A friend recently posted a photo of a children’s knit cardigan that was adorable. I wondered if I could modify the pattern for an adult? Specifically, for my friend Kerrisha.
Here is the result:
Now, I’m adjusting the pattern for another coworker who also wants one, but wants it a bit longer and with seed stitch around the bottom edge. It will be called “the Jane.”
Remember four years ago when I signed up for that “knit your own sweater” class in Denver at Fancy Tiger?
Well, I’m finally finishing it. I’m not sure what the mental roadblock was on getting this sucker done, but it is coming together. I finally tried it on yesterday and it is too big. (I may be the only person who moves to the country’s healthiest state and gains weight.) It is still a beautiful shade of purple and I’m sure I’ll wear it all the same.
Three cheers for finishing projects!
We are now planning meals by what we can pick out of the garden, which is one of those silly life things I’ve always dreamed of doing and am thrilled it is happening. (Do you have those? I’ve got this list in my head of milestones and eating seasonally is definitely one of them.) The beets and onions are in. (The carrots came from the market.) For Saturday lunch with family, I roasted these with a bit of olive oil and sea salt.
We picked the greens and the first few tomatoes, boiled a couple duck eggs I had on hand and added strawberries and feta. I made a mustard vinaigrette and we had salmon burgers on the grill. It was a great use of what was ready to eat.
And now, we dig into zucchini season. I used 1/3 of this baby to bake muffins for the week. We are going to be up to our ears in vegetables in the next month!
(I’m most excited by the pickling cucumbers that are thriving. I’ve never canned pickles before.)
My knitting bag was an eye sore. It was the lining from an old beach bag, and I’m guessing I’ve used it as much as I have because it had a zippered top. I used it so much that there were countless holes through the nylon fabric where errant knitting needles had poked their curious heads. It was getting ratty and as all the cobbler’s children run bare, I thought it was time to sew myself something.
This is my first log cabin square, and I love the fabric choices. From the saguaro in the middle to the bicycles along the edge — all trimmed in my favorite color, also of the desert: turquoise. I found that turquoise corduroy and the denim I used for the lining at Goodwill.
Next, I’m sewing a matching denim zippered pouch to go inside for notions. It is a nice update and as much as I’ve been knitting, something that will be much loved.
I foresee many happy knitting trails to come!
I’d been invited to this small community in northern Arizona because of suicide. Children were dying, by their own hands, and no one knew what to do.
It’s a community, a family really, of no more than 500. There is a health clinic, a school, a Boys and Girls club and a few other buildings in town. The Grand Canyon isn’t far and the plateaus, on early mornings, have antelope and elk and deer and coyotes.
The people organized a medicine walk. We’d gather children and visit six fire keeper homes, each with a camp fire built in their front yards. Upon arrival, the head of household said a prayer over the children, adding sage to the fire. The pungent smoke enveloped the crowd, including the visitors like me on the periphery. We waved the smoke over us, leaning one by one over the fire. We pushed the smoke over our heads and down our backs and to each corner of the sky — sending the healing smoke to the four directions.
We pushed the unhealthiness looming over this community up and out, to be floated away by a high, strong wind.
The prayers and songs reminded the children how valuable their lives are. Bullying by text is the new enemy; kids are being taunted by others. Told to kill themselves. Told they aren’t worthy.
The elders reminded them all otherwise, and that they are all family. The bullied and the bullies are one — and quite literally from one genetic pool made smaller by each death.
In addition to the traditional healing, we will add clinical and educational resources — ways shown to prevent suicide. My wish is that we can provide hope.
I used a handful of onions and garlic from this batch in the crockpot this week for chicken stew. I’m going to use the beets for this, although it looks horrific to me — it was requested. Anyone ever eat pickled beets and eggs?
Also, Fozzie is visiting this week and Nelson is in heaven. The poor pepper plants on the back patio are not as happy Fozzie is visiting this week.
A friend asked me to put together a few tips for those who may consider riding a bike to work. Here are my recent observations:
1. Pack light. My shoes and lunch are typically the heaviest items in my panniers. I now have a couple pair of shoes at my desk so I don’t have to pack a set daily. I also get everything together the night before so my morning rush isn’t anxiety fueled.
2. Stock up. I have stocked my desk with favorite snacks and used a driving day to load up my toiletries. I take a shower at work after I arrive, so having everything necessary here and ready to go makes my bags lighter and getting to my desk a faster process.
3. Take your time. I’ve seen so many things I passed right by in my car. Like the auto detailing shop near the interstate that is half-way painted with a giant orange chicken. It may be a phoenix. There are plenty of old businesses with antique neon marquis too. There’s a “vegans for peace!” hand-painted sign in a Tempe front yard, where wildflowers and leafy greens from an unkempt garden ramble up the sign poles. There are plenty of curious people too. I nod at the two guards at the federal court building, who are responsible for looking under each car with a mirror as they enter the garage. They’ve started waving back. I cheer the anti-Joe Arpaio protester on the downtown corner, who also holds a hand-painted sign and spends half his time keeping his long hair from blocking the message as he rants. I’ve spoken with more than one bus driver who has a window down and is waiting for the same light, while I’m rocking on my toes in the bike lane. And, I stand next to the same guy each morning on the light rail platform. He rides a bubble gum pink fix gear bike and is covered with retro tattoos. Sadly, he is not overly chatty at 7 am.
4. Use the light rail or bus line if necessary to make this process work for you. I use the light rail for a few miles in the morning and it gets me to work in time without being totally exhausted. I try to ride the entire 14 miles home because I’ve got more time. This may change with the impending summer heat — but for now, it works. And I’m still not on the highway.
5. Also: bike shorts. They will make your undercarriage thank you. And pump your tires every day. Even a little bit low, it makes the afternoon slog harder. And be patient with your body. It takes a good 2-3 miles before my left hip clicks into a comfortable place. That hip never bothers me otherwise, but it screams first thing in the morning when I get on the bike.
That’s it. I was pleasantly surprised by how fun this change has been. I look forward to getting on my bike come Monday morning and don’t feel a bit of guilt when I want a giant carne asada burrito with all the cheesy, green sauce extras for lunch. And the miles add up; I’ve ridden more than 250 in the last month — almost a full tank of gas.
The only downside is I am pretty much too tired to accomplish anything when I get home, other than find food and make sure Nelson sees the park for a brief walk. There is a specific pleasure in walking around this physically tired all the time. My anxious edge at work is gone and I’m feeling stronger.
A few crafty endeavors for the recently holiday:
I got the idea for bunny bags here.
And I used this recipe for bath bombs in a painted repurposed Truvia box. Both were well received!
I’ve become an advocate of sorts for the homeless of Arizona in the last few years. Working at the health department, I have seen how and why folks become homeless. There are holes in our social nets, but! But. There are also fiercely strong sections too.
Flagstaff Shelter Services is one of those strong ropes, providing nightly shelter for more than 80 folks year round, and day services to another 200 or more who need to get inside for a meal, or to do laundry. They are having an annual fundraiser in a couple weeks, including a silent auction. I can’t attend the event, but I sent this sweater:
A baby sweater isn’t going to solve much, but it is what I can do for now. That and talk about homelessness and what we can all do to further strengthen our communities to help those most in need. While there are those who say homeless folks enjoy their culture and “want to be on the streets,” — I promise you those are far and few between.
Many in Flagstaff, and Phoenix and Tucson and all the towns between, are families who hit a rough spot and faced eviction. Sleeping in their cars led to further problems and a loss of employment. A bad car accident without health insurance left them penniless. Serving in the military left them with nightmares and the inability to trust, much less work. A substance abuse problem, an abusive partner, a series of bad decisions left them vulnerable and without a home.
These are the more common stories.
I know there are many of you who read this blog from your own communities in Maine, Texas, England, Australia, Japan and South Africa. I know that we face different social issues but each of our neighborhoods have those who need a bit of help, a hand up — as they say. It is delightful to support FSS and iHelp in Tempe, Chandler and Mesa — two organizations that truly are helping the homeless find work, get established and start over.
We are all the same, whether we are on the streets or comfortable in our warm beds. We want to be safe. We want to be loved. Our lives matter.