Monday, January 16, 2012

Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star

"Night Combing Her Hair With the Moons": by local artist Margo Datz - Painter, Illustrator, Murialist

Winter Nights on the Island go like this.

It is 3:14 am.
I awaken from a deep sleep.
It is 12 degrees Fahrenheit out.

The pipes on the forced hot water heater go blub, blub.
The meter on the propane tank goes tick, tick.
The dollar signs in my mind's eye look like $$.

But I look out the window to see something like this.

Starry Night by Vincent van Gogh
                                        And I know I ... am a lucky girl.

Have a Good One. :)

Friday, January 6, 2012

FO Friday: It's a New Day, It's a New Year, So Crikey! TURN UP THE #$%&!@ HEAT!

Starting the new year on the island takes some gumption.
It's bitter cold. The kind of cold, though numerically not that low, that curls down your coat neck, seeps up your jacket arms and burrows deep into your bones.

And let me tell you - these "yankees" don't cotton to using much heat oil anywhere, either, lol.

In the stores, grabbing a sandwich, out to dinner, picking up feed at the feed-and-seed store, wood-burning stoves goin', Islanders use their well-honed dressing skills to keep them warm. That, and I think there's a high birth rate in the early Fall, lol.

So, anway. I have several options.
Option #1 - Turn up the heat. Ok, that's not reasonable. Did you see the oil prices lately?

Option #2 - Head to a warmer climate.
This, in fact, is what a lot of island residents do during the off-season. Many own land, condos, etc. in Cabo, Belize and Puerto Rico, because the prices are still reasonable for a small second home, and our money is still strong and living is relatively cheap. And it's WARM, for crikey's sake.
This, too, is not yet possible, cause Mama still needs a new pair of shoes, and has to stay here to work for them, lol.

Option #3 If you can't beat'em, join em.
Hence, my F(inished) O(bject) Friday List!

First, what they say is true - cover your top, your bottom, and your extremities to keep extra warm.
It is truly amazing what wearing a hat, gloves and woolen socks do to keep body heat in and higher.

I have taken to wearing hand-knit hats of all shapes and kinds - all wool, all the time.
Here, we have the newly finished green Tremont Hat

It's knit in my "go-to" yarn, Quince & Co., Lark, Green Parsley colorway. I know, I know. It is a strange color to choose when you have soooooo many yummy colors to choose from, but it fits the pattern exactly! See?

Decent coverage whether you are in your house putting away holiday decor, outside filling the bird feeder, or on-the-go doing taxi duty for "Family Dinner Night."

 When I needed an I-Completely-Forgot-What-I-Was-Doing-On-Christmas-Morning-And-I-needed-To-Cover-My-Hair hat? I wore my just-finished, Pinch Hat, completed with stone and seaglass buttons plucked from the ocean and craft-drilled to perfection. (Seen here in an "action shot" lol just before the dogs got into it over a Christmas Dog Biscuit)

Second,  wool really works! to keep tootsies warm. I have learned to knit woolen socks of differing yarn weights and types for different situations.

Wearing my Dansko clogs to run to the market? Pull on Lobster Pot Sox Yarn (yep, they dye it in big ol' clambake-style lobster cooking pots!) knit in "boiled lobster" (dang! in the wash, but here's the colorway). Everybody here seems to wear loudly colored socks with the drabbest outfits. Go figure. I used my go-to Fleegle's Toe-Up sock pattern with one long 40" circular needle and a figure-eight cast-on.This is the knitting project I most always take when I travel. It's compact, only one needle and it's very attached to the project so I can't really lose it, lol, and it goes quickly, and fits every recipient I ever made it for, based on loose shoe-size estimates.

Wearing my Muck Boots mocs to take the dog out? Slip on my thick, twiced-darned (this is not a new FO, obviously) Manos Del Uruguay socks, using Ann Norling's #12 basic sock pattern,  in (I think it's discontinued) a purpley colorway.

Last, you'd be surprised, but covering just your wrists and hands, not even the fingers!, keeps you feeling warm. To that end I am blatantly plugging my hat and wrist warmers I just finished for the Christmas Artisan's Show.

These wrist warmers I wear all the time (that's my DIL Jenna, modeling) inside the house (I am partial to the Carrie's Yellow ones, again in Quince & Co. yarn, Puffin weight this time), even with shirts, as they really do keep the pulse points on the wrist warm, keep cooler air from going up the sleeve edges, and look pretty keen, too. And when you wear them over your coat sleeves? Well. Can you say warm and toasty? The hat? Basic, pretty, easy to knit, quick to finish. What more can you ask for?

Yes the Old North Winds may blow, and the cold Jet Stream air may infiltrate, but the island population has figured out some pretty decent tried-and-true ways to keep warm.

Now if we could only figure out how to bring the cost of home heating fuel down...

 Have a Warm and Toasty One. :)

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Note to Self: On Having a New Year

And I bet you thought that's all I have been doing lately, lol.
Happy New Year's and all.
Well yes, there was some of that.

But no.
Mostly this.
Just plotting. :)

Note to Self: On Having a New Year

Am I going to go the usual route?
Top Ten List of Things I'm Going To Change?

Am I going to chuck all that, like last year, and say, do an Anti-List? A No-List List?
Remember, Caution Joy Ahead?
Ha ha ha.
If you knew what the last year has been like for me ... well then, no.

No, this year I am tackling that illusive goal - peace.
And to do that, I am going on a specific diet
I am going on an Inner (Thinner!) Peace Diet.

I promise to do four things every day to create peace within myself.
For Peace of heart.
For Peace of mind.
For Peace of body.
For Peace of spirit.

Has there ever been a more reluctant pilgrim?
I think not, lol.
It will be difficult, at best.

It takes commitment, for there will be rough spots.
It takes courage, for there will be conflict.
And it takes creativity, for the mind is a wily soul, waiting to "get out-of things."

I may be the only one on this journey, but it will affect many.

Finding rest.
A still point.
Finding inner (and therefore, thinner) peace.

An extended pause in life that takes you from rumpled to smooth.
From tension-filled to tension-less.
From thick to thin.
And from poor in attitude to rich in spirit.

Oh! you might say. That is a very selfish thing to do.
But no.
As they say in the air, "Secure your own oxygen mask, before helping others."
Why? Because lack of oxygen can make you too dazed to be of help to others.
So it goes real life, at least for me.
In our usual condition of messy, glorious living, we are far too dazed sometimes, to be of help to others.

So in the end, it is a must.
For myself.
And, it turns out, for others.

It is time.
Ending the inner war, and for me, finding inner (thinner) peace.
Peace out.

Have a Good-intentioned One. :)