Mandala Madness Among Other Things

Mandala Update

The last time I blogged I mentioned how I was going to bring some of the earlier colors back into the Mandala to help keep the colors fluid. I reintroduced orange and the light yellow in Round 11. As I was working with the yellow and orange it reminded me of a sunset so I decided to make the third color red. The Mandala measures 60 1/2 inches now and I really feel it on my legs when working on it. It’s quite heavy. I don’t think I will need another blanket with it in during the winter months.

Theresa Barker inquired how long the rows are taking now. Row 74 and 75 each took an hour to do because they were simply single crochet and then treble crochet. Rows 76 and 77 took almost 3 hours each because of the long sc and having to follow different patterns in each part. At this point, I have 100 hours invested in this project and I am on row 80 with 31 more rows to go.

In Round 12, I reintroduced the turquoise, burgundy, dark blue and teal to continue with the fluidity from the earlier sections. There are shells and scallops in this section so I know I will be spending more time.

Airbnb 

We’ve hosted guests from Switzerland, Russia, and Poland thus far in addition to six U.S. travelers. We opened the door to guests on May 21st and we’ve had 12 so far. The calendar for July is pretty full already.  It’s been quite interesting to learn about the different lifestyles. I’m certainly acquiring great writing resources for down the road.

I did block the first weekend out in July after the 4th so we can go to Virginia for the oldest grandson’s 13th birthday. I still can’t believe he’s going to be 13. Time sure flies when you’re having fun.

I’ve found for practical purposes cookies for the evening and a selection of scones for breakfast work the best. This allows me to cook only twice a week instead of daily. Though as quick as my scones disappear I make them more frequently. Cranberry nut and date seem to be the most popular which surprised me. I was sure the blueberry would disappear the quickest.  My banana nut muffins vanish every time I make them. On the weekends I make sure to whip up a batch. I always have fresh fruit to complete the offering.

Writing Update

I’m still not able to get more than 30-35 minutes a day.  I’ve just too many distractions going on and feel frustrated when my to-do list doesn’t disappear. Like this afternoon, the guest needed to arrive earlier than the 4 pm check in because he had meetings to attend in the evening so I had to get things done earlier. Normally, I write in the early morning or in the early evening. But with his arrival and return time different, writing is just getting done now when I should really be hitting the sack. I only had 2 hours of sleep last night, between the knee,  my migraine and a noisy husband. I’m running on caffeine.

Tomorrow is my real time writing group, I need to get something finished to share for critique. So come hell or high water tomorrow I will find time to write.

Remodeling Projects on the house that never stops giving and giving.

I finally got the sanding done on the fireplace wall, hopefully, I’ll be able to paint it this weekend. We don’t have anyone here on Sunday thus far. In the meantime, we’re tackling a leaky pipe tomorrow. The copper pipes have been springing pin hole leaks because the water is so acidic. I’m looking at the pipes and wondering what it is doing to my skin. We’ve decided a water filtration system as soon as we can afford it is next. Our cooking water I use the Brita filter pitchers and the refrigerator has a filtered water unit for drinking.  I chuckle when I fill the cat bowls with water from the fridge because they all love when the water is cold and come over to drink immediately. Sometimes, I toss ice cubes in and Macavity has a ball batting the cubes around. Who would have thought cats have water preferences?

Inspirational Quotes

Permanence, perseverance, and persistence in spite of all obstacles, discouragements, and impossibilities: It is this, that in all things distinguish the strong soul from the weak.~ Thomas Carlyle

It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer.~ Albert Einstein

 

Enjoy your evening.

 

 

 

Life in a Nutshell

I’m on Round 73 with the Mandala. I added orange, pale yellow and red from earlier rounds to bring the colors outward. My inspiration for part 11 was the fiery sunset, the sky glowed intensely Saturday evening with the beginning of our heat wave here in Jersey. Thankfully, today is the last of this heat and air advisory. I don’t mind the heat so much but 95 is more than I enjoy.  I’m crocheting the Mandala directly under a ceiling fan or I’d be roasting. The picture doesn’t do the three colors justice but next to the blue is the orange, then its yellow followed by the cherry red and when I begin Round 74 it will be yellow again then the orange will end this part. The stitches are hdc, dc and dtr which are easy enough to do.DSC_0019

I did sneak in a mental health break and worked on a seashell hat and scarf pattern that I saw on Rhondda’s  Oombawka Design Crochet. I was very pleased with how it worked up. I’m not thrilled with the buttons I’ve come across yet so that part isn’t done yet. The brown button isn’t large enough nor does it contrast enough. The white plastic just looks cheap to me. Maybe it’s just me because I really wanted a seashell about the size of the white button but finding it thus far has been quite frustrating.

I’m inclined to have the lighter turquoise be the front versus the darker only because so much of the darker turquoise shows on the hat. This is the first time, I’ve tried Caron’s Cake skeins, I loved how the colors unfolded in this pattern. I still have a small ball of yarn after completing the scarf and hat.

If you haven’t checked out Rhondda’s patterns they work real easy with the clear instructions. I’ve included the link to the next hat I’m going to do for my grandson.

https://oombawkadesigncrochet.com/2017/06/just-my-style-hat-free-pattern.html

Writing challenge for the week wasn’t as much as I hoped but I still did accomplish 35 minutes a day with the blogging challenge I am doing on Writing.com and I wrote 2 poems that I’m still mucking with before I share them.

We’ve had guests at our home since last Tuesday until yesterday with the Airbnb part of our lives. Tuesday through Thursday, we had two writers join us because they were attending a writing conference in Princeton. Then we had a couple from DC up to watch their son in a soccer championship for the weekend. And the final guests were a one-night college couple that left a lot to be desired and encouraged me to change the details on my listing. Two of the three groups were awesome and we really enjoyed the conversations immensely. I was genuinely sad to see the DC couple leave.

After looking at Tami’s cinnamon rolls and broccoli alfredo I decided to make the alfredo Saturday evening for dinner, the lesser of the two evils much to Vic’s disappointment.  He’s not starving by a long shot. I made lemon cupcakes and apple brownies for the guests to enjoy and there were tons of leftovers. We had blueberry muffins and a lemon coffee cake for breakfast.  The alfredo, I decided to try a low-cal version with vegetable broth, flour, and a bit of olive oil instead of heavy cream with freshly grated parmesan and garlic. I added broccoli that I had sauteed with garlic and fresh herbs from the garden after the sauce began to thicken.  I love using fresh herbs. I grow rosemary, oregano, basil, thyme, chives, and sage in rail planters.   It came out so good, Tami, thanks for the inspiration.  But I can never cook just for one meal so, on Sunday, I decided to add chicken and mushrooms which definitely took it to the next level. YUM!

Yesterday, I made us grilled cheese with tomato and fresh basil on sourdough bread for lunch. It was simply too hot to eat anything heavier and besides we had a dinner plan that was a lot more appealing. We went out for an ice cream date with our grandson, Chris. I don’t know about you but when it’s 92 degrees ice cream is a perfect dinner alternative. He enjoyed having ice cream instead of dinner too.

I’ve been enjoying reading USA Through Our Eyes posts about Rochester, New York. I learned a lot about the city and saw some lovely glimpses of the area. Gabe’s digital painting is really good , you should check it out.

https://wordpress.com/read/feeds/52885002/posts/1489123409

If you’re looking for healthcare info  I suggest you check out my better half’s blog Crain’s Comments.

https://vlcrain17.wordpress.com/2017/06/13/more-scandals-in-for-profit-medicine/

He’s a researcher and enjoys helping people be prepared for life’s unexpected nuances. If you have a question, he’s the person to ask, he’s really good at finding answers to health issues.

I’m going to close with Theresa’s challenge to write with our inner child creativity inspiring us to do something different than we normally write. That in itself is difficult to do because we’re just creatures of habit. At least, I know I am and writing differently sometimes makes me feel unnerved. I need my coffee cup and my pencil in hand. Even this blog entry I wrote the jest of it on paper and then copied it here on WordPress. I feel safe with my paper and pencil.

https://wordpress.com/read/blogs/56405964/posts/6515

If you haven’t checked out Theresa’s Tattoo Girl, you’re missing an enjoyable read. I can’ t wait to see what happens next with Jaime and Corey.

 

“Life is not a problem to be solved, but a reality to be experienced. ”   

Soren Kierkegaard

 

 

 

Life’s blessings

I’ll begin with the Airbnb part of our lives, thus far we’ve had 4 ideal guests and 1 not so much but that’s to be expected. It’s not that the one did anything wrong it’s just a courtesy thing that apparently isn’t a given across cultures. If I ask someone for an exception because I can’t make it happen in the timeframe I call and update the person so they can plan accordingly. Like for instance, check in is between 4 pm and 11 pm which is a 7-hour leeway. These guests asked if they could have a bit later than 11 pm and my response was no later than midnight before they even booked with us. Midnight came and went without a word from our guests. They arrived at 2 am and all they said was we’re late, oops. So that made for a short nights sleep for us. They left at 8 am, didn’t want breakfast after I had it ready. It was annoying because I had inquired when they arrived if they wanted breakfast and at what time would work for their schedule and then to simply dismiss the effort. Communication is a great thing when both parties use it. Oh, well chalk it up to experience. I changed the wording on the check-in process, so it is clear if you are going to be later than I need to be updated with a new arrival time or the check-in time will not occur.

I was in the lower yard taking down the compost from the kitchen to the compost bin when I decided to do some weeding while I was there on Saturday. We have a small courtyard with our townhouse that borders with our neighbors. On one side I have lilies planted and I saw this vine wrapped around my lilies strangling them from my neighbor’s yard. I untangled the ivy and put it back on her side of the fence. I didn’t think anything of it just focused on getting the yard cleaned up some. I came in and washed my hands and went on with my day. I woke up Sunday morning with my right eye swollen shut and my left eye puffy but able to move, unlike my right eye. My left arm was covered with red blotches and tons of blisters. Oops, that ivy I moved was poison ivy. I applied a coffee compress to get the swelling in my eye under control and applied banana peels to my eyelids after that to draw the oil out of my eye area since I couldn’t apply calamine lotion that closes to my eyes. I took Benadryl to help with the discomfort and tried to get on with my day. Finally, I asked my husband to take me to the hospital my eyes were on fire.

At the hospital, they numbed my eyes and checked to make sure I didn’t burn my cornea because it can happen with poison ivy than they flushed my eyes with water to reduce the oil levels there. The doctor then started me on a steroid regime to help get things under control. Yesterday, I could see out of my eyes but today, I arose with my right eye swollen shut again so again with the coffee compresses. ( Coffee works very well on swelling, it reduces the swelling quickly so if you have bags under your eyes that you want to conceal try some black coffee there, it works.)  Are we having fun yet?

I have completed round 10 on the Mandala Madness project. It was very frustrating and challenging to stop and start because of the stitches involved.DSC_0012DSC_0013

As you see it has become rather ripped on the edges but the designer notes this will happen and the next rounds will flatten things back out. I did all of round 10 in sky blue and royal blue. Today, I am looking at my colors used and decided that I need to tie some of my earlier colors back into the project so I am beginning part 11 with the orange I used in the center.

Writing update, I didn’t get more than 15-20 minutes in writing over the weekend because of the eye, I’m struggling right now to see with one eye. I wish I could say I am such a good typer I don’t need to look at the keyboard but I’m not. I know where all the letters are located but fat fingers do make errors.

I’m in a blogging challenge on Writing.com so I have managed to get a blog post done each day thus far but they are really short for me. Hopefully, this is the turning point and my eyes will shrink back to their norm.

I entered one of my poems in the US 1, which is a local paper in my area for their annual local featured author’s edition coming out in July.  The editor dropped me an email and commented how unusual the poem was and that was the first time anyone had submitted a found poem to their featured collection. 🙂

We got the sheetrock hung in the living room where we are doing the renovation around the fireplace. It looks so much better than it did already and we’re not even close to being done. A friend of mine is really good at spackling so she is getting the wall ready for me to paint.  This is what it looked like with the ugly black glass and pink tile surround. My adopted grandson helping me take the old crap down.

 

Fatal Attractions and life

I was reading the latest newsletter from Book Riot about the most disturbing books and chuckled when I realized I’ve read all of the titles Romeo Rosales had listed. Oops, I definitely have eclectic and morbid reading habits. I’m sure you’ll recognize the titles, too! Why as readers are we attracted to true crimes and horror stories?

American Pyscho by Brett Ellis appealed to me because at the time I was trying to find myself similar to the author except I’m definitely female. Ellis comments about American Pyscho  “Whenever I am asked to talk American Psycho, I have to remember why I was writing it at the time and what it meant to me. A lot of it had to do with my frustration with having to become an adult and what it meant to be an adult male in American society. I didn’t want to be one because all it was about was status.” Me either, the status quo wasn’t appealing at all. The character of this book represents everything that is wrong with American culture, extreme consumerism, making a lot of money at any cost, and nihilism of some group of young people. We hate the character yet we wonder secretly if we have some of those traits. (1991) (1)

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote appealed to the younger me because I was told this book was too graphic for me to read so, of course, I snuck it and read it anyway.  In Holcomb, Kansas the Herbert Clutter family was brutally murdered in 1959. Capote and his friend Harper Lee went there to research the case. It took him 6 years to complete the first non-fiction crime drama. The killers, Richard “Dick” Hickock and Perry Smith, were arrested six weeks after the murders and later executed by the state of Kansas. I read it by flashlight in my bed at night and needless to say, I didn’t sleep well but I couldn’t put it down either. My grandmother did discover her book missing and I got grounded to boot.(1966) (2)

The Excorist by William Peter Blatty I originally saw at the drive-in theater on the Barre-Montpelier Road back in the dark ages it seems. I was a whopping 16 years old, married to my first husband when it was released. I couldn’t sleep at all that night after the movie. Nor could I forget the movie, I had to know more so I purchased the book and read it in two sittings.  I was like a moth to the flame. The novel was inspired by a 1949 case of demonic possession and exorcism according to Blatty. He heard about demonic possession while he was a student in the class of 1950 at Georgetown University. (3)

Wolf Boys by Dan Slater This was a grisly yet compelling tale of impoverished Mexican-American youth molded into assassins by Los Zetas, the fearsome drug cartel. It’s an engrossing read with a nightmarish vision of a hyperviolent and corporatized narcotics industry, seducing a new generation with minimal alternatives. A reminder what lies behind the social landscape in the border region of extreme poverty and garish wealth…elaborate courtesy and low-barbarian violence. I stayed up all night with my head wrapped up in all 352 pages because of all the media coverage about the need for a wall between our countries. A wall will not solve the issues. (2016) (4)

Blood Meridan by Cormac McCarthy I was reading a lot during this time about the old west when someone recommended this one to me. I was interested in learning more about the Glanton gang but soon found out they were not appealing characters at all. “The bulk of the novel details the gang’s conversations and depraved, murderous activities as they travel on horseback throughout the borderlands. The gang encounters a traveling carnival, and, in untranslated Spanish, each of their fortunes is told with Tarot cards. The gang originally contracts with various regional leaders to exterminate Apaches and are given a bounty for each scalp they recover. Before long, however, they murder almost anything in their path, including peaceful agrarian Indians, unprotected Mexican villagers, and even Mexican and American soldiers.” I gagged a few times but persevered to the end. Zane Grey’s book about the west are a lot easier to read than McCarthy’s. (1985) (5)

Helter Skelter  by Vincent Bugliosi  Like everyone else at the times it seems I wanted to know more about the Tate/LaBianca  murders and Charles Manson. What created this monster? Why were so many young women attracted to this morbid man?  It wasn’t enough to read the book, again that moth in the flame moment I watched the movie, too! I can’t imagine what went through Bugliosi’s mind writing the book. (1974) {6)

The Road Out of Hell by Anthony Flacco I couldn’t believe this man was a decorated WWII vet, a loving father, and grandfather in addition to being an active community member. Just goes to show how deceiving surface images can be. “The heinous murders were committed by Gordon Stuart Northcott; a Canadian-born sadist who murdered between three and twenty young boys. The story is told by Sanford Clark, Gordon’s nephew and captive from the age of thirteen to fifteen. Sanford was beaten, molested, and raped by his uncle while he was held captive. But the worst part: He was forced to take part in the murders or risk being murdered himself. ” The movie Changeling is loosely based on this book. Yup, I saw that too! (7) (8)

People are morbidly fascinated with crime scenes and horror and sadly some feel the need to replicate the scenarios.  How can we treat our fellow humans so deplorably?

While I am on this topic I would like to send prayers for all the families involved in the bombing incident in Manchester, England yesterday. I pray for a time when all violence stops and we exist peacefully together.

Speaking of peacefully, I cannot say Round 66 on my mandala has been a peaceful journey. This row and I established a love-hate relationship. I’ve taken each of the eight sides apart more than once now so the spacing works. It is so easy to miss a stitch and when you do the end of the section will not work. I am on the final section and when it is done I will share a picture with you.

In Vic and Lyn’s world, this is our first week of being an Airbnb hosts and thus far our first guest initially booked for one week but now as extended his stay for three more weeks. He is here Sunday evening and leaves on Friday morning to return to his home. He works less than a mile from our home so it works out perfectly. We have guests joining us each weekend for the next month as well.

When I put the listing up on Monday, May 15th, I never anticipated how quickly this would all come together. My husband and I did some quick renovations to our home over the weekend and finished an hour before our first guest arrived. Phew!

I hope all of our guests will be as easy as our 1st one has been. Time will tell.

My writing time took a serious hit over the weekend with all the cleaning and renovation projects but hopefully, I’ll be back on track. Yesterday, I was too tired to write and reality wise I was too tired to crochet too but I did it anyway. Unfortunately, I ended up having to take it out and fix my mistakes there too. 😦

Today, I’ve accomplished 35 minutes straight. 🙂

1.https://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/authors/interviews/article/47587-american-psycho-at-20-catching-up-with-bret-easton-ellis.html

2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/In_Cold_Blood

3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Exorcist_(novel)

4. http://www.npr.org/2016/09/10/493436482/wolf-boys-tells-the-story-of-americans-lured-to-join-mexican-drug-cartel

5. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blood_Meridian

6. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helter_Skelter_(book)

7. http://bookriot.com/2017/05/22/the-most-disturbing-book-i-have-ever-read/?utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Riot%20Rundown&utm_term=BookRiot_TheRiotRundown_Tue-Thur

8. https://anthonyflacco.com/the-road-out-of-hell/

Poets and Poetry, Writing Challenge and the Mandala

I will admit there is a smugness among poets because we try to use our poetry to make something happen or stop happening. We hang onto that thread of belief that what we wrote will shorten a nightmare, maybe even save a life. We find it unimaginable to not try with our writing.

There are definitely some bad poems out there but for every bad poem, there is the one intellectual poem that will strike a nerve. As an author on more than one occasion, a poem I’ve written has surprised me with the end result being different than where I began.

This particular poem has engaged different readers in ways I didn’t anticipate. From how did you know how alone I feel, or I’ve been there or are you okay?

Undesired

I lie

withered beside

the road like

a broken little bird

to confused to fly.

My neglected state

is apparent

even to the most

oblivious of

the oblivious.

Anger and frustration

sustain me

initially

but even that

energy fades

leaving a pitiful wisp

of what I once

was.

Now, a memory

shuffled among

many, I’ve

lost value

over time

until all

that is left

of me is

dust.©

The writing challenge had a slight bump in the road, Monday, and Tuesday no matter what I began writing ended up torn into pieces in frustration. My poor pencil snapped at one point because I was pushing so hard into the pad. Course, having my migraine spike that the control meds didn’t take the edge off didn’t help. I decided to sleep,  read some and work on the mandala until the Botox injections finally kicked in and the migraine from hades dissipated. It’s been three days since the injections and I am still struggling but at least today when I sat down to write I wrote something I liked.

Marcus sent me back my critique on Death and I and unfortunately, his commentary was the same as Vic’s that with all the time I’ve been spending trying to emulate what other authors in our local writing group do I lost my own voice in the process. So today, I went back to the table with my beloved pencil and began again line by line.

Funny thing before I knew it three hours had flown by and a whole pot of coffee drank. Oops, sorry, Vic.  (I’m a serious coffee drinker unlike my husband, he doesn’t usually drink more than one cup whereas I am usually a pot and more. I sleep like a baby every night regardless what time I indulge.) For this week, Theresa, Ronel, Tami I have almost 5 hours accomplished, although 2 I really feel were unproductive.

I did get some blog reading done. I spent some time with usathroughtyoureyeswith Audrey, Tom, and Emma (their dog). I also tried finger crocheting without much success, Yolanda. I did enjoy catching up with your crochet posts. The sweater is gorgeous but she (Yolanda) is frustrated with the sleeves. My only crochet clothing projects were vests for my children when they were younger. I do hats and scarves quite often because I love the look of Tunisian stitches. I’ve avoided shirts because of the sleeves and the way they drape or don’t drape as she discovered. Misstalkaholic had an interesting post about the Wagah border I enjoyed in addition to her examples of baggy shirts and wearing options. I’m guilty of liking loose baggy shirts untucked and just hanging there but then I’m 61 years old and comfort matters immensely to me. Tami is trying out bloglovin. I wish you lots of luck Tami.  I blog on Writing.com, I don’t have time to commit to another site beyond here and there. I did see oceanoriginals is looking for pattern testers. I briefly contemplated that and decided not to stretch myself any thinner than I already am.

We’re on Airbnb now, trying to earn some much-needed money to finish the renovations in this stone fortress so I really need to stay on top of the house cleaning and not let my furballs get to out of hand.

Mandala update:

I’m on round 66, the most challenging row thus far I have encountered. The directions are a bit complicated and working with two yarns at once have definitely slowed my progress. I’m working with baby blue and royal blue in this section which is Part 10. The designer did note there are only two colors in this part.

Round 64 and 65 were a snap unlike 66. I have taken it apart now 3 times because I messed up the popcorn spacing and the changing of colors which shows big time if you don’t have it as directed. It didn’t help either that Purryl, our oldest tabby, decided to chew the yarn I had pulled out either. A migraine didn’t help either.

“Pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our consciences, but shouts in our pains. It is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.” ― C.S. Lewis

I’m taking my time and checking often now so I don’t have to take it apart again. Plus I moved to the table so the mandala did not lay on top of me because it is mighty toasty here. I could give in and put the AC on but I’m resisting. We’ve been shut up for so long I want to hear the birds sing, and even that crazy woodpecker who’s clearly not working for the government because I can see his accomplishments .:)

“Patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet.” ― Aristotle

Have a great day!

Mandela Madness Part 9

This has been a relaxing selection in the Mandala crochet journey with very simple stitches and an opportunity to make sure my stitches are exact. If your using only the video it doesn’t provide you a check process like the typed our version on the designer’s site does.  I have found the stitch count at the end of each row a godsend as the size grew.  Thankfully, I only had to adjust one section of the eight sides. 🙂 http://www.crystalsandcrochet.com/mandala-madness-part-9/

It is 57 inches in circumference now.  I worked with lavender which reminds me of my lovely lilacs blooming outside. I chose the teal oddly enough because I was wearing the same color shirt and I hadn’t used it in awhile so I worked with the teal. I do want to use each color six times throughout the mandala. I chose the vivid pink because my rose buds are just beginning to open. I hope the crazy wind and torrential rain we’re having today don’t knock them all off.

I looked ahead at section 10 Tami, you may want to as well before drawing your next Tarot card. Part 10 is a large section but only uses 2 colors one is the background and one is foreground, it makes a flower with one color and the other is the backing which really highlights the flower.

As I studied part 10 and tossed around different color choices I decided that checking out the next round would help me make an informative decision. Wow, there was a mandala done totally in black and white, it’s gorgeous. The creator is Ineke Mooijenkind, from Gouda in the Netherlands .

What caught my attention even more … directions to square the edges at the end to better fit a bed. I’m definitely doing that. So there goes, I only have 50 more rounds to go out the window. I don’t know how many rounds it will take yet.

IMG_3148a

That’s Ineke lying on her masterpiece. I love how the black and white looks, I may do a second one now that I’ve seen the black and white together.

Writing Challenge Update

I managed to get 90 minutes in yesterday but not consecutively. I took a nap yesterday afternoon after hearing about my brother-in-law’s passing. Vic and I played cribbage over dinner and then I decided to log into Writing.Com and respond to the prompts I posted the night before in Blog City and BCoF. These are blogging groups that I manage on the site. In Blog City, I work with Joy, Megan and Norb, we each post prompts for the bloggers to respond to in their blogs. As leaders, we interact with them and the other bloggers encouraging conversation. IN BCoF, it is Neva and I and we also post prompts and interact with the bloggers. Between the two groups, there are 180 bloggers signed up but on the daily average, we have about 35 active bloggers each day. I responded to all the bloggers that wrote on my day in the two groups and wrote a blog entry myself.

Today, was day 2 of my turn for Blog City I’ve blogged and replied to my fellow bloggers and now I’m here putting this entry up. So far I’ve written 90 minutes and this entry isn’t done yet. 🙂  I enjoy blogging to different prompts because it is kind of like a warm up exercise for me.

Last night, I caught up on reading some of the different bloggers I follow on WordPress too. I encourage you to read Haunted by Wedding Dresses, it’s an interesting twist about voices in a woman’s head.

https://theresabarkerlabnotes.com/2017/05/12/haunted-by-wedding-dresses-part-5/

I learned a lot about monkeys and their connection in different cultures as well reading Ronel’s blog.

https://ronelthemythmaker.wordpress.com/2017/05/11/monkeys-in-mythology-and-folklore-folklorethursday/

I checked out the collection of  Printables on  Wulfie’s Essentials, she’s right there is nothing more frustrating then to see something advertised for free and then when you get there its another story.

Collection of Printable’s for All Crafters!

Timing is everything when I saw Tami’s Chocolate Truffle Cheesecake I was lying in bed and too dang lazy to get out of bed instead I dreamed a very non-caloric dream of chocolate dancing in my head. But I did leave a message asking what time is dinner and dessert Wednesday so we can drop in.

Chocolate Truffle Cheesecake Recipe

The problem with making all those tempting desserts in my home is there is only the two of us and we are dieting. ( Yes, Vic we are)  Desserts are dangerous when it comes to calories and are never done in one serving here.  Having a dessert at a restaurant does have its advantages, there are no leftovers to finish.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the awesome Moms out there.

“Youth fades; love droops; the leaves of friendship fall; A mother’s secret hope outlives them all.” —Oliver Wendell Holmes

Honoring a young man from my home state of Maine

I want to extend my condolences to the family of Senior Chief Special Warfare Operator Kyle Milliken, 38, he was killed during the raid on May 5 about 40 miles west of Mogadishu, the Pentagon said in a release. Milliken was a native of Falmouth, Maine and assigned to a Navy unit based in Virginia Beach. Milliken served in Iraq and Afghanistan, earning four Bronze Star medals.

Please add his family to your prayers.

 

Round 7 Mandala Madness complete and Tai Chi

Phew,  Round 7 was a difficult section for me. I had to take out row 49 because somehow I forgot the half-double crochets in between the double crochets. Once I got that right, came the decision on whether to remain with the same color or change. I decided blue but then realized that the last time the pattern called for bobbles I had used blue. Dang, so I made another color change again. Candy apple red or so the yarn claims.  I’ve used 2 shades of green, 2 shades of red,  2 shades of blue, 2 shades of yellow,  1 pink, orange, black and white thus far. I still have 2 shades of purple, 2 shades of brown and one more shade of blue to add into my mandala.

I have just completed Round 52 and it is now 48 inches across. Our table is 60 inches around, I’m excited to see it reach the edge of the table. I can’t say I’m fond of the white at this point but it is part of my journey.

This past weekend we attended International Tai Chi Day with our dear friend and instructor Marcus Carbos at the Norcom Center in Philadelphia.

Tai chi does not mean oriental wisdom or something exotic. It is the wisdom of your own senses, your own mind and body together as one process. ~Chungliang Al Huang

Of all the exercises I’ve tried thus far, I think that T’ai Chi is the best. Our instructor swears it can ward off disease, banish worry and tension, bring improved physical health and prolong life. It is a good hobby to begin at any point in life because it is suitable for everyone – the weak, the sick, the aged, children, the disabled and blind. It is also an economical exercise. As long as one has three square feet of space, one can take a trip to paradise and stay there to enjoy life for thirty minutes without spending a single cent. So far, I’ve lost weight and improved my balance. ❤
“Tai chi is the one exercise that can universally help solve our growing health crisis. It has stood the test of thousands of years. We have a generation of baby boomers with increasing health problems; old people who are sick, in pain, fearful, and cranky; a middle class that is increasingly incapable of affording most of the drugs that are prescribed for their ailments; children that are flaccid, diabetic and asthmatic. People of all ages are addicted to drugs, alcohol, sugar, cigarettes, and caffeine. Stress follows almost everyone like a shadow. “~Bruce Frantzis

Life comes with way too much stress like you I am looking for ways to reduce its impact without giving up my precious coffee.

Thursday night, Vic and I will be in Philly hearing Hal Holbrook doing Mark Twain Live. Holbrook’s been doing the show since it debuted in 1954 at the then-Lock Haven State Teachers College in north-central Pennsylvania. In 1966, he took the show to Broadway, where it won him a Tony; the TV version the next year won him his first of five Emmys.

For more than 62 years straight, more than 2,200 performances, Holbrook, now 92, has taken Twain on the road. Twain himself lived to be 74. Holbrook changes the show “all the time, suiting it to the moment, the time, the place, what just happened. Holbrook estimates he has worked up more than 15 hours of Twain material, an astonishing feat of memory. “When I come to Philadelphia,” he says, “I want to avoid stuff that I did before, and to make sure that I include material that seems to be talking about what’s happening today.”

I can’t help but wonder what Twain would think of our country today.

 

Let’s have coffee together

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Good Morning, Good Afternoon, Good Evening… I think I have everyone covered.

I’m on Round 7 of the Mandala Madness. Phew. Round 6 had some interesting quirks that hopefully, I won’t be repeating the same errors. No worries, it’s not with the pattern at all. It was totally my yarn choices. I chose my light turquoise yarn to do the shells in Round 39 which was a huge mistake because in Round 41 you are using the back loop of Round 39.  You’re probably thinking so… well the turquoise wasn’t a Caron or a Redheart yarn which hold up very well with more complicated stitches. The turquoise was a Bernina product and it was very disappointing in this case. It kept splitting apart and stretching which means I had to work slower and pick up a lower stitch behind it to help reinforce the back stitch.  😦

I decided after this frustrating round I would read ahead instead of simply following the video. Esther is great but I need to plan so I am not stressed with my work. It defeats the whole meditation process if you’re frustrated.

http://www.crystalsandcrochet.com

The designer’s website provided me with all the tools I needed to plan ahead. Wow, it’s not a lap size blanket as I originally thought to glance at the videos. It’s 7 feet, okay I’m working on a queen size bed project. I can do this.  It’s 111 rounds. I can do that too.

Then I got thinking how to best maximize my color usage. I decided on 18 colors that would give me the vibrancy I am looking for in the finished product. These colors are very prominent in nature and in my home. That’s even better. Eighteen colors means I will be repeating the colors 6 times if I want to have a color balance throughout the project. I can do this.

Since we last discussed colors introduced I added white to my mandala because I wanted innocence to be among my meditative journey. As I completed the white round and was moving on to the next round I remembered how quickly as a child I lost that innocence in my life. I was only nine when my father decided to steal my childhood from me.

 I saw her nine-year-old trusting eyes

trying to cope with her father’s lies.

Her cheeks streaked with silent tears

whenever he tossed back a few beers.

She felt the guilt inside her swell

her young body revolted with the smell.

Needless to say, my color change became abrupt in the next round from white to black. Just like in my life, innocence shattered so did the colors in my mandala.  Unfortunately, so did my peaceful crocheting experience.

I wrote in my journal and wrote 2 poems discussing the abuse I faced as a child. Overall, it became a productive writing day and helped me get back on track for my next color choice which is gold.

I chose gold because I know how important it is to strive every day to be your best. It’s often said that change is the only constant in life. Yet humans are evolutionarily predisposed to resist change because of the risk associated with it. I feel change is essential to our existence, granted there will be the moment of relapse as I had yesterday but it’s important to recognize that you can’t linger in the painful memory you must move on.

When you’re finished changing, you’re finished. -Benjamin Franklin

I cannot say whether things will get better if we change; what I can say is they must change if they are to get better. -Georg C. Lichtenberg

If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude. -Maya Angelou

Be the change that you wish to see in the world. -Mahatma Gandhi

Thank you for joining me on this journey.  Crochet on… Write on