Oct 28, 2008

Field Trips Galore

A note to readers: This post is about our field trips over the last couple of weeks. It has a lot of pictures and some quick descriptions....if you are here to hear about the knitting...maybe you ought to skip this one and wait for another post! Click on any of the photos to see them bigger.
If you want, you can even copy and save to your computer.
The St. Louis Zoo is free. We went a couple of weeks ago, before the weather turned.
It has cool sculptures.

It has stunning butterflies. More than I've ever seen...by far. And they are Big. Even the moths are big:
That one is a Luna Moth.
The Art Museum in St. Louis is also free, and has stunning artwork. #1, above, likes realism.
#2 walks by Gainsborough, I think.
In front of the art museum is a statue of St. Louis. Did you know there was such a man?

Then we joined our homeschool group for a field trip at Rainbow Ranch Zoo. They had all the usual farm animals plus many exotic animals, and all were tame and able to be petted.
The horses were here, we pet them inside, but I liked the sign. The peacock below was running to get away. Nobody pet this one!
The ranch is also a real farm so we picked pumpkins from the ground where the vines were still attached to the pumpkins. Cheap.
There was a small corn maze and some flowers edged the maze, with some butterflies asking for photos. We obliged:
Mama was so happy to see the camels (usually wily and dangerous creatures) asking to be petted and also the Llama here.
So that's two field trips down. One to the museum and zoo. Another to Rainbow ranch. The next field trip was here:
It's a 7 acre corn maze, with two routes and ...fun. The girls were looking for the boys team. One would hide and the other would search until 10 minutes looking was over. If not found, the boys won. Even switching teams, the boys kept winning. The had the corn maze memorized. Sandboxes may be fun, but the corn crib was a blast.

We had a great day.

There is a phenomenon here which is alien to California folk. It is the Fall hayride/bonfire parties. They seem to be plentiful and are always fun. #1 went to a teen event which was a hayride and bonfire. She came home smelling like smoke and had a glow about her. Both homeschool groups had a hayride/picnic/bonfire. Tomorrow we go to a Reformation Day Picnic which is also a hayride/bonfire. Here's our first one. It was so fun!!!! It was a t a local homeschool family's farm. While the others rode, #3 got the fire really going. It was a huge bonfire. It ended up having several big logs in it at once. This was the beginning of it:
We sat around the fire for fun and roasted marshmellows.
It got dark quickly and, while petting the kittens, the kids marveled at the sky. That one is Cara, next to #3. Her family is some of our new group of friends. We are grateful for them.
The sun did set quickly, and the bonfire got bigger and bigger, while the boys whittled.It was a great night.

Then a few days later we went back to St. Louis with some of our new friends:
I don't remember who this is or why there was a statue right next to the Mississpi river, but it was fun to climb. Click on the picture to see it bigger. You can see our four and the other three.

The shore of the Mississippi is edged with the same brick as our street. Neat.
The classy businessmen may have looked askance at them, but had such fun playing at the Starbucks in the city. One of the boys brought a soccer ball everywhere he went, so the skyscapers had views of a soccer game going on down below. I didn't get a good shop of that.
There is a Farmer's Market in St. Louis.... just like the L.A. one, only a little smaller.
One of the market's shops kept my interest while the kids outside entertained everybody. A good time was had by all.

Oct 27, 2008


This was a fascinating, engrossing and very important book. (Thank you Kaki, for sending it to me!). It is a true story, an autobiography.

Prior to this book being written by a refugee from Somalia who has refuted Islam, the author was threatened. The threat was given in a most terrifying format, posted on the brutally murdered body of a co-worker. That threat haunts the author today, but her description of it and her understanding of the world we live in today is invaluable. Please read this book.

It begins with the birth of Ayaan in Somali, a year after I myself was born. Her life couldn't have been more different than mine. Her country is Islamic, but infused also with village devils (djin) and not so ruled by the authority of Islam proper because of the practicalities of daily village life. Her experiences even in this diluted islamic country were still harrowing indeed. Living later in Saudi Arabia with a government of Islam in the holy city of Mecca, Ayaan reveals a breakdown of her family and ideals under this strict Islamic rule. Moving later to the nation of Kenya, a nation without any islamic rule or even Muslim societal backbone, she find herself drawn to find pure Islam, "peace and compassion". Her experiences are told within the framework of time which is the same as my own growing up years, and there is indeed a similar framework of reference. She has read some of the same books I read as a girl, and pop culture was sparingly sprinkled into her realm...the same pop culture I grew up under. Her life goes on...she goes to different places and different things. I'll leave that for you to read.

These events in Ayaan's life were gripping, as was the rest of the actual story in this important book. However, the story of her life is not the point here. The point is this: her views on Islam have weight. Her views on society have weight. She has earned her voice. We should hear it. Please read this book.

Oct 25, 2008

Some old-ish finished projects

This is FINALLY my pictures of the Easy Flame Lace Scarf that I finished forever ago during the Ravelympics. It even got me the prize. Yeah! (For the knitters out there, it is made of Malabrigo Lace, color number #88 and knit with size 4 needles.) It is excruciatingly soft.
I took #2 out in the chilly afternoon today to document the finished product and her good mood vanished fairly quickly. That's alright, I like this exasperated picture (below) better than any of the other, more conventional photos
And THIS, this is another finally finished product. It has been waiting for me to find the perfect ribbon for the closures. It is for Emma Joy, a precious new baby for Adam and Meghan, and I was supposed to give it to her before we moved in Sept. Oops.
But I love this adorable pattern and I love the brown/pink/green for a girl. It says, "I'm a girl, but I don't have to shout about it!"
Close up of the ribbon/stitches.

Oct 13, 2008

More Books, and Noro Envy Socks

Here's my take on the book everyone seems to be reading:

It is a new look at some things that many people were too bored too look at, and many of us see every day, but could always use a fresh perspective on. The thing which is too mundane for many? God.
In "The Shack", William Young wanted to tell his children about God, with his worldview and biases, of course, in the mix. Most people who have "heard the Good News" and found it somewhat lacking might just open their eyes anew at this picture of Mr. Young's God. That is indeed good news. For them I say, read on...and find Him. You are introduced in this book to the Lord of all Creation, and the Lord of relationship (a word the author is quite fond of) and He is not misrepresented here in any way you need to fear. So begin the journey of knowing Him. Seek Him. He is there.
Nevertheless, people who have already turned to God have spent time learning about him through the bible, as well as experience with relationship with Him. Those people are wary that the God they know might be misrepresented by this new perspective. This is a healthy thing, for God is not to be put into a box of our own making. Young's perspective of God as relationship is true, and one which we people find hard to grasp within the Trinity and especially with the Holy Spirit. In the same way that Frank Peretti revealed a picture of the spirit world in "This Present Darkness" many years ago, "The Shack" reveals a picture of the trinity. For both, inaccuracies by be present but the picture is one which is broadening and having much truth. This is good.
The casual nature of God is very important to the author, who clearly has had some issues with the "establishments" of the church here on earth. Many of us do, because the church is made of people. People are sinful. However much they may want to lead and gather together in perfect harmony and purity...they are marked by sin and selfishness and by mixed motives. These things are the reality of church on earth. It makes us long for release from sin in heaven.
However, the church is indeed the bride of Christ. We cannot worship and fellowship and be in Young's "relationship" without do so in conjunction with others. In the same way that our earthy marriages hone us into better individuals through the rubbing against each other, perhaps we as members of the body will hone each other through such chafing. In this, William Young and I disagree.
Lastly, do all roads lead to God? No. Does the book really say that? I'm not so sure.

What do you think?

Here's what I am calling my Noro Envy Socks. It is made with Noro Kureyon Sock yarn, and the green is the color of Envy. I just made up that color, but those who have seen the Noro yarns know of which I speak....the green color embodies the green of envy.
I got the yarn a few months ago at Imagiknits in San Francisco. I am knitting them two at a time, toe-up:

I don't think the camera is able to pick up the colors very well, but you can see the one needle I am using to knit these. I have two balls of yarn, knitting with one ball for each sock.

I am using the magic loop method.

And these white stripes show my after-thought heel markers. When I am done with the socks up to the cuff, I go back to the heel, where the white stripe is and take out that white yarn, putting the socks back on the needles with live stitches. Then I knit the heels. Never done it before, but I think two at a time is good.

Oct 11, 2008

I've got some!

I've got TWO WHOLE SKEINS of that Wollmeise. Tammy snagged several skeins and decided to share them with her "good yarns" friend. Look how beautiful...

My next step will be to completely ignore this yarn for the rest of my life, knowing that any pattern I find could never be just right for it.
Please, ....Help me to actually use this yarn. You can browbeat me and mock me all you want....just keep me from stashing it away forever.

I read the book Forsaken which just came out in the stores Oct 1, and decided it would be a fun read, although I am wary of those which are published in the Christian book market. It would be a quick read because the book was compared to the pacing of the show "24" which is like a roller coaster ride. I found it to be quick indeed and not terribly memorable except one thing: the author sets a character into an incredibly intriguing situation:
The character is the modern-day Billy Graham type...known worldwide as the face of evangelical Christianity, and his daughter is kidnapped. What the kidnappers want is for him to renounce Christianity at the biggest rally of his life so far....and the kidnappers tell all the newspapers that this is their request...or they will kill his daughter. So now...should he do it? Would you? Renounce Christianity? I think not...! But what if everyone knew you didn't mean it? Certainly Christ would know you didn't mean it...but no one else would believe it either. Hmm. This question has raised some theological questions for me. New ones. I am still thinking about it. What do you think?

The published actually sent me the book, Forsaken and also, the publisher of the Yarn Harlot's new book sent me a free copy of this one above, too. Those publishers like reviewers and me...I like books. Good arrangement, huh! This one just came in the mail yesterday so I don't have a review yet. But I can say that I like this book better than the last two she's written.

Another look:
It feels amazing. The colors are completely un-photograph able.