Sanna's Bag

“I never seem to have what I need when I need it. I’m going to make a belt-bag that’s bigger on the inside than on the outside, and just carry everything with me.”

Monday, January 27, 2014

Magic words: sunrise, snowdrops

I was running through Facebook when I happened to glance up and saw the rosy fingers of dawn stroking the sky.  This lasted for about five minutes.  But, oh, what a glorious five minutes it was!  I feel as if it was a special present just for me.  I am SO grateful that we can see sunrises from our house.
The whole sky was colored.  We have had day after day of cloudless cold and the sunrises were just there.  No filters, no gels, no special effects.  I'm always happy to see them, but the guy in charge was sort of phoning it it.  But today, he put in special effort.  And then bam, the earth turned that little bit more, the sun slipped past that specific slit under the clouds, and everything went to gray.
 I was out there in my bathrobe and slippers, shivering a bit, and as I turned to go inside I saw - We have snowdrops!  Winter's back is broken.  We may have rain until mid July, but the freezin' season is on the run.
As long as I was out in the natural light, I decided to snap a shot of the latest scarf.  This used up lots of little bits of yarn.  Looks like an easter egg, doesn't it? Wool, polyester, cotton, rayon, whatever was the right color.  Knitting these scarves the long way is a great way to put in random stripes.  And random has been my basic attitude this winter.  "Do you like fruitcake?"  As a food, it's ok, but lately it's become my prevailing approach to life.

I have friends with focus and direction and goals.  Friends like salmon with purpose and drive.  I'm more like one of those gossamer finned exotic koi, just drifting blissfully here and there around my pool.  Is there anything wrong with that?

I have a friend who owns a beautiful fluffy cat.  He sits in the yard, and when the squirrels run up and snatch peanuts from in front of him, he disdainfully turns his head and looks the other way.  Like him, I'm just not interested in squirrels.  Occasionally, I stumble over guilt.  Shouldn't I be earning my keep somehow?  Killing rodents?  Embodying ferocity, red in tooth and claw?  On the other hand, don't squirrels have a right to live?  If the establishment puts out peanuts for them, who am I to interfere?  Maybe I have a gentler, more meditative purpose in life.  Maybe it's my job to be happy.  It's possible!  It's a tricky task, but someone has to do it!  I accept my assignment.  I will be happy.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Another wingspan

My niece, Michelle, asked for a black / silver grey scarf.  I had some alpaca yarn in the stash.  Hope she likes this.  God, it was a pleasure to knit!!

Since no one asked for it, I gave the orange scarf to Medical Team International, along with a quilt and a mess of scarves and hats, and one baby jacket.  This way, I get to play with warmth and color, and other people get to wear warm things made with love and a prayer in every stitch.  I like to think of some youngster in an orphanage in Romania, bundling up in that orange scarf and feeling warm and special.

Selfie shots are awkward.  My teeth aren't really that crooked but the way the light catches them . . ok, maybe they  ARE that crooked.  They still fit, they still work, and they're all mine.  Not bad for an old broad!  Just got back from the bi--annual cleaning with praise for regular flossing and brushing.  I rock!!  (I've been playing a game with myself, trying to stand on one foot while brushing my teeth.  Improves my balance and gives me something to think about while I polish the fangs.)

Sorting paperwork for taxes.  I got a shallow box to help organize things.  When I got back to the table with the files,  - - well, I see the cat trap is working.

Friday, January 17, 2014

To brighten the day

Linda and Maggie and I had planned to take a walk together, but Linda, at the last minute, got an urgent plea to babysit a nine month old boy just this once.  So we sat around and enjoyed the little emperor. He was a sober lad at first, watching us, evaluating us, fitting us in to his world view.  We decided to put him in to his stroller and get that walk but the high tech modern equipment baffled us.  He was amazingly patient as we fumbled with straps and buckles and shifted him around till we were satisfied.  The stroller pulled strongly to the right.  It took us about half a block to realize that one tire was flat and starting to come off the rim.  So we wobbled back and gave that up as a good idea.  By the time we had unbuckled him and pulled off a few layers, he was used to us and found us rather amusing.  I got down on the floor with the blocks and let my inner three-year-old have fun.  I built walls and he knocked them down.  He crawled all over and we all stifled our protective instincts and let him explore.  Then we became aware that it was diaper time.  The last time I changed a diaper was 40 years ago and it was held together with safety pins.  Maggie had the most recent experience.  At least she understood about the sticky tape.  Wish someone had been there with a camera to record three 60-plus women on the floor, wrestling a sturdy and active boy out of wet diapers and onesie, and into dry diaper, onsie and jeans.  He was not happy to have the shirt pulled off and on over his head, but there was a flurry of kindly, determined wrinkled hands and arms, and poof, he was dressed again.  After that, he needed a nap.  Maggie and I left Linda settled in her chair with babe in arms, and bliss on her face.  There is magic in holding a warm, live little body that will nestle against you in total trust.

But still, I wanted to get in a walk, so after Maggie brought me home, I stepped out in my neighborhood.  The fog had burned off and there was lots of sunshine, just a bit above freezing.  But in one sheltered corner facing south, I found an early-blooming forsythia.  Woohoo!  Spring is actually on its way!  You folks in the midwest, take hope.

 That night, Kyle fixed me the yummiest dinner.  He cooks chicken with onions and tomatoes, then he served it in a roasted spaghetti squash.  I nearly ate myself into a stupor!

And as long as we are dealing with cheery orange and yellow photos, I took some odds and bobs of yarn in that color story and knitted a wingspan scarf with fringes.

Do you know anyone with panache who looks good in orange and yellow?  It's got sparkly stripes and fuzzy stripes and it's thick and soft and warm.  And fringy.  Very dramatic.

Busy, busy color.  Hot and happy.

I posted the photo of my pink wingspan scarf on Facebook and two cousins got into a fight over it. Luckily, there's enough yarn to knit another one.  It's nice to know what the next project will be.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Second Saturday

Another scarf completed

Second Saturday of the month is time for tea.  This month, I went pink.  I wove the tablecloth decades ago when I was still single.  Dyed the yarn while it was wound into balls, then drove nails into the side of my house and stretched the wet, dyed yarn across them to dry. Husbands tend to object to that sort of, "outside the box" thinking.

 Years later I knitted the pink tea cozy.  It goes surprisingly well with the tablecloth.

My friend Amy Lane, writer extraordinaire, sent peanut butter fudge for Christmas which arrived just in time.  Amy is now declared to be the Fudge Goddess.

New friends joined us.  Sabrina, who is a chiropractor, and Heide, who is Wonder Woman with a husband and three teenaged girls.
We had lemon cake with lemon curd, fresh pineapple, shortbread cookies, ginger cookies, tunafish sandwiches, coffee and tea.  We had great conversations and we all learned something new.  I learned how to hypnotize a chicken.  I didn't know about this.  I grew up with horses and sheep.  You can't hypnotize sheep.  They are born that way.

What have you learned lately?

Saturday, January 04, 2014


A friend of ours, Tom,  passed away just before Christmas, and we went to his memorial service yesterday.  He was a Korean War veteran, and his coffin was draped with an American flag.  At the end of the service, representatives of the National Guard removed the flag, folded it, and presented it to one of Tom's close friends since Tom's closest relation was a sister in Michigan.  Tom's friends became his family out here, and have handled everything.  Tom was a fine, kind gentleman and will be missed.

The folding of the flag fascinated me.  Meticulous, precise, choreographed movements for every step of the process, from lifting the flag off the coffin to presenting it to the friend.  There is something about ritual and ceremony that helps us through transitions.  I think we need to develop some new ceremonies - especially for adolescents.  The "Car-mitzvah" at age 16 when you get your driver's license isn't really enough. And the hispanic quincenera is just for girls.  Friends had their sons mark the thirteenth birthday by sleeping outside overnight in a shelter the son had constructed himself.  I really like that idea.  Maybe not such a good idea in Minnesota in December,  but something like it maybe.  What would make a good "Coming of age" ceremony?   Or maybe a series of ceremonies: entering adolescence, (When we warn the neighborhood by staining a big red letter A on the kid's foreheads) "turning fifteen - the danger year," And "Reaching 21- taking charge of your own life" when everyone helps the kid move into the independent living of his or her choice.  With vows.  "I am now a grown-up.  I alone am responsible for the consequences of my actions.  At last I can do what I want!"  (and all the adults laugh their butts off.)

Thursday, January 02, 2014

Southern cooking

I've never eaten chitlins - have you?  I wouldn't even have a clue about how to prepare them, but now I know where to find them.  And I bet they're good fried.  Everything is.

On New Year's Day, our dear friends Peter and Tamara invited us over for a brunch.  We had sausage and grits and black-eyed peas and cajun shrimp - a very creole sort of meal.  It was delicious and filling.  Tamara makes awesome grits.  They were the best darn grits I ever flapped a lip over!

The black-eyed peas were lucky. and after we had eaten dinner and sat around the table for a while drinking tea and coffee and telling stories (Kyle has a great shark story) and after the Creole meal had settled, Tamara brought out a flaming figgy pudding.  I could have eaten the whole thing twice, it tasted so good!

Sun shone in the window and limned my friends' faces with light, champagne bubbles tickled my lips, laughter bubbled in my heart, my belly was warm and full, and 2014 has been started out on the righteous foot!  It's time to write thank yous!

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Busy fingers

 I am working assiduously to shrink the stash.  Baby surprise jackets are good to use up odds and ends -  Merry stripes of all colors in garter stitch.
Another way to use the partial skeins is to knit a striped scarf the long way.   This one is about 7 feet long.  Garter stitch lies flat and is totally mindless.
 Knit 2, Purl 2 rib on a 16" circular needle makes a nice cap out of those orphan skeins.  And until I get to the decrease part, I can knit these in the dark, so here's what I produced during "Thor - The Dark World (? is that the right title?)" and during "Hobbit, the Desolation of Smaug" and during "47 Ronin."
I've been doing a "Downton Abbey" season 3 festival, and using up a big skein of mottled browns to make a hat, and a seamless moebius scarf. ( I do the moebius scarves in seed stitch because it's reversible and my fingers can do it without supervision. ) I just drool over the cricket match scene in episode 5 because every man on the house team is wearing a hand knit white vest and no two are the same.  And what charms me even more is that the Irish son-in-law's vest has the best cables.

Everything shown here is going to the Northwest Medical Team for the orphanages.  But still, the stash seems not to shrink. Divesting is going to take a looooong time.