Archive for December, 2008

This afternoon we went for drive, and stopped at the monastery of the Dominican Nuns of North Guilford.  The church at the monastery is called Our Lady of Grace.


The church was dark and peaceful.  The late afternoon sun shone through the stained glass windows.  The windows depict decades of the rosary.  These photographs are of details.




The rosette…


The pineapple…


Leaves and a golden globe…

Today I finished one Men’s Maine Morning Mitt, and started another.  The pattern is based on the original Maine Morning Mitts pattern from Interweave’s Knitting Daily.  My modifications are:

  • used knitting worsted,
  • used size 5 DPNs,
  • cast on 39 stitches instead of 33,
  • knit 5 inches before starting the thumb gusset,
  • picked up 6 stitches instead of 4 for the top of the thumb
  • and knit the length to 9 inches instead of 8.


Here is the first mitt, partly done, looking out the train window.


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Riding the Rails

Five minutes from Wilmington, Delaware on the Amtrak Regional 172, on the way to Connecticut to spend New Years with Gary and family. I am looking forward to spending at least a part of the holidays with family. Christmas alone was OK and doable, but I miss my kin.

It is a sunny day after many overcast and rainy days. Since I am heading north, I’m wearing my down parka, my snow boots, with a pair of John’s fleece gloves in by backpack – feeling overdressed when leaving the balmy weather of Maryland.

Certainly, with gas under $2 a gallon, it would be cheaper to drive to Connecticut, but I would not like the drive alone. Traveling by train is still a little better than air travel. I can walk around. I can go to the snack car and buy something. I am not quite packed into a sardine tin. I don’t need to run my baggage past the TSA. By golly, I don’t eve n need to take off my shoes. (Man, that s getting old, isn’t it? Does anyone else want to give the shoe bomber some extra community service?!)

Also, the windows are big, and clean, and there’s a view. It is an interesting view. No one’s front yard faces onto the track. It is strictly a back yard view, a look into behind the garage, behind the fence, the loading docks, the “out back”, the parking lots. Abandoned stuff, discarded stuff, lost stuff, broken stuff. Middens of human activity ripe for archaeology. And the graffiti, endlessly fascinating shapes, color combinations, and the mystery of the message. I have learned I can only photograph it when the train is stopped or very slow. I grab my camera at those moments.


Now the train is moving again. I will grab my knitting instead. I will upload this tonight at Gary’s, along with a few photos.



A modernistic effect using train motion:


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And December arrived.  This is our first Christmas apart.  For me there is the problem of managing the emotions of the holiday alone.  For John, I don’t know, I guess the angels sing?  No, I hope and pray the angels sing.  I hope and pray that God’s heaven is a fun and happy place, and that John is in God’s loving embrace.

When John died — 9 months ago — I didn’t know how I would be able to manage living with the grief.  I am learning how, but it does not go away.  It changes.  It does not “get better”, it gets different.  Living with it is a constant, like a lost limb. Always there, always gone.

December is busy, with church and music commitments, and that is a good thing.  There was a concert on December 13, 90 minutes, a lot of work.   The bell choir I direct was marvelous.  The children’s chime choir was really good.  The choirs sang really well, too.  I organized the reception afterwards, and that was also a success.  After the concert, more rehearsals for Christmas Eve and Midnight Mass.  I did a lot of ringing and a lot of singing at Christmas.  I wrote the very-difficult Christmas letter and mailed it.  I organized the neighborhood caroling party.


If you are a widow and live near family, you can immerse yourself in family traditions.  If you don’t live near family, you have to make choices.  You have a range of possibilities.  You may be invited to join another family’s celebrations. You may be inclined to pull the quilt over your head and stay in bed.  You may decide to go to the Bahamas. 

I baked.  I made chocolate dipped dried fruit candy.  I made peppermint bark.  I barely decorated.  I made platters of roasted vegetables, cheese, breads and meats.  And I invited people to an open house on Christmas Day for panini sandwiches and sweets.  That is my next tradition. 

Christmas knitting:

So far I’ve made 5 pairs of fingerless gloves in the pattern called Fetching from Knitty.com. I also made 2 pair of Maine Morning Mitts.  Here are 4 pair — the other three have already been gifted away.


I’m going to work next on a pattern for a men’s size, since the patterns I have are all for ladies hands.  (The colors are not quite true.  It’s the flash and the flourescent lighting, I suppose.)

New Years:

I am taking Amtrak to New Haven to visit my brother and his family.  This is from the “old” tradition — John and I tried always to go to Connecticut for New Year’s Eve.  My sister-in-law and I will shop a bit and we’ll have some outings to museums perhaps.  I have to be home for a caucus meeting on January 4.  John’s 71st birthday would have been on January 8.  We’ll get through it.

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