Innocents in NYC

Major Knitter wrote Saturday of attending the Christmas Spectacular at Radio City Music Hall.  I have only waved to that marquee in passing, but there is a story to tell about that.

DH was working in New Jersey on a two-year assignment with his mega-employer.  As if that weren’t enough upheaval for a family of 5, they decided on short notice that his expertise was needed in England.  The U. S. government does nothing on short notice, my friends, and none of us had passports.   A personal appearance application at our “local” passport office was the only hope, and that office was located in Rockefeller Center, NYC.

Our youngest, a preschool girl, was not required to appear in person.  The government, in its wisdom, decreed that if we presented her birth certificate and photograph and swore, under penalty of death, that we had this child, they would issue her passport.  The high school daughters, DH and I gathered our papers and rode the employer’s commuter van to NYC one early workday.  Their office was only a block or so away from Rockefeller center, so we did the “tourist walk” (head on swivel at the scenery) to the passport office.

The application process was uneventful, despite my fears.  You see, our oldest daughter was adopted.  To put it mildly, she looks nothing like us.  Yet her birth certificate lists DH and me as parents.  The challenge I worried about never came – I guess NYC is used to all sorts of variations.

After an hour and a half, much of which was devoted to waiting our turn, we were out on the street, with the rest of the work day to spend until the commuter van returned to NJ.  DH and I decided to walk up to the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  There was park on our left, and skyscrapers on our right.  I was trying to explain to the daughters about penthouses, with trees and swimming pools, etc, on top of these buildings.  I got the “Oh, Mother!” response.

Then a jogger approached.  I recognized her, but didn’t want to be a tourist about it.  After she passed us, I said to the girls “Wasn’t it neat to see Yoko Ono?”

“Where?” they replied.  Ah, such is the life of a mother!

Gladly, the cross-eyed bear

When my mother was a little girl she attended a Sunday School whose superintendent was her grandfather.  Each Sunday they met for an assembly and hymn sing, and then dispersed to their classes.  Her favorite song was about a teddy bear named Glady:  “Gladly the Cross I’d Bear”.  The hymn that worried her the most was “Right in the Corner Where You Are”  (Brighten the Corner Where You Are).  She figured God was really keeping an eye on her!

In the spirit of such mis-heard songs, DD#1 called this week.  She had repeatedly heard a song on Musac at Olive Garden, and was pretty sure it wasn’t “One Ton Tomato”, no matter how much pasta sauce they made. Would you believe Guantanamera?  As we talked, she Googled it, and found a Wikipedia listing .

That’s all well and good for her.  Now I’m humming “One Ton Tomato”!

A little therapy at the Asylum

Yesterday I went to the Knitting Asylum for some much-needed therapy.  Having made that radical statement, I should explain that the Knitting Asylum is Dez Crawford’s new spinning and yarn shop in Baton Rouge, LA.  (Do go see her November 3rd post about her opening Halloween party.  I’m on the left in the group pictures.)

Dez has begun a delightful tradition of offering grab bags of yarn for charity.  Select a bag to knit for Covenant house, A for A, or chemo hats in memory of Dez’s cousin.   When you bring in the finished item, you get a 20% discount off your purchase.  Neat, eh?

That Halloween night I selected a bag marked “hat” for Covenant House.  This project is in memory of Auntie Gail of Knit U fame.  Covenant house became one of my charities when Gail died; I was pleased to find them among the choices for charity knitting.

When I got home I opened the bag to find two skeins of black super wash wool.  Black?  Aren’t I too old to knit with black?  There was nothing for it but to knit.  I decided to use the Oliver’s Cap pattern offered by the Christmas at Sea program of the Seamen’s Church Institute.  This pattern is designed to allow for a main color and accent stripes of a contrasting color(s), and is perfect for using those bits of yarn left in a skein from another hat.  I felt that hats for teenagers in New Orleans had to have some color interest.  I found some scarlet Cascade 220 super wash in my stash, and used it to put stripes in the black.  This gave me a bonus:  I got the hat out of just under one skein.  Now I could knit two hats!  Back into the stash, where I found bits of that Cascade in green, purple, and gold:  Mardi Gras colors.  The second hat got six stripes, using these three colors.

The hats were finished before my surgery, and were excellent therapy to keep my mind from fretting.  Yesterday the circle was completed when I delivered the hats to the Knitting Asylum.  After all, it’s 36 degrees this morning…cold, damp winter temperatures have come to the bayou.

Oh, but they’re warm!

When I was being admitted to the hospital for my recent surgery I obediently changed into their tie-in-back duds, and asked if I might wear my wool socks.
“Oh, no,” the nurse answered.  “Here, I have some footies with non-slip treads.  They’re warm.

You know the rest:  they were a knitted fleecy fabric, as cold as the exam table.  The cuff was elastic, and cut into my ankles like a boa constrictor.  (I can’t imagine what they would do to someone with puffy ankles!)

The best part of recovery was getting to put on my own wool socks again.  You all should own a pair of commercial socks–put them on when you are discouraged with your sock knitting.  The experience will send you right back to knitting that second sock with fervor!

Antidote for sock knitter’s blues

This Louisiana gal has discovered what her northern knitting sisters have known for some time:  there is a winter antidote for the sock knitter’s blues.

On a moment of inspiration, I began knitting Christmas mittens for my beloved father-in-law.  His hands have now been twisted by arthritis; I can’t imagine how he could be comfortable in gloves.  He lives in a frigid, mid-western state and needs the warmth.  I’ve used Wool Ease because my mother-in-law died last Thanksgiving day.  Single men should not be required to deal with felt-able wool, eh?

How does this relate to sock knitting blues?  Well, my friends, if you are used to knitting fingering weight yarn on #1’s, try the instant gratification of worsted weight on #3’s.  It makes a lovely, dense weather-resistant fabric that seems to just fly off the needles.  Good for the psyche!

It’s been a bumpy ride!

Do you remember the last scene in The Wizard of Oz?  Dorothy wakes up in her bed in Kansas surrounded by Auntie Em, Uncle Henry, the three farm hands and Professor Marvel.   This last week I lived out that scene.

My surgery on Monday was uneventful, and the doctors were happy.  I got back to my hospital room in time to watch Dancing with the Stars with DH, although I dozed through much of it.  Tuesday morning my aide came in to get me ready for the day.  She prepared me to sit up on the side of the bed, and then to take a few steps.  I expected that to happen;early ambulation is part of avoiding blood clots.  I remember her helping me to roll to sitting on the side of the bed.  The next thing I remember is having a room full of medical staff working on me.  It seems I went out cold before I could even attempt standing.  The aide very wisely had pulled the code blue button and the cavalry had arrived.  It turned out that I had an internal bleed, and it took 4 units of blood to get me up to a level that would be safe to return to surgery. Late Tuesday afternoon they took me back for two more hours to get all the leaks sealed up.  Before discharge I received 6 units of blood – a full “oil change”.

As the week wore on, nurse after nurse would stop in to chat, and say “I was there that morning”.  The Oz scene came vividly to mind.

I’m feeling better each day, and cautiously resuming my life.  I went a whole week without knitting a stitch or reading a paragraph.  Now you know it hit me hard!  It’s good to be home!