Since I haven’t stopped making dishcloths, there are enough for the four of you who are interested. That would be Kate, Debra, Cereza, and Mardi.
Let me know if you want a particular one. If I still have that one, it’ll be yours. Pick up is at our house and I’ll put a bag with your name containing the dishcloths out front on the round table. I don’t feel well enough for visits, even short ones. My health has been shitty and I’m glad when I survive the day.
Pickup is any time, any day. Here are the choices again (for now):
Years ago I started making our own dishcloths and never looked back. Our colorful drawer of them brings a smile every time. And Stephen, our main dishwasher, loves them and wouldn’t dream of using anything else.
But we have a supply that will probably outlive us. So no temptation to make more. Except, now I still have all the cotton yarn I would only use for dishcloths. Perhaps woven kitchen towels, but I haven’t tried yet.
So when I saw this dishcloth challenge, I am sure they don’t look at it as a challenge, I couldn’t resist. Every year people start spinning while watching the Tour de France. But I have absolutely no interest in this sport. Though I do love spinning. But dishcloths? Bring it on. And I can stream anything I fancy? Like I said: Bring it on.
Stephen immediately exclaimed: But we don’t need more dishcloths. No problem I said, I’ll give them away. It wasn’t going to be so straightforward: after I made a few, he fell in love and I had him pick two for himself. He chose well.
As promised, I have more dishcloths to give away, 6 of them. They have seen tons of murders, as that’s what I was streaming. A reminder, these are not potholders, but dishcloths. After a previous giveaway, someone eventually mentioned to me that they’re pretty thin and I had to remind them: dishcloths, not potholders. I understand, because how many people actually have dishcloths?
I’ll give away three sets of two. They are free, and you can pick them up in person. Or if you need me to ship them, I’m asking you cover shipping costs.
So how can you get your hands on them? Make a comment to this post, telling me what you use to wash dishes. No, dishwasher doesn’t count.
I’ll admit, I use sponges with a coarse side for scrubbing. Still, I hope there will be enough interest in them. And let me know which ones speak to you, though no promises.
P.S. They are machine washable, though fade with time, almost antique looking.
I opened the first pages and studied techniques, yarn types, patterns, colors…. immediately decided on an easy first animal pattern to see the pitfalls I would be experiencing and to get practical information empirically.
Wanting to do this right, I even ordered the suggested yarns and needles. As usual, I don’t have what is used in the book. Even the needle size was one I didn’t have, though I find this hard to believe. It’s probably hiding on some project I started and didn’t finish yet.
I should have known, but I didn’t, as I happily knitted all the body parts that make up a cute mouse. The head, the body, the legs, the arms, the tail. Ok, I found the tail a bit long, but it’s a mouse and they have long tails, right?
Once finished, I washed all the pieces. And in the meantime made some pants and started on a cardigan. Wow, those pants were huge, but I would love a bigger stuffed animal instead of a tiny one. I should have known, but didn’t.
Today, after a palate cleanser of a littler rabbit yesterday and while waiting for the mouse pieces to dry, the mouse was going to be assembled. And this is where I couldn’t deny my loose knitting anymore. I should have known, but I didn’t.
The body seemed a bit big, but I remembered the big pants and thought: ok?!
Next came the legs. I like some pretty long legs, but this was getting ridiculous. This mouse is not going into modeling legs. And this is where I take a break and reassemble myself, my emotions and my reality.
I had no intention of embarking on abstract so early in my stuffed animals career, but what choice do I have now? Certainly not throwing it all away or unravelling. Not after having washed the pieces. Even dirty, I would work with what I have. So we’ll see where this leads to. Oh, I know, smaller needle sizes next time. And a huge abstract mouse. Will see you at the other end of this monstrosity in a few days.
Usually during the summer months I switch to another craft and give sock knitting a rest, actually all knitting is hibernating during the summer months. The warmth transfers to my hands and the wool does not flow as easily. But it’s a different story with cotton yarn. And honestly, our house stays so cool that even with the door open so Arnold, our Covid dog, can go outside any time he wants, it doesn’t heat up. At its hottest, we might reach 76 in the house, that’s 76 Americans.
So I continue with my latest obsession of stuffed animals and their clothing. I like knitting baby clothes because they go much faster than a sweater for Stephen or perhaps a shawl. But believe me, knitting for a little stuffed toy is the ultimate in almost instant gratification.
Here is the mouse outfit in progress:
My obsession with these animals led me to a blog that has consumed me. The woman writing it creates fantastic patterns I fell in love with and so I bought a rabbit and a mole pattern. They also got me more interested in her blog itself: little cotton rabbits.
As I was roaming around it and reading a post here and there, I realized that she does not have an easy life: her son, now older, I think 20, is autistic. And though autism comes in many forms and shapes, her son is further along the spectrum than many others and does not have speech. As with any and everything I encounter that I don’t know enough about, I immersed myself. I hit the autism category on her blog and read all the posts related to her son. Perhaps that his name is Toby, our son’s name, is what struck me first.
Our lives change forever when we have kids. Mine certainly did. But if your kid is autistic, your life changes even more and for much longer. And though we might all worry a bit what happens to our kids once we die, it is elevated to another level with an autistic child. The blog has opened my eyes even further to what it means to parents of children with difficulties they need our help with. And I’m so grateful for that. I hate walking blindly through life and being oblivious to other’s struggles. Though I don’t know how to be an ally, I will expect myself to act compassionately and supportingly when I return back to the world and encounter someone with autism.
Someone once told me that we all have to bury the children we didn’t get and accept the ones we did. But a much nicer and more moving way of putting this is the following (I’m glad I don’t have to read this to you as I can’t read this aloud without tears):
WELCOME TO HOLLAND by Emily Perl Kingsley
I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability – to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel. It’s like this……
When you’re going to have a baby, it’s like planning a fabulous vacation trip – to Italy. You buy a bunch of guide books and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum. The Michelangelo David. The gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It’s all very exciting.
After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, “Welcome to Holland.”
“Holland?!?” you say. “What do you mean Holland?? I signed up for Italy! I’m supposed to be in Italy. All my life I’ve dreamed of going to Italy.”
But there’s been a change in the flight plan. They’ve landed in Holland and there you must stay.
The important thing is that they haven’t taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It’s just a different place.
So you must go out and buy new guide books. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.
It’s just a different place. It’s slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you’ve been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around…. and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills….and Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts.
But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy… and they’re all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say “Yes, that’s where I was supposed to go. That’s what I had planned.”
And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever go away… because the loss of that dream is a very very significant loss.
But… if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn’t get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things … about Holland.
c1987 by Emily Perl Kingsley. All rights reserved.
There are times when I want to hurry to bed and sleep so I can wake up and do the stuff I want to do. You would think I’m at an age where I can do whatever, but the age comes with a body that doesn’t do all-nighters very well anymore. So a quick sleep is the best option for times where I want to do so much.
Such a night happened just recently. In fact, I woke up so early that I told Stephen it felt like we just had a conversation a few minutes ago.
Then there are mornings when I contemplate hibernating. That’s when I have another few sleeps before I get up. Often alternating between sleeps and reads.
I love the days I look forward to because I planned on a certain activity. Not the activities we regret the moment we make the commitment. But activities I can do at home, like knitting or crocheting, or sewing, or gardening….
My latest obsession is perfect: Amigurumi. Mostly crochet, slowly an object comes to life. It’s almost like playing god, but instead of clay or Adam’s rib, it’s yarn.
I’m not sure why I was never attracted to this art/craft before, but I must have reached a tipping point. Perhaps I’ll grow out of it and get my fill, for now though I can hardly finish a project before starting another one.
And that’s it, several projects lounging around waiting to be finished. This would be a good time in my life to give myself a little push. Who knows what I’m capable of. Never too late, is it as I’m looking at 3 projects that could use a finishing touch. Are there finishers in life I could pair up with? People who love finishing but not starting. Yes, I know: delusional. But one can hope, right?
Let me show you a few finished objects. First I started on a mouse-doll. As a toy I thought of all the possibilities of making clothes for it, combining crochet and sewing.
After the mouse which ended up a bigger project, I needed what I refer to as palate cleansers, little projects that don’t take days to make.
Cat toys stuffed with catnip were the answer. In the meantime I’ve made over 60 of them. Some batches went to the local animal shelter. Some went to Denver, and some are still looking for a home.
The bigger projects I need to get out of my system included a chicken:
Then I finally finished the rabbit that got it all started:
There are still unfinished stuffies here and there around the house. But I’ll wait to post about them when they actually make sense.
I’m still knitting socks in between, but for right now the focus is stuffed animals, or tacos….
A few years ago I had a little food business going from our house. Loved it! One of the many offers was a meze platter, various middle eastern appetizers. One day as someone picked up their platter, I added some Greek salad as an extra treat on the side. (We love Greek salad at our house and had some tonight:
Her response was to say how horrible the salad looked. Here I thought I would get a thank you. She also said if I ran a restaurant or deli and served this, she wouldn’t have come back.
I have never forgotten this experience and still carry it around as baggage. Every time we have a Greek salad this conversation goes through my mind.
We also had a chard/kale pie. I used to make this a lot, but like with some foods, one forgets. Then once in a while I come across the recipe or notice I have too much chard. Today I wanted to use all our chard and kale, so I chopped them up and also found a bunch of Thai basil that I hadn’t used and couldn’t think of using in anything else, so why not?
We are fully vegan now, kind of. I definitely don’t eat eggs anymore, so I replaced them in this dish with a substitute of 1 tablespoon of ground flax with 3 tablespoons of water. We really had a lot of greens, and I ended up needing 6 “eggs.”
I put all the cut up greens in a big bowl and add about a cup of chopped green onions and 2/3 cup of gluten-free flour. Mixed that.
In a measuring cup I mixed the “eggs” and let them sit for a while, then added 4 tablespoons brewer’s yeast, salt and pepper, hot pepper flakes, a bunch of garlic, and about 4 tablespoons of chopped red onions. I mixed this concoction with the greens and then fried this in a pan for 5 minutes each side, covered.
I mixed horseradish with vegan aioli and topped this on the finished pies.
These are some leftovers:
Looks like a mess but tastes good. Here is what they used to look like with the real eggs:
We had a tree cut down recently and the wood from it is stacked out front. I put two pieces aside to use for extra seating when parties are starting again. One can wish, right?
Today we came across a man in our neighborhood who was hauling away wood. We told him he can have some of ours, but that it’s pine. He said no problem, if he can carry and lift it into his truck he would do it. We still have a contract with the tree cutter who will haul it away eventually. But why not sooner, we thought.
After we got back from our walk, my seating was gone but the rest of the wood was still there. I had to laugh because why would he take only that? But what is gone is gone, and is good. And those parties I envision? If they really ever happen, I will buy seats if we’re short.
I have picked up Stephen’s sweater again and I’m making progress with knitting the front. Could be done by tomorrow, and then it’s on to the arms. After that, my least favorite part: picking up the stitches for the collar and sewing the arms on.
What is the opposite of end spurt? End crawl? That’s me, crawling to the finish line.
What makes Wordle so addictive to me? It only happens once a day, and usually I can guess the answer within 6 tries. It becomes exciting when I can get the answer in 3 and at times even 2 tries. Never guessed the word from the start. That may be a big ask.
Stephen took advantage of this daily activity by sending me the New York Times mini crossword puzzles. And they’re growing on me. Though I refuse to tackle anything bigger than the mini ones. Of course when Stephen does the regular crosswords, I do try to supply answers to any german, french, cooking, or craft questions.
Facebook is pissing me off again. But for me it is the easiest platform to stay in touch with people. Post some recipes, updates on my private life I’m willing to share. Right now I would love to switch to this blog as a daily activity. We’ll see.
Medically, it has been up and down. Scared and relieved. So what were my potential kidney problems are ok. But kidney stones were discovered. Further tests will be done and possibly the destruction of these stones. Though I have to wonder: how long have I had them, and since they never bothered me should we leave well enough alone?
On the knitting front: I made huge progress with Stephen’s sweater right at the start. But since the best way to knit his sweater is by sitting at the table, I needed a break. My back starts hurting, and overall it gets uncomfortable.
I switched to finishing the socks that were staring at me daily and almost screaming out to finish them. Ok, Ok, I said and did just that.
While finishing those socks, other projects reared their ugly heads, projects I had been avoiding. Like the fuzzy feet slippers at Knitty. I needed to fix for Christy. They have been sitting around for a few years now. It is hard to fix felted slippers, as it turns out. Unraveling is not easy, as the yarn is stuck to itself. But i’m making progress. In another few years she’ll have her slippers back. She’s young and will get to enjoy them for another while. But full of guilt, I just knit her another pair. On the other hand, she likes the original colors, so eventually I’ll have to work this out.
What I did manage is to start 2 more pairs of socks. How does that happen? Probably the blight of every knitter. Here were two patterns and the yarn, what was I to do? How does one resist? And so easy to knit in any position without hurting the back or anything else.
Arnold the dog is not totally thrilled with me knitting. He tries to get his head between the knitting and me. He doesn’t understand what is going on. For now he’s squeezed next to me on the couch, keeping me warm. Yes, the heater could use some work, but i’m hoping to put it off until fall.
Let me share two recipes that immediately became favorites.
A bok choy with tofu recipe from the New York Times.
1 pound baby bok choy, quartered lengthwise through the core Kosher salt and black pepper 1 (14- to 16-ounce) package soft (not silken) tofu, drained and cut into 4 equal squares 6 tablespoons tahini ¼ cup low-sodium soy sauce 3 tablespoons distilled white vinegar 1 teaspoon minced ginger ¼ teaspoon minced garlic ¼ cup chopped scallions (from about 1 scallion), plus more for garnish ¼ cup chopped cilantro, plus more for garnish Toasted white sesame seeds, for garnish
In a large skillet with a lid, arrange bok choy in an even layer to cover the bottom of the pan, and season with salt and pepper. Nestle the tofu pieces on top of or in between the bok choy, depending on the depth of your pan. Add ½ cup of water to the skillet and bring to a boil over high heat. Cover securely to prevent steam from escaping, reduce heat to medium and steam until bok choy is tender and tofu is warm throughout, about 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl combine tahini, soy sauce, vinegar, ginger, garlic, scallions, cilantro and 1 tablespoon of water. Whisk until well blended, and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Using a spatula or large slotted spoon, transfer bok choy and tofu to 4 serving plates. (Discard any remaining water in the skillet.) Spoon some of the sauce over the tofu and garnish with scallions, cilantro and sesame seeds. Serve warm.
This morning I woke up from a most gorgeous dream. Though it was beautiful and relaxing, I was nervous about going back to sleep, afraid I might die. I would love to capture the mood and feeling of the dream but don’t think I have the words necessary to do this justice.
Together with Stephen, who was not dying but who was going to accompany me as far as he could in my process, we entered a part of town that consisted of various areas with buildings that were open to the outside, like the top decks of ships. I was given a small, very simple wheelchair that could be transformed into a flat position. Then I had the option of a cookie or drink that would help in relaxing me and preparing to die.
Even though the place was crowded, lots of dying people with their loved ones, it was all pretty calm. “Serene” would describe it pretty well. That was my feeling at first, but pretty quickly I became giddy with joy and anticipation. Then it was time to move into the next stage, as I was getting drowsy and getting closer to death. That stage had to be without Stephen. We said goodbye.
As I looked around, I noticed people had brought material goods with them. Were these to take along on the path to our deaths? Or things for the afterlife? That didn’t seem right. But some people were even carrying LPs. Perhaps this is a good idea, what if my death takes longer, what will occupy my time? Then I remembered that earlier, in another area, I had given my knitting needles away. Immediately, I returned there to ask the woman if I could have them back for a little while until it was time for my death, when I would return them. But she had already passed them on to someone else. As I was approaching this other person, Stephen showed up and gave me the most gorgeous knitting needles I’ve ever seen. They were carved out of wood, and at the ends were tiny little cups. (Cups and bowls are my weakness, I’m almost a collector.)
Though they weren’t matching sizes, I didn’t mind, because there I wouldn’t be knitting anything to be worn, it was just to while away the time until death. Heading back to the next phase area, I saw a friend who pointed to the sky, saying they were already here. Apparently the burning of the dead bodies had begun, and all the souls were transformed into little clouds in the sky, drifting away.
Earlier I had asked my brother, who was also there, where he would go after death, and he said: Mars. I asked him the direction of Mars, he pointed, and my thought was to go there too. It was as good a place as any. But when I looked at all the clouds drifting away, I couldn’t remember which direction to Mars. And then I thought it wouldn’t matter.
I turned around to see where all the little clouds were coming from, and there was a little Hansel and Gretel house with the chimney spewing out the clouds. A most beautiful gingerbread kind of house, floating in the air. I shouted and pointed to the clouds, attracting everyone’s attention. And people seemed happy with the sight.
Time to rejoin the line in the final open room, before heading to the house for my death. There I saw someone trying to figure out where to smoke his hashish. We connected with a look, and he said: you look so knowingly. I replied that I hadn’t smoked hash since I left Germany. He lit the pipe and offered me some. Then I saw another friend sitting on a bench, holding an LP. I said I didn’t know you were going to die. But he ignored me, I think he was too stoned to notice any of his surroundings.
It’s then that I realized that I was not drowsy anymore but rather very excited and had way too much energy for the people around me. I had to calm down and considered another cookie or drink, as I knew I had to get the drowsy feeling back if I wanted to die successfully.
Looking around, I saw some people sitting calmly on benches and others with their eyes closed in reclined wheelchairs, waiting to enter the house where they would die and then be burned.
That’s when I awoke. Wondering if I might be dying or if I could go back to sleep. As I was going over the dream in my head, Stephen stirred next to me, and I told him all about it.
The Wordle craze finally reached me. I’m not a fan of word games because this is my second language and I always feel disadvantaged and a bit stupid. But this was different. 5-letter words, even I know a lot of them. Now that I’ve played 20 times, I haven’t come across a word yet I didn’t know. It seems to help to have a limited vocabulary. Stephen keeps on coming up with guesses of words that are unfamiliar to me, at least ones that are not in my everyday vocabulary.
Every night before going to sleep, I try thinking of the word I will start with the next day. It’s meditative. Once I have the word, I try to imprint on it by repeating it in my head or finding an “Eselsbrücke” (donkey’s bridge or mnemonic) to remember it the next morning, not always easy at my age. So far, so good.
I also like reading lately before going to sleep. Reading until the wee hours. Actually by the time I stop, the hours are not so wee anymore. The other morning it was after 6 am.
What happens now is like a curse. I read and start seeing all these 5-letter words I never thought about. I want to remember them as starting words, but there is no way I can remember them all. So in the middle of night I start sending myself emails with 5-letter words.
Then I have to stop reading, because all I’m doing is trying to find the next best word to use in the morning. I have no idea what I’m reading anymore. Any book recommendation without 5-letter words is welcome.
And if you haven’t played yet, give it a try. One word a day, the same word for anyone playing. We’re all in this together.
A heads up, though. The New York Times has bought the game. Congratulations to the creator, he deserves the 10 million. But why does everything in our society have to end in money? I’m sure the New York Times is not paying such an amount to do something good in the world. They will want their profit. And even if they only ask $1 a month, with millions of us playing this game, there would be a huge profit. I wish the creator would have asked us for a dollar or two donation. He could have made the same amount without commercializing Wordle.
It was this incident that made me aware what it means to be black in this country and run into the police. Actually more the police running after you.
Of course I knew all the stories about Black Panthers in the ’60s and ’70s and how police raided their homes and started shooting indiscriminately and killed so many. I even had a book with all the news stories about this.
But time had gone by and I’m not black and I didn’t live in this country for a long time. By the time I came back, it was with 2 kids trying to survive in a country where everything had tripled in expenses. Shock.
But then Amadou Diallo got shot. 41 bullets! It was February 4, 1999. And it didn’t stop there. Since then there has been a parade of police officers and racists targeting and killing Black people.
I have no answers except for all of us to stand up for this injustice whenever there is a chance. Support Black Lives Matter.
Here is the song that I played over and over again yesterday.