Sunday, February 21, 2010

Winter Keeps Stringing us Along....

My friend Janell and I decided we needed to find a way to while away the lingering winter hours, as long as it appears winter is going to last....well....forever.
We ain't bucklin' to no weather blues, not on your life. We decided we needed a project and we both wanted to learn to knit.

We spent Saturday with a lovely group of knitting enthusiasts. Their promise (and challenge) was to send us home with a knitted washcloth created by our own hands.
Sounds easy enough, doesn't it??? Ohhhhhhh you non-knitters, trust me, this is no easy task. You can lead a girl to needles and a ball of yarn but it doesn't mean she'll spontaneously know how to knit. Ohhhh man, I am here to tell you it's not as easy as it looks.

The fun part is buying needles and choosing yarn. The colors inspired us with all kinds of ideas for knitted projects. Visions of sweaters and caps and blankets danced in our heads.

Now we learn.
Not bad for a beginner, although it's a bit of a twisted start.

All the while eyeing a finished project,
knowing by the end of the day we should be looking at something
sort of like this. It's a knitted washcloth.

Pretty colors, Deb......but the skilled knitter can tell you something isn't quite right here.

I don't care. It's pretty and I made it.
I shall call it "BOOKMARK".

Janell, a much younger student than myself and infinitely clearer of mind,
picks up on the stitches very quickly. Clearly she is going to be a knitting prodigy with blue-ribbon sweaters hanging at the State Fair later this summer.

See what I mean? Her knitting is uniform and lovely.
Even her little book-marky thing is straight and sensible.
Like a perfectly appointed half-a-doily that will sit beneath a fine and beautiful plant.

Despite an absence of natural knitting ability I intend to persevere and will be practicing on this washcloth/coaster as long as it takes. Straighter lines and looser knit is my goal.

I shall call it "Barbie Blanket" so someday my little granddaughter can say to her little girl, "Oh, that's really old. Your Grandma Debbie made that for me when I was your age." At the rate I am presently knitting, I best get busy or I'll be giving it to her for her high school graduation.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Snow Courtesy: Knowing the Local Rules

I got in enough trouble driving the streets of Philadelphia in past years, I don't even try anymore. After spending a fortune on parking violation fines, it's cheaper to just take cabs around the city.

The City of Brotherly Love had about 2 feet of snow on the ground last week when I was scheduled to fly in. The snow and high winds delayed our flights a bit but the runways and tarmac were nice and clean by the time we touched down. Notsomuch Center City where the old walk-ups and commerical buildings are tucked into the city blocks like crayons into a 16-pack crayola box ~ it's a tight fit with bumper to bumper on-street parking in the neighorhoods and no where to push all that snow. When the ploughs come down car-lined streets to clear them they pile snow up against the cars which are already buried, creating a icy mountain range that line the sidewalks.

To say it would take hours to dig out one car from the range after that big of a storm is no exagerration. It takes hours and hours of back-breaking shoveling. Shoveling is hard work in my part of the country too but we've got lots of space for the piles of snow. So it was interesting to learn about a local courtesy that is recognized in Philadelphia, one that is important enough that the mayor was on the 11PM news Friday night, reminding everyone while it's not law..............

IF you spend hours digging your car out from the snow where you park on the street in the neighborhood where you live, the space you cleared belongs to you. When you are finished shoveling you pull your car into the street, grab whatever is handy and place it in the cleared parking spot to save it. I saw kitchen chairs, a ladder and a lawn chair "holding" parking spaces this weekend.

Due to the record-breaking amount of snow they're receiving in Philly and the level of frustration that is building in folks as they deal with it, the mayor wanted to remind everyone to play nice. It's not a law, but it's a commonly recognized and honored courtesy the city expects residents to respect: you if shovel a space, it's yours. (I'd add....if your neighbor shovels out your space, you owe him a pan of lasagne per month for life or carnal favors on demand, whichever he prefers. Remember, that's over 2 feet of snow, folks. A plate of cookies isn't gonna cut it this time.)

Good system. I like it.
When I flew out on Thursday of last week, I forgot to put my ice scraper and broom back in the trunk of my car when I loaded up my suitcases. After 5 days of snow and ice on the top level of the airport parking ramp this past week, I had to dig out my car with an empty cassette tape box, a rolled-up Lands End catalog and a frozen bottle of my favorite Berry-flavored Propel. I surely coulda used a good neighbor with a broom this morning.