This blog has been on hiatus, but when I got the word that a surprise birthday party was in the works for Vanessa Valencia of A Fanciful Twist, I had to participate! Vanessa has got to be one of the most imaginative and kind bloggers I've encountered. She is generous to a fault. The world needs more people like her. I've not managed to acquire one of her adorable elfin babies, however, I have in my possession, this wonderful print:
It's really coming in handy as Winter holds Michigan in its frozen grasp. Lovely summer memories of the fireflies swirling outside my deck.
Enjoy your special day, Vanessa. You brighten my world!
A lot of thoughts have been swirling about in my mind for several weeks now, but nothing has felt urgent enough to share with the world.
Knitting has been on the backburner for awhile, however, a few weeks ago I completed a prayer shawl I made for my cousin Nancy. She's starting her last round of chemo next week, and hopefully it's the magic cocktail that will boot lung cancer out of her life for good.
I love the idea of prayer shawls, but I have a hard time with the execution. It's not totally mindless knitting, but my mind tends to wander when I'm following such a simple pattern. I realize that each stitch is infused with prayer and meaning. Unlike some of my other dilettantish behavior, it was important for me to finish the shawl and send it to her. I really wanted the warmth and love to envelope her.
When I started it over the Christmas break (yes, it was that long ago), I chose the Wildflowers colorway of KnitPicks' Suri Dream. Hope, Spring, New Life! I felt like I was thumbing my nose at cancer and the snowdrifts that blanketed Michigan.
One World-One Heart still resonates with me. I subscribe to the weekly Knitter's Review newsletter. This week Clara Parkes mentioned a donation drive, for the survivors of the bushfires in Victoria, Australia. It's inspiring to see how fast people respond to the needs of others. In addition to the good feeling of helping another person out, your receipt for your donation is also your raffle ticket for some neat knitting-related gifts. The local angle for me is that no matter how down and out one can be, generosity pours forth from people. Last weekend a fire swept through an apartment complex in Fenton, Michigan. Fenton is a suburb of Flint. The trials and tribulations of General Motors continue to afflict the people of this area, because its been the biggest employer for over 70 years. Generations of people have worked for GM, and the local job loss is astounding. Despite the devastation in peoples' employment and income, the swift response to this fire and its survivors is a testament to the resilience of the human spirit. That's why U2's Beautiful Day is the featured song for this post. Even when your heart is broken, you can still appreciate what life has to offer.
Thank goodness for random number generators and Lisa's suggestion to use one. I did make the mistake of printing out all the comments and almost ran out of ink. Whew! That was a close one. I'm happy to report that I was able to reach Jody, and her package will be winging its way to her shortly. What a delightful event this was, and it will continue on for me. I still have many OWOH blogs to visit and revisit. Hugs to my new friends, and especially to Lisa for starting it all.
February 1 will mark the second anniversary of my husband Michael's death. I promised myself last year that I wouldn't continue the public memorial. Here I am again, breaking my promises. Partly because I've gotten such kind comments from people on my One World-One Heart post. I wanted to thank you for the support and assure people that I'm not wallowing in grief. Things are getting easier. That's primarily why I felt that I wanted to give away Ann Hood's book "Comfort" as well as Carly Simon's "Into White." I feel that they could provide some solace to another aching heart. They did that for me. I find Ann Hood to be inspirational in the fact that the sudden loss of her 5-year-old daughter could have crushed her forever. Her peace was hard won. Her daughter Grace will never be forgotten by her or her family. To me the most encouraging thing is that the bloom of hope returned to her life. It's that sense of camaraderie. If Ann could create a life after Grace, then there's hope for all of us who have experienced intense loss.
Michael and I discovered our term of endearment, while watching an umpteenth rerun of Seinfeld. It's the famous "Soup Nazi" episode. One of the subplots involves the cutesy, over-the-top way that Jerry and his (then) girlfriend Sheila shower each other with public declarations of affection. We thought it was hilarious and started calling each other "Schmoopie" as a joke. Eventually it became so ingrained in our daily interactions that it seemed odd when we addressed one another by our formal names.
I found this video that compresses those funny moments into a few minutes, so you don't have to watch the whole episode to get the joke. It still makes me laugh.
Scroll down and turn off the music if you want to view the video.
I heard about this wonderful tradition that has developed in the last few years. Lisa "oceandreamer" Swifka came up with the idea of One World-One Heart in 2007 to coordinate a giveaway to introduce bloggers to one another. She and most of the participants are artists, so you could be a fortunate recipient of a piece of beautiful art.
Winning the giveaway isn't really the point. (Of course, everyone likes to be a winner.) It's a way to touch other people's hearts in a sincere manner. It fosters an audience for new and established blogs. It's an icebreaker to encourage people to introduce themselves on a global level.
Maybe I can knit something for next year's event, but not this year. I don't need the pressure of the deadline looming over my head. It would probably not get completed in a timely fashion. It's also possible the recipient might not live in a cold climate. My inspiration has come from
I could give one item to two individuals, but I'm opting for one winner. They complement each other, and they don't seem to want to be separated.
Ann Hood writes about the searing irrational nature of grief in one of the most profound books I've read on the grieving process. This is high praise, because I've read a lot of books on the subject as I've been wending my way through widowhood. I had been curious about Into White, but hadn't listened to any of the tracks before I received it as a gift from my sister Barbara. She gave it to me a week after my husband Michael died. It was the perfect collection of lullabyes to salve my wounded heart. I hope the combination will help someone else in their dark night of the soul. It's not a question of "if" you'll experience a devastating loss of a loved one--but "when". What I've learned along the way is that we get by with a little help from our friends and the kindness of strangers. I found out through my Thanksgiving giveaway that I NEED each person's email address or active blog link in the comment. There were many people I wanted to contact personally after I read the comments and couldn't. Even if you have a Blogger account, I need a way to contact you directly to inform you that you've won. If you'd like to join in the fun, please leave your comment on this post (only). Thank you for stopping by my virtual home. Comments will close at 12:00 a.m. EST on February 12. There will be a random drawing of the commenters, and I will announce the winner's name on my blog on February 12, 2009. Let's spread the love!
This is the third year and participation continues to increase. Most of the bloggers are artists, so you'll experience a visual cornucopia, as you make your way from blog to blog. An added plus is that each person will be giving something away. You might find yourself making some new friends along the way, too. Isn't that what life's all about?
I love Canada, but I'm not crazy about the lovely temperatures that are sweeping Michigan right now. It's either 4 or 5 below zero depending on which weather icon you choose to believe, and the high is supposed to be 4 degrees.
In December 2007 I visited Mexico for the first time. The gorgeous Caribbean entranced me. I came back from Cancun with dozens of pictures of the waves and their stunning beauty.