Saturday, January 30, 2010

Snow Day!

Yesterday was a rare treat for me. I got a snow day! As I got ready for my 45-minute trek to downtown Nashville yesterday for another day and another dollar, I was grumbling and mumbling to myself about being the only one in my house that had to get out. About 15 minutes from the house, a mix of sleet and snow began to fall. "No worries," I thought, "I'll just go on in to the office and leave a little early." I'm rather stingy with my allotment of days off and I hated to burn one of them if I didn't have to.

I made my way in to work with no problems at all, but the snow was definitely falling more heavily. I worked at my desk with one eye on my work and the other on the weather outside. At 10:30, we were all told to go home and to be safe. Yes!!! Thank you!!!

Although the roads were merely wet, traffic crawled along on the interstate at about 10 mph. You see, we don't get much snow around here and there are many many many who go into a panic when they see bits of white fluff falling from the sky. (See The White Death posted by Knitty Bits.) We have been told about a great terror often seen in the north called Black Ice. Some of us think that it is an invisible substance that will leap out to cause death and destruction if we dare to drive over 10 mph.

Here's what I get for all my snarky remarks (you'd think I should know better):

I drove home and didn't encounted any slick roads until I was about 5 miles from home. I live about 5 miles back a narrow, winding, hilly road, with creeks, steep dropoffs, and deep ditches along the sides of the road. Those of us who have lived in these parts for many years have learned to respect The Hill -- an extremely steep, winding hill that levels out in a hairpin curve with a creek on the other side. Whenever there is ice and snow present, wise drivers stop before the plummet down The Hill and test it out before gingerly inching down. One cannot see to the bottom of The Hill to determine the conditions, so, once the descent is begun, there is no turning back.

Yesterday, there was a large pickup truck in front of me, carrying a heavy load of a camo 4-wheeler and some other equipment that I could not see about to make the descent. The driver (wearing a confederate flag ball cap) got out, put chains on the tires while I rolled my eyes, and began the downward journey at about 1 mph, stopping completely every 6 inches. Chains? Was he serious? I mean, we only had about 1 inch of snow at that point, and the county always salts The Hill, so there's usually some traction to be found. I followed along as he rolled forward until he arrived at the steepest part of The Hill where he stopped completely and inched about a foot at a time to the left side of the road so that he could drive with 2 wheels off of the road. Again I thought, "You have to be kidding me!" We had both just been passed by a truck coming up The Hill the other way. How bad could it be? Isn't getting up a slick hill harder than going down? Apparently not. . .

Once the truck made it down The Hill and around the hairpin curve, I noticed that he was stopped and was watching me. "OK, I'll show him how this is done," I thought. I slowly moved forward and very soon found the spot where he had encountered his challenge. Yikes! I was sliding in super slo-mo toward a deep, gravely, axle-scraping, car crunchin ditch and all I could do was hold my breath. I stopped short of certain disaster and tried to make it to the other side of the road, as the object of my previous ridicule had done. Every time I would make a little progress, I would then start sliding toward the yawning mouth of death on the other side of the road. After this back and forth battle that seemed to go on for hours (while the truck driver before me and 2 drivers behind me watched), I stopped, took a deep breath and prayed "God, please get me down this hill. Or at least let me go off the road over there, and not end up in this ditch." I swear to you that, after that prayer, I moved forward, slipped only a little, and was able to make the rest of the trip down.

The truck driver, as it turns out, was quite a gentleman -- and had a lovely Italian accent -- quite a nice surprise in the backwoods of Tennessee. He stopped me once we were on a level part of the road and asked me about my car. He told me that he was sure I was headed for the ditch. He had been waiting and watching to see if I needed help -- a guardian angel in camo and a confederate flag cap.

And, yes, there is knitting at the end of this story. I got home to my family, collapsed on the couch, and finished my alpaca/wool/bamboo scarf:

Saturday, January 16, 2010

A Cup of Cold Water

"And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is my disciple, I tell you the truth, he will certainly not lose his reward." Matthew 10:42

My heart has been heavy all week with the news of the earthquake, the devastation, the images of the dead, the hurting, the mourning, and my helplessness. My brother and sister-in-law, Jeff and Vicki Rogers, work for an organization named G.O. Ministries that ministers to the poor on the island of Hispaniola, where both the Dominican Republic and Haiti are located. They travel back and forth from the States to the DR and into Haiti, and have over the years made Haiti much more real to me through their stories and pictures.

"What difference can I make?" you may ask yourself. There is much evidence already that God builds on what each of us do individually. One newspaper reported that, as of Thursday night, $7 million had been raised through cell phone pledges of $10 each, by texting "Haiti" to 90999. Most everyone in the U.S. can come up with $10. My kids blew me away today by telling me that they wanted me to donate their month's allowances to the relief effort. They are 11 and 13.

G.O. Ministries has already managed to acquire the use of 2 planes to shuttle supplies and has set up their headquarters in Santiago, DR, as a staging area for medical supplies, food, water, and emergency supplies. A couple of their American missionaries who live in Santiago full-time chartered a boat and have traveled up the coast of Haiti to rescue a mission team stranded there. Two truckloads of supplies will go out to the coast to be delivered by boat tomorrow and, hopefully the first of many flights will go in to Jacmel with supplies for some orphanages.

Please plug in, get involved, contribute something -- whether it's prayers, time, money, encouragement -- find a way to help. Everything counts. God will use it all to his glory.

Click the link to see a great example of the work God does through regular, everyday people. This is outside Santiago, DR. It was built by hand, one cinder block at a time, with no machinery, but lots of love. I am blessed that God used my unskilled hands to help, if only for a few precious days, with this project: Brisas update

"Dear children, let us not love with word or tongue, but with actions and in truth." 1 John 3:18

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Baby, It's Cold Outside!

OK, folks. When I tell people I love winter, I mean the 30-ish degree winters we are used to in the Middle Tennessee area. It's 15 stinkin' degrees outside right now! What? I am not prepared for this! Last year, in a fit of declutteritis, I donated my heavy coat that had not been worn in about 5 years. The girls, deciding that their coats were uncool ("Mom! No one wears pink anymore!"), put theirs in the Goodwill bag too. Only The Man, who breaks out in hives if forced to get rid of anything and is, in fact, the ultimate pack rat (ask me about the 3-legged chair he brought home once), has a warm coat to wear.

Ah well, this too shall pass. Given our fickle weather, it could be 70 degrees here tomorrow. I shall, in the meantime, snuggle into my favorite corner of the couch, with may faithful guardians, Sammy and Rosco, and cast on something new. Perhaps it is time to fashion a mate for that fingerless mitt I made for a friend several months (or could it be more than a year?) ago. Poor little fella:

I am proud to say that I have finished my first project for 2010. This was a free pattern I found thru Ravelry - Susie's Reading Mitts courtesy of Dancing Ewe Yarns. I started them on 12/30 and polished them off last night (1/2). These will go in the mail to my sis-in-law this week. Hope she enjoys them! I may have to make myself a pair.

First, I'll have to buy some new dpns. I had about 1/2 inch of the hand to do and the thumb still unknit, when 2 of my #4 dpns fell into the crevice between the couch cushions -- the attached couch cushions. When I was feeling around in the cracks with my hand, the needles worked their way into a much smaller crevice in the couch frame, never to be heard from again. @$&*(#*&@! I rummaged thru my stash of circulars and found a set of #3.5s. I was able to finish off last little bit of knitting with those, knitting a bit more loosely than normal. Crisis averted! Mitts were saved from the dreaded Abyss (bottom of the knitting basket).

I hope y'all have a wonderful new year full of lots of fibery goodness, many blessings, and a life abundant!