Friday, April 30, 2004

Sigh. I missed the first news report.

But I did just finish the bag. I'll felt it tonight!
I was pretty much useless yesterday. I faded into daydreams in the middle of recording one of the shows and let the host go on too long. Of course, I can't then say "sorry, I was thinking about yarn" I had to pretend everything was fine and then edit his show down later. And that took me about four times as long as it should have, since I kept drifting off in to yarn-uphoria. Generally scheduling commercials takes me about two hours. Yesterday, after four hours, I'd gotten two out of 12 hours done. Oh, my.

And after struggling through a useless day at work, I simply had to go into Cloverhill for a fix. 48 hours to go, but I couldn't wait. I mean, I needed point protectors, so I had a valid excuse. Plus, I actually finished what I was supposed to at work, so it was sort of a reward. And there was this yummy yarn - Manos del Uraguay, a Merino/Corriedale handspun - in the most amazing fall colors... slightly muted version of what I dyed at Casa de Bess. Now, it looks as though what I dyed that day is actually superwash, and we didn't know. Which means I need to get yarn that will felt, right? How else am I going to make a tiny felted bag to keep my WW paperwork together? So I had to get that as well. Plus, it's one of those yarns that supports women in Uraguay, who have no other means of supporting their families, so I would have been a bad person to turn it down. See how good I am at rationalization?

And after touching every single ball of yarn in the shop (I'm apparantly wanting to knit something of mohair, since I had to pass by that shelf six times) I headed home. And was greated at the door by only one cat. This is HIGHLY irregular. Usually the boys are fighting over who gets kisses first. Today, Aslan looked remarkably calm... and alone.

After checking favorite nap places, I started calling Trevor's name, and heard crying. It would seem that my dear husband had shut the dryer right before he left for a business trip. Poor little adventurous Trevor, who can always be counted on to get himself into a predicament, had hopped into the dryer a moment before, and GB didn't do a cat count before he closed the door (despite my numerous warnings to do so!). Following Trevor's cries, I found a hungry, thirsty, and frightened cat who was very willing to be cuddled and kissed until we both felt better. I would like to hope that his attention span worked for us in this instance, that he really only got frightened when he heard my voice and couldn't get to me. Surely he spent most of the day playing with socks and his tail, and all the other exciting things that we also shut in the dryer?

I need to knit. So I sat and knit about 5 inches of the to-be-felted bag at a rate that can only be described as an "angry at the husband fevered pitch", then decided I was going to run out of yarn before I got the proportions for the bag that I wanted, frogged it back to the beginning and started over slightly smaller. And was still angry enough to get another 6 inches done on that.

GB did have the good sense to tell me he felt horrible, and to tell me that several times. Good. He should. And he also says he will apologize to Trevor when he gets home from his trip tonight (Pardon my dangling participle - GB's trip, not Trevor's. Trevor is just going into the kitchen today). So things are fine with us, then, and after a momentary loss of focus when Trevor was endangered... yep, it's back to daydreaming about yarn... fiber... spinning...

And today. Ugh.

I am completely and utterly worthless. I mean really, I should be sent home obsessed, right? I mean, I'm not doing anyone any good, and frankly, I could get quite a bit of knitting done if I were home right now.

MD S&W is tomorrrow. Tomorrow! (which oddly, is always a day away - I want it here now!!!)

Two days of just play - looking at all those yarns, all those fibers, all those spinning wheels, and being there with people who (*ahem, Sharon*) don't think I'm insane for finding that exciting!

But to see Bess, and Jenn, and Lissa, and Clara, and Martha... oh, things just can't be bad when I'm playing with them. And I'm meeting Julie for the first time, and I've so enjoyed e-mailing with her - and she's a fiber friend nearby!

I'll be spinning every wheel that will hold still long enough for me. I've decided I'll simply have to put a little bit of money aside each week, and slowly build up enough to buy my wheel, and I'll want to know how much to save for which wheel, right? Afterall, I'll need something to do while recovering from dental surgery, since eating isn't likely to be much of an option (but good for the WW plan!)
I just can't wait. I just can't.

I'm not going to get anything accomplished today at all.

Shoot! I gotta go record the news!

Thoughts for the Day:

HERMAN WOUK - “What one doesn't realize in ordinary mental health is that daily life is a show. You have to put on a right costume, to improvise right speeches, to do right actions, and all this isn't automatic, it takes concentration and work and a simply amazing degree of control.”

Charles E. Popplestone - “Concentrate all your thoughts on the great desire in your life. This concentration must be continuous, unceasing — every minute; every hour; every day; every week.”

Isaac Asimov - “Nothing interferes with my concentration. You could put on an orgy in my office and I wouldn't look up. Well, maybe once.”

Wednesday, April 28, 2004

I went to the dentist yesterday to have a broken tooth looked at, and got some pretty crappy news.

I haven't been able to go for sometime, since I haven't had insurance since graduating college, until I married GB. (not that it would have mattered for all the help insurance gives us for dental)

Turns out because of those years without professional cleanings, I'm in the early stages of "periodontal disease" which in itself for now isn't all that bad. Of course, they show you these horrible videos that talk about how this disease, when it's severe, has been linked to stroke and heart attack (bacteria gets loose in your system) and then once they get you good and scared, they tell you how much the treatment is.

$1367 over several cleanings, which involves sticking a probe down to the roots of my teeth, under the gums, and scraping away. Yup. Good times to be had by all. (Our fantastic insurance, by the way, will cover $62 of it. How very kind of them.)

Which means a big change in my attitude for Maryland Sheep & Wool. I'd set aside some money to go a little crazy buying trinkets and fiber and yarn. I was going to spin until my fingers bleed so I could pick out the spinning wheel of my dreams. I was just going to have a wonderful weekend of fiber frolicking with reckless abandon, but now....

My spending this weekend is going to have to be much more limited than I'd hoped, and I can pretty much kiss a wheel goodbye. GB's still saying we can budget for it, and figure out how I can still get a wheel, but I can't very well ask him to do that, when it's his money that pays for all of this stuff, including my dental.

So I'm feeling pretty ... Uggy.

But at least I'll get to see my Knitters Review friends. That's something pretty great to look forward to.

Thoughts for the Day:

Nothing deep. Just that dentists suck.

Let's try this again. I think the comments are working now!

For a light-hearted, fluffy, family movie, 13 Going on 30 sure got me thinking...

I guess it's because the male actor, Mark Ruffalo, reminds me a great deal of a former friend of mine. His physical appearance, as well as his style of dress and way of moving...

The premise of the movie is that Jenna (played by the very adorable Jennifer Garner) makes a wish that she were 30 years old. She wakes up the next morning, and voila! She's 30. So far, it's quite similar to Big. However, in this instance, Jenna has actually lived those 17 years, but simply can't remember them. Time has passed, she's become an entirely different person, and lost her best friend (Matty) because of it. So when she wakes up in the 30 year old body, she has to go through the process of redefining the person she wants to be, so that she ends up back with her best friend (who of course she discovers she's in love with) The movie was quite a bit of fun, and Jennifer Garner did an amazing job.

It made me think a great deal about the decisions we make in life that sometimes cost us friends.

My M and I were exceptionally close, although never more than friends. We had a very deep relationship that always seemed to hinge on whether or not we should take things further, but as is often the way, we never seemed to be in the right place at the right time, and made the decision not to risk the friendship we had for uncertainty.

We shouldn't have bothered making that decision. Once we'd come to that fork in the road, and chose the route that leads to friendship without romance, M became suprisingly willing to risk that friendship for uncertainty with someone else. I graduated college early, so I went home to look for work while he was still in school. And eventually I heard through various grapevines about several horribly crude things I was apparantly saying about M. I hope I don't have to tell you that I didn't actually say these things. It seems M was telling his new girlfriend that I was fighting for him in a totally devoid of class manner that you might expect to see only when accompanied by a mud pit. Our friendship ended, and I rarely look back. Rarely. But...

I have an amazing man now, who treats me wonderfully, and I have no doubts that I was meant to be with him.

But the movie started me wondering... not with regret. Not that I should have ended up with M. But wondering how differently my life would be right now, if M and I had decided to "have a go" at it. I wouldn't be as happy as I am now, I know that. I wouldn't have taken some of the leaps of faith I've taken. But there would have been others, so how might I have come through those hurdles? Would I have learned to be secure in myself on my own, or did I need to meet GB to have that comfort level reinforced? Would I have taken the risks and moved as much as I have, or would I have settled for an obscure job that just barely paid the bills, and stayed in the college town? I've become a complete person on my own, which is something I feel strongly is needed before attempting to be part of a whole - gestault, if you will. Would I have discovered how it feels to stand on my own when my life immediately became the other half of M? If I've learned anything in the past year, it's that I'd rather be happy with GB at home, than happy for 8 hours a day at work (granted, I'd rather be happy all the time, but if I have to choose, I choose happy personal life over professional). I can know that now, without the lingering doubts and regrets I might have had if I'd had to settle in my career from the beginning...

I'm a firm believer in Karma. Things happen because they're supposed to, because you've done something to earn them, or there's a lesson you need to learn.

But I may always wonder how my lessons may have differed if I'd taken that leap earlier, with the wrong person. So many women do take the leap with the wrong person - why did I luck out and find someone so right?


Leave it to me to take a fluffy comedy and turn it into a deeply introspective commentary on life.

Thoughts for the Day:

Henry David Thoreau - “Make the most of your regrets; never smother your sorrow, but tend and cherish it till it come to have a separate and integral interest. To regret deeply is to live afresh.”

Arthur C. Clarke - “A faith that cannot survive collision with the truth is not worth many regrets.”

Karl G. Maeser - “Everyone of you, sooner or later, must stand at the forks of the road, and choose between personal interests and some principles of right.”

Lewis Carroll - “One day Alice came to a fork in the road and saw a Cheshire cat in a tree. 'Which road do I take?' she asked. 'Where do you want to go?' was his response. 'I don't know,' Alice answered. 'Then,' said the cat, 'it doesn't matter.'”

Monday, April 26, 2004

Not accepting your comments below!
(Apparantly my moment of brilliance has flickered and died. I'll get it worked out and let you know!)

I am a happy, mature, creative, successful (in the important ways) grown woman. Happily married, fairly secure in who I am, at the highest point of my life so far (and looking to go higher).

But sometimes.... sometimes, the teenager I once was sticks her head into my life. She reminds me that maybe I'm not as liked as I thought I was, and I get those feelings that I'm just here because no one's mother will let them be mean enough to get rid of me.

You know those feelings, right?

They pop up out when you least expect them. You can try to fight them off, but they sort of melt into the rest of your being for a time, so that even your arguments with them are weakened.

I suspect it began in Pilates. I do love Pilates - the physicality of it, forcing my muscles to do something so intense, but still feeling (most of the time) the graceful control I felt years ago as a dancer. The new sessions just began, and I was so happy to see my teacher again, who teases me for having "ballerina arms". There I am, stretching gently on my mat, and in she walks. Oh, it's been over ten years, and if I'm being honest, she was always fairly nice to me. But she was one of the popular girls at my high school, someone that wore the right things, and did the right activities, and dated the right guys, who the right teachers liked. I don't know if she even has any clue who I am now, nor should she. Nor should it matter, as I really am at a good place in my life. But suddenly my stomach was too big to do the Pilates moves just right, and my legs felt too heavy to lift that way, and my balance wasn't quite on to bend that way. I made it through class, unhappily, trying to remind myself that she cared very little about the amount of weight I'd gained, and after all, she had been friendly enough then, surely she's matured even more since high school?

But it was too late.

That insecurity had already permeated. Suddenly GB wasn't paying the right kind of attention to me. And a friend with whom I've been e-mailing frequently back and forth in the past few weeks must be mad at me.... nevermind that she's amazingly busy, and getting busier with a trip coming up this weekend. And WW isn't going as well as I'd like this week, and the women behind the counter must be judging me. And that friend? E-mails read, but not responded to.

She must hate me.

Oh, sure, logic says she's busy. And the WW women were perfectly friendly and supportive as always. GB is the peach he always is, now bending over backwards to try and figure out my non-descript mood. Work is improving, having been given more hours - the extra money will be very helpful! My knitting projects are coming together nicely. This Saturday is Maryland Sheep & Wool, where I will find the wheel of my dreams, and play with friends, and see amazing animals and beautiful yarns.

...But why isn't she writing me back?

I'm being childish, I know. I'm better than this. Yes, I know that too.

Except for now, maybe I'm not.


I shall be very happy when teenage me goes back to sleep, and grownup me can rear her comfortable head once again.

Thoughts for the Day:

Peter Steele - I had hit a critical period in my life, where I changed very much as a person. I consider the person I used to be, dead, and I'm glad that he is. Insecure, frightened, confused, much like a lot of people I know today.

Joyce Cary - For good and evil, man is a free creative spirit. This produces the very queer world we live in, a world in continuous creation and therefore continuous change and insecurity.

Friday, April 23, 2004

Oh, what a delicious day.

I left work slightly early (always a good thing to leave work!) and went to Pilates, which I enjoy a great deal. Then rushed out of there and hit the road, because down in VA Lissa nad I were having a PLAY DAY!!!

Since GB has agreed that I should have a spinning wheel, it now remains to me to find the wheel that likes me the most. I should let you know that I never had any interest in spinning. I teased GB for a while when I first started knitting, saying we should buy alpaca, he should learn to spin, and then I could knit all day. But I didn't have any desire to actually spin myself.

And then I spun for a bit on Phancy - Lissa's wheel (a Fricke single treadle). And my feelings... well, they didn't change. I could see where someone might think it was fun, but nope, not for me.

But you see, Bess always talks about how some wheels sing to you, while others spit. And while I admire Bess a great deal (in fact she's one of my very favorite people) I wasn't sure that I knew what she meant. But hey, I'm an open minded gal. So I tried a Luett wheel.

Do you hear that? SINGING!!!

This is FUN FUN FUN - and Daddy can't take the T-bird away!

Then I tried the Ashford Joy. WhhhhooooEEEEEE!!!

I have GOT to get me one of them!

And since GB is pretty much a sucker for making me happy, it was decided that I would. But I needed to make sure that I didn't get a wheel that didn't like me. So Lissa and I had our play day, and I'm spinning until my fingers bleed at MD S&W.

We went to the LYS, and they of course handed me the most expensive wheel first. A Schact. Lissa was nearly giddy with excitement. I spun for a moment... and started to question my initial reaction. This can't be what got me so excited! Nope, not my wheel. (A bit of a relief, to be honest - I'd have to sell GB to afford it, and I'm rather fond...)

But then the Majacraft Susie... delightful... a heavenly Ashford Travellor (double treadle - the single treadle spit at me and said things on which the FCC would frown!) ... and the lovely Lendrum....

Yes, this is what I got so excited about. And I'm not sure yet that I've found my wheel - the Lendrum sang in my key the most, but is out of my price range. But oh, what fun this is... the soft puff of fiber, sliding through your fingers, becoming something lovely and practical all at once, right there before your eyes.

I can't wait for MD S&W.....

Thoughts for the Day:

William Shakespeare - “The web of our life is of a mingled yarn, good and ill together: our virtues would be proud, if our faults whipped them not; and our crimes would despair, if they were not cherished by our virtues.”

Plato - “The productions of all arts are kinds of poetry and their craftsmen are all poets.”

Thursday, April 22, 2004

Please come prepared to today's entry with your number 2 pencils sharpened, and your calculators on your desk.

At the end of last September I made the difficult decision to move back to my hometown. It meant leaving a career that I (mostly) love, and a work partner that I adore, and going into the relative unknown as far as employment - not something I'm overly comfortable with. Of course, there were a lot of things about that job that were easy to leave - management was beyond abusive, the money was horrendous, and most importantly, GB was home. I got to leave with my head held high, claiming that my evacuation wasn't disgust with the environment, but that I was getting married (it wasn't the main reason I said "yes" to GB, but it sure was a nice thing to come home to.) And on my last day on the air, listeners called in crying that I was leaving (and I didn't even say HA! to management who gave me all that grief while I worked there) and I cried at leaving my partner.

Once we were done with the show, I figured I'd do something unemotional and mindless to help sooth my emotions. I decided to re-register my car in Maryland. This is my first brand new car, and also the first four-door/stick-shift Toyota Echo in Maryland. I love this car, and his name is Norman, after the baby cow in City Slickers. But when I saw I decided to register him, I should say rather, I decided to try. When I called the number to do this mundane chore, I was told that I had an insurance violation, with fines totalling $4500.00. ahem. $4500??????

After a very frightening 9 hour drive back to Maryland, convinced I'd get pulled over and left by the side of the road with my three cats while my car was towed away and sold at auction, and a very frustrating 6 months trying to find help for the problem (which I didn't think was at all reasonable, but just try saying that to the government!) I discovered, almost on accident, that the law had been misquoted to me. Not only was I not guilty of the law they quoted to me - it didn't even exist - and fixing their records of my alleged fine would be as simply as a fax from my insurance agent. In the meantime, I could use GB's humongous gas guzzling SUV, since he has a company vehicle for work.

Since the registration fee for 2 years is $81 in MD, once I left things in my insurance company's hands, I decided to finish things up when my tax refunds came back. I then I got a notice that the whopping $41.00 I was to receive for my state income tax refund would be garnished. Because of money I owed the state. No further explanation. So I went online to attempt to register my car again, thinking that my insurance should have cleared up the money I owed, and wondering what I would be told when I got the "please call this toll free number message". But I didn't. I was asked to enter my credit card number, was charged $24.50 and given a print out of a temporary registration.

Running tally: $4500.00 imaginary fine, minus $41.00 tax refund, minus $24.50 for temporary registration.... carry the one... nope still not adding up.

But it gets better.

After sitting in the bitter cold not being driven all winter, we decided to take my adorable, much loved, and even more-so missed Norman to the shop for a check up. In the meantime, the temporary registration expired. People were telling me to call them and ask for another one, but I had this fear in the back of my head that they'd look into the computer and say "oh, sorry, we misplaced a decimal point and you shouldn't have gotten a temporary registration at all." (I know that would have been inaccurate, but forgive me if my faith in the system was wavering a smidge after six months of walking past my sweet car and not being able to drive it!!!) I then got another notice from the state, this one saying that they had mischarged me (gasp!) and I needed to send them another $16 before the registration would be valid.... I did that immediately.

And waited.

And waited.

And waited.

And then!!!! The check cleared.

And then I waited some more.

And more.

And more.

And last night. The very glorious April 21st. My registration card and sticker came in the mail. I got to drive Norman into work this morning. It took $14 to fill up his little gas tank. I didn't need to step on the running board to get into him, and I could see things on all four sides. Pushing the gas pedal was effective and quiet - not like a plane rushing past. And he's sitting quietly out in my work parking lot. I know, because I've been outside to check on him about four times in the past three hours. He's fine. *BIG SIGH*

Okay, so that's $4500.00 fine... erased? $41 taxes, plus $24.50, plus $16...

My car's registration.


Thoughts for the Day:

E. B. White - “Everything in life is somewhere else, and you get there in a car.”

Steven Wright - “When I get real bored, I like to drive downtown and get a great parking spot, then sit in my car and count how many people ask me if I'm leaving.”

Unknown - “Giving power and money to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys.”

Wednesday, April 21, 2004

I’ve frogged the sleeves of my Colored Cable sweater. (I really should figure out how to put pictures up on this thing!) But someone said the other day (quoting someone else, so forgive me for not remembering who) “what were you going to do when you finished that knitting? Look around for more knitting? Well, now you’ve found it!” so my heart isn’t too broken. I forgot to factor into my measurements the bulkiness of the yarn I’m working with, and I think the sleeves would have been far too snug… which makes me suspect I may have to do that for the waist as well. I’ve only gotten an inch or so up, so it isn’t too much work to redo it. And the yarn is just so luscious, I’ll enjoy it either way. It’s Blizzard, a super-bulky alpaca/acrylic blend. I adore alpaca more than any other fiber, I think, and the acrylic gives it a bit of stability. The alpaca is so very soft, and the yarn so thick (and hardly spun at all), it’s like knitting with bunny ears. I had hoped to have more done of the sweater before Maryland Sheep and Wool to show my Knitters Review friends… but I’ll have enough for them to “ooh” and “aah” in their loving and generous ways.

I can hardly think of anything else. An entire weekend out in the country (I love that farm smell!) with fellow knitters and fiber-philes. I’ll spin on every wheel I can find, as GB has promised once again that I should have a wheel of my own, once I find the one that sings to me. (What a man I have to encourage my habit so! I know I sang his praises only a few days ago, but really he is something amazingly special. And mine! Mine! Mine! Mine! Mine!)

I was raised in the suburbs, but spent much of my time growing up in country settings. My grandparents had a lovely bit of property on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, and every moment I could possibly weasel out of my parents I went out to a local horse farm, where I sat with the horses, rode, taught riding, played with the dogs (and ferrets, and cats, and birds!) and enjoyed life. Without knowing it I learned a great deal about respect for other living beings, and about communication – with humans, and with those who don’t speak our language. There are so few places I would rather be than next to a warm animal on a beautiful spring day, hearing little but the sounds of the earth, breathing that animal air, communing with nature, making friends with silence.

Thought for the Day:

E. B. White - “It was the best place to be, thought Wilbur, this warm delicious cellar, with the garrulous geese, the changing seasons, the heat of the sun, the passage of swallows, the nearness of rats, the sameness of sheep, the love of spiders, the smell of manure, and the glory of everything.”

Monday, April 19, 2004

My husband is feeling old.

Since leaving the military a few years ago, he has taken it a little bit "easier" than he did as a soldier. And he deserves to do so.

GB is one of those men (who I feel are becoming more and more rare!) that does things because they are the right thing to do. He does things because they need to be done. He always tries to do the honorable thing. Certainly he fails sometimes. But the attempt is there. He is a hard worker, with a quiet soul that doesn't ask for (much) praise for what he does. He works long, long days, comes home and listens to a needy wife who likes to talk and loves an audience. More often than not he cooks and does the housework. He's more than the family breadwinner, he's the baker as well. He is a good person, and I learn more how to be a better person by having him near.

I certainly understand him not taking time out to go to the gym or go jogging now. And he's still gorgeous - an eye-catchingly handsome man. The washboard stomach that was there when I met him has gone a tad soft, but not progressed to unattractive or "beer belly-ness" yet. And as I have become quite the little marshmallow, I certainly have nothing to complain about in GB.

He possesses the innate male ability to fix things, and yet still remains sensitive enough to not just encourage my knitting and fiber addictions, but to tolerate my teaching him to do it as well. He is patient with my much-adored animals, and accepts my love for them. He has yet to complain about my excessive emotionalism, and has always offered a strong, safe shoulder to cry on. But GB also has a desire to be "one of the guys," so the phone call saying a local softball team needed another player was right up his alley.

And so he did it, driving through horrendous traffic Saturday morning to endure the first hot day of the season (we skipped right from early Spring cold to early Summer heat!) and played three softball games with his new team.

I saw part of the third game, and to my very biased and even more un-experienced eye, he's the best one on the team. Running, diving, catching, throwing, hitting.... These are not skills that I've ever wanted to possess, but he does. And it's interesting that I've always known how very physical a person he was, and yet never really connected that to athleticism.

(side bar: "Good eye." What a silly thing to say. I had to bite my tongue to keep from saying "yes, and you have a lovely ear.")

But GB played the games, and played them well, and I was proud to watch.

Now he hurts. I will say for him that he is not the type of man to whine over each little pain. He's more the type that, having all his limbs still attached, is more likely to claim to be fine, and that he can "walk it off" - but he's hurting. He's been glued to the massaging chair pad I gave him this winter. He's limping up and down the hall, and moving much slower in all activities. He's been much more willing to let me carry things, hold the dog leash, etc, instead of being uber-gentleman. He feels old.

And he might think I'm teasing him when I smile, watching him limp down the hall with a grimace on his face. He might think I'm disappointed that he got "out of shape" to begin with, as he has said he is with himself.

But I'm enjoying this. Partly because it's nice to see a weakness in a man that I see as so stoically strong most days. Mostly because I've seen him with that washboard stomach, and I loved him then, but I love him all the more now because of the history I have with him, because of the growth I've seen in him, and because of the future that I will see - that I'm sure will have much more limping and sore muscles!

Watching him grow older is lovely. Watching him grow older by my side is heaven.

I am blessed by that man.

Thoughts for the Day:

Unknown - I have this theory that chocolate slows down the aging process.... It may not be true, but do I dare take the chance?

Guatama Buddha - Let go the past, let go the future, and let go what is in between, transcending the things of time. With your mind free in every direction, you will not return to birth and aging.

Doug Larson - The aging process has you firmly in its grasp if you never get the urge to throw a snowball.

Friday, April 16, 2004

I don't want to alarm anyone. And I'm afraid to say it, just in case it jinxes something...


I think it might be spring.

I'm not convinced that yesterday's lovely weather will hang around. It's been going back and forth from warm to cold so many times it feels like a seasonal slinky.

But it isn't just the weather that makes it spring, is it? It's that ... I don't know... springy feeling. That "out with the old and in with the new" desire.

January 1 (a day I'm particularly fond of, being as it's my wedding day!) has always seemed an odd time to try to "start over" with a New Year's Resolution. Sure, it's time to switch calendars, but it's still mid-winter. Cold bleakness is still permeating all surroundings. It doesn't exactly inspire change. The start of a school year used to be resolution time for me - "this year I'll..."

But after school, there really isn't a set "beginning" to a year. And so I choose spring. When the world is reborn, so can I be. I don't need to follow a calendar, no need to sound off horns at the moment of the vernal equinox. There is a natural feeling come springtime; an itchiness just before it happens, a yearning to get "out there and do something"... A desire to clear out the old, to see bright colors and smell freshness in the air. My "Spring Resolution" is to learn something new - even if it's just about myself - with every project I take on this year.

I worked in the garden yesterday, putting in ground cover plants with tiny white and glowing blue flowers. Planted the sunflower seeds the minister gave us at Easter right at the corners of the house, near the daffodils. Took out an old azalea that doesn't grow anymore and replaced it with a small trellis to prop up the newly planted blueberry and golden raspberry plants. And of course, greeted my rosebuds with a smile and whispers of encouragement. And I learned that I hate pulling weeds. Not because of the kneeling, and pulling, and tugging. Because - who am I to tell these plants, these hardy little rebels, that they don't belong there? I simply couldn't do it. So GB pulled plants, and I put the new ones in. Whispered my little prayer that they grow healthy and strong.

I finished the back of my alpaca/modal sweater... not happy with the shaping of the shoulders, even though I'm sure I followed the pattern, but that can be fixed when it's sewn together. I'm planning on teaching myself Combination Knitting from Annie's book (check out the modeknits link on the right!) when I do the front two pieces of the sweater... The sleeves will be worked two at a time on two circs, but I have to have the front of the sweater done, as I haven't decided whether to make full sleeves, or elbow-length - mustn't run out of yarn!

The next sweater will also be alpaca, this one EZ's no-sew pattern, with a cable on the front. The body will be a nice soft grey, like a baby mouse, and I think I'll do the cable with spring green and cream... haven't done a cable in a different color than it's base before, so that will be new, and I think look lovely.

Challenges, rebirth, growth, newness.

It is spring.

Thoughts for the Day:

Mark Twain - It's spring fever ... you don't know quite what it is you want, but it just fairly makes your heart ache, you want it so.

Henry David Thoreau - Though I do not believe that a plant will spring up where no seed has been, I have great faith in a seed. Convince me that you have a seed there, and I am prepared to expect wonders.

Unknown - Sitting quietly, doing nothing, Spring comes, and the grass grows by itself.

Edward Giobbi - I think that no matter how old or infirm I may become, I will always plant a large garden in the spring. Who can resist the feelings of hope and joy that one gets from participating in nature's rebirth?

Thursday, April 15, 2004

I love my boss.

It's been a very long time since I've been able to say that, so forgive me if I must say it again.

I love my boss.

Most people get to feel that way the first week or so at a job, when everyone is still on their best behavior. But once the honeymoon is over, that sentence is rarely uttered again, and since it has been so long for me, please, just one more time?

I love my boss.

I am currently in a very difficult work situation where two people are in charge of a radio station, one with ever-so-slightly more power than the other, and the other being... me.

My boss B works at a different station in the company, and calls everyday, but is actually on location with us just once a week or so.

And working S is a challenge to say the least. He's 25 years older than I am, and can drop names with the best of 'em. He's played pranks on a world reknown jock. Gets birthday cards from the organizer of one of the best radio-information websites on the planet. He's had beer with a nationally syndicated jock in L.A... and yet he's working with me at a small market brokered station. And in between the name dropping, he's got a lightening temper, and a mind like a sieve. He will be jumping up and down yelling that he's never gotten any information on how something is supposed to run, while I'm printing out a week-old e-mail from him that is describing how this very element should work. When something goes wrong, despite the fact that the computer has several bugs, and despite the fact that I've done it correctly for the past 30 days straight, he condescends so much that he spells out how to save a file.

It's not easy to work with someone like that.

And the thing is, B knows that. He's specifically called me in the past few days to ask me to be patient and not leave the company. He tells me he's going to have a sit down with S, to try and curb some of the problems. He shares his life with me, and laughs with me, and makes me feel like it's okay to have problems, and that the job I'm doing is a good one in general.

That's so wonderful, and a feeling I haven't had in a very, very long time. I like it.

Thoughts for the Day:

Jack E. Reichert - “The difference in companies is people. I would rather have a first-class manager running a second-rate business than a second-class manager running a first-rate business.”

F. G. “Buck” Rodgers - “Sometimes the manager must perform with the courage and agility of a circus performer, carefully crossing the highwire between short-term problems and long-term objectives.”

Wednesday, April 14, 2004

I love my roses.

I love roses in general, but mine... well, I'm very proud of them, cluttering up my kitchen, tracking their dirt around (okay, that might be the cats traipsing through their pots) and growing like (forgive me, but I must) weeds.

My entire wedding centered around roses. They are certainly the most recognizable flower going, I don't know of anyone who doesn't like them.
And in particular, I love that while they certainly have great beauty in their blooms, they also have great meaning, and great strength. Each color rose take a difference meaning. Red, of course, is love. Yellow, very often, friendship. Pink, romance... and there are many others. Nature's messenger.

In my kitchen I have 4 huge pots - 16" across. Just two months ago those pots had only twigs sticking out of dirt. Now, they are over-grown with fresh green shrubs... and potential. They look like bonafide plants now, and if we ever get our spring, they'll be allowed out for a fieldtrip to play in the front. Each of the four has at least one bud on itself, and I check every morning for just a glimpse of color under those bud covers. Soon. Queen Elizabeth (she's pink), Abraham Lincoln (he'll be a deep red) Irish Gold (obviously a yellow bloom on the way) and Peace (the most popular color of rose, peace is yellow with pink tips) will bless me with their blooms all summer, I hope. It's such a joy to remember those bare sticks, look at these fulling, lush shrubs, and dream about the potential of their future blooms. The circle of life, right there in my kitchen.

I long for a garden filled with roses - every color of rose imaginable. I'm a bit of a purist, I suppose, and greatly prefer the fragrent Hybrid Tea Roses (the breed we see in flower shops) so I should limit my garden to them... oh, but all the colors! Climbing teas, weaving their way up my house. Shrubs bordering the lawn, and a deep wild garden of them, making a lovely hutch for rabbits. And I'd love to start my garden now, but as I don't want to stay in this house forever, I simply can't abandon my family just because they're rooted to the earth, can I?

I've never really been the sort who minded the thorns of a rose. I remember being told they had thorns because otherwise they'd be too beautiful for us to stand. That may be true. I think instead that like many who are looked upon as fragile, a rose is simply a sign of hidden strength.

I'd like to think I'm not unlike them myself.

Thoughts for the Day:

Tom Wilson - “You can complain because roses have thorns, or you can rejoice because thorns have roses.”

Unknown - “A rose only becomes beautiful and blesses others when it opens up and blooms. Its greatest tragedy is to stay in a tight-closed bud, never fulfilling its potential.”

Unknown - “A life with love must have some thorns, but a life with no love will have no roses.”

Tuesday, April 13, 2004

I am not a neat freak. Yes, there are certain things that I like to have in their place (try putting my tapemeasure in the wrong pocket of my knitting bag!) but for the most part I agree with whoever it was that said "when I do housework I prefer to sweep the house with a gaze."

It's just that so often there are better things to do - better things, like play with yarn, play with cats, play with dog... just play. Plus, you have to have a place to put things. "Away" doesn't occur on it's own, you have to find it first. Often, there's already something in that "away" and who am I to tell it to move?

To put it kindly, I am not Betty Homemaker.

But I would like a home. You know the difference between a home and a house, don't you? At this point, I have a house. Well, not even that, really. I have a place to live. And while adjusting to living with my husband has been a challenge, it hasn't been as difficult a transition as I expected. We clearly define the cleanliness of a bathroom on drastically different scales, but then he finds "away" much more easily than I do, so I can accept the responsibility of an occasional bleaching of the lavatory.

You see, I moved into GB's house. We'd known each other for 6 years, and been committed for some time, so I didn't really think of him as a bachelor... until I moved in, and saw how much he had... just because. It seems once a man stops using something, it becomes invisible. I'm sure he thought he'd made room for me to move in. But because it's invisible to him, doesn't mean it doesn't take up space, so my belongings are now perched precariously on top of his. Which makes for very exciting obstacle courses, if you're a cat. Fortunately, two of our housemates are.

And so I've begun pressuring him to move. I'd like a place that's ours, not his with my stuff thrown in for good measure. I'd like a house where my neighbors don't comment on what happened in my house - when they were outside. And - dare I say it - I'd like to not have a broken toilet in the woodpile out back. Okay, we can probably handle that last one and not have to move, but I want a home with my husband, not just a common abode.

Because of certain dreams, I'd like a small amount of land as well. Ideally, 10 acres of our property for the animals, and then maybe 10 surrounding acres as a buffer? And bedrooms for the step-son along with other guests. And a beautiful rose garden, and a small fish pond with a waterfall... and I'd like it all for the thirteen cents I have in my pocket now.

So the househunt is on - it's going to be a homehunt. I suppose I'll just have to trust in karma that what we're meant to find will show itself. Sort of like "away". And hopefully there's not anyone else already there.

Thoughts for the Day:

Proverb - “Peace and a well–built house cannot be bought too dearly.”

Unknown - “Men make houses, women make homes.”

Saint Teresa of Avila - “Do you think it is only a little thing to possess a house from which lovely things can be seen?”

Monday, April 12, 2004

I thought it was just a myth that dogs buried things.

I mean, you see the cartoon dogs burying bones all over the place, but I've had and lived with many dogs over the years, and I've never known one to actually bury bones.

And yet GB tells me Oscar is digging a hole by the back property line. A pretty big one, by his gestures. I have this image that I'm going to come home and just find the dog rope leading down into the hole, and a strangled dog at the other end, deep inside the earth, digging his way to China.

But no, it's raining miserably, as it is wont to do in April (can't wait for those May flowers!) and poor Oscar is soaking wet and in his doghouse. So I unleash him, let him run into the house, and then go on a search for his rubber kong/bone. It's black rubber, stereotypically bone shaped, with holes in the ends to stuff dog treats in - this supposedly encourages chewing on the toy, rather than furniture and other belongings. And it's missing. There I am, running around the yard, looking for his toy, and it occurs to me that I also don't see a hole. I see a patch of dirt, where it looks like a hole may have been filled. But I see no hole... and no bone.

But then a quick little squat (we're still housetraining a bit) and a yell from me (and Aslan) and Oscar is hustled outside. Or would be in theory, except that the leash was out on the step, and it was raining hard enough that getting Oscar out required bodily force. I actually had to carry this 50 pound dog out to the yard, where he quickly found a spot, did his doggy duty... and didn't want to come back in. So then it became a canine version of "Singin' In the Rain", me running down the road yelling at the top of my lungs "Oscar! COME!" and Oscar sniffing and marking everything in sight.

But he is back now, much to the cats' chagrin, and we'll have to figure out what to do tonight, as the rain is just miserable, and I think even GB won't have the heart to push him outside.

It's not even a pretty spring rain. It's that rain that turns the whole day dark, no matter what time it is. The kind that takes what would be a lovely spring day into cold misery. It's the soundtrack of every broken-heart movie scene. Oh, how I wish spring would arrive here at last!!! I know there are positive things about rain - I even quite enjoy it, frequently. But oh, I'm ready for brightly colored blossoms and melodic birds chirping and warm sun shining - SPRING!

Thoughts for the Day:
John Updike - “Rain is grace; rain is the sky condescending to the earth; without rain, there would be no life.”

Unknown - “If you want to have the rainbow, Then sometimes you're gonna have to deal with the rain.”

Unknown - “On a gloomy, rainy morning, it came little eight-year-old Tommy's turn to say the blessing at breakfast. 'We thank Thee for this beautiful day,' he prayed. His mother asked him why he said that when the day was anything but beautiful. 'Mother,' said he, with rare wisdom, 'never judge a day by its weather.'”

Friday, April 09, 2004

Size matters. I'm just not sure to whom.

I am the proud mama to a rescue kitty. This cat showed up on my doorstep in the middle of a Buffalo NY blizzard. I saved his life, and he knows it. And this little 8 pound ball of fluff - who looks like a peach-colored cotton ball - is very protective of me, I believe in thanks of the rescue. He had self-esteem issues - very UNcommon for a cat, as you probably know - and was shy and timid, although not a scaredy-cat. Because of his incredible temperment, and in honor of the brave heart that I knew lay hidden, his name became Aslan. Aslan, the allegory for God in The Chronicles of Narnia, by C.S. Lewis. They are favorite stories of mine, and have been since I was barely old enough to read. Aslan the lion is a great, terrible beast, who fights bravely, loves deeply, and sacrifices all for his followers. And I thought my little loved one needed a name with such strength.

I never dreamed how well it would fit.

Aslan (the cat, not the lion) wants to be near me at all times. If I leave the room while he's napping, he walks up to GB and meows loudly until he's told "Mommy's in the bedroom" and then he comes to find me, chirping and purring happily. He plays in the sink while I shower, and lies next to me on the couch - under the same blanket with me - while I watch tv and/or knit. And I like being the object of his affection. He's an unobtrusive eight pounds, declawed (which, by the way, I feel is a HORRID practice, and I wish more people would learn what it really is before they put their cats through that, but it's the way he showed up at my door, and as it can't be undone, it's part of the greater cat that I love) so his front feet are like piles of raspberries in your hand, and like most cats, he emmits the warmth of the sun when he wants to snuggle.

You might say more of a lamb than a lion.

You'd be wrong.

It seems that while Aslan isn't afraid of dogs, doesn't run from them, or shy from their barking, he doesn't much care for dogs that don't stop when I say "no". Oscar, our 50 pound foster pit, was in the house with me yesterday afternoon. And one of the things we're working on is not jumping up on people. But Oscar was SO excited. So he jumped up on me. And I said, loudly and firmly, like a good dog trainer, "NO!"" And with a blood curdling scream, Aslan went wild. He lept off of his napping place on the couch and slapped the dog three or four times, hissing madly. Need I remind you we're discussing an eight pound cotton ball without claws? Versus a 50 pound pitbull with very strong jaws?

Well, that 50 pound pitbull tried to head for the hills. Aslan was having none of it. Oscar tried running, he tried hiding behind furniture, he tried hiding behind me, none of it was working. Running through my mind was every article I've ever read about integrating new pets into the family. You're supposed to clearly favor the older pet - holding him, while someone else holds the newer pet as they delicately sniff each other. And so I was trying to get to where I could pick up Aslan and reassure him, but anytime I'd dodge right to pull Aslan off, Aslan would feint left and slap Oscar again. Ali would have been lucky to land so many punches. Not a single shot went stray - even with my arms and legs flailing between the two of them, I never felt anything more than the puff of hair brushing past, while I could hear the contact of cat-paw to dog-nose. Poor Oscar.

To be honest, I don't really have a problem with the cats asserting themselves over the dog. Oscar's strong enough that if he figures out just how strong he is, both the cats and I would be at a disadvantage, so it's best Oscar not have a chance to question family dominance. And when Oscar is sitting calmly, Aslan has no problem with him. The only times there has ever been any tension are times that I have reprimanded the dog and he hasn't responded instantly. Even in calmer moments, if I said "no", Aslan would growl until the dog did as I asked. (Oscar, by the way, would cower slightly at the sound of that low growl.)

My fearless defender. My hero. My cat.

Thoughts for the Day:

Samuel Palmer - A baited cat may grow as fierce as a lion.

Oliver Herford - A cat is a pygmy lion who loves mice, hates dogs, and patronizes human beings.

Thursday, April 08, 2004

There is a storm cloud in my living room.

No, I don't mean that GB and I are fighting - perish the thought!

But right next to my couch is a box. In that box is a clear plastic bag, and in that bag is a storm cloud. A four-ounce cloud; soft as a summer breeze, the color of clouds just before a storm, the very instant the temperature changes and the leaves turn over. That color.

Of course, my cloud is mostly wool, with some French angora, llama, and mohair blended in as well. A beautiful cloud of fiber, just waiting to be spun into yarn... I think it wants to be a hat for GB. I've not knit anything for him yet, because of the "curse-which-must-not-be-tempted" but after all, we are married now, and I think a soft, warm - but masculine - hat will be a nice start.

It's amazing the peace that washes over a knitter or a spinner. A rhythm is found, one that can't really be searched for, and the entire body succumbs - breathing, pulse, it all melts into oneness with the fibers. It's something I've witnessed on my own, and also seen in others and it is beauty. That wasn't a typo - I don't mean that it is beautiful, I mean that it is what beauty is. That peace, it is self-defining beauty.

The entire process of it all is something that I think is really missing in our society. Taking a gift from nature - without harming nature in any way - and working with it, cleaning it, combing it into fiber, spinning the fiber into yarn, knitting that yarn into a practical piece of fabric, clothing, or a blanket. With each step of the production we commune with ourselves and the fibers, we meditate, pray, emmit love. Many knitters are so intuned with their feelings while they knit that years later they can go back to a portion of a sweater and say "I was working on this sleeve when X happened." It's a "zone" that is a blessed, cherished place, often very private, but such a joy to share as well. So many times we look for the fastest way to do things that we forget about the meaning behind the process. The end does not always justify the means, does it? Which is "better" - a store-bought card, or one that your three year old made of construction paper and glue? There is greatness in being able to say "I made that" - even if "that" isn't aesthetically perfect. Pride in stepping back from your work, work that you've slaved over, each and every stitch ingrained into your heart and soul, and seeing the bigger picture. What was once "hair" on a sheep, after much twisting and turning, is now spun into yarn. What was once yarn, after still more twisting and turning, is a sweater that will drape over me with amazing softness, keeping me warm. And reminding me of the peace of it's creation each time I touch it.

Thoughts for the Day:
Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe - If you create something you must be something.

Charles Dickens - The whole difference between construction and creation is exactly this: that a thing constructed can only be loved after it is constructed; but a thing created is loved before it exists.

Bob Rodale - To be the agent whose touch changes nature from a wild force to a work of art is inspiration of the highest order.

Wednesday, April 07, 2004

Oscar's first day of school was last night. Our little scholarship student.

Some background on Oscar. Three weeks ago, my husband and I decided to take a walk. We've lived there together for over 6 months, and had never taken a walk, but this night we would. And not 100 yards from our house, an inquisitive face popped out of the weeds across the highway. The name "Oscar" flew into my mind as though whispered by a long lost friend (if I told you who's voice it was, you'd never believe me). Once eye contact was made, that face became a dog, full of enthusiasm, and that dog ran into traffic. GB and I coaxed him over to us, took him to our yard, and set upon finding his owners. No luck with the police, animal control, or any postings we made in several public places, this dog's owners did not want him back. Of course, I could not speak that whispered name out loud, because any fool knows that naming something makes it yours, and giving up a bundle of love that is yours is enough to break the most steely of hearts... and mine is more like a fluffy raspberry mousse than steel. Oscar (as he has been known in my heart from the first eye contact) was fairly healthy, un-altered, and with no training at all. A 50-pound dog who didn't know "NO", and jumped. I'm sure that his first family bought a puppy that was cute and friendly, and then didn't train him at all. When he got big - shock and surprise - this dog won't behave like I want him too! And they dumped him somewhere.

Add to this frustration that Oscar is a bull terrier mix. This is a polite way of saying "Pitbull". Perhaps the most misunderstood breed going, Pitbull's are amazingly sweet dogs, able to tolerate the most amazing circumstances - which makes them excellent with children. They actually used to be called the Nanny dog, and were once the number one recommended dog breed for families. But someone decided that this dog of amazing strength should be beaten, starved, abused, and taught that the only way to survive would be to fight other animals. And as a matter of survival, some pits did that. Most are still amazingly sweet dogs, but it only takes a few well-placed publicity shots to ruin the world's view.

Because of this, we couldn't take Oscar to our local pound. This sweet soul, this bundle of love, this being that wanted nothing but a fraction of his love in return, would have been killed before my car left the parking lot. Because of the body he was born into. I simply couldn't let this happen, and GB... Well, he knew that about me when he married me. And so we have a foster dog. Foster because I know that in the long run, we don't have the right home for this guy. We have a VERY small home, with very little land. GB travels frequently. I work odd hours. We are owned by two precious cats already, who have made it clear that they don't want a dog. So it is my job to help make Oscar the best dog that he can be, so someone else can benefit from his love. Mine, because there are no accidents, and Oscar was meant to find me the day of that first ever walk.

And so to make an already long story ever so slightly shorter, the Harford County Humane Society has been an amazing help to us. There is a link to them along the side - I do hope you'll go there and support them (at last check Oscar was on page 4 of the dogs)! Oscar and I have enrolled in a dog training class. Most people go to these thinking "finally my dog will learn to behave". Any dog trainer worth his salt will tell you it's not so much teaching the dog, but teaching the trainer. Human beings expect everyone to speak their language. Dog "training" is about learning the language the dog will understand, and using that to ask your dog to do what you want. We stood there in a room with 15 other dogs and I watched how people behaved, and how their dogs mirrored them. Those who sat in chairs, just watching, had their dogs sitting quietly on the floor near them. Others chatted with a nearby student, their puppies playing together with abandon. The two women who sat most apart from the group each had a large dog who was very aggressive - but only when a stranger came near "mom". And the woman who came over to tell me that she'd been watching and thought that Oscar was getting spoiled too much at home? Her dog kept walking between two others and nipping at them. Each and every dog wanted only to please their "parent" - nothing more. And that was so evident in their eyes. I see it in Oscar, too - Oscar wants so badly to be accepted and loved, he just doesn't know how to do that.

Animals are forced to learn our language, and often punished when they don't. But communication is a two way street. If I expect someone else to respond to me, don't I need to first learn how to speak to them? And shouldn't that be the same with animals? I'm trying to learn Oscar's language, and to give him the best upbringing, to show him what humans expect from him so that he has a chance at a family that will love him as much as I know he will love them.

All anyone wants is love. Those of us that get that love from animals are blessed many times over.

Thoughts for the Day:

Unknown - "He is your friend, your partner, your defender, your dog. You are his life, his love, his leader. He will be yours, faithful and true, to the last beat of his heart. You owe it to him to be worthy of such devotion."

Woodrow Wilson - "If a dog will not come to you after he has looked you in the face, you ought to go home and examine your conscience."

Tuesday, April 06, 2004

I was all set today to write about my dreams - warm and fuzzy thoughts, general happiness, and hope.

And then.

Watching tv, I saw a promo for the "reality" program The Swan. We'll ignore for the moment that I detest all "reality" programs where we pit contestant against contestant, and the one who emerges victorious is the one who can behave the most despicably. Lying, cheating, back-stabbing, not just par for the course, but flat out encouraged. We see so much of that on everyday streets, and complain about it then... and praise it with a million dollars when it occurs in our living rooms via the television set. So let's just ignore those feelings for now.

Because I think we may have hit an alltime low. Maybe even lower than eating pig intestine. If you are unaware, the premise of The Swan is to take a group of "ugly" women, give them plastic surgery, and then put them in a beauty pagent.

Harmless, enough, right?

But no, it isn't. Because who are we to tell these women that they are "ugly" to begin with? How dare we presume to judge them at all? And then to take that, make them do torturous things to their bodies - liposuction, face lifts, dental work, extreme cosmetic surgeries... even just the healing process is painful, on the physical level.

But of course the human body bounces back much more quickly than the human mind.

So not only will they carve into these women's bodies, but also into their spirits. They will put them through every kind of physical alteration that can possibly be done, and then put them up to parade around in front of the world, and say to them - "see, after everything we did to you, you're still not good enough. You were so disgusting to begin with, there was literally no saving you, no way to make you beautiful, you will simply never be attractive, no matter what you do." How disgusting, how dispicable, and how very ashamed I hope the producers of this program feel about themselves. I hope, but feel sure those hopes are in vain. And I am ashamed to be part of a society that considers such abuse (and can it be called anything but abuse? Torture, maybe?) "entertainment."

Thoughts for the Day:

Proverb - “If there is light in the soul, there will be beauty in the person If there is beauty in the person, there will be harmony in the house If there is harmony in the house, there will be order in the nation If there is order in the nation, there will be Peace in the World.”

Henry David Thoreau - “The perception of beauty is a moral test.”

Monday, April 05, 2004

Well, here we go!

As my life has taken on several new forms of inspiration in the past months - new season, new marriage, new diet, new furry friend, and new fibrous dreams - it seemed only right that I should find a new means of letting it out!

It's the first week of daylight savings time. As a dear friend has mentioned in her blog, most people don't much appreciate this time of year. I must admit I would have rather snuggled back in bed with my very warm husband this morning, myself. But I am a morning person at heart - just a cold morning person, it seems! Waking up was easy - it was the leaving the blanket part that was tricky. Proof that it was too cold to be April was the complete absence of felines from my bed. My two sweet boys are generally very near me when I sleep, be that in bed or for a nap on the couch. When it's cold, however, you'd think they didn't wear fur coats year 'round, for there they are, snuggled together in front of the space heater. They remember their ancestral African days, I suppose.

And I feel guilty on cold mornings, too, for our little (ha!) Oscar out in the yard. Oscar showed up nearly a month ago now, a 50 pound ball of energy and love, and we're looking for a family who will love him for good - our own quarters are too close for that much energy. Tonight is supposed to drop into the low 20's, so Oscar will have to come in, sleep on a nest of blankets in the spare bedroom. We'll see how much he chews up this time - our last victim was my pair of cherished headphones from my on-air days in radio. My own fault - leaving a young dog without proper attention and plenty of things to chew is certainly not something he should have to resist. I think in the future days I'll share some of my past stories about him, dragging them in from letters I've already sent.

I've mentioned the new season, the new furry friend, the new (very warm) husband ... so I suppose the new diet should be mentioned too, although just briefly. I used to be a dancer, and now I'm out of breath after a flight of stairs. So it's onto Weight Watchers. 9.4 pounds down in three weeks. This past week was harder than the first two, it seemed. Old habits need to be broken. It's a lifetime commitment, and I've quite a battle ahead of me, but failure is not an option.

As for my new dreams... well, we'll go into some of them tomorrow, I think. Others are still percolating in my mind... I'm enjoying the bubble of them just there for now... I'll share them soon.

Thought for today: "The beginning is always today." - Mary Wollstonecraft

Marriage is love.