Monday, December 24, 2012

banana beer

It is half an hour before sunset.  My desk is finally clean, all the packets are wrapped, and according to NORAD radar, Santa is just passing over Eastern Europe.  Join the fun here:  NORAD Santa Tracker

The blissful quiet of Christmas is beginning to settle in. DXZ's personal radar has learned that ace baked a cheesecake (secret family recipe), that the dog ate half of the Texas relatives' Christmas basket (oh dear!), and that the Germans are away in a wonderful warm place.

The East Coast is promised a bit of snow to sparkle up Christmas Day, but that is tomorrow.  Soon we will light the Advent candles, have a few quiet moments of our own, sing some Christmas music, and perhaps play some board games or watch a movie (great sock-knitting opportunity!)

We will definitely stay up till midnight in hopes of catching Santa, and probably argue amicably as to whether presents should be opened the 24th (German Christmas) or the 25th (American).  I'm holding out for the 25th!  Regardless of who wins, we'll end the night with a cheery toast -- quite likely this year  an outlandish brew from Scotland, beer made from bananas -- so weird, it has to be tried.  (ace, you'd better check on me in the morning.)

Whatever your tradition, wherever you are,

may this be a blessed time with those you love.

We are grateful you are our readers, and wish you

A Merry Christmas from The Mindful Sheep


Sunday, December 23, 2012

big rocks

Well, ace, I know what you mean about not enough time in the day.  It is a reality as well as a cliche.
Stephen Covey, the inspired businessman and life coach, often uses the example of filling a pail with rocks.  You have big ones and little ones and they all have to fit without spilling over.  The smaller rocks have labels like “deadlines” and “work” and “housecleaning.”  The big ones have labels like “family,” “vacations,” and “spiritual community.”
You guessed it. People put the deadlines and worries and housework into the bucket first, and can’t get the big, important rocks in at all.
I’ve written this blog in my head a hundred times: there is so much to say! .  Sometimes I’m wise, sometimes pathetic, sometimes between a rock and a hard place.  In the last two weeks, I’ve been often distraught as more news of the massacres in Sandy Hook, Pakistan, the Middle East come rolling in over the airwaves.  But blogging it down in pixels and code - that’s another thing altogether.  Yes, I’ve been tending some small rocks, but more importantly, I’ve also been making room for some big ones, too.  
One of the kids killed at Sandy Hook Elementary was the daughter of a co-worker.  It’s been pretty glum around the office, and we all feel it, the never-mores, the no-more-hugs, the emptiness.  
That could have been us.  Or someone who belongs to us.  It brings up waves of nausea and sadness; or extra tenderness before leaving for work, on returning home.  And more often than not, I find that sock in my hands, each stitch anchoring me a bit in reality, making concrete a bit of love.
Is it o.k. to knit when we have so much else to do?  Oh, ace, absolutely.


Monday, December 10, 2012

time for...

I hate to be cliché here, but I’ll just say it anyway – there just isn’t enough time in the day. And I mean that in lots of different ways.
-I am currently bound by the universal constraints of linear “time.”
-There are only 24 hours in what we call a day.
-My life equates to a finite amount of time.
-Life is short.
-I work 5 days a week, 8 hours a day.
-The rest of the time I’m supposed to keep my house clean, water my plants, weed the garden, pick up the dry cleaning, sleep, prepare and eat healthy food, spend time with my boyfriend, keep up with New Girl on Fox, pretend to like football, knit, blog, prepare Christmas gifts, work out, relax, figure out how to reduce stress in my life, and try out new hobbies.

Every so often “free time” becomes so scarce, that it makes me a little cross. Like right now. Don’t get me wrong, I had a very nice weekend, and I didn’t actually do much cleaning or anything (don’t look too closely if you come over). But I haven’t knit a stitch since at least last Thursday.
Sometimes I feel too guilty to sit down and knit. Does that ever happen to you? I should be doing something else. I’m not sure what, but something more “productive” or “useful.”
The thing I forget is that sitting down to knit is incredibly productive and useful – in that it helps me relax and stay in the present moment.
I was talking today to a woman at work who just finished her first knitting class – “Loops 101” at our best LYS, Loops. She is hooked (even though it’s not crochet, haha) and looking forward to doing more. She said that even though it’s been a little hard to learn, she finds knitting relaxing. This, from a newbie! That’s encouraging.
I’ve learned over the last 6 years that knitting is indeed relaxing. Even when you are working on a difficult pattern, the act of sitting down and focusing on what’s directly in front of you, taking a deep breath and being present enough to the activity at hand causes you to slow down and… relax.

There’s only one problem. I’m not very good at relaxing, because I feel guilty when I relax. And then stress sneaks up on me in very unfortunate ways. Maybe I should prescribe knitting as part of my “cure” for stress. Like, I’m sorry I can’t come to your Christmas party, or check my gutters – I’ve got to sit down and knit. Doctor’s orders!

What do you think, Sockbean – is it OK if I sit down and knit every so often, even when I feel that I don’t have the time??


i am still working on this stupid sweater... 

Saturday, December 1, 2012

real-life fairytale

“The Mermaid has sprung a leak and I don’t know how to knit! Can you help?” 

Who could resist a mermaid? Or a scientist?  “Of course!” said the Stitchwitch.  So The Mermaid, The Scientist, and The Stitchwitch met for an emergency operation.

Frankly, it might have helped  to Medivac The Mermaid to a care facility for the weekend, but there were serious complications:  The Mermaid lived with The Little Girl, and could not be parted from her except during pre-school hours!  This was a big concession on The Mermaid’s part.  She would rather pour out her stuffing than be parted from The Little Girl.

So The Stitchwitch and The Scientist set up a field hospital in the coffee room of their office at work.  The operation was delicate.  Initial kitchenering left a bit of a keloid, but a basket weave darning stitch did good service.  

Time ran short and the planned reinforcement over the heart had to be abandoned.  The Scientist received technical instruction for emergency care of the weak heart area:  “You could try over-under-over darning, like making a lattice for a pie crust,” said the Stitchwitch, surriptitiously casting a little spell. 

A look of doubt crossed The Scientist’s face. “But I’ve never done any needlework . . . .”  

“Not to worry,” said The Stitchwitch, “we can do a follow-up operation if needed.”

Monday, The Stitchwitch knew the spell had worked -- and the outcome was the very best possible:  The Scientist had taken the leap and made the basket weave darn. She’d become a needlewoman!  

And The Mermaid?  The Mermaid was now completely repaired and restored to the arms of her beloved LIttle Girl.

The Scientist had called their meeting a “Grandmother Moment.”  It gladdened The Stitchwitch, for that observation illuminated the true meaning of her  Grannie’s strongest spell:  “eeechwan teechwan!”


photos and story used by permission of The Scientist and The Mermaid