courtroom garb and (2) coverage for fat arms. Even court wasn’t so bad – actually quite routine, no contested hearings for me today. Once in a while I can be very happy with that:)
Next week I have no hearings because we have our statewide CINA Conference, called the C.A.N.D.O. Conference (Child Abuse, Neglect and Delinquency Options) Judicial Conference more formally. It’s sponsored by the Aministrative Office of the Courts and we are to be there in Ocean City for two days of rip roaring fun. OK, just kidding. But it is good to see people I know who practice this kind of law in other counties throughout Merlin. Merlin, after all, has only 24 counties, yet each has its own, shall we say – flavor? I’ve been in courthouses in 8 of those counties, some to be honest only once. But some of my dearest friends and colleagues will be there, to say nothing of our firm (a great bunch of people), so I am looking forward to it. Ocean City will be fairly quiet this time of year, which is actually quite nice if the weather is good. We’ll be pretty busy those two days, so I doubt I’ll do much except sit and knit demurely (NOT) in my hotel room.
What’s always interesting about these things is how quiet the judges are when they mix with us. I suppose they have to be careful not to express an opinion on one side or the other of a particular issue – excepting discussions about the court process and other, similar things. It is nice to see them in a more relaxed environment, though. Most of our CINA Masters and Judges in the county where I practice are fine people and I think for the most part we all enjoy cordiality among all of us both in the Bar and the Bench. We all may disagree in the courtroom, but afterwards, we can still be civil to each other and that’s a good thing.
I don’t have Stephen Ministry tomorrow – instead it’s a four-hour opportunity to really practice the Lauridsen. We are getting close to show time! Those extra rehearsals help so much. Later, provided (1) it’s not raining and (2) I’ve gotten my cleaning done, I’m going to try for a walk, with John, with Nancy, with both or alone. Keeping my fingers crossed!
Well, I’d better get back into the reality zone. Have a lovely weekend, dear 2.5 readers:) and may God be with you ’til we meet again.