Saturday, May 03, 2014

Endings... and Beginnings

I was going to go all "circle of life" today, but I'm not going to do that. I avoid cliches like the plague... (ahem)


Endings... or Beginnings?
My mom told me that my brother's FIL passed away. He had been sick for a long time. And then I heard that, most likely, my friend J's dad passed around the same time. Also sick for a while. 

J put out a FB post and mostly, I avoid those, too. I mean the short ones are notifications, but some folks don't handle death well. Probably MOST folks don't handle death well. However, J has been amazing in this process. Her hubby posted the picture and she wrote a tribute to her father that was just like she is: simple, straightforward and lovely. 

My mom rather got the blues because the FIL in question is someone she's known since high school, and he was surrounded by family at the time of his passing. And she hearkens back to the fact that my brother wasn't. He died alone. 

I'm not a good therapist. I told her that it was something she - and my brother - had no control over. If one is going to die at one's appointed time, one usually doesn't have the luxury of picking how or when. It happens. And there's no use having angst about the who/what/where/when of the event. 

Without analyzing this too much, perhaps she sees this for herself, since she lives alone. I have to say that the thought has crossed my mind several times, even though as I type this I realize that most likely, I'll go before Hubby. We and the kids - we don't live in each others' back pockets, though Kid #2 is still at home for now... But I don't have a "Let's have dinner every Sunday" kind of thing going on and most likely won't ever do that. 

Maybe I should? Can't quite decide. 

Anyway, the FIL's wake is Monday, and I'll be going to that. Not sure when J's dad's will be - or where, even. She and I teach yoga at the same studio, but I'm not sure where her folks live. 

And who knows? If you're a person of faith - doesn't matter which one - you may very well consider these as BEGINNINGS. Beginning another life, if you're into Karma and reincarnation. Beginning life with a Heavenly Being if you're of one of the other faiths. 

We don't know. And depending on how you look at it - it really doesn't matter. What matters is how you lived THIS life. And how your family wishes to remember you. It's more than the place you are buried at. It's more than the memorial stone, or urn, or scattering. It's more than the photo boards and "Wonderful Life" videos. 

It's how we want to be remembered in the future, because we're all egotistical enough to WANT to be remembered by future generations. We all hope to be remembered. One of my favorite things to say actually came from a now-deceased friend:

"May their memory be eternal." 

It's a comfort to the family, I think. And it's a message of hope to the rest of us.

Another kind of ending is in the works, I think. Hubby's mom is seriously thinking of moving house, to a smaller place that's more local to her docs, and easier for her to manage. 

Endings can be of just about any kind, I guess. I asked him if his siblings would mind that his mom is thinking of this, and he said, "Why?" My mom says it's a guy thing - that women think of "moving house" in a different way. Hubby is super-practical. If the house is too much to manage, you make a decision and you deal with it. 

When my mom moved out of the old house we grew up with, I have to say, I was a tad bit torn; it was too much for her, it was older and it would have begun to cost the earth to keep it up. And honestly, the place she's in has turned into our family's "Party Central." It's just a better layout for her.

And she had a hard time walking away from the old place. But now that she's been in the new place for so long? It's "home" as much as the other one was. You create memories where you are, if you're smart about it. 


From the sublime to the ridiculous? I don't know. Segues aren't my strong suit, sometimes. 

Anyway, the Pink Socks are done. D.O.N.E. 
Pink Socks

I had a really, really hard time last night. I knew I could've finished them last night. After all, hockey was on... But my hand was hurting, so I figured I could set them aside. And that was where the trouble began.

I was looking at all the other sock yarn in stash and thinking, "Hmmmmmmm. Hiking socks? Lace socks? Another Just Plain sock?"

And then I glanced down and saw my blue sacque... The one with the LAST Teal Sock in it. And I remembered my list of WIPs. And I shuddered at my narrow escape from "start-itis." 

Toe decreases
But I've still got the itch. 

Anyway, these are Opal Diamant, color is 6526 and dye lot is 660. I had to do a "translate" since the ball band is in German! "Farbe" is "color." 

I liked making these, even if it seemed to take forever, especially on the leg and the foot. The heel is always my favorite place, because it's always "magic" as it just mystically turns, as if it's all by itself, me having nothing to do with it. 

I have to decide what to do about the next pair I make. Shall I do another "Franken-sock" with different leg, heel and toes? I've always wanted to do a different kind of toe. And I've been wanting to try the Strong Heel. 

I haven't blocked these yet. I don't usually wash them first, and that's probably some sort of Sock Sin. But I also don't have the blocking frames, either. I've been debating about that, but I'm not sure they're necessary. 

Anyway, I can now wear these! Yay! It's a huge knitting paradox that socks are both fiddly and "instant gratification" kinds of projects. At least this very basic Simple Sock pattern is almost mindless. It's from the Yarn Harlot, and while I changed up the heel, and did my own 3-row knit at the beginning (hey, I've got Biker Calves, and I don't like having the cuff cut off my circulation!), it's basically her pattern. 

Round toe
The toes on these turned out rather nicely. I think I've finally got Kitchener mastered. I don't have the "ears" like I had the first few pairs. It helps that I'm more familiar with the technique and I'm more relaxed. I mean, let's face it: socks, unless they're baby socks, aren't meant to be heirlooms. They're meant to be worn and loved to death. I have to get that into my brain and just wear 'em and enjoy 'em. 

Extra Opal
The dilemma is now this: I have this much Opal left. I can, of course, make an additional Easter Egg or two to add to the tree, but even if I did nothing else with this yarn, I don't think there's enough for another 2 whole socks.

So do I go "super-anal" and make ONE MORE pink sock for a "spare" or do I chuck it, toss this in stash and at some point make some uber-crazy socks?? Mixing and matching the various bits and bobs of Opal to create some truly one-of-a-kind socks? Or do I use this as a border for a scarf or jabot? I could probably find some lovely white or ivory (or even green or pink) fingering weight and make socks with this as the cuff and toe, or heel and toe... Lots of options.


Kentucky Derby...

I know all or most of the ethical arguments about horse racing, and I'm truly not as involved in the sport so as to be able to spout an opinion. But I have to tell you that this story captures my fancy... California Chrome just tickles me. The story of the unlikely owners is truly a segment of the "American Dream." 

California Chrome
These guys took a flying chance on a so-so mare, bred her with a stud and voila - California Chrome. Apparently, Mamma had great genes! The owners, once part of an "owners group," bought Mamma after she lost spectacularly. They formed a partnership calling themselves "Dumba-- Luck" and you've gotta appreciate the fact that their racing silks have a graphic of a donkey on them. And their jockey grew up in Mexico and learned to ride... you guessed it: on donkeys!!

It's always been a dream of mine to own a horse. I don't mean a race horse. I mean a horse I can ride myself. I don't know if that'll ever come true. There's hope, though. My friend Bob bought a horse and he's a good 10 years older than I am. Bob, I mean, not the horse!

So you never know. I would love a nice horse to just trot around. I don't have a need for speed. I just have a need for horse. 
DumbA-- Luck

I even bought my friend Doug's piece "The Wild Bunch" - just so I'm that much closer to having horses in my life. 

Anyhow, like I said: I know there are arguments about the fragility of race horses, the temperament of thoroughbreds, their anatomy being skewed to being more injury-prone - fatal injuries. And I can appreciate each and every one of those arguments. 

Much like the arguments against greyhound racing. I believe animals are bred to do one or two things instinctively, and often, when humans see $$$ - then that all gets screwed up. And that's wrong. 

But I love to watch a beautiful horse run. I respect their strength and the fact that, honestly, they could stomp the crap out of you. But often, they're companions and way smarter than we give them credit for. Like anyone - animal or person - given circumstances of being raised with compassion, intelligence and honor - they respond well and give us a lifetime of pleasure. 

Now, unless these guys are mounting a massive "Aw, shucks" kind of campaign, I have to say that from what I've seen and read - they're two guys who care about Chrome and just love the whole idea of his being an "unlikely" success. As long as they're having a good time and the horse is well-cared for, who am I to (a la Lady GaGa) "dim their shine"? Let them give this horse a good life. 

Random Picture...

Rocky Mountain Horse
So I've always wanted a horse. And this is my dream (aside from an Arabian, which is more horse than I need, I think!). It's a Rocky Mountain Horse and it's my belief that somewhere, this is a horse that's waiting for me... It's my size (about 15-ish hands) and it's a great "general purpose" horse. That's all I want. 

I'm not doing dressage. Not doing barrel races. No interest in herding cattle. I just want to ride a horse a lot more than I've been able to do. Western, preferably. I tried English. It was lovely. But not for me. I want to be able to move WITH the horse, not bouncing up and down on it. 

I know - it's a very elegant style. But I'm the least elegant person you'll meet. I want to just ride on trails and have a good time. 

They seem to be genial, have a sturdiness that I'd like to see, and are very nice for those of us who are not jockeys but just enjoy a lovely animal. 

I dunno. I've been asking my mom for a horse for Christmas now - well, forever. Somehow, I'm thinking this fella won't be showing up under the tree, but you never know!

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