Monday, June 13, 2011

Then again, maybe not

This time last week the tides were low in the morning, making the beach perfect for walking right after Eddie was off to school.  I'm not usually early enough or astute enough to spot turtle tracks (though the ATV tracks left by the turtle nest spotters are always evident), but on Tuesday there were several trails that were unmistakeable.  This one especially caught my eye and piqued my curiosity.  It seems this female Loggerhead changed her mind about laying her eggs well before she got close to the nesting site near the dunes.  Did something or someone scare her off?  Did she begin her beach trek then decide she didn't have enough time before daybreak?  Did she realize she was in the path of an oncoming ATV?  (Yes, I'm being a bit facetious - I'm assuming the tire tracks came well after the turtle's retreat....I hope)  I love that you can see the impression in the sand where she pivoted on her belly in order to head back into the ocean.

This sudden u-turn brings to mind and is a wonderful illustration of the vocabulary-enhancing term "peripety," which I learned last year when we studied the book of Esther in our Wednesday morning Bible study at Christ defines peripety, or peripeteia, as "a sudden turn of events or an unexpected reversal, especially in a literary work."  And peripety sounds very much like the unrelated word "peripatetic," which I learned 35 years ago while committing the entire original Broadway soundtrack of "A Chorus Line" to memory.  "She walks into a room, and you know she's uncommonly rare, very unique, peripatetic, poetic, and chic."

"The Loggerhead experienced a peripety during the peripatetic leg of her egg-laying excursion, and headed back to the sea without a nest to her credit."  Okay...moving right along...

On a less scholarly (but no less geeky) level, this v-shaped trail also brings to mind some recent knitting experiences.  A peripety with regard to my Florida Southern Blanket came during the finishing stage.  I initially chose this pattern because I love how the strands woven through add spirited color and contrast to the otherwise monochromatic project.

A month later, after knitting over 63,000 stitches and investing at least 100 hours in the project, I was tempted to leave well enough alone and skip the weaving and fringe.  Not only had I about had it with the whole she-bang, but I thought perhaps the contrasting colors would detract from the simple but IMO impressive basketweave pattern.

But I soldiered on and wove the vertical veins and quickly learned, hey, this is pretty darn cool.  I proceeded to cut an additional 136 2-yard lengths of yarn for the horizontal stripes and wove in a few.  Now here comes the peripety.  Whereas the up and down stripes were just right, adding the sideways ones would have definitely been too much.  Not too much work - I'd come this far I was willing to gut it out.  But just too much.  So perfectionist, rule-following, black and white me, who joys in following instructions to the letter, instituted a knitterly peripety, ripped out the few offending rows, tied off the fringe and called it quits.  I was quite pleased with the FO, my family was appropriately impressed and uttered satisfying oohs and aahs, and the whole kit and kaboodle now rests with its recipient - a hand-knitted graduation gift that was actually finished in time for graduation day - a feat in itself.  (BTW, if anyone has need of 136 2-yard lengths of acrylic yarn, I have a large ziploc full of them!)

No sooner had I passed off the blankie to its new owner, than Eddie and I headed up to Dewey Beach, DE for the Southside Shoot-Out, a Pro-Am skimboarding contest (Eddie's an Am). 

Here's a little clip of Eddie in one of his heats.  This was his first contest outside of Florida, and we knew that the field of contestants would be larger and more competitive, as Delaware is a hotbed for skimming.  Turns out Eddie can hang, though.  He made it through the prelims, placed first in his semi-final heat, and then placed 3rd overall in his age-group, drawing the attention of a local retailer.  When he competes again in two weeks, the announcer will introduce him as "Eddie Dixon from Vero Beach, FL, riding for Team Deep Six!"  I believe this serendipity, rather than peripety.

I packed 3 knitting projects for the 4 day trip, plus extra straight needles in my carry-on bag, just in case Southwest Airlines or TSA decided I looked to be the type who would use my size 6 circular as a garotte mid-flight.

Turns out I only needed one of my projects with me - I worked on Lovey Gator all weekend, finishing it on the plane home. 

Another incidence of peripety here - I knitted the entire body and then realized that a 6-month-old doesn't really need a scarf.  What I was really going for was a little lovey-type thing that adorable infant Christian Harris will be able to cuddle with and drool on and drag around, and such an intended sidekick should probably not be long enough to pose a strangulation hazard to its little master.  So I frogged half the gator, suddenly reversing two days' work and again flouting the pattern instructions and knit the tail where half the body used to be.  Again I was happy with my "design modification" and tickled with the finished product.

Another thing I finished on this trip was Ann Hood's The Knitting Circle.  A couple months ago I looked at this book and put it back, sure that it would be inevitably depressing.  But, believing that I'm emotionally stable enough to get through it right now, I borrowed it from the library and loved it.  It's one of those books that I miss when I'm finished, and now a week later, I'm still thinking about the characters.  Despite its subject matter, I perceived an air of hope throughout, which kept it from dragging me down.  And from a knitterly perspective this autobiographical novel is extremely satisfying.  While a couple popular series are set in LYS's and provide a cozy, familiar, yarny backdrop, The Knitting Circle really focuses on knitting itself and how it pervades the heart and soul, portraying it as a tethering lifeline for a mother who is emotionally adrift after the death of her child.  "You knit to save your life."  This does not at all sound strange or exaggerated or melodramatic to me.  I was not yet a knitter when I faced seasons of grief and depression and confusion, but now I can easily see how I would cling to my yarn and needles were I to be faced again with profound loss or suffering.

Not wanting to conclude a post with the words "profound loss or suffering,"  I'll leave you with a photo of Eddie as he prepares to enter the mecca-like Alley Oop Skim Shop in Dewey Beach - a long awaited pilgrimage.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Alligator Spotted in Delaware

This gator has been spotted near the shore of Dewey Beach, DE and seems to be growing but harmless.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

I Heart the UPS Man

It's a good day when Brown delivers a big ol' carton o' yarn.  Any guesses what I'll be working on next?

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Showing Up and Looking Good

Finally I get around to my first post under this new masthead (bloghead?), and it has no direct relation to either knitting or books, least of all knitting books, though I'll see if I can't tie it in somehow before I wrap up.

Anyway, last night was the year-end awards ceremony for the Vero Beach High School Fighting Indians Band, aka "The Pride of the Treasure Coast."
Red White & Blue Concert - March 2011 - Symphonic Band I

My sophomore son (also a sophomoric son at times) was recognized in two categories: Perfect Attendance (as a band parent I was under the impression that there was no choice in this) and Best Eyes (2nd year running). Compared to the numerous scholarships, service awards and leadership honors that were presented during this longer-than-usual marathon, these two certificates might seem like more of a consolation prize than a worthy distinction, but when you think about it, they represent two important foundations for success: showing up and looking good.

Of course good attendance is commanded and expected in this organization, just as it must be for any group or team that strives for excellence. Individuals must be aware of their responsibility to the larger entity and be committed to practices/rehearsals, performances/games.
Fall 2010 Field Show

In this over-scheduled culture where doing more trumps commitment and making choices, I find this expectation is often lacking, replaced by an atmosphere of "I'll show up if, at that moment, this activity happens to be at the top of a long list of so-called priorities." In an age where scheduling conflicts prevail, Vero's band program not only discourages them, they do all but forbid them. Sickness or death are the only excuses accepted. But therein lies the irony. It's not easy for these teens to make it through an entire year's rigorous schedule, from band camp through football season and months of performances throughout the county, state and sometimes even the country, (while going to school, mind you) without succumbing to at least a sore throat or bug of some kind. And the announcement at year end of all those with perfect attendance holds an inkling of suspense because who, after all, remembers the entirety of the last ten months and whether you missed one practice back in October? IMO the recognition of perfect attendance in this case is not a testament to superior commitment, but rather to submission, parents who are willing to drive back and forth to school and elsewhere innumerable times, and exceedingly impenetrable immune systems. Nonetheless, on behalf of Chris Dixon, his mother happily accepts the award and appreciates the recognition.

As for the eyes, a distinction earned by virtue of peer voting, that, too, can be a starting place for success, assuming that such a captivating feature is then fleshed out with likeable personality and worthy character, which in my son's case, as far as I'm concerned, it is.

Two and a quarter hours into this ceremony (by which time in years past it has been over) we decided that we had tortured Chris's disinterested little brother and our empty stomachs long enough, and we bailed in favor of dinner at Hurricane Wings. I learned this morning that soon after we left, they announced that Percussion won "Section of the Year" (no-brainer - should be an annual shoo-in IMO, but I suppose I'm somewhat biased). Though the honor no doubt encompasses more than marching season, let's just relive the 2010-2011 drum line for a moment, shall we?

Chris's buddies, half of whom bear the name of William, stayed overnight after last evening's band awards and dance. This is what the room looks like twelve hours after their arrival:

But this was what I found when I finally make my way to the laundry room to throw in an overdue load:

I was amazed and delighted that one of these boys (50% chance that it was a William  - nay, better than 50% because I know it wasn't Chris) took the time to hang up his shirt - in fact, I'm impressed that any of them even knew that this was something that should be done. I'll have to investigate further, find the mother, and go sit at her feet for a spell.

So, how can I get this post on topic? Well, I took the big red beast with me to the auditorium last night and successfully tinked one row, then completed two more (one step back, two forward). Doesn't sound like much for over two hours, but at 204 stitches apiece, that's not too bad for me, considering the high level of distraction and the sheer bulk of this nearly-finished-my-God-how-much-longer project.  Any progress is welcome and celebrated. Knocked out another row at home while waiting for the boys to get home from the dance, so binding off tomorrow is still within the realm of possiblity, though it's a lofty goal to be sure.

Before turning out the light I read a few more pages of The Knitting Circle, a book I began last week with some trepidation due to its premise. I must say, however, I continue to enjoy it, if that's even an appropriate term for this novel, and am bewildered that it is not making me feel depressed, especially considering my week of minimal sleep and increased stress. Perhaps it's the high knitterly content that keeps me engaged.