My Friend Frank

Frank came to work for the agency 3 or 4 years ago.  I don't recall exactly.  As a new web administrator for the agency, he automatically became a member of our web team and was encouraged to attend SXSWi like many of us.  We got acquainted while waiting for panels and  started hanging out together picking panels and going to lunch with some of our coworkers and friends outside the agency who were also attending the conference. 

Frank is a great programmer.  But he is also an artist.  And a flyfisherman/fly-tyer, and a cattle rancher, and a grandpa, and he likes to read, a lot.  His wife's name is Frankie, (Frank & Frankie) which I think is the cutest thing in the world.  Frank was always a little curious about my knitting habit which I exercized through many a web team meeting.  He was especially curious about my sock-knitting as that was my preferred meeting project.  I tried to explain to him the joys of wearing hand knit socks.  One day I presented him with a pair of his own.  I guessed on the sizing, since it was a surprise, I didn't exactly want to measure his foot, but I think I got pretty darn close.  It seemed like every time I saw him, he had those wool socks on.  Not a little surprising since we are after all in Texas and I think I gave them to him in a warm part of the year, but I was the one who told him wool breathes and that I wore nothing but wool or at least hand knit socks. 

So, Frank kept asking me questions about knitting, how do you do this? or how do you know when to do that and how do you pick a yarn or a needle.  Well, as you may have suspected, Frank was on that slippery slope to becoming a knitter.  I think I've told people that I taught him, but honestly I don't remember teaching him to knit so much as handing him my Stitch N Bitch book, answering his questions and showing him a couple of things and, oh, maybe introducing him to the owner of a yarn shop.  He's made himself quite at home at The Knitting Nest, even if I don't go with him.

Well, now I'm so proud of him that I want you all to know about him and take notice. He has done a hat, several scarves, for himself and as gifts. He wanted a felted sleeve for his fabulous new Netbook, so he figured his own pattern, and when the first one shrunk too much, he recalculated and knit and felted another one which was perfect!  Go look at the thing!  Then he came down to my office the other morning to show me his new mitts.  He found a pattern on Ravelry and made the pair in just 2 nights of knitting.  Y'all, this man is a Knitter.  And he is fearless.  He is this far away from knitting his own socks.  And besides all that, he's a really nice guy.  

You can find Frank in several places online, check him out at his blog:

Artistic License (and you can get his pattern for an Asus sleeve)

Also on Flickr

and Ravelry

and of course, Twitter.

His daughter Marguerite (Rete) is also a knitblogger and quilter and I met her when the Yarn Harlot came to town. 

Be sure and say hello to him sometime, I'm sure you'll run into him somewhere.

A Christmas Wish

It's after 11pm on Christmas night, the child is asleep, and I am up alone in a quiet house. This has been a challenging December at our house and it's not over yet.  Tom and I both had interviews for new jobs, neither of us got.  Abby was sick for her 8th birthday and we had to cancel her party.  Two dear friends at work have left the agency, one moved to a new and exciting job at another agency and one retired to an exciting home remodeling project.  Both will be sorely missed and whose absence leaves a gaping hole in our web team.  My church that I have been a member of for 24 years voted 213/176 to dismiss a much loved and controversial minister essentially splitting our church in two.  I am still vexed by this action and feel betrayed and broken-hearted.  As my family celebrated the arrival of my brother-in-law and his family visiting from Korea for the holidays, the part of my family that lives in Dallas was gathering to celebrate Christmas last night.  Unfortunately a freak accident as they were all leaving for their homes has left my aunt in intensive care in a Dallas hospital and my family reeling from the sudden randomness of the trauma inflicted on both my aunt and my nephew who was also injured.  They tell us that her injuries at this time are not life-threatening, but they are life-changing.  My nephew's truck rolled over both of them when the parking brake failed.  My aunt is 69 years old and has multiple fractures and lacerations and will likely be permanently disfigured on the left side of her face and head.  It is still too early to know much else for certain.  There is a lot of inflammation that needs to subside before they can consider surgery, so she is being sedated for now and we wait.  My husband Tom drove my mother to Dallas this morning.  He volunteered and had his bag packed 30 minutes after we got the call last night.  We celebrated Christmas today without them as they sat vigil in a hospital 200 miles north. 

Last December I lost a childhood friend to cancer and my father-in-law to a lung disease.  As painful as that December was, I am feeling almost as vulnerable this year.  Though I don't pray, it's not part of my religious practice, I understand some Unitarians do, I do have a Christmas Wish for my aunt Martha, a beloved aunt whom I am very close to, to heal quickly and allow her family who loves her to help her in any way that we can.  I also hope that my nephew who assumes too much responsibility for the accident will find peace in the fact that nobody was to blame and that we all love them both very much.  May the New Year bring healing for us all.


Giving Thanks

  1. Us I am thankful that my family is in good health
  2. I am thankful I have a job – I have lived through tough econimic times when I was not as securely employed (like the 1980's) and it makes a difference.
  3. I am thankful Tom got his degree and even though he still doesn't have a full time teaching contract yet, he is subbing regularly and get this…he doesn't hate it.  That's big.
  4. I am thankful for all my friends, whether they are local or distant or even whether I have ever met them in person or not, they make being a mere human being bearable.
  5. I am thankful that my mom lives nearby now and that she is involved in our lives and she is in a safer place.
  6. I am thankful for all the relatives that don't live near us, I just wish they did. (Hear that Martha, Laurie, Bart?)
  7. I am thankful that we we do not have an Adjustable Rate Mortgage on our home.  Boy, am I thankful.
  8. I am thankful that our cars keep running, most of the time, even though they are 10 years old.  If they can just hang in there a little longer.
  9. I am so very thankful that the next president of this country is a visionary, reasonable, uncommon man who I believe will save us all.
  10. I am thankful that the winters in Texas are not any worse than they are because I am convinced I would freeze to death if it was any colder for any longer.
  11. I am thankful for my husband, Tom because after ten years of marriage, even though he's a little surly sometimes and he would rather live in the city, he doesn't leave me and he is the best father I have ever known. Did I mention that he's been married to me for 10 years?  That's really big.
  12. I am thankful that my oldest daughter, Kandis has grown up to be a wonderful wife, mother, friend and daughter. I am also thankful that she found a wonderful husband, Rob and that they gave me a wonderful grandson, Cooper!

Now, let's all eat turkey and pie and take naps and shop (modestly).

Happy Thanksgiving!

I met my next door neighbor on Ravelry!

Okay, the truth is, she lives 2 doors down rather than next door, but still, how amazing is that?  I got a message on Ravelry one day and the sender said, "I've been admiring your knitting and noticed that you live in Cedar Creek, we might be neighbors."  Well, once I emailed her back where I lived, we began to narrow down exactly where we lived in relation to one another and low and behold, she is only about 200 feet away!  And we arranged to meet one day at my house and Anna is absolutely delightful, though apparently blogless (for now).  I love her sense of humor and they have cats.  She's of my generation and has lived here almost as long as we have.  She works in Austin too and also works for a government, hers is Travis County. This Saturday I am dragging her to The Knitting Nest for the morning meet-up.  It's WWKIP Day on Saturday and there are several things planned in town, the big one being at the state capitol downtown, but our weather has been pretty hatefully hot and dry lately so we don't think we will make it to that, but we'll be there in spirit.  I can't believe I had to meet my neighbor via an international online community, but I am really glad that there is a way for us to find one another. (Note to self: Ravelry Tip Jar)  Anyone else find someone in their neighborhood through Ravelry?

Reaching This weekend, the grand-boy is coming for his first sleepover at the grandparents house!  I am excited and I hope Kandis and Rob have fun on their night out.  Here is a photo of Cooper (Rob holding him) reaching for Grandma – do you know how great that feels?  Yep, now if I can just get him to call me something – I don't care what, just so he means 'me'.  Boy, grandma's sure can be selfish.

I am trying out a new commenting system here on the blog, so feel free to comment, even if you don't have much to say 'cept what a cute grand-boy I have. And if you're local, I hope to see you this Saturday.

ETA: The comment experiment was a dysmal failure.  But I still like and encourage comments.  Let's see if I set it back in order properly.

Sweet Caroline

Wcaroline My late friend, Caroline, arrived yesterday.  I knew she was coming.  I got a call from a friend of hers that I met the last time I saw her.  Caroline died on December 7th last year in Colorado. Her memorial service was May 17th, the day we left for Vermont for my Father-in-law's memorial – he died on New Year's Eve.  I had planned to make Caroline's send-off in Ouray until the plans were made for Tom's Dad.  I hated to miss hers.  But yesterday the package arrived; a program from her Memorial Celebration, a collection of her poems, a DVD she made about planning her own funeral while she was fighting cancer with every cell of her body, and a small double-bagged ziplock bag, wrapped in bubble wrap containing a gray-white powder, a small bit of the cremated remains of my childhood friend, entrusted to me to scatter or hold however I thought appropriate.  What a gift.  I think it says something about my friend that she so literally shared of herself.  She was a gift.  She absolutely lit up a room with her enthusiasm. 

For now, I will find a nice box to keep her in.  I don't know where to take her, our childhood camp is not really an option anymore.  I could take her to the Bamberger Ranch in Blanco County, which is the last place I saw her alive.  It was a wonderful day.  We hiked Enchanted Rock, as far as she could go, lunched in Fredericksburg and dropped in on the Bamberger's for an impromptu tour and spent the rest of the day.  It was beautiful and such fun.  She was on mega doses of steroids and had tons of energy, but she had pain from a radiation burn that affected her ability to get around.  She was positively manic and we had a blast.  She didn't sleep much on the steroids, there was too much she wanted to do – too many people she wanted to reconnect with.  I can't believe I let 30 years of my life go by without Caroline in it and I am so grateful that she found me again before she left the world.  It was Caroline who took me to my first concert, John Prine and Steve Goodman at the Majestic Theatre in Dallas.  I was 14, she was 16 so she could drive.  To this day I am a die-hard John Prine fan.  Caroline was in the car when I got my first ticket for speeding, 90 in a 70 on our way to camp the first weekend in May, I was 16.  I was so scared – it ruined the entire weekend for me because I dreaded facing my parents with the news.  I still remember it like yesterday.  I have yet to watch her dvd.  One day.

Frank_socks The summer is upon us in a big way, the temps are way too high for the season – we still have a month before the start of summer and we are closing in on triple digits.  The garden is rebelling.  I may get nothing until fall.  I am aching to buy an above ground pool so I can teach Abby to swim this year, but really can't afford it yet.  Abby's last day of school is today and we are making plans for her to have a fun summer.  There have been promises of a brief trip to the coast sometime.  Oh, and I made a pair of socks.  For my friend Frank who I have teased with my praise of the handknit sock.