Catching up before bedtime!

Let’s see, what has gone on since last we really met, dear 3.5 readers? Yesterday, my day was taken up with a meeting at a group home in the wilds of Anne Arundel County, Merlin.  It actually was a refreshing experience because I could see almost immediately that my client was doing so well there for a very simple reason: the staff gave her good, loving care.  Since we really were on the same page, we had a good meeting and came away with ideas that helped the client.   Ahhhh.  Lovely! Who says lawyers are only about strife and contested hearings? Oh, did I say that? Sorry! It was a hot, but beautiful sunshiney  – a day for which I was grateful!
Later, I got home, did some paperwork, and went to bell choir practice.  More people came this time, so we did have a good practice and got a lot done.  But before we started, I walked in on a wonderful rehearsal with Diane L and Drew C, one of the soprano and tenor soloists (respectively) for the Bach Cantata we’re doing on 5/17.  It was such a treat.  Diane is truly a professional – a graduate of Peabody and a music teacher par excellence with a voice to match:) Drew has a wonderful tenor voice and his falsetto can get up there into the soprano range, LOL:) But he’s definitely a man with the strength of a man’s voice and lung power!  I couldn’t help but applaud when they were done.  Even though Diane said they had so much work to do, it was such a treat to listen to them.  I love Bach.  I admit it – so shoot me, LOL!
Today was a very very quiet day on the work front.  I had to get some files and paperwork to the office, but that took practically no time at all.  Earlier this evening I finally went to a Sip N Knit at the Panera Bread at the Dobbin Center.  Everyone was abuzz about the Merlin Sheep and Wool Festival.  I did not go last year, but will probably go at least this coming Saturday after rehearsal for the Bach.  If not Saturday, then Sunday for a bit.  It’s just so exciting; like the fair coming to town in the pre-TV days of our ancestors.  It’s wonderful to see other fiber addicts like myself and I just don’t feel so all alone (LOL!).  I won’t have much cash to buy a lot o’ stuff, but that’s OK.  It’s just so much fun to see all the activities. And this time I will probably be paying a lot of attention to the spinners:) and I don’t mean stationary bike riders:)
John will be off Friday night, so he won’t be exhausted watching the grandangels whilst I do the rehearsing of the Bach, so I won’t feel too bad.  Were he to work Friday night, I’d cut the rehearsal as short as I can and get my toochas home so he could go to bed – and S&Wwould not be an option for saturday!
But now I don’t feel bad going….
Yesterday’s meeting and tonight’s fun and frolic did net me a few more inches on the FLS for D as you can see here:

I’ve gotten some of the lace done, but I’ve got a LONG way to go, and that’s Ohhhhh Kayyyy!
Well, it’s very late and I have court in the morning for a wonderful client I am so proud to know.  Be back tomorrow, I hope.  Until then, God be with you ’til we meet again!
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A brief pitch


Hey all you knitters out there who want to be “part of the solution,” if you knit an 8X8 inch square of 100% wool, and either send it directly to South Africa or join the group on ravelry and send it to the moderator of the Black Purl group, you can help children who have been orphaned by AIDs in sub-Saharan Africa to stay a little warmer at night.
PS I have been a little slow in my blog reading and just learned the terrible news that  Kay Gardiner‘s husband, Peter, died last week after a brief illness.  If you want to knit something to show support for her and her family at this terrible time, you can knit something for Afghans for Afghans.  (And keep her and her family in your thoughts, meditations and prayers – whatever you do in whatever spiritual – or non-spiritual – life you have, dear readers).
God be with you ’til we meet again!
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Well I haven’t done THIS in a while:)!


Verticle Oracle card

Aquarius (January 20-February 19)
The kitchen table will be a power spot for you in the coming weeks. Your own table will be a supreme vortex for visionary brainstorming, but even those in other households could be epicenters for brilliant planning, crucial shifts in attitude, and increased solidarity among allies. To encourage eruptions of creative behavior, make sure the tables are nice and clean. Try to have good food and drink on hand. I also suggest you keep at least one notebook and pen lying around. 

This is Bob Brezsny’s horoscope – Thanks Bob! I am not one for thinking my life is governed by the random movements of the stars and planets.  Rather, I believe in something far more preposterous to the modern world – a relationship with the Divine.  Now THAT’s insane:)!
But I had to print this thing out. First, because it falls under the heading of “Passion” and second because it was at my kitchen table, in a controlled fit of exasperation with the directions my life had taken, that I literally “thought” myself into law school.  I remember the time well.  I was 32 years old, had six very young children (the oldest just 9, the youngest two months old) , had taken the LSAT (Law boards) some 7 months earlier but didn’t have the results because the dang check had bounced.  John was working his butt off, but making barely enough to cover our minimum expenses.  Every time something out of the ordinary happened, it set us back further and further.  Although I had a college education, it didn’t pay me to work in a  regular job; daycare would be more than I’d earn in an entry level position and our income wasn’t low enough to qualify for public benefits like daycare vouchers.  But work I did: first babysitting for friends who worked full time; later training and then working as a homeworking proofreader for Waverly Press (now Waverly, Inc. – and I will never forget that wonderful program they had – if you are a scientist, subscribe to ANYTHING they print – they are WONDERFUL!!!).  I had the Waverly job into my final year in law school. 
But I digress.
After 10 years of marriage and buying into Pope Paul VI’s Humanae Vitae, and forgoing the usual rationalizations in which most of the Catholics I knew were engaging, I soon found myself getting pregnant just about every other year.  We were falling deeper and deeper into debt and being a stay-at-home mom was less and less a practical reality.  My self esteem was down the proverbial crapper. In fact, when I went to take the LSAT on Pearl Harbor day of 1985, I wondered if I was just kidding myself. I knew something had to change, but what, and more importantly, how?
It came in fits and starts.  First, I knew having more kids was not going to happen if we were going to take care of the ones we already had, so when our youngest was born, I arranged for a tubal ligation.  I knew that even if John were to die or leave me (either being likely at that point, LOL), I would not want to be pregnant again, no matter what the future held.  Furthermore, pregnancy for me was a hell of its own.  Oh the results were beyond belief wonderful – I have the best kids in the world – but getting there I think I threw up about three or four times a day for 10 years straight LOL!
Second, I borrowed the money from my dear old dad to bail out my LSAT results.  When I finally received them, I realized that if I could get the money, it was very likely I would be accepted by either the University of Merlin or the University of Bawlmer law schools.  
Third, although we had our troubles from time to time, my dear husband was very supportive and in fact was wondering why it took me so long to come to this conclusion.  I can honestly say he was as happy as I was when I got the LSAT results. (And believe me, they surprised the hell out of me!)
So I applied to U of Merlin Law School because I really didn’t have the money to apply to more than one place.  I went through the “FAFSA” process and then got a letter saying I was receiving $1,800 in financial aid! That wasn’t good even in 1987! So I got on the phone and spoke with the financial aid people who for some reason thought that my husband working on a project for his Merlin company in Florida meant we weren’t residents.  Then I got them to realize that the additional three children on my financial aid application really existed (to this day that one makes me laugh:)).  And they gave me the full amount I needed.
I was accepted for the Evening Division in the University of Merlin School of Law.  
We moved back over the Bay Bridge to Columbia on August 17th.  Orientation was August 19th.  My first classes took place on August 24th: Torts, Contracts and Property/Legal process.  I read the first assignments and literally hyperventilated! We had heard so much about the Paperchase, but when I got there, the evening students were surprisingly and happily kind and human.  Marley Weiss was our Torts professor and she was a good one.  She would probably laugh if she read this, but she was the first introduction to the possibility of a new life for me and I will never forget her as long as I live. Our Contracts I professor, Bill Reynolds, whom I later got to know and appreciate far better than this first night, began the evening with a booming “Ms. BOYAJIAN” and thus was our introduction to the Socratic method we had already learned to dread, but which we later came to enjoy with a sense of humor.  By the way, “Ms. Boyajian” was the former married name of the first person I met at law school – a woman, like me who was married with children and had to do this.  The day we started school, her husband left her.  Needless to say, she is no longer “Ms. Boyajian,” LOL!  And she is certainly doing far better today as I type this than I think even she would have imagined that day. Julie and I are friends to this day – trading “pokes” on Facebook:)  Our third professor was Garrett Power – a very quiet and erudite man and one of the best teachers I have ever met. In ways I still cannot to this day fathom, he made the most complex issues intelligible (try the Rule Against Perpetuities, dear 3.5 readers, it’s not pretty!).
So many things happened in the four years it took me from that first hyperventilating moment to being sworn in at the Court of Appeals in Annapolis, my dear husband looking on and our kids home (the younger ones babysat by our then old-enough teenagers) awaiting us with a table set with gifts and our own family celebration.
Since then, we still have had numerous struggles.  Our finances, for example, will never be quite right.  But all of this started with one very pissed off housewife sitting at her kitchen table refusing to leave until a solution was found.  So, Bob Breszny, I too, recommend that we all sit at our kitchen tables thinking outside the box – the box others have put us in, the box we have put ourselves in and the boxes we have put others in.
Well, dear 3.5 readers, I think that’s all I have in me for today.  Back soon, I hope.  Until then, God be with you ’til we meet again!
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Say what?

Well, it’s happened again – I’ve been tagged and Oh.My.G*d. in the worst way! Amber – the wild woman from that place in NM I can NEVER spell (Alba – quirky) hath tagged me.  Well here goes: You take a quick pic of yerself – no running to the bathroom to put on makeup,  no combing your hair, no nothing and put it up on your blog.  Then, you link back to the cursed sod you tagged you and tag three other poor unsuspecting dweebs like yourself.
Ladies and Germs, there is a reason I don’t leave the house without makeup (unless there’s a choir rehearsal going on) and the picture above is why. I am an Old Lady – a Mean Old Lady, according to my kids when they were growing up – and my sins show on my face.  Seriously.  No need for a portrait of a rotting corpse-like visage in my attic! Nope – it’s out there for all the world to see.  So let’s see, I’ve already pissed off Helen – so I think I ought to “leave her be” – and I figured I’d tag people who have their pics out there anyway, so I’m tagging three people who aren’t half as scary-looking as I am in the morning: Joanna, Maura, and Rebecca and I’m adding a new twist: if you are concerned about privacy or safety, put someone else’s picture up there, LOL:)

Now I have a query for anyone of you 3.5 readers who plays a woodwind instrument.  I am
hoping this problem is not insurmountable.  I have this beautiful flute  – French style (holes in some of the keys), with a b foot, so it goes down a half step more than the average C flute.  It sits in a case that is appropriately sized for the extra key it must accomodate.  All that’s just terrific.   It has been a challenge getting a decent tone with
 my clumsy fingers trying to cover those holes and getting back into music “shape” as it were from years of not practicing, but that’s fine.  I’ll play as well as I can and enjoy what little I can do.  But it appears that the case the flute was in has mildewed or something like that and when I practice there’s a terrible taste in my mouth later.  This has never happened to me before with the previous 2 flutes I’ve had, so I didn’t quite know what to do about it.  At first I simply left the flute out of the case, cleaned it religiously after every use and hoped for the best.  It didn’t really work too well, because it still has that smell/taste.  So, I think I have to get rid of the case and perhaps give the flute a thorough perhaps professional cleaning???  Any of you professionals out there have any idea?? Am I crazy? Am I inhaling mold?  That would really really be a terrible shame, because I’m just getting back to Bach (sorry, bad pun…) Thanks in

advance for whatever advice you can give me.
February Lady for an April baby.  
April, 1979 that is! Am still plugging away at the FLS for D- my second eldest who turned 30 last week – yes, people, it’s true – I am now officially OLD – with two kids over thirty.  She’s good with the color and I did knit a few extra (about 10) rounds of garter before starting the lace pattern.  D is not chubby like her mother (see above monstrous photo), but she is very tall – about 5′ 12″ as we like to say among our womenfolk. Only B, the next sister down in age, is taller at 5’13”:)
And they both have the long legs to prove it – unlike their Pillsbury Doughmom, LOL! So now I’m getting ready to put the sleeve stitches on holders and move on down the body – at least it’s lace stitches and a little easier to do.
Catching up….
Sorry I haven’t been posting as much lately – last week kind of took the stuffing out of me. But I’m ready to fight back again against the forces of evil – like granulated sugar, Republicans and the Taliban (ooh, that was harsh – I insulted the Taliban!).
I have done a few things since last I posted.  Let’s see, court on Thursday was intense but good – with a Master I admire for his hard work and the fact that he really gets kids. Not that I don’t appreciate the other ones – I really do.  Choir practice was the first time in a while that we really got into the Bach Cantata No. 4 (Christ Lag’ in Todesbanden).  We split up  – Altos and Tenors downstairs and Sops and Basses in the choir loft – then back upstairs to see if we’d learnt anything.  I was so encouraged to see how well the choir was pronouncing their German! The really really cool thing about Nancy is she has absolutely no vanity whatsoever – if someone in the group knows something she is not as comfortable with, she lets them have at it.  I think that’s why she’s developed such a large number of contacts/friends/colleagues in the music community – she lets others shine.  Whenever there’s a question about German pronunciation, she asks Susan (the other German speaker) and me about it.  And boy, is she a quick study! I imagine her teachers in school must have loved her – she’s so diligent and picks things up so quickly.  Similarly with the choir.  Nobody grumbled at learning this – although I’m sure they weren’t thrilled to do so. I am so proud of everyone for giving this their best shot.  Again, it’s a group of better musicians than I, so whatever I can contribute, I’m happy to do so.
We are having four extra Saturday rehearsals – they are “drop ins” – come when you can for as long as you can – from mid morning to mid-afternoon.   This Saturday’s was terrific! I learned so much! Nancy goes through all the rough spots and plays them for us and we sing along with a recording and go over those rough spots until we get them.  I actually find those rehearsals to be the best ones because we can go over individual tough places that we wouldn’t ordinarily do in the regular choir practices.  Also, there’s a lot of laughter and fun and we really have a good time.
Afterwards, Barry, Nancy and I went to lunch at a local chinese buffet and the laughter continued.
Then it was time to head back – Barry to his Saturday errands, me to figure out what mine were going to be and Nancy to an evening wedding.  But a good time was had by all.
While it was going on, I kept thinking of Paul and Cindy and Kevin and the fact that the memorial service was happening as I was in the midst of life.  Strangely, in my bones, I felt that the joy I had that afternoon was the right thing to do.  I needed the strength that only friends can give you. I also intend to be that strength for my friends in NH as the weeks and months of their grief – and joy for the wonderful son they had- continue.
Yesterday was hot hot hot – too hot to walk.  The temp went past 90 degrees F and there’s not much hope of it cooling off until Wednesday or so.  But at least there’s a breeze!  The choir did well yesterday (in spite all of us wishing we were nude under our vestments!) and we got a lovely e-mail today from a visitor – another musician who really appreciated us, which Nancy forwarded to all of us.
Yesterday evening, we celebrated D and D’s birthdays with gifts and goodies and a barbecue and a good time was had by all:) Everyone was there with partners, husbands and grandangels. When K and S were getting ready to leave, I asked her if she’d felt the baby kick yet and she said she hadn’t.  I told her I bet she had, only she probably thought it was something else.  As she opened the door to leave, I flashed back to the moment I felt her kick inside of me.  I was a paralegal at an antitrust law firm in D.C. – it was after lunch and I was sitting in my office, getting ready to plough through another big batch of documents and data entry when I realized those “little gas bubbles” weren’t what I thought they were.  I also realized that my own mother never had the chance to feel what I was feeling and I started to feel bad for her, but instead felt peaceful, as if she were with me and knew what I was feeling at that moment.  Sounds psychotic, but what can I say?
John had to work last night – a co-worker decided to get “sick” because a manager had criticized him, so John had to work his nights off plus a vacation day.  Thankfully, he’s off tonight.
Well, dear 3.5 readers, that’s all I have for today.  I will be back soon, hopefully.  In the meantime, God be with you ’til we meet again!
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Peace but not quiet

That’s what I’m hoping for:) Thanks for your comments the other day.  It all still seems so unreal – all the more so because the friends who have lost their son live in New Hampshire, so far away. 
Today was very quiet on the workfront – a few calls and preparing for tomorrow.  K and D came over and we just finished a little supper.  They are in the next room watching “Maine Street”  – a great little film with an all-star cast, one of the first to feature Phillip Seymour Hoffman (hope I spelled that right) pre-Capote.  It takes place in a small town in New England. I am so homesick for that part of the country and wish I could be there with Paul and Cindy this weekend, but so far it looks like I will be supporting them from afar.
Yesterday, the weather illustrated what was going on inside – grief, pain, joy, and a sense of expectation.  I don’t know why, but I have the feeling that I am about to cross a threshold. What kind, and into what I don’t know. It’s as if there’s someone screaming something in my ear and I cannot hear him or her, but soon I will and then I’ll know what I’m noticing beneath the surface. Not well put, but that’s it.

I’ve been working on that February Lady Sweater for D and I’ve discovered something I’ve always suspected but now know for sure: I am not a fan of garter stitch.  I’m almost done with that section of the sweater and cannot wait for the lace pattern.

Well, tonight is choir practice and I am so grateful to be going.  We’re starting on the Bach in earnest now – only a few weeks to go – and doing some extra Saturday rehearsals for which I am eternally grateful! Tomorrow is court – early, so I’d better get going.  Back to you soon, dear 3.5 readers.  Until then, God be with you ’til we meet again – and if the Spirit moves you, think on my dear friends in NH and send good thoughts their way!
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Darkness

Today I got the worst news from one of the best human beings I know. 

Two of the kindest, gentlest, best parents I know in the world lost their son in a random and unpredictable manner and none of us will ever be the same.  I will not write the details here because the details really only matter to them.  I only know that Kevin was adored by his parents, who loved him and raised him well.
There is no comfort in this, except that in his short time, Kevin had the world’s best parents and a childhood to be envied.
The rest is a mystery that I expect stumps even God.
And if it stumps God, words certainly fail me.
God be with you ’til we meet again.
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Daylight

Life goes on, doesn’t it? Today, Spring is out in all her glory; signs of life are everywhere. Homework is being done on the deck out back.  I have a ton of laundry and a bathroom screaming my name (and a few other unsavory words!) and I. will. get. to. it….
Well, I did frog a couple of projects and now I know why – to make room for two more, LOL! I have set aside the finishing of The Daily Sweater for a race to finish the February Lady Sweater – I know I know, it’s April, but my daughter, D, who turns the big three-oh on Thursday, likes this sweater and I’m going to try to get it done by next Sunday when we celebrate the birthdays of daughter D and son D – born four years less one day apart (son D’s birthday is Wednesday).  My goal for the next couple of years is to knit a sweater for each member of my family. Of course the way I take on projects, it could take me 10 years to realize the goal – but you have to start somewhere!            
Remember that yarn I got when my high school friends and I went to Cloverhill Yarns?  Well, it’s looking good as an FLS.  And I am particularly proud of my little modification: an i-cord edging! And, as you can see above, I’ve decided to go with a smaller – i-cord buttonhole.  It’s soooo easy to do! Thanks to Kelley Petkun, co-owner of KnitPicks and of course to Elizabeth Zimmermann for the idea.  Here’s how I did it (for those of you who haven’t done this before):
Add six stitches to the total number of stitches to cast on. After you’ve cast on, knit your first row up to the last three stitches; bring your yarn forward (as if you were about to purl those stitches, but don’t purl them), slip the last three stitches to your right hand needle and turn your work.  When you’ve turned your work, the yarn will be at the back three stitches to your left. Take the yarn and knit the first stitch of the row through the back loop (as you would with an i-cord), then knit the next two stitches.  Then knit whatever pattern you are knitting up to the last three stitches of your row.  Bring your yarn forward, slip the last three stitches, turn your work, knit the first three stitches as the i-cord edging, then continue with the center stitches in whatever pattern you are following.  The first and last stitches are your i-cord edging – instant finishing! Isn’t that grand?  It’s amazing: I’ve been knitting for well over forty years and I learn something new every month it seems.  That’s what this extended world-wide knitting community has done for me:)
Oh, and the buttonholes, though smaller are easy to do as well: When you get to the point where you want to make a buttonhole, you knit the three i-cord stitches, then you put your stitches back on the left hand needle, knit the three stitches again, slip the stitches back again, knit them again for as many times as you’d like the length of the  i-cord to be (depends on how big you want your buttonhole), then continue on knitting in your pattern.  This leaves a little (or large) loop for your buttons:
The other new addition to my UFOs is attempt number three at a baby blanket (not that I’m giving up on the other attempts, LOL!).  I’m starting with the blue, but it will have pink and white and probably lavender and a soft green and maybe cream color.  It’s cotton – Paton’s Grace – and it’s knitting up rather well so far.  I’m using a stitch pattern from the book, Knitting Goes Large.  No, I don’t think K and S’s baby is going to be a chubby one – I just liked the stitch pattern – simple, repetitive and not too “holey” for a lace pattern (we don’t want little fingers to get stuck!). And never let it be said that I don’t do a new skill to death – I am also using an i-cord edging on this one:) 
Well, I’d better get moving on that bathroom and while I’m at it clean off this desk – it’s starting to look like a tsunami has hit it.  This evening I’m helping Nancy out with organizing some of the lovely purchases she made for the choir this past Wednesday and then tomorrow I’m reading and possibly singing for the late service, then lunch, then the Stephen Ministers are there for the healing service later in the afternoon.  I really like that our church also realizes that not everyone out there is celebrating during the holidays – in fact for many, Christmas and Easter are just reminders of how rough things are.
Well, off to work and knit.  See you soon.  Until then….
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