Wednesday, September 27, 2006

8 Meaningful Touches a Day

When I was in high school I atteneded youth groups associated with different Baptist and United Methodist churches close to where I lived. Although, I don't currently practice any particular religion, what I'm about to tell you isn't necessarily associated with any particular relgion, but rather something that I picked up at one of these gatherings. In fact, what I'm about to tell you affects ALL people at ALL stages of life.

For some reason "8 Meaningful Touches" has stuck with me through my life. In particular, I'm referring to hugs. Studies have shown that being hugged every day increases your life span and makes you happier. It prolongs your life like nothing else can. You have to reach out every single day and give someone a hug. I know some people cringe at the thought of "touching" someone and even more so if it's a stranger, but o ahead and try it. See how you feel afterwards. I guarantee you won't be let down by the effects. By reaching out to people we're showing that this country has nothing to fear by loving our fellow man.

In an article by Sarah Mahoney published on,"Doctors at the University of North Carolina have found that hugging may dramatically lower blood pressure and boost blood levels of oxytocin, a relaxing hormone that plays a key role in labor, breastfeeding and orgasms." Who doesn't want a bear hug after that? This particular articleoutlines the benefits of hugging. It's amazing the research done on this subject. I wouldn't normally wonder about this, but my life is not aplenty with hugs.

Honestly, this particular video is what really got me thinking how badly people need to be touched every day. Check it out. There's a bit of controversy attached to it, too. Can you imagine that people would really want to outlaw hugging?

Friday, September 22, 2006

Central Park is Beautiful!

This bear officially looks freaky. I had intended to give this to my cousin and his girlfriend for their new baby, but after I saw the baby, I realized that the bear was larger than she was! So, it's sitting a little unfinished. No eyes, ears, nose, or mouth. I'm supposed to cinch the neck so it's not so large, but I've yet to do that either. I'm not completely satisfied with the whole thing because it just looks akward. The pattern wasn't particularly difficult, but it just doesn't suit a small child.

So, this it the progress that I've made on my Central Park Cardigan. It's the back and the left front. I haven't blocked it yet, so it looks very small. I promise it will fit. If not then I'll just kick and scream. But don't worry, I'll capture that on camera too. I haven't decided if I want to have buttons or not. I can leave it open and not fasten it or I can make button holes and then have the task of decided on the perfect buttons.

Here's my funky angle for the left front. I've been watching movies while knitting and I tend get to drawn into the plot and forget how much I've been knitting. I had to rip it out quite a bit because I was very excited about knitting the cables. I won't make that mistake again!

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Lull Me Rain

I could sit still for hours listening to a steady rain. Not the kind of rain that surges toward a person all at once, but the kind that falls gently and unvaried. It's the kind of rain that is just asking to be walked in and danced in and watched. Right now, peace is attainable because of this rain. I could sit on a porch looking out at the street and watching the occasional cars pass by just to be closer to the rhythm that the rain sets....and it is a rhythm. The rhythm is saying, "Don't move fast." This kind of rain, the kind that makes me smile, is trying to tempt me to stand still and listen to the peace that surrounds me. It's telling me that if I only reach out for a moment, one very brief moment, I could feel the wet drops upon me. And I am there. Right there. This rain is reminding me of days gone by. Good times spent with good people. The rain does not have a sad or sorrowful bone in it's body. It's the rain that refreshes and cleanses this world and gives it a new start. This kind of steady rain comes when I least expect it to. It comes when I don't really need it...or at least I didn't until it was already drumming lightly on my rooftop. Maybe it wasn't drumming. Maybe the rain just tapped on the shingles like an impatient person would with their fingernails. But this rain, isn't impatient. Just listen. Can you hear it?

Friday, September 08, 2006

Act YOUR age!

Is it truly possible that people don't realize how insulting it is to comment on someone's age? In a 6-hour shift tonight on my first day of working at a new place, I had three employees comment on how young I looked.

Conversation 1:
The person who was training me was going over some paperwork with me and the policy on selling alcohol to minors. You must ask for an I.D. of anyone that looks younger than 40.
Kristen: So this is just a form about our policy on selling alcohol. You have to be over 16 to handle alcohol. How old are you?
Me: 24
Kristen: Wow. Really? You look young.
Me: Yeah, I've never gotten that before.
Kristen: I bet you get that a lot.
Me: yup.

Conversation 2:
Katie: So you go to school around here?
Me: No, I'm done with school. I graduated a couple of years ago.
Katie: Oh, really? Wow, you look really young.
Me: yup.

Conversation 3:
This one takes the cake in insults.
Other Girl Whose Name I Can't Remember: So this is your first day?
Me: Yeah
Other Girl Whose Name I Can't Remember: Do you like it so far?
Me: It's pretty good. I've been bagging all day.
Other Girl Whose Name I Can't Remember: So do you go to high school here?
Me: No, actually. (holding back a rude comment)
Other Girl Whose Name I Can't Remember: Oh, well how old are you?
Me: 24
Other Girl Whose Name I Can't Remember: Wow, you don't look that old.
Me: Yeah, I know.

SO RUDE TO COMMENT ON SOMEONE' AGE! You know what? I thought you were in high school too and I didn't know you were a college SENIOR until I asked you. Oh, but I didn't insult your intelligence level by saying that you looked like a frickin' 16-year-old! I know that when people make comments like that it's completely unintentional, but it's still rude. This is a prime example of how people don't know their boundaries. You'd think that people would use a little common sense and refrain from saying something like that. I know. I know. I should be thanking my lucky stars that I don't look my age, but it's really just irritating to not have people think you can buy your own alcohol when you've been able to do so for a long time. ARG! It's like when a random customer comments on how young I look I really want to say "And you look like you're about 62!" JERK!
So what's the solution to this problem? I wore mascara today because I thought it would make me look a little older, but apparently, I shouldn't do that. Am I supposed to cut my hair? Not smile? Talk with a deeper voice? Get fat? Grow taller? Be snotty? I can't figure it out. I really just want people to use their brains when saying something like that. It's offensive and i don't comment on your nasty self, so don't comment on me!
Is my hair in pigtails? I DON"T THINK SO!
I'm wearing makeup in this picture. Do I still look like a high schooler?
I'm in a frickin' wedding dress. I'm married! I'm not that young!

Disclaimer: For those of you who were scarred by my frankness, I do apologize for the moment of bellowing. It won't happen again......very soon. Please keep in mind that I will continue knitting an hopefully posting other cool projects that are not knitting related, but are still fun and crafty.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

An Actual Knit-related Posting!

This is the first time I'm knitting an article of clothing. Okay, I've knitted hats and scarves, but I mean an actual piece of clothing. This is the back of the Central Parksweater from the fall issue of KnitScene. It called for Tahki Yarns Donegal Tweed, but I substituted this beautifulKarabella Aurora 8 in Cantaloupe. I really think it's turning out beautifully and I can't wait to block it. I'm not able to set the yarn down for long because it's so soft. Hopefully, I'll be able to finish it in time for beautiful foliage season in New England. I'll match the land around me!

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Swat Teams and Snipers

Apparently, the only pictures I had of my exciting Tuesday have been expunged from my camera. By what means, I have no clue. Aside from that, I must set a scene for you.

9:22a.m. Tuesday, August 29, 2006.

Police sirens were sounding very near our home. My husband and I had taken our time rising as we did not feel the need to rush on that morning. Curiousity got the better of us and we peaked out the window to find the cop cars surrounding the house across the street from ours. The police started streaming out of their cars. Some of them were running towards the back of the house with shotguns and rifles. The rest of them had handguns.

As my eyes got larger my husband and I (and our two dogs) were sitting on the floor in front of the open window watching the event unfold right in front of us. More cops showed up positioning themselves around the house. Some of them were in front of our house, using my husband's truck as a means of safeguard. Is that covered by insurance? An SUV was in the middle of the blockade and a U.S. marshall stepped out with a police shield strapped to one arm, held up in front of him. They evacuated the family inside. Two kids, two adults.

The woman who came out was in total shock and could only exclaim, "I had no idea! I didn't know this! I had no idea!" As we viewed this from out window, it occurred to me that this was a photo opportunity, no matter how in appropriate. Thankfully, my camera battery was dead, so my better judgement kicked in and I backed away from the window. I encouraged my husband to move away also, but he kept a boyish grin on his face and remained where he was. He was in perfect range for gunfire, in case any should incur. I started panicking.

I made the dogs go on the porch at the back of the house to protect them from stray bullets. After a few minutes of me pacing and my husband watching and saying things like, "That's a sniper gun. That's a rilfe. That's a blah, blah, blah,blah,blah." The dogs began barking. I raced to quiet them and there was a cop in our driveway telling us to evacuate. He said, "You need to evacuate. There's a murderer across the street."

We grabbed the dogs, I grabbed the cell phones and a wallet and we were out in a flash. As we squeezed behind fences with our new neighbors to the other end of the street, the surrealty of the situation struck me. I do not handle intense situations with an ere of calmness. But, thankfully, someone was watching over us beause our new neighbor's boyfriend is one of the funniest people I've ever met.

As we watched tv crews, more police, snipers, a swat team with an armored truck and another U.S.Marshall show up all we could do was speculate. A crowd had gathered on another portion of the street where a better view was to be had. We waited with them for two hours.

The suspected murderer came out with his hands up. It did not end in gunfire. We were blessed.

Day 3 in Portland was complete.
This is the view of 112 Dartmouth St. This is what we could see, except it wasn't raining. Sorry about the blurry image, but I took this picture through a screened window. Jake's gray truck is parked where it was on Tuesday. There was one policeman positioned at behind the tree/Jake's car. There was another one across the street behind that tree and one on the porch of the red house with a rifle. That little grassy area between the fence and the garage is where one sniper positioned himself. Pretty freaky. This was our escape route. We had to squeeze between the fence and the garage and then went behind more garages to the street perpendicular to ours. We waited on that side for awhile, until we realized there was a better view and more people further down Dartmouth.