Friday, September 18, 2009

Live from the Eastern Shore

Sitting outside my brother's condo in beautiful Ocean City, Maryland. I'm enjoying the view and the weather, which has been mostly in the upper 70s and low 80s. Even when it's hot here, the breeze keeps it from being intolerable.

One thing I can say is that it certainly does not smell like the beach to me. My brain has a hard time resolving the fact that I'm on a beach vacation but I've only been in my swimsuit a handful of times. I do miss the smells associated with Florida beaches....a mixture of coconut oil, Coppertone sunscreen, and salty surf.

I managed to finish a pair of socks while I was here. I'll call them Ocean City socks.

I'm off to go take a walk on the beach, sans socks.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

100 Marks This Spot

This is my 100th post! Don't expect too much; I'm weary from a very busy day and I have to get up early and complete a week's worth of work tomorrow.

I finished my sock last night. I will not take a picture of me wearing these beauties until I finish the second of the pair. I really like how it turned out.

My cable provider recently added several HD channels to the basic lineup. I was excited to see that one of those channels was AMC, which broadcasts my most favorite show of all time, Mad Men. I was excited because I thought that the added bonus of seeing my most treasured show in HD quality would be the icing on the cake. But, last Sunday, when the channel was first available, I watched the show in HD without any more admiration or awe than the week before. (As an aside, the only HD programming I truly appreciate is sports and nature shows - that's where you can really see where HD is kick ass.) Thus illustrating the strength of this show and the quality of the production because I could watch the damn thing in black and white and still be utterly enthralled by it. I think my love of the show is a result of the beautiful but flawed characters and the time period.

The show's third season is currently showcasing 1963, which was certainly an amazing year. The modern women's rights movement is born with Betty Friedan's The Feminine Mystique. And in August, the March on Washington, certainly a milestone in the civil rights movement. And then the sky is about to fall on all my Mad Men characters in November with the JFK assassination. At this point in the season, we are in June of 63, right after the Buddhist Monk sets himself afire in protest (one of the characters watches news coverage), and, ominously, we as the viewers are exposed to the wedding announcement for a minor character, which gives the wedding date as November 23, 1963. I sucked in my breath when I saw that scene. I cannot wait to see how the writers deal with the JFK assassination and how the characters I'm so heavily invested in react to this news. Is it how I felt when 9/11 happened? Like you couldn't count on anything? Everything you just took for granted was all just a facade? I live for Sunday nights and Mad Men.

Wow. I wrote a lot for being tired and needing to pack for vacation. This turned out to be a pretty good post (I feel like Debra Winger in Terms of Endearment - where she has to say goodbye to her children since she's dying and she tells them "I think that went pretty well, don't you?")

What is wrong with me? Comparing my blogging to Debra Winger's death scene? I'm too much.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

For The Love of Art

I started a new pair of the BFF socks. I'm using Patons Brand of Cotton Yarn called "Grace". The weight of this mercerized cotton yarn is heavy and I can tell that as I knit this sock. I'm actually on the toe portion of the sock today and I should be finished tonight. I really love the colors and I think this yarn shows off the BFF pattern much better than the yellow-greenish yarn from before.

I met the sweetest couple a few weeks ago. I had to make a visit to this couple's home to have papers signed for an upcoming closing; I'll call them Mr. and Mrs. B. Mr. B is in his late 80's and Mrs. B is 92 years old. I walked into their home with a singular goal in mind (to have my paperwork signed) and sat at their kitchen table. As I was leaving, I turned and took in the living room and hallway to discover their walls are covered with paintings. Real art. No glass. The pictures are beautiful and Mrs. B informs me that she is the artist. She studied in New Orleans and she works mainly in oils but tried watercolor when she moved to Florida, as watercolor seemed to be the preferred medium. I was overwhelmed by her paintings and I wish I could have taken the rest of the day to sit and talk with Mrs. B. I don't think she paints now, especially because I've seen her signature and it's rather shaky. Her pictures were mainly of still life (flowers, fruit, buildings) but she had some paintings featuring people (nuns kneeling in prayer, young ballerinas practicing in front of a mirror), and I was drawn to them immediately. Simply wonderful work, even to the untrained and novice eye. I feel silly for feeling this way, but I was moved by her work. I will get to see Mr. and Mrs. B tomorrow when they come by the office, so I'm going to try and see if she will tell me more about herself.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Good Luck Knitting

I finished my BFF socks. As appears to be my luck, even though I start the socks at the same place from each ball of yarn, the color variation does not exactly match. Cables are really so easy to do but look like you put in so much extra work. Cables are definitely a good "investment". These socks fit nicely around my foot and leg, but they bunch a bit in the front by my ankle. So it was hard to get a good picture of me wearing them.

Knitting socks definitely requires an investment in both fitting the sock appropriately and in getting the right pattern with the right yarn. So I have some books, which I read and marvel at the diligence it takes to figure this out. Then I see beautiful patterns and I just want to knit them. Research and planning be damned; I just guess at the size I want and go for it. I usually take notes while I knit (on index cards, which are now strewn about the living room) but I'm not really that organized. This is why I probably will never be a good knitter for sweaters or jackets or clothing that really requires you to be precise.

Strictly a pessimist at heart, I never have faith that good things will stick. So, when, by chance, I met the department head of UCF's Technical Education and Industry Training Department, I didn't think it would amount to much. However, I was very excited to hear her tell me that her master's program would not only fit my schedule but that I was the perfect candidate for it. Dr. Whiteman was even kind enough to tell me that she would watch over my application and she would be my advisor. This program would allow me to teach at a community or technical college in a specific field of study. This would mostly like be legal studies because of my work experience, but perhaps I could branch out to some type of computer training. I don't really have a plan as to how I will pay for school and I sometimes hear on the news that student loan money is harder to get these days but I don't care. I'll figure it out.

Finding My Treasure

Now that my shawl is complete (yarn purchased during the Orange Blossom Yarn Crawl in March), it is just hanging out in my foyer until I de...