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Archive for November 27th, 2006

Dancers in Africa

Monday, November 27th, 2006

I can’t resist. I have photos of dancers in all 3 countries I visited. Here is a dancer in a fancy Ethiopian restaurant in Addis Ababa:

Here are dancers doing traditional dances at a wedding on the beach in Mombasa, Kenya:

Dancers entertaining at the food court at a fancy mall in Nairobi, Kenya, the week before Christmas:

Dancer at the Marriott on the Nile in Cairo, a few days before Christmas, 2004:

I’ve shown all these photos here before in the last two years, but not together on the theme of dancing. I hope you enjoy them.

Gratitude: Friends

Monday, November 27th, 2006

Old Friends

I spent about seven hours Sunday with my friend Susan. What a luxury! It was so heartwarming and comfortable to be with her, to finally see her home and meet her sons. When I got there, her mother was there. I met Susan and her mother (and sister Beth) I was in 3rd grade or earlier. Yes, really. That was a long time ago, since I’ll be all of 48 years old on Tuesday.

I also still stay in touch with one other friend from elementary school, Jo. Jo is the mom of my Godchildren, Michael and Sara (who I wrote about last Wednesday for her birthday). Jo and I met in either Kindergarten or 1st grade.

I realize that many people don’t stay connected with anyone as long as I’ve known these women. It is not as if they are in my every day life, but they remain a connection to my history. And these women knew me when my life was not this good. I’m glad they stuck it out with me. Having them in my life makes me richer.

Opposites Attract?

Susan and I are both creative souls, who can not ignore our creativity without losing ourselves in the process. However, Susan is as intense/focused as I am intense/distracted.

I get much accomplished by going in spirals, so to speak. I do part of task A, get distracted by B, get up to make tea and start C in the kitchen, go back to the desk and remember A again. Eventually A is completed and I might add a D or E to the rotation. As if it was really in order… It could be A, C, E, B, C, etc. It’s sort of chaos but because I stay focused on working and going forward, I keep on plugging and everything gets done.

Well, also I’ve learned to use my computer and palm device to keep me on track when I forget. I set a lot of alarm clock functions, to remind me to change gears at key times. I am determined to keep going forward, and the determination seems to be my best friend.

Teaching is Definitely “My Thing”Thank goodness that when I teach, I’m really focused and I know what to do, I have only one thing I’m there for and I am really very good at it. I am grateful every day I teach, that I finally found something that is so right for me.

I started working for pay in front of a classroom in 1994, teaching computer training classes. I’d been volunteering and also teaching informally at work (Hey, Lynn… how do you do X on the computer?) since 1978 when I did volunteer work for a young woman’s group at Central Michigan University. I didn’t realize for a long time that I could do this thing I loved after work, as my actual work. I’m really happy with how things have evolved that way for me.

Winding Down/Good Food

When I got home we had a wonderful meal by thawing something I’d made last week. Aaah, I’m starting to reap the bounty of cooking ahead of time! Make 2 meals, freeze one, and a meal next week becomes easier. I’m delighted. (It was cornish game hens, carrots and parsnips… very tasty, better than chicken. If I have to eat meat (right now my health depends on it, I can’t eat dairy, egg, nuts or soy without getting sick) I’m happy it can taste that good.

Back to the Shopping Cart

After dinner I got right down to business on the shopping cart. I loaded all six colorways I have in stock of the Cushy ColorSport DK-weight washable merino yarn I have offered since I first started dyeing yarn. This stuff is incredible! It makes good hats, scarves, baby blankets, socks, wristwarmers, and nice drapey sweaters and baby clothes.

I adore this particular DK yarn, it’s so springy that it can be knit from 7 stitches per inch for socks, to 4.5 stitches per inch in a baby blanket. All are good fabrics for that particular item (DK-weight yarn is typically knit at 5.5 stitches per inch for sweaters, I like it around 6.25 stitches per inch for socks).

Family can Also Be Friends

My brother Eric and his wife Diana have been incredible friends to me during this shopping cart development. Diana has tested the cart a zillion times (thank goodness Paypal has an easy feature for refunding purchase money), and Eric looked at it from a non-knitter perspective. He is the best one I know at asking questions without trying to skew the answer. I adore both of them.

Work Friends

Tomorrow I will be opening up Rae’s shop for her until she can get there a few hours later. There is another gratitude… the yarn shops where I teach are all run by incredible, wonderful people (Rob and Matt at Threadbear, Linda at Little Red Schoolhouse and Rae at Rae’s Yarn Boutique). I am lucky to count them as friends, and working for friends is the best.

Anyway, Monday I’ll be taking my computer with me to Rae’s so if we have any slow times I can edit the TipToe Sockyarn photographs. When I get home I’ll then be able to load my last yarn product and start the official opening day of my shopping cart this week.

Tuesday I have my helper coming to work with me mid-afternoon, but I think I won’t have her stay too long (I want a special dinner with Brian because it is my birthday that day)… I hope we can get a few more colorways of yarn skeined up for me to photograph and add to the photos.

My Partner is also My Friend

That’s another friend I’m grateful for. My husband, Brian. He has made this shopping cart experience so much easier for me. The product is a package deal and it came with some very ugly cartoon “icons” on many of the pages. He went in with his programming knowledge and one at a time removed them for me. No complaining, just work. He’s wonderful, and I know how lucky I am.

I’m getting excited about the shopping cart but it’s not quite ready yet. Patience… I’m going to learn it sooner or later.

Photos: More Africa, definitely more about friendship. Monday after Thanksgiving, two years ago, my beloved friend Altu took me home to Ethiopia.

We were 3 weeks total in Ethiopia (five different areas but mostly her parents’ home in Addis Ababa, the capitol city), one week in Kenya (two areas, a resort in Mombasa on the Indian Ocean and Nairobi, a very modern city with an incredible national park literally next door), and one week in Egypt (Cairo except one day in Alexandria).

If taking someone on a major trip like that is not proof of true friendship, I don’t know what is. We came away from that 38 days of togetherness with an even stronger friendship than we started out with. How lucky I am.

So the photos? One street scene from each country we visited. Homes in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (laundry day), Mombasa, Kenya (notice boy with balloon), man delivering pita bread on a bicycle in Cairo. The first two I took from moving vehicles with a point-and-shoot low-end Kodak digital camera, using the sports setting.

The Cairo picture is actually a tiny little bit of a shot I got from a distance. He was going so fast that by the time I got out the camera and it turned on, he was a speck on my photo. He was not the only delivery guy doing this, but he was the only one I was fast enough to catch. Whew!