31 May 2013
30 May 2013
While driving home one afternoon many, many years ago, in what seems like another life, I turned in front of an oncoming cyclist.
I knew better. I had just finished a mountain bike ride. My bike was mounted on a carrier on the back of my car. I had been trying for more than a year to work up the courage to ride on the street again after being hit by a motorist who did not see me while I was riding home from work. Just two days earlier, I had been sideswiped on the bike path, of all places, by a cyclist who just kept going after sending me flying into a tunnel wall.
And, I had been hit by a car driven by a motorist who had not seen me. I knew better. I knew to be careful. I knew to never take my attention from the road for even a split second while operating a motor vehicle.
But I had just been kissed for the first time in about 12 years. I think it was worse than drugs or alcohol. Even the loud and articulate telling-off by the cyclist I'd turned in front of didn't initially faze me for too long a time. My head was in the clouds. I should not have been driving.
Seriously, I should not have been driving. I should have waited to start the car until the stars twinkling in my eyes faded and until my heart finished the race of a lifetime in which it was engaged.
I didn't hit the cyclist, and he fared well enough to clearly enunciate exactly how I made him feel in such a manner that more than a decade later, his words still haunt me.
I hope his anger at a careless would-be cyclist will always be with me. I hope I will always take driving seriously and that I will always pay attention to what I'm doing when I take other lives in my hands by getting behind the wheel of a vehicle.
That experience and the entire chain of events leading to that near miss have been heavy on my mind since Saturday, when a motorist turned in front of me, seemingly without a care in the world.
The Lizard and I were descending Deer Creek Canyon at a high rate of speed. 27 miles per hour the last time I'd glanced at my cyclocomputer. (That's about as fast as I feel comfortable on the bike; I go through brakes quite frequently because I'm no downhiller.) Three more cyclists were in the act of passing us at what The Lizard later estimated to be about 35 mph, which was the legal speed limit at that point. Typically, The Lizard is moving at the speed limit on descents, but this time, he was riding behind me, taking more of a leisure ride because he'd been having stomach trouble for a couple of days.
The van pulled into the roadway just a few feet in front of me, nearly taking out a handful of cyclists in the opposite lane slowly making their way up the canyon. The driver motored up the canyon, seemingly entirely unaware of the havoc just wreaked on five cyclists who slammed on their brakes to keep from slamming into the vehicle head on at a high rate of speed.
The smell of burnt rubber was overwhelming to me.
I think "Holy crap" audibly escaped my own tongue as I felt my back wheel slightly come off the ground. The three passing cyclists, now even with me, used a different word for stinky stuff and proceeded to inform the driver, whose window was open, exactly what they thought of such a careless act.
All I could see or hear at that point was the flashbacks from last year's bike path wreck, in which I was thrown over the handlebars, my back suffering irreparable damage I didn't discover until a couple of months later.
I was certain I was going over the handlebars again, only this time, with worse results. My life didn't flash in front of me. But for a brief instant, I thought my cycling season was over. Perhaps my cycling life. I wondered if I'd walk again. I wondered if my back would survive this impact.
I thought my decade-old bike The Lizard has been nursing along for two years was a goner. I fully expected to somersault into the moving vehicle at 27 mph, then be hit by my bike and possibly by The Lizard. I hoped the other cyclists, whom I was consciously aware of but had not seen, were far enough back they wouldn't hit me too. I hoped my body wouldn't be dragged beneath the back tire of the van. And I hoped and prayed The Lizard would not be hurt.
Yes, all that went through my head in a split second. Perhaps less than that.
No physical contact was made. Something kept my back wheel down, and the inches between my front wheel and the moving vehicle were not violated. The three cyclists to my left continued on down the mountain road, still verbally spewing anger. The cyclists on the other side of the road kept pedaling upward but their displeasure was not as audible, perhaps because they were out of breath from the climb. My bike continued rolling forward, although at a greatly reduced speed, and I felt The Lizard's hand on my back.
"You did great!" he called out.
I rolled forward just a bit further, then pulled off to the side of the road and outright wept. The Lizard massaged my back and my neck and kept telling me how well I'd done.
When I finally could think clearly again, my first thought was how grateful I was I had been paying attention. Spring wildflowers this year are about a month behind, and on the way up the canyon, their spectacular bursts of color actively stole my slow-moving attention. Something to mentally chew instead of how difficult the climb was.
My second thought was gratitude my dear husband keeps my bike in such good shape. I was so thankful the brakes worked.
And then came more flashbacks. Somersaulting over the handlebars of the mountain bike, hitting the pavement hard enough to crack the telephoto lens in my Camelbak.
I repeatedly envisioned hitting that van hard enough to make a dent or two in metal.
I cried some more.
I was angry with the motorist for a few moments.
Then I remembered when I had turned in front of an oncoming cyclist.
My anger evaporated.
I don't condone reckless or careless driving. But I also can't excuse harboring negative and hurtful emotions that ultimately would damage me. Anger won't solve anything. It won't resolve what happened Saturday any more than it will resolve my near miss so many years ago.
I learned from my mistake. I can only pray now the van's driver will follow suit.
28 May 2013
Even though I seem to be obsessed with green lately, green hasn't always been the color surrounding my sewing machine. There was a time when all was blue. ALL.
Before green batiks moved in, blue snowflakes were the rage. For about 20 years, I've been collecting blue snowflake fabric.
Before snowflakes, however, came flowers. Blue flowers. Some of these fabrics, I bought while I was still in my teens!
Blue remains my favorite color, turquoise in particular but with strong affection for electric blue. Somehow the greens, particularly the lime and kiwi shades, began taking over a few years ago when I purchased my first yard of bright green floral batik. So began the green collection.
The greens are very smoothly winding down now, and the blues are beginning to see the light of day once more.
While digging through stash and remnants, looking for adequate fabric to make a dress for spring without having to buy fabric, I stumbled across a quilt project I started so many years ago, I don't even remember when. Some of this stuff could be pre-Colorado, better known as the 70s and 80s.
I don't know if I'll finish the quilt I'd started so long ago or try to farm the squares out for adoption. Even though I may not be as fond of the quilt idea now as I was back before I had proper tools, I still love all this fabric. Many of these blues are remnants of the first work dresses I made after high school and college!
While I was cutting strips from remnants for my "Welcome to the Jungle" quilt, The Lizard asked if I was making a dress. I immediately had a strip skirt design in my head and have been longing to fashion one ever since. Not enough green batiks remain, but I suspected I might have just enough blues from before I had wrinkles and gray hair.
When I first imagined this dress, I planned to knit or crochet the bodice and sleeves. Heck, it was still winter then, and a knitted bodice would have been warm as well as stylish!
I didn't have enough yarn or thread of one color to make the dress top I could see in my head, so I decided to do the bodice in faux denim, perhaps with a crocheted Dresden-plate-type applique on the front at some point. Then I decided to make a jumper instead of a dress so I could wear it with a turtleneck in winter or a T in summer. I might as well get as much mileage from this masterpiece as I can, right?
Or maybe not on the crocheted appliqué...
I was able to use up one of the early blue flower dresses that's been in the scrap pile for a number of years to line the bodice of the new dress. I also was able to salvage the pockets from one of the old dresses that was no longer wearable and install them on this dress.
Pieced dresses in my neck of the high plains take a while, thanks to work and other obligations. I cut the first strips for this dress in February. I finished cutting the strips at the end of March. I began assembling the dress in April. I finished the hand sewing early in May. I got to wear it for the first time last week! And the fabric collection is at least 35 years in the making.
I think this gorgeous dress fermented very nicely. It's my new favorite! (I always say that every time I finish a new pieced dress!!!)
This particular jewel comes just in time to welcome the blue flowers I hope will soon be poking up all over my garden...
27 May 2013
Another rainbow snowflake?!?
Yes. Couldn't resist. We're finally done with winter in my neck of the high plains, and I got to see my first genuine rainbow of the year last week. I'm celebrating what I hope will be at least a four-month absence of snow at our house. But bring on that rain! Make my flowers bloom!
You may do whatever you'd like with snowflakes you make from this pattern, but you may not sell or republish the pattern. Thanks, and enjoy!
Finished Size: 4.5 inches from point to point
Materials: Size 10 crochet thread in 6 colors, size 8 crochet hook, empty pizza box, wax paper or plastic wrap, cellophane tape, water soluble school glue or desired stiffener, water, glitter, small container for glue/water mixture, paintbrush, stick pins that won't be used later for sewing, clear thread or fishing line
TIP: There are a lot of ends to weave in on this project. To prevent having to go back and weave in ends at completion of project, weave in ends as you go.
Color Key for Stripes:
Color A: shades of maroon from eBay
Color B: shades of orange from Flora (discontinued)
Color C: shades of yellow from eBay (Lizbeth also has thread this color now)
Color D: shades of green (my own hand-dye)
Color E: shades of blue from Lizbeth
Color F: shades of violet from Bre-Aly (Lizbeth also has thread this color now)
Rain Dance I Snowflake Instructions
Make magic ring.
Round 1: With Color A, 12 sc in ring; sl st in starting sc; bind off. Pull magic circle tight, but leave opening big enough to allow stitches inside it to lay flat.
Round 2: With Color B, 1 dc in any sc, ch 5, sk next sc, * 1 dc in next sc, ch 5, sk next sc; repeat from * around 4 times; sl st in starting dc; bind off.
Round 3: With Color C, 5 dc in any ch 5 sp, ch 5, * 5 dc in next ch 5 sp, ch 5; repeat from * around 4 times; sl st in starting dc; bind off.
NOTE: For optional picots as in snowflake rock shown below, work 3 dc, ch 2, sl st in top of dc, 3 dc instead of 5 dc.
If you're not reading this pattern on Snowcatcher, you're not reading the designer's blog. Please go here to see the original.
Round 4: With Color D, 3 sc in any ch 5 sp, ch 10, * 3 sc in next ch 5 sp, ch 10; repeat from * around 4 times; sl st in starting sc; bind off.
NOTE: For optional picots as in snowflake rock shown below, work 1 sc, ch 3, 1 sc instead of 3 sc.
Round 5: With Color E, 10 dc in any ch 10 sp, ch 10, * 10 dc in next ch 10 sp, ch 10; repeat from * around 4 times; sl st in starting dc; bind off.
NOTE: For optional picots as in snowflake rock shown below, work 5 dc, ch 2, sl st in top of dc, 5 dc instead of 10 dc.
Round 6: With Color F, in any ch 10 sp work [1 sc, 1 hdc, 1 dc, 1 hdc, 1 sc, 1 hdc, 3 dc, 1 hdc, 1 sc, 1 hdc, 1 dc, 1 hdc, 1 sc], ch 5, sk next 4 dc, 1 sc in next dc, ch 3, sl st in 3rd ch from hook, 1 sc in next dc, ch 5, * in next ch 10 sp work [1 sc, 1 hdc, 1 dc, 1 hdc, 1 sc, 1 hdc, 3 dc, 1 hdc, 1 sc, 1 hdc, 1 dc, 1 hdc, 1 sc], ch 5, sk next 4 dc, 1 sc in next dc, ch 3, sl st in 3rd ch from hook, 1 sc in next dc, ch 5; repeat from * around 4 times; sl st in starting sc; bind off; weave in ends.
NOTE: To work over Round 5 picots and to make optional picots as in snowflake rock shown below, work Round 6 as directed below.
Round 6: With Color F, in any ch 10 sp work [1 sc, 1 hdc, ch 3, 1 hdc, 1 sc, 1 hdc, 1 dc, ch 3, 1 dc, 1 hdc, 1 sc, 1 hdc, ch 3, 1 hdc, 1 sc], ch 5, sk next 3 dc, 1 sc in next dc, ch 5, sl st in 2nd ch from hook, 1 sc in next ch, ch 2, sk over picot, sk next dc, 1 sc in next dc, ch 5, * in next ch 10 sp work [1 sc, 1 hdc, ch 3, 1 hdc, 1 sc, 1 hdc, 1 dc, ch 3, 1 dc, 1 hdc, 1 sc, 1 hdc, ch 3, 1 hdc, 1 sc], ch 5, sk next 3 dc, 1 sc in next dc, ch 5, sl st in 2nd ch from hook, 1 sc in next ch, ch 2, sk over picot, sk next dc, 1 sc in next dc, ch 5; repeat from * around 4 times; sl st in starting sc; bind off; weave in ends.
Finish: Tape wax paper or plastic wrap to top of empty pizza box. Pin snowflake to box on top of wax paper or plastic wrap.
If using glue, mix a few drops of water with a teaspoon of glue in small washable container. Paint snowflake with glue mixture or desired stiffener. Sprinkle lightly with glitter. Wash paintbrush and container thoroughly. Allow snowflake to dry at least 24 hours. Remove pins. Gently peel snowflake from wax paper or plastic wrap. Attach 10-inch clear thread to one spoke, weaving in end. Wrap fishing line around tree branch (or tape to ceiling or any overhead surface) and watch the snowflake twirl freely whenever you walk by! Snowflake also may be taped to window or tied to doorknob or cabinet handle.