If Peace is a Meal . . .

October 30, 2014

There is a young man who works at a gas station in my neighborhood who has a very tough demeanor and frankly, he has the attitude and physical strength to back it up, too.

But . . .

I have come to know him over time. Life has taught him his demeanor and given the hours of his usual shift, his work at the gas station has required the use of that toughness. He is kind to me. He shares information he thinks I should know about the neighborhood and its people.

Not long ago, Gas Station Guy (GSG) looked very thin and sickly. I asked him if everything was alright. He told me that he had just gotten out of the hospital after a stay of several days. He told me what had happened and in the aftermath of his hospital stay, he was going to work 60-hour weeks to pay for his medical expenses.

I decided to take him some food.

In the course of one of our brief chats a while back, the name of a specific restaurant found its way into our conversation and he said he had never eaten there. Understandable. He has no car and doesn’t get out of the neighborhood much. He walks to and from work and has been doing that for years.

Goodnight and I recently drove to that restaurant and ordered something to go. It wasn’t a random selection. We made the choice based on what we knew about GSG. I took Goodnight because I want her to know that we can make big differences in small ways when we keep our hearts open. We got the to-go order and drove to the gas station because I knew GSG would be there.

I stayed in the car and let Goodnight give him his meal. She has always gotten out of the car to chat with him inside the station while I fill the tank, so they know each other, too. I didn’t need to hear their conversation. The grin on his face was enough for me. It was a tough guy grin. It was a grateful grin. It was a happy “Look at this food!” grin.

When Goodnight left the gas station and returned to the car, we had to pull past the window to leave. GSG was standing there giving me a thumbs up . . . but not for long. As I pulled away, I saw him open the to-go box and start eating.

In a few days, cybersphere will blossom with peace posts (and tweets) from around the world for the Blog Blast for Peace. I can’t wait to read what others have to say about peace. It certainly takes different forms in thoughts, words, or deeds. I am always surprised and always inspired. If you are able to blog, tweet, or use facebook to write something about peace, please do. The directions are at the link.

But don’t forget, it is one thing to write about peace. It is another thing to do it. Do it . . . please.


S & G for Peace!

October 29, 2014

Today is my very, very long day at work, so I decided to fall back on “my boys” for today’s peace inspiration.

I know that peace is not merely the absence of war. There are many version of that quote, but . . . one has to ponder the possibilities and potentials yet to be unlocked without the such serious threats looming over the heads of so many around the world and over the years.

BlogBlast4Peace is November 4th. If you can’t post anything yourself, I hope you have the chance to read a post that may inspire you. Must scoot. 

Who are “my boys?” Simon and Garfunkel! Check out their song if you find the time.

A member of the faculty just knocked on my door and that means my long day has begun!


Isn’t That the Truth!!

October 28, 2014

I enjoy peace
Only when I am not afraid
Of changing my stubborn mind.

                      Sri Chinmoy

Yep! I have one of those minds mentioned in the above quote.

If “stubborn” isn’t descriptive enough, then how about some of its synonyms: obstinate, headstrong, pig-headed, inflexible, uncompromising, contrary, difficult, balky.

Yikes! Neither flattering nor conducive to peace, eh?

Why would I admit to such an unflattering flaw? Well, because we are a week away from the Blog Blast for Peace and reading peace posts from around the world will certainly be medicinal to a stubborn, obstinate, headstrong, pig-headed, inflexible . . . you get the picture.

Write ‘em. Post ‘em! Read ‘em! Live ‘em!

Mimi: Knit a sweater and send it to Antarctica? You made my day! Give me the scientist’s email address and consider it done!

Travis:  A HUGE hello!



A Pleasant Pursuit of Persimmons

October 26, 2014

I like to try new things and two days ago I tasted my first persimmon. I liked it! In fact, I liked it enough to go back and get another so Goodnight could taste one too.

While in persimmon pursuit, I decided I liked them enough to try making a persimmon preserve to pull out in the dead of winter to spread on toast or waffles. I purchased plenty!


I even pulled out my now vintage fruit strainer.


I am not going to put the jars in a water bath canner. I am just allowing the preserves to cool.


Then I will put the preserves in small freezer containers and put them in the freezer . . . right next to that peony syrup I made last spring  to flavor my winter breakfast yogurt.

Goodnight likes the preserves. She said it reminded her of the flavored honey sticks I buy her at the farmers’ market.

What I have made for today is what you see in the photo above, but it ‘s enough for the first effort. I still have to clean up the kitchen and Goodnight and I want to catch some of the afternoon sunshine.

Before I end this post though, let me show you the beautiful cross-section of a persimmon. If you are familiar with the star shape that shows up when you cut a cross-section of an apple, then you will appreciate the persimmon art, too.


One That’s Old and One That’s New

October 25, 2014

One that’s old

     and one that’s new

          Some pix, some links,

              directions too.

I have an old knitted pin cushion. I bought it a long time ago on my way to visit Hoh Rain Forest in Washington. I don’t remember the name of the little place, but it was off U.S. 101 on Upper Hoh Road that leads to the Hoh Rain Forest Visitor’s Center. I was impressed to find something knitted and I’m not too much for touristy souvenirs, so I bought the wool pin cushion.



Yesterday, I decided to make a similar cushion, but I wanted it just slightly heftier for what I had in mind. I wanted to change the height and diameter of the piece.

The old one was made in garter stitch on straight needles and had external seams and though very well done, I wanted to make one without exposed seams. I knit mine in K1, P1 rib in the round on double-pointed needles.


I wanted my larger cushion to hold some short knitting needles I’ve made over the years from longer needles that were not useable for various reasons. I also wanted other knitting supplies on hand (or display, if truth be told): scissors, blunt end yarn needles etc.




I was able to find free online patterns for the garter stitch version, so if you want to try one of them, check the links below or search for something similar.



To make the needle cushion, I used #4 (US) double-pointed needles and worsted weight yarns. I cast on a different number of stitches per each ring.

I knit the rings from largest to smallest as follows:

Ring 1: cast on 56 stitches

Ring 2: cast on 48 stitches

Ring 3: cast on 40 stitches

Ring 4: cast on 28 stitches

Ring 5: cast on 12 stitches

For each ring, divide the stitches onto double-pointed needles with an even number of stitches on each needle. Having an even number of stitches allows you to start each needle with K1. Work 20 rounds in K1, P1 ribbing and then bind off.

Turn the resulting tubes inside out, fold each end to the midline of the tube and stitch them together. Weave in the yarn ends. Turn the rings right side out again and put them together: largest to smallest or smallest to largest. Either way, the ribbing adjusts to make a firm fit.






Once In a While, I Remind Her

October 23, 2014

From time to time, with the help of two products, I add my own personal signature to GN’s lunches. It’s not so much a reminder of who packs her lunches, but a reminder of who loves her while she’s away from home for a meal. The Abuelita Hot Chocolate goes in her thermos, but it has a characteristic flavor that she recognizes.

Abuela is the Spanish word for grandmother and abuelita it the diminutive, less formal form, like grammy, nana, etc. Goodnight calls me “Gram” most of the time, but uses various forms as the mood strikes her, including abuela and abuelita.



Half Way!

October 22, 2014

There has not been much time to knit lately: too busy at work, too nice outside when I’m not at work, and too tired when the sun sets on the busy work day or the sunny after-work day. But I finally hit the halfway mark with my fleur-de-lis  handbag!

A while back, I had started to read my chart like I do for Illusion/Shadow Knitting (because I LOVE Illusion designs) and caught myself after four rows, but . . . it was four rows I had to rip back and fix. That’s life. I don’t get crabby when knitting mistakes happen. I just fix them and move on. It’s that ‘moving on’ part that has gotten me to half a handbag now. 


Just a tidbit about the fleur-de-lis image. It has been used to represent Joan of Arc and when I first wrote about knitting my handbag, I showed a fleur-de-lis grille in the Cathedral of St. Paul that blocks the view of one set of organ pipes. Inside the church, not far from that grille with over 200 fleurs-de-lis, is a stone from the Castle of Rouen, where Joan of Arc was imprisoned from 1430 to 1431.

I am not really knitting any kind of homage to St. Joan. I just like the fleur-de-lis image, but now is as good a time as any to show you that very old stone.




A Sign a Kid Could Only Dream Of . . .

October 19, 2014

I spotted a sign that took me by complete surprise, but it appealed to my inner child. I had to swing around the block to make sure I read it correctly. I suspect it might appeal to Goodnight’s inner child too. I just haven’t told her about it yet.

The sign said “Come Trick or Treat with Us.”

I verified it online by checking the company website. I found the same information there.



Pearson’s Candy Company is hosting their third annual Halloween celebration.  I didn’t know they had already hosted two!

Pearson’s Candy Company was founded in 1909 in Minneapolis and moved to St. Paul 1950. In 2013, Pearson’s Nut Goodie turned 100. Even though I did not find the special wrapper with a possible code to win me a tour of the factory, I helped them celebrate 100 years by tasting their anniversary Nut Goodies and taking some to work. When I want to send a fun gift of Minnesota products, my first purchase is always a variety of Pearson’s candy: Nut Goodies, Salted Nut Rolls, Mint Patties.

I think a Halloween party at a candy company sounds like a thing to do!



Autumn Made Me Laugh Today

October 18, 2014

The wind and my ash

          had their annual clash.  

The wind won.~


Things That Were Not on My Bucket List This Week

October 16, 2014

There are some life experiences I could do without. Some of them are hard to even predict to add them on an “Un-Bucket” List.

Early Sunday morning, on the way to take Goodnight out for breakfast, I stopped at a bank ATM and tried to withdraw some cash. Does the word ‘tried’ give you a hint? The machine whirred through the automated counting process three times and then told me to remove my cash. There was no cash, yet it printed a receipt to verify the withdrawal. The whirring sound happened because there was no cash in the machine to count! The screen did not say that my transaction could not be processed. It mocked me instead and said that I had not removed my cash in time and therefore had to make another request. The bank was not open, so I could do nothing about the loss until Monday. I had to file a claim.

I did.  

Very late last night, I was heading back to my office after my long day at work when I saw a student trying to catch an open elevator. I happened to be near enough to stick my hand in the door to hold it open. I was holding my office key and the door knocked it out of my hand and down the elevator shaft it went . . .  clank, clank, kerplunk! I just stood there in amazement and peered into the very narrow crack that lead to the lost key netherworld. I had to call security to let me into my office so I could retrieve my belongings and head home. Retrieving the fallen key required filing a claim.

I did. 

As far as the missing cash from the ATM, I was assured that  my account would be credited within ten business days. The machine will be out of balance and the camera will verify that I received no cash. Thank goodness I didn’t cuss.

As for the disappearing key, that will take a lot longer. The elevator company makes regular service calls and will look for the key at that time. In the meantime, I had to fill out a request to have a replacement key made.

I did.

If I were inclined to place blame for the two above un-bucket list events, I would blame myself for being nice. I just wanted to take my granddaughter out for breakfast and I just wanted a weary student to catch the elevator.

Maybe I should stop being nice! 😉


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