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The story of women’s struggle for equality
belongs to no single feminist
nor to any one organization
but to the collective efforts of
all who care about human rights

[Gloria Steinem]

Shepherd's Moon

This Saturday is International Women’s Day. The photo is Ellen Robert’s display piece at the International Women’s Art Exhibition in the UPMarket Galleries (The Provision Market, Newport, Gwent) in Wales. Ellen spins, dyes, weaves and knits fiber, and she designed this lace poncho. The logo is her business identity, Shepherd’s Moon. The loom was built by her grandfather and used for many years by her grandmother—Ellen uses it now. The spinning is lace weight yarn the thickness of an eye lash. I am in awe of Ellen’s talent and skill. I have to add that she is also my oldest daughter.

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Any sufficiently advanced technology
is indistinguishable from magic.
[Arthur C. Clarke]

My first criteria for a good app is, it is simple. I’m a graphic designer and not a computer scientist. I look for apps that behave themselves (they work without bugs), and apps that are intuitive to use (they have a small learning curve). I spend my main self-education time keeping myself up to speed with my major software tools. I want my smaller apps to be more like a manual screwdriver than an electric drill with multiple bits. These two apps fit the criteria and are affordable.

CalculatorMyScript© Calculator is magic for sure. It was free! How does Vision Objects© do that? Also it works well and is fun to use. Write numerals and function symbols (+, -, =, etc.) with a finger on a touchscreen and then watch your writing change into real equations with the correct answer. It even charmed my five-year old grandson. When I used it in a knitting class to help people figure their stitches and rows from their gauge, it was fast and accurate. Some students even downloaded the app for their smart phones during class.

TaskTimerDesktop Task Timer by Erik Asmussen is also a winner in my book. I track my design time for billing purposes. In the past 30 years, I have tried using a number of methods to accurately record time and translate it in to an invoice. This app ($0.99) is the best I’ve found so far. I’ve even started tracking my non-chargeable tasks just out of curiosity.

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Love of beauty is Taste.
The creation of beauty is Art.
[Ralph Waldo Emerson]

Easter is coming and with it comes warmth, flowers, spring breezes and Easter eggs. I’ve always loved decorated eggs so my loved ones have often given me keepsake eggs. Years ago, one gave me a breathtaking Ukrainian Easter egg. It’s fine craftsmanship and sparkling beauty grabbed my heart. I have been following a blog that I’d like to share with you folks: Eggs by Teresa. The beauty of her art grabs my heart as well.

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We are what we repeatedly do.
Excellence, then, is not an act
but a habit.

[Aristotle]

Last weekend, I led a one-day knitting workshop in the lovely hills of eastern Ohio. I designed mittens for the occasion. Eleven knitters worked from the eight-page pattern leaflet.

The child-size pair (left in photo) were knitted using Plymouth Encore worsted weight yarn and US #2 needles. The adult-size pair (right) were knitted using Brown Sheep Lamb’s Pride yarn and US #3 needles.

This pattern was designed for beginning through intermediate level knitters. Knitters could choose to knit a ribbed cuff in one color and focus upon the basic texture-stitch techniques, or knit a two-color, stranded cuff with a one color, textured hand.

Connie King of the Pleasant Home Woolen Company organized the event with a delicious carry-in lunch. She also shared her home with me for the weekend—a delightful farm home with breath-taking views of the Ohio hill country.  Thank you Connie.

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Elephants and grandchildren never forget.
[Andy Rooney]

This isn’t about traveling with grandchildren the way I do—that is belting them into the back seat surrounded by toys, and stopping every hour to go potty. This is about my friend, Allen Johnson, who takes traveling with grandchildren to levels beyond my imagination (or endurance, I’m sure).

He just sent me his latest book, Biking the Blue Ridge Parkway with Five Granddaughters. It makes me imagine an elderly woman sixty years from now reminiscing about her grandpa taking her on exotic trips.

Allen and his grandchildren have traveled by canoe, skis, foot, bicycles, horseback, kayak, roller blades, and camel. They have not only toured places in the United States, but also Australia, the Arctic Circle, Holland, Sweden, Iceland, Canada, Great Britain, and the Andes. He has written a book about each of these adventures. Take a look at the list of Allen’s travel books AT THIS LINK.

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Don’t waste time learning the tricks of the trade.
Instead, learn the trade.

[Author Unknown]

Remember the story about the blind men and the elephant? Each described only the part they could feel—be it the tail, trunk or leg. Writing about the summer trade show that The National Needlearts Association just hosted in Columbus, OH is like describing only part of an elephant. My highlights would be different than others.

Andrea Wong taught classes and introduced her new book, Portuguese Style Knitting at the show. I helped in Helen Hamann’s booth and spent the day drooling over her colorful design and Alpaca yarns. I also took a couple of quick trips around the floor. Kramer Yarns of Nazareth, Pennsylvania caught my eye since I enjoy using their products. Durango Button Company of Broken Arrow, Oklahoma sparked my imagination as well. I think buttons can make or break a handmade garment. Not only were there endless varieties of yarn and needlework items, but notions, publications, and accessories were bountiful as well.

I usually have little contact with the enterprise end of the needleart industry so this was an end-to-end learning experience for me.

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I’ve always thought that a big laugh is
a really loud noise from the soul saying,

“Ain’t that the truth.”
[Quincy Jones]

I have at least one addiction; electronic publications. As with most addictions, it started out small and practical. I was teaching myself how to produce eBooks. Then I found audio books. Then I discovered I could listen to them and knit at the same time just like listening to the radio back when it had programming I loved to listen to (about 55 years ago). At first, I only ordered non-fiction, history books thinking I could expand my mind and turn out sock patterns galore. That is what is called, rationalization. I now know more about seven major wars than most history majors.

Then a friend recommended I read Annie Freeman’s Fabulous Traveling Funeral by Kris Radish. That is where the laughing comes in. The laughing, the crying, the memories—all those things that make me glad to be a woman. This led me to Kris Radish’s blog and more laughing.

Years ago, a friend of mine hurried in late to work, collapsed into her desk chair and said, “Only Erma Bombeck would understand why there are bare foot prints on my bathroom ceiling.” I love people who can level out rough spots in life with humor.

That reminds, me. I’ll start posting the designs I’ve conjured up while listening to books.

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When you’re a nurse
you know that every day
you will touch a life
or a life will touch yours.

We gathered for dinner at the University Place Hotel in Indianapolis last Friday night. Nine of us attended. Even though I only worked as a nurse for ten of the 45 years since we graduated, I welcomed the chance to visit with my classmates. Since we are looking forward to our 50th reunion in five years, I maintain a website for the group with an eye toward gathering everyone together for our big celebration. Here’s a LINK to our site.

The new masthead was photographed by Jim Miller of Willowgreen
during a spring tour of the Smokey Mountains.

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If I’d known I was going to live so long,
I’d have taken better care of myself.

[Leon Eldred]

A couple of years ago, I made several changes in my life. I quit smoking. I joined Curves to avoid weight gain from the first change. And, I signed up for bi-weekly emails from Real Age.com. Taking ten minutes twice a week reading brief articles on RealAge, has probably encouraged me to make other changes I haven’t even noticed.

Since death is unavoidable, I haven’t made changes to avoid death. I’ve made changes to be a giftgiver. I’m giving myself the gift of being as well as possible for whatever time I have on earth so I can function at my peak. I’m giving my loved ones two gifts—my company, if and when they want my company, and my agility in case one of them takes care of me someday.

That last thing might sound odd but think about it. Have you taken care of someone physically? As a nurse, I have. It is a lot easier to take care of someone who is agile, toned, and not over weight. I figure that keeping fit is a gift you give to a future caregiver.

Walking is part of keeping fit. That’s hard to do daily in some regions (like this morning when it is near to zero degrees and snowing). Here are two videos from RealAge to help with the 30 minutes a day walking.

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My momma always said,
“Life was like a box of chocolates.
You never know what you’re gonna get.”

[Forrest Gump]

boxofchocolates

I just got an e-mail from Sonja saying she had received an award and was passing along to me—to also pass along if I chose. Pam (the person who started this award) says:

In my best southern accent, I would like to say that I have been thinking about a new award and what I would like it to say. People are like Forrest Gump said “Life is like a box of chocolates and you never know what you’re gonna get.” You can see this box of chocolates is filled with different and unique candies and just like the chocolates we are all different and unique people. We are the same in that we all have common ingredients that make us more a like than not. Except for the frosting, which represents our personalities, we are indeed very similar on the inside. And of course there are rules:

1. Pass this award to others if you are so inclined.

2. Link back to me if you have passed them forward.

3. Write a nice post about this award.

4. You must read this award with a southern accent. I (Pat) call it southern day where we all have to speak with a southern accent. I know that will be hard for some of you, but for the rest of us, we will be fine. So now, ya’ll just enjoy this little ol’ award and have fun with it.

5. And of course let your folks know that they have a nice award waiting for them.

I don’t speak with a southern accent since I’m a Hoosier, but I do read with one—especially since I recently finished a southern novel. Thank you for the award, Sonja. I love chocolates and the comments you often leave on my blog.

The nice thing about the decoration on the outside of some chocolates is that it gives a clue as to what is inside. One kind of swirl means there is a cream filling and another means there is a nut filling. That is kind of like people too—especially as they grow older. Their prevailing attitudes inscribe themselves on their faces. I remember a time when my life took a hard turn. I clearly remember thinking about a friend whose negative attitude had engraved itself on her face so that her beauty was imprisoned behind hard lines of bitterness. My very next thought was, “I’ve got to find a way to deal with this so that I learn and grow instead of nurturing bitterness.” Maybe the best beauty aid in the world is the process of sorting out our attitudes—cleaning the closets of our mind, so to speak.

I’d like to pass this award on to bloggers who encourage me with their comments (non-bloggers like my cousin Marilyn encourage me with their comments as well):

Marianne (who wins the prize for the most comments and who feels like a long-lost friend)

California Girl (who is a loyal blog reader and sharp wit)

Devon (who is in the midst of moving but still blogs interesting book reviews)

Marilyn (who inspires me in knitting and reading)

Ida (who “knits up the raveled sleeve of care”)

Mary Ann (who lets us share in how her garden and grandchildren grow)

Helen of Troy (who is currently knitting black pearls. She is so inventive.)

You folks are welcome to pass along this award with the notes from Pat if you wish. Or you may just choose a chocolate, sit back and savor the appreciation.

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