More from the Knit Wit

Well this knitting thing is actually turning out okay.  Once I finally figured out how to cast on, and spent way too much time figuring out how to actually knit a row and purl another, I've decided that this just might work out.

Knitting gives me an opportunity to sit quietly and calm my mind.  I can spend time listening to a TV program and not feel guilty for wasting time.  It also gives me a wonderful opportunity to let my mind wander.  Just this afternoon, while Gerry and the dogs were napping on the sofa, I made plans for Christmas gifts, prayed for family and friends, mentally worked on my memoir, all while knitting.  All in all, I'd say it was time well spent.

On another note, we were out shopping today and came across a Skechers shoe store.  We had never heard of them before, but we had an opportunity to each try a pair of Skechers Shape-Up's on.  I must say that they were the most comfortable shoes I've ever had on my feet.  We are thinking about getting a pair, but they are a bit pricey.  I'm wondering if any of my bloggy friends have heard of them, or even have a pair?

Knit Wit

I am trying to learn how to knit.  People have been telling me how relaxing that they find it, and goodness knows that I'm in the market for some relaxation techniques.

So, on Sunday afternoon I took a little trip to the store and picked up a learn-to-knit book, some needles and yarn.  Then I settled in for a hour or so of relaxation.  It was not to be.

Maybe it's just me, but those little diagrams in the book made very little sense to me.  I tried and tried, but couldn't understand what they were trying to tell me to do in order to cast on.

After a while, I put the book down and went to u-tube to see if there were any lessons on there.  (Isn't the internet wonderful?!)  I found a little lesson, watched it three times, and still didn't understand it.

So much for a Sunday afternoon of relaxation.

Well since then, I think I've managed to master casting on.  I think I have figured out the knit stitch, still working on the purl stitch.  The little sample piece I"m working on looks pretty rough - obviously this is going to take some practice.

Relaxing?  Not quite yet.

Elevator Woes

Writers sometimes refer to it as the "elevator synopsis". It is a concise summary of their book that they have prepared in advance. The reference to an elevator means that the description has to be short enough so that it could be used if the author was asked about his piece while in an elevator with someone (like an agent or publisher!).

I've been thinking about my own elevator synopsis for the memoir I am working on. I am finding that it's a good exercise to help me focus on why I'm writing, who I'm writing for, and what to include in the work.

I've also been thinking about an elevator synopsis for My Own Velvet Room. That seems to be a bit harder to come up with. Like many of us, my reason for blogging has changed and morphed into different facets during the time I've been here. To narrow all of that down to a concise sentence or two seems daunting.

My Own Velvet Room is where I share a bit about family, my experience as an adoptee, my ancestors, books I enjoy, my writing experiences. It's sometimes introspective, sometimes humorous, sometimes poignant, also contains the occasional rant. There isn't a single theme or focus, in fact it's quite eclectic in content.

To explain all that my blog is during an elevator ride, I would have to resort to pushing the buttons for all of the floors so that it would stop at each floor, thus prolonging the ride to the desired floor. Likely not the way to win friends.

I'll keep thinking about it, and I welcome any and all suggestions!

Trees and Seasons

As I drive into my neighborhood lately I am taken aback with the stunning display of various kinds of trees in brilliant autumn splendor. I can't help but slow down so I can enjoy the various shades of orange, red, and yellow before me.

My enjoyment of the brilliance of the change of seasons this year has caused me to reflecti on the change of seasons in my own life, and the lives of women around me.

I googled life expectancy and found out that the average woman born when I was can expect to live until age 74. Then, I did a little bit of math to calculate my age in terms of the months of the year.

Jan = 6
Feb = 12
Mar = 19
Apr = 25
May = 31
Jun = 37
Jul = 43
Aug = 49
Sep = 56
Oct = 62
Nov = 68
Dec = 74

That makes me a September.

Think about nature and how the trees begin to change in September as they prepare for the coming winter. I like to think that at age 50 I am beginning to display my own brilliant colors in the form of wisdom, creativity, and being willing to share the gifts that I've been given.

The leaves that are so beautiful right now will soon fall and turn into mulch and compost to feed that very tree from which they fall. The organic matter that they turn into will also nourish new sprouts in the future.

In the same way, I will one day fall from my own tree. I want to leave behind memories that will ensure that the tree, my family tree, continues to grow. I hope that I can leave behind some wisdom and happiness that will nourish the sprouts, Makiya and Jaxon, and those yet to be born.

The September, October, November, and even December of my life is the season for making sure that the organic matter I leave behind continues to nourish my tree after I am gone. The earlier months have been a time of growing, learning, exploring, and even grieving. Those experiences have made me into the woman I am today and prepared me for such a time as this.

I pray that in my autumn I will display the glorious colors of lessons learned along the way. I pray that the color of my autumn is tinged with love, patience, joy and wisdom as I prepare to make compost and mulch.

Creature of Habit

I have just have travelled over three-hundred miles to visit my optometrist, the same optometrist I have had since I was eighteen years old.

When we moved to Washington three years ago I thought about finding a new eye doctor here, but Dr. Hampton and I have been through so much together. He understands my eyes, he gets me when I tell him that one contact lens fits but the other doesn't. Thanks to him, I wear a different brand of contact lenses in each eye, and I'm comfortable and I can see just fine, thank you very much.

So, every fall I make the trip back to see him for my annual eye exam. As an added bonus, I get to have a visit with my BFF in our old familiar place. you think I'm adverse to change? I just hope that Dr. Hampton isn't planning on retiring any time soon.

The Autumn

It's a blustery October day today and I'm enjoying the fall weather. As I sat at my desk this afternoon I saw a flock of geese flying overhead and heard their honking farewell. The crows have been frantic in the trees outside of my window, perhaps preparing for a fall storm.

It's interesting that last year at this time I was almost in a panic at the thought of autumn and the short, dark, and wet days on the horizon. I was also spending a lot of time thinking about my approaching fiftieth birthday that was also looming. I felt almost desperate to hold on to summer, perhaps a slight parallel with the way I felt about entering my own autumn season.

This year I am looking forward to some cozy months indoors. I'm thinking about time for baking, trying some new recipes, and doing some quilting. I've sorted out things in my sewing room and there's fabric on my cutting table just waiting for a Saturday afternoon when I can begin.

I've discovered that fifty is really just a number, and yet there is something about reaching that milestone that has shifted my priorities and changed my focus.

On another note, I just realized that if my Mom was still here she would be turning eighty years of age today. It's almost impossible for me to imagine her as an old woman; she passed way suddenly when she was fifty-five. I miss her still.


I have been thinking about our fast-paced lifestyles and the effects of stress on our bodies.

Yesterday, I had occasion to speak with someone who had just returned from eight days in Hawaii. Not just eight days in Hawaii, but eight days with no itinerary, no plans, no schedules, just beach time and reading time.

I was stunned when I first saw her; Her entire countenance had changed. The stress was gone from her face and she even spoke at a more relaxed pace.

I've read recently that studies are now showing that we are not really capable of all the multi-tasking that we once expected of ourselves. When multi-tasking we don't do any one thing as well as we could if we were focusing on just that one thing. Further, when we're multi-tasking to the tune of someone else's priorities it causes us more stress than if we were to multi-task according to our own priorities.

Personally, I would like to have some extended time to multi-task to my own priorities. Quilting, writing, reading, walking, puttering around my home, browsing in shops, having coffee with a friend, would be some of the things I would choose to focus on. Yet even in that I would choose to do one thing at a time and to take the time to be mindful of each moment instead of thinking ahead to what's coming next.

Perhaps it's because I'm getting older, but something inside is whispering to me that it's time to slow down and take time to appreciate simple things. I once thought that the phrase "living in the moment" was an airy-fairy out there kind of idea. Now this fifty-year old woman is beginning to understand what it means and to begin to practice it.

I'm hoping that it will be possible to teach this old dog a new trick!

In The Name of Fashion

I was out shopping this afternoon. As usual I ended up in the baby clothes and started looking for a Christmas dress for Makiya's first Christmas. (Don't even get me started on why I'm looking at Christmas things at the beginning of October. That's a rant for another day.)

Anyway, I found some beautiful dresses that would look so sweet on her. I didn't buy one though, there's lots of time, and lots more dresses to debate over.

While I browsed I noticed something about a lot of the dresses that surprised me - a lot of them had crinolines attached! Those scratchy pieces of fabric took me back in time to my own childhood, and my own experiences with crinolines and other items of torture I endured in the name of fashion.

When I think of crinolines, I remember dresses I wore as a child and the chafing of the crinoline on my legs. It hurt! I ended up with a rash! There was one in particular, it was light blue and the crinoline was especially scratchy. I can still remember how my little legs looked after wearing that dress. As I recall, I did look pretty nice in that dress though. In fact, I think I might still have it in the attic.

I also remember the white headband-like hats we wore for church and how the tight combs dug into the sides of my head. I think that those things hurt even more than the crinolines. I remember sitting in church sometimes attempting to lift one side or another to gain some relief from the relentless pain that the combs inflicted.

Now I'm thinking that I'll pass over those fancy crinoline-lined dresses. I don't want my precious granddaughter to have to endure that torture. She'll look just as pretty in a simple cotton Christmas dress.


We're moving. Not my home, but my office is moving. We're consolidating into fewer buildings and so everyone who works in the building that I work in is moving to the corporate office.

We've been busy packing and sorting and planning for the past few weeks. It's been a good opportunity to dispose of old paperwork and things. Right now my office is almost completely packed up in boxes, except for the files and the things that I will need next week, which will be our last week in the current building. It's a bit of a shambles - you know how moving can be.

The new building is bigger and quite nice. We have big windows and a beautiful view, and a few little perks like a cafeteria and a dry-cleaning service. I've been thinking about my new office and making plans in my mind for how I will keep it. All of our paperwork will have to be put away each evening and so my office will be neat and tidy every morning when I arrive. I'll put out the special pictures of my family and my dogs and I might even buy a plant to brighten up the place.

The location is very scenic and there are lots of walking trails just outside the building. Many of us are planning to keep our sneakers there so we can get out and walk during the day.

I'm looking forward to the change; it feels like a fresh start in some ways. It feels almost like starting a new job! That sounds like a good reason to go shopping for a new outfit!

Sometimes change can be difficult and a cause for anxiety, but other times it can be refreshing and an opportunity to do things differently.

How do you generally react to change?


It is almost exactly one year ago that I took the time to write down six goals that I had. I pulled those goals out this morning to check on my progress and was pleased to find that I could check the first four as "done" or "in progress".

Alas, the last two will move forward onto the next list that I make. In fact, I suspect that the last one will be on every list I ever make. That elusive goal? Relax!

I am just one of those people who struggles with stress and finding that perfect balance between doing and being, between worrying and letting go, between being mellow and being a stark-raving crazy woman. At least I recognize it and that's the first step in changing it, right?

I have a suspicion that a couple of items on my five year plan will go a long way toward helping me with the relaxation goal, but it's something I still need to be mindful of in the here and now. So, as I ponder my list of goals for next year, relaxation and stress management will be at the top instead of the bottom.

What goals have you been able to cross off of your list recently?

Two Hearts....One Baby....Multiple Blessings

Yesterday I read something that I have waited fifty years to read. I read my adoption file.
I read detailed descriptions of myself as a baby and learned that I spent the first four months of my life in a foster home, with the exception of one month when I was hospitalized for medical tests.
I learned that I was taken into the custody of Social Services when I was one week old. The notes indicate that "Mother is quite disturbed in separation from child." Those words, perhaps more than any other in the file, touched me as I learned that she really did care about me.
I read a transcript of when my birth-mother went before the court (as was the custom then) to surrender her rights to me. I learned that I was in that courtroom at the time. When asked if she intended to keep me, she replied "I would like to but I can't". When asked why she felt that she was not able to look after me she responded "because I would rather she had two parents instead of one" and "it's not what I want, it's what's best for her".
Case notes taken on the day that I was placed for probationary adoption indicate that "The baby looked very lovely in a little blue dress and was the picture of healthy contented baby. Her new parents were very pleased with her. The placement was comfortable and relaxed." The notes go on to say that "The foster mother is to be commended on the job she has done with this baby".
Today I realize how very blessed I have been. The anger I once had toward my birth-mother has vanished and has been replaced with gratitude and compassion. As I read notes about my adoptive mom, my REAL mom, I imagined how the twenty-nine year old woman must have felt to receive such precious gift. Of course I had been told stories, but there is something different about reading it in an impartial case file. Finally, I am thankful for the unnamed foster mother who took such good care of me in the first months of my life.
When Mom and Dad married he gave her a gold locket. She gave me that locket when I was a teenager and I've always treasured it. A few years ago, circumstances were such that I came into possession of a trunk that contained things that had belonged to my birth-mother. In that trunk was an almost identical locket. I told my husband that he would know that I was healed from the past when I was able to wear that locket.
Tomorrow I am going shopping for a chain that will hold both lockets together.


In the wee hours of this morning I came to the conclusion that it's time to surrender. All of the griping and complaining isn't going to change the fact that I can't remember the last time that I slept through the night. I'm going to "own" the fact that I don't sleep well and turn it into something positive.
Once upon a time I used to do housework in the middle of the night. I'm not quite that crazy these days, but I'm thinking that I can put the time to better use than I have been. Laying in bed, listening to the steady breathing of a husband and two dogs is just irritating.
I can use the extra time to catch up on correspondence so don't be surprised if you receive an email from me that has been composed in the wee hours.
I can make a dent in my list of books that I want to read because really, at this rate, I'll never live long enough to read every book that's on the list right now, not to mention those that are added almost daily.
I can work on my memoir. Some of the best ideas seem to come to me in the middle of the night.
I can get a head start on meal planning for the next few days. Now that's a task that I always have the best intentions about, but limited follow-through.
The more I think about it, the more I think that this might turn into something wonderful. Never mind the fact, that I'll be walking around like a zombie due to lack of sleep. At least my email box will be under control, I'll be well read, my memoir will be finished, and we'll have healthy dinners every night. And if I fall asleep with my head in my plate, well so be it.

Fall Colors

I'm beginning to see signs of the season changing this week. I'm starting to recognize the colors of fall.
This week I have started doing the Black Sock Boogie once again and my wardrobe is shifting back into blacks, browns, and dark blues. I pulled out my boring black boots, and I'm getting ready to pack all of my colorful sandals away for the season.
The pretty pink polish on my summer toes is soon to disappear and I'll be back to the natural look.
I've gone back to a lighter shade of makeup to go along with the fading tan.
Oh yes, and the leaves are just starting to turn. What fall colors are you seeing?