A Busy Saturday

I try to not schedule anything out of the ordinary on Saturdays for I need the day to finish preparing for Sunday service and rest.

Today was an anomaly.

Sure, a basic house cleaning is normal. I did get in a couple hours of studying this afternoon and a couple more this evening but I’m not nearly as settled with the lesson and sermon as I like. I have confidence that it will all work out, after all, I have the best Teacher/Guide possible!

Today was fun!

Baked a couple pies this morning then a spinning / knitting friend drove down from Portland to deliver chunks of crabapple trunk and limbs that her neighbor had cut down this week. Afterwards we went to Silverton to hang out awhile at Apples to Oranges, the fabulous yarn store, where we met up with another fiber friend, and bought goodies. I resisted fiber, bought a set of needed dpns and caved on some stitch markers. Afterward we trooped up the street to a restaurant to have lunch and chat.

Suddenly it was almost 2pm, time to scurry back home before leaving again, at 4, with¬†pie, for a birthday barbecue with family and friends. ¬†We got there early so I could help set up. While waiting for everyone to arrive I was able to get several more rows knitted on the hand warmers that will be a Christmas gift. The fun part? Knitting them in front of her and she has no idea. ūüôā

This first go-round on Wednesday turned out too big.
That one, above, was frogged. Size US5 / 3.75mm ¬†needles were exchanged for US3 / 3.25mm. The first mitt is now to the point of starting the gusset. Perhaps tomorrow I’ll take a picture to post here.

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What have I gotten myself in to?

On a whim this past May I attended a Toastmaster’s open-house event. Years ago we had a friend who encouraged us to join as he thought it was the best experience for helping people not only with talking but in listening. A friend’s name was on the list of the current Toastmaster, knowing someone there made it easier to take that deep breath and walk in the door where I was immediately and warmly greeted.

I loved the vibe, the people, the enthusiasm and the positive feedback people gave to those who gave speeches. After the second week I became a member.

Every week I dream of quitting, to drop this weekly obligation of being in town before 7:30 on Friday mornings. It doesn’t take long after the meeting begins to remember why I continue.

Someone put my name in one of the googledoc slots as a speaker tomorrow. I’d noticed it over two weeks ago. I’ve had plenty of time to prepare. In fact, I was scheduled to speak in August but cancelled the night before due to not feeling confident and prepared. I’ve given two other speeches, the introductory “Ice Breaker” and one I called “The Original Intentional Spinner”. ¬†But the topic that’s been bumping around in my thoughts for a number of months is personal, and controversial. I do not feel prepared
with a passionate, informed, well reasoned speech.

This is short. I need to get a good night’s sleep, wake up early in the morning to finalize the last bits into place.

Michelle asked to see a picture of my neighbor’s wolfhound, Shayna.
Here’s a picture that I posted a year ago, she was not quite 3 years old:I’ll try to get a better, updated picture of her next time we walk.

A Day of Rest

This week God has been impressing on me the need to “cease striving and know that I am God.” Ps 46:10

He longs to communicate with us but He doesn’t use loud winds, earthquakes or fires – we hear Him best when we’re quiet.

Following church service on Sunday mornings I like to rest. To be quiet, to think, read, and listen. I often knit or spin as those activities can clear space in my head enabling me to listen better.
Sometimes Ed and I will go for a leisurely bike ride, or I join my neighbor for a walk but usually it’s an afternoon of relaxing, of stepping away from work and expectations.

It’s not easy with the frenetic pace that so easily entangles us! I have to intentionally make space. To slow down, be still, see the beauty of God’s creation, to know Him.

I want to cultivate peace. In my inner life, in my home and with others.

I hope you’ve taken the day to rest, to be recharged, renewed.

Pictures taken during a morning walk in late October.
Scotts Mills Friends Church

Hiking at Silver Falls

DSC05523-001Throughout April thoughts of blogging would cross my mind but by evening either I was knitting or spinning (usually some of each) with little desire to be staring at a screen. I even started working on some photos shortly after hiking at Silver Falls State Park; editing them and uploading them in readiness to blog before getting sidetracked and forgetting all about them until this evening.

Looking back I’m struck by all the goodness that April held, despite the exceedingly many days of rain. Towards the end of March a friend, Rose, who works in Slovakia emailed to let me know she was coming to Oregon, would I be able to walk the loop at Silver Falls ¬†April 3rd. Knowing how wet some of the sections of those trails can be, especially going behind the falls I told her I’d pray for clear¬†weather.

While there were downpours the week leading up to the hike we had two days of no rain and the morning dawned sunny. What a blessing! A Slovak friend, Ren,  accompanied Rose in order to practice English and see this part of America. Two other friends of Rose who live relatively close by, joined the hiking party.DSC05523-001
Can you make out the specks in the center of the picture on the backside of the falls? They are people on the trail that passes behind South Falls.

I was surprised at this chunky, sturdy fence. For many decades there had only been a small metal handrail between the trail and edge, a thin barrier that made parents fervently grasp their children’s hands. DSC05529
The path is now narrower but significantly safer.
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Looking back from the other side.
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Looking back up the trail.
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Instead of walking the big loop we ended up taking one of the shorter loops of just under three miles. Wildflowers, moss draped branches and the rushing creek caused us to stop numerous times to marvel at all the beauty we were walking through.
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I should return mid-summer to snack on the fruit of this blossom,
salmon berries.
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Down, down switchback steps to Lower South Falls.
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We’ve had 148 days of rain since Oct 1st, which was evident in the thick moss and fast flowing water. This past February was the wettest on record for Salem, dating back into the 1800’s, with March close behind,¬†and it looks like April will also finish in a top position for rainfall amounts. Crazy wet!

The sun shining through the trees felt like grace.
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Looking across the canyon at the steps we’d just descended.
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Going down meant going back up, and up the other side.
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Near the top Rose took a break to hug a tree, after all, she is a native Oregonian!
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Crossing the tiny Frenchie Creek Falls plummeting 48 feet — which only runs during wet seasons —¬†presented a¬†perfect photo-op for the bit of spinning I managed while on the trail.
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Back at the top of South Falls for one last look.
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What a wonderful, refreshing day! I hadn’t realized how much I’d needed to take a walk in the woods, along a creek, with friends.

By the end of the day, this is how I felt:
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Ebo didn’t seem to mind dangling¬†off¬†the chair.

Challenges

Sourdough bread is baking in the oven. This time I hope it’s a success.¬†I tried making sourdough a year ago. It baked into a tasty failure. I’d used¬†a powdered sourdough starter with a recipe that looked promising. Sadly, the bread did not rise in the oven. Instead it stayed a low lump becoming an extremely dense, chewy bread.

This time around I’m trying a recipe from a bread book that’s supposedly an authentic San Francisco sourdough recipe. It calls for making the starter the old fashioned way by putting some milk, water and flour into a bowl which sat at the back of the stove for 2 days ¬†“capturing” the wild yeast in the air. The adventure¬†started it last Wednesday morning with periodic additions of water and flour. The dough smelled wonderfully fragrant by yesterday morning and the scent of the baking bread right now is tantalizing.

February has been the wettest month on record in this area of Oregon. Perfect weather for soups and homemade bread. Other places have had record snowfall, fortunately we’re only about 300 feet above sea level so we only dealt with snow off and on from mid-December until the 2nd week of January. More days of snow than normal, which Ed and I enjoyed. We’re fortunate to work from home. Church was canceled on January 8th after I checked¬†the hill to the church assessing the situation. Frozen rain early that morning on top of the layer of snow still on the ground and roads coated everything with ice.

The Surprise Jacket isn’t much larger than in the last post. It¬†was bigger until I saw a major error way down about 4 inches from the cast on row. It sat in time-out for a couple weeks and now sees only sporadic action as spinning has taken precedence.

I joined the Jenkins YarnTools Ravelry group in the February Challenge. What a great challenge for it forced me out of my comfort zone for spinning.
The challenge was to¬†select a mixture of 10 or more colors and/or fibers totaling 50 grams, blend & spin. Stash busting opportunity! The ten colors were from various rovings plus¬†light grey angora, dark grey alpaca, a light brown/grey romney/cotton blend, and white BFL/silk.¬†Working with so many colors was definitely not a direction I’d normally choose.

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Hoping to avoid a muddy looking yarn each of the above segments of colors/roving/wools were divided into 4 equal piles which were then arranged into two groups destined for the 2 singles.

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I started off using hand carders during the monthly spinning group,
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but it didn’t take long to realize a more time efficient method was required.

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Off and on through the years I’ve tackled batts and rolags but always¬†return to spinning from combed top. I love how¬†smooth fibers slip through my fingers. Dealing with slubs and odd bits doesn’t feel right, no matter how I try drawing the fibers into the twist.

Despite not enjoying the feel of the fibers or the way I needed to be more careful to spin such variety as smoothly and evenly as possible, I was happily surprised with the colors of the singles.
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In the end I’m very pleased with the yarn and am glad that I took on the challenge.
50 grams, approximately 82 yards.
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The bread is out of the oven and has cooled off enough to eat. It’s still more dense and chewy than I’d hoped, though not as bad as last year’s attempt, and it is delicious. I need to figure out what needs to be done to make it lighter, more airy.

Down when it counts

Reconnecting with Rachel is a highlight of visiting Moscow, ID. I met her when we moved to Flagstaff, AZ. She was a math major at NAU, I was a senior at Coconino High (such a fun word to say and spell). Transferring from Monument Valley High, a school on the Navajo Rez with a total student body of less than 300 to Coconino where there were 300 in the Senior class was a huge adjustment. Rachel and I became friends through our parents. I enjoyed many hours at their house playing table games, laughing, singing and sharing food.

After setting up our space¬†Friday morning in the historic building where the Palouse Fiber Festival was held Ed brought me a slice of pizza and big hazelnut latte to energize me before the marketplace opened at 1pm. I’d been slowly moving on low energy all morning. Low blood pressure had kicked in. Around 11pm I woke up,¬†heart pounding, hands and arms tingly, numb.¬†¬†Dysautonomia had kicked in worse than I’d ever experienced. ¬†Through out the night I sipped the electrolyte water that I try to always have handy to get the electrolytes back in balance. It didn’t work. If we had been home I would have woken Ed up to take me to the ER. There was no way I wanted to disturb his sound sleep and drag him to find a hospital who knows where, not when we had a show to do, a workshop to teach and the keynote to give Saturday. I prayed desperately to¬†just fall back to¬†sleep and wake up feeling great.

Dragging myself out of bed the next morning Ed took one look at me and firmly said¬†I wasn’t going anywhere that day. He could manage just fine, no worries, no problem. He’d give my apology to Shelley for getting so sick. All of Saturday through the first half of Sunday I was laid low, drifting between the couch and the bed. Definitely one of those times when I couldn’t do anything but sleep. Waking up long enough to drink some more water, lots of water and periodically a bit of chicken broth that Rachel would bring to¬†me. Her daughter and mother-in-law stopped by to take Rachel to lunch. Polly’s m-i-l has been an herbalist for over twenty years¬†working with¬†her naturopath¬†husband. She brought me a bottle of tablets to take for heart well-being. I’m so grateful for her knowledge and kindness! That large bottle of tablets has been very helpful during these past five months when I’ve felt the symptoms getting out of control.

Ed picked me up shortly after 2:30 pm Sunday afternoon. We loaded the rest of our gear in the car and headed west to get as far as Ed could drive before fatigue took over. We made it to Hermiston, OR before Ed’s sciatica kicked in big time and we had to stop for the night. Just across from the motel was a Sheri’s restaurant. Perfect. Ed couldn’t have driven any further and¬†I finally felt like eating something with substance, the first time since the bowl of Rachel’s delicious chicken soup on Friday evening. Her making an abundant amount of that soup with lots of rich broth proved to be a tremendous blessing.

By morning I was feeling much better though still not enough energy to drive. Instead I got to take more pictures.
That white blob middle right is the top of Mt St Helens, the volcano that blew her top in 1980.

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Mt Hood. seeming to tower above the top of the John Day Dam.

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Sam Hill’s¬†Stonehedge, an exact replica of the one in England, built as the first memorial to the WWI soldiers who’d lost their lives.
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The Columbia Sternwheeler. Someday I’d love to take this cruise.

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Near the western end of the Columbia Gorge the final high point, Crown Mountain with the Observation House on the old scenic highway. The best place to visit and take in the views of the Columbia Gorge..

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Between good hours of sleep the next two days, pacing myself, drinking lots of water, and prayer by Thursday morning when we headed to the Black Sheep Gathering I was feeling pretty much back to normal.

The worst thing about getting knocked down like that was letting¬†down Shelley and all the people who’d signed up for the plant fiber spindling class; missing out on interacting with customers, some who drove long distances – one woman on Friday had driven up from Nevada; and missing Ed’s keynote speech. I’ve heard glowing reports: he had people laughing, and wiping away a few tears. I wish I could have been there.

Tomorrow I’ll write about Dysautonomia and include some helpful links in case anyone out there would be interested.¬†It’s something that more people should be aware of for I have the feeling there are a number of undiagnosed people who deal with low blood pressure, not feeling good, low energy, foggy-brained, along with other possible manifestations.

I’m so thankful for Rachel’s loving care when I was so sick at her house!