Monday, February 21, 2011


“Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.” 
William Arthur Ward

We wrote KNITWITS on a loaf of stale Italian Bread and stuck it between DAYTON and DENVER

I was deadheading (that's airline speak for riding as a passenger as part of your assignment) on a flight from LGA to CVG (that's airline speak for LaGuardia to Cincinnati) and when we reached cruise altitude, I had a light bulb moment...I complain way too much and express my Gratitude way too little.
Several things probably caused this relevation to surface. First, Janet has been studying to become a Life Coach. (She doesn't realize that she has been serving as my life coach for years.) She shares her studies and findings with me daily and it has resulted in some soul searching and surprising self discovery. Second, the week of vacation in the Caymans gave me the perfect opportunity to talk, dream, and reassess. And finally, when I expanded my "Comfort Zone" with my new found bravery, the number of opportunities that presented themselves also expanded and my abilities are unlimited when tested.

During a Cayman conversation, Janet asked me "What would you want to do if I weren't a flight attendant?" After a momentary pause, I answered "We're doing it!" I would want to travel, have a little yarn shop and share the craft I enjoy so much with others. How could I not realize that I was already living my dream?

I have so much to be thankful for and I have been taking it all for granted. I have my health, a home, a new car and an old car I can't seem to part with. I have a job that pays the bills, the "job of my dreams" and I am surrounded with family, good friends and good friends that are like family. Thank yous for everyone and the Powers that be!

While (somewhat unsuccessfully) Googling interesting fun facts, quotes and images for this blog entry, I came across the Gratitude Challenge, a 21-day project created to help you take note of life’s little blessings and to give thanks for the relationships, experiences and opportunities that make your life unique. Being an impatient kinda gal, I'm leaning more towards the "Fast-Track" Gratitude Challenge, a 7-day project created to help you take note of the brighter side of life.

On Day 1, you "Count your Blessings" and use the alphabet as a fun and quick format for taking an inventory and making your list of things you are grateful for. (Addi Lace Needles, Berroco Yarn and Cashmere...just kidding.) On Day 6, you acknowledge five people who deserve a little recognition. So, being an impatient kinda gal:

Dear Doug and Susan in Virginia, I have been wrestling with the proper way to thank you for the fabulous week as your guest in the Cayman Islands. Perhaps, a simple and heart-felt "Thank You" is a good start and I'll follow up later. I was long overdue for a vacation and our Cayman excursion exceeded every expectation. I so enjoyed meeting Elizabeth and spending time with all of you. The time away with you helped me prioritize the important things in life and filter out the unimportant things that litter my ever-growing to-do list.
Dear Knitwits, I get so much more than I give from you all. Your enthusiasm and support make it all worth while. Who knew that a little yarn shop could become such a large part of our lives?
For my Valentine, Thank you for showing me that chivalry is not a thing of the past. I am surprised by how much I appreciate white tulips, being treated like a lady and having doors opened, an arm offered when crossing the street, assistance putting on my coat, and everything else you do so naturally. I look forward to leaving the comfort zone of my zipcode and sharing new culinary finds, movies and good conversation with you.

Dear Janet and Sarah, I am grateful for both of you everyday. My life changed for the better the day I met you and you continue to make me better everyday!

Dear Blog Readers, Thank you for reading my blabs. I'm starting a Knitwits Gratitude Pledge, a super simple promise to complain less and express appreciation more. Stop by the shop, sign up and get a Frequent Buyer Yarn Card Stamp as a token of my appreciation. Now that you've reached the end of my post, here's the link for the real Gratitude Challenge.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


20 years from now you’ll be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So... sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails.
Mark Twin, Author

Well, we’re back from the lovely Cayman Islands. We had a super wonderful vacation and had a chance to rest, relax, contemplate and knit (I tried crochet-and switched back to knitting.) We heard that the Caymans were the perfect place “to do nothing” and that was what we planned to do. But, on the first full day there....we found Bravery and changed our plans!

It took one simple act of Bravery to change the course of our vacation and our lives. Our vacation planners, Doug and Susan from Virginia and their daughter Elizabeth, arranged for a private island boat trip with Capt’n Chris. He would take us out on his boat from Rum Point and show us the beauty of the island and places to swim with Sting Rays and snorkel the reefs. Janet and I were excited to go and planned to knit and watch the others. We made a pact that getting into the water was not in our plans. 

When we docked in the middle of the Sting Ray area, Capt’n Chris gave us the dos and don’ts of swimming with sting rays- there were more don’ts than dos. Janet and I were convinced that Sting Rays were not something that we wanted to swim with and spending the day in a wet bathing suit was not appealing.

I don’t know exactly what happened but when the others went overboard. I felt that if I didn’t go too I would really be missing something. I announced to Janet, “I’m going in!” Next thing you know, I’m having a back massage from a very large female sting ray. Janet joined us but was more reluctant to touch the sea monsters. Eventually, we both petted them, held them, swam with swarms of them and even feed ‘em. We really felt energized by the experience and our new found bravery. (It was a great adventure until Capt’n Chris decided to hold me like a sting ray and give me a back massage-but that’s a whole ‘nuther story.)

We pulled up anchor and went to a nearby coral reef area for snorkeling. Janet and I made a pact to sit out this activity and knit. We feared that we would get lost, confused and unable to see anything with the scuba masks and our “over-forty eyes” without eyeglasses. I must have feared being left on the boat with Capt’n Chris more because next thing you know, I’m gearing up and telling Janet that “I’m just going to stick my mask into the water ”. When I saw what was underneath the surface of the water an instant calm came over me and I was totally amazed by the underwater world. I eventually surfaced and yelled to Janet, “You gotta see this!” To actually experience the sights and sounds of the turquoise water, plantlife and colorful fish was amazing and I’m glad we didn’t miss it!

The rest of the boat trip was more of the same. The beautiful blue water held an unexpected world of excitement, color and amazement as did the marinated conch that Capt’n Chris concocted (conch-octed) for the ride home. It is very difficult to eat marinated conch on stale saltines while riding on a bumpy boat in gale force winds.

From our Cayman house, the ocean was 60 feet away and the beach was littered with shells, sea glass, hermit crabs and other sea treasures. We spent a great deal of time on the beach and in the water. We walked the beach every morning and collected “Brain”- washed up coral that looked like brains. I snorkeled ever chance I had and never got over the amazement of the sights. With our newfound bravery, Janet and I decided that it was time to stop talking about the things we want to do and start doing them. First up on our list was to start writing our “Knitwits Book.” With macbooks, ipads, iphone and intermittent internet service, we stopped talking and started writing. Stay tuned....

We practiced Bravery for the remainder of our Island life. Janet even drove our rental car which is amazing because on day one, she couldn’t even sit in the car with her daughter, Sarah, driving from the right seat on the left side of the road. I was brave during a moment of wi-fi connectivity and emailed a very nice man with the message, “Will you be my Valentine?” ( and “No”, it was not Capt’n Chris.)

Well, the trip home was bittersweet. It is hard to leave paradise (especially when traveling “non-revenue”-that’s airline talk for standby). I was subject to additional security screening at the Grand Cayman Airport. When the inspector opened my suitcase and saw more yarn than clothing, she had to ask “What’s up with that?”  I told her about Knitwits and she told me than she was a crocheter but getting yarn on the island was very difficult. I asked her if I could give her a skein of Comfort from my aborted crochet project and she said that because there were witnesses and my search was complete, she was able to accept the yarn. The other inspector chimed in and mentioned that she was a knitter. So, it was lovely parting gifts of Berroco Yarn Company Comfort for everyone in the additional security room. Janet had a layover in Miami, which is now similar to being in a foreign country. With paradise behind us, we were returning to our lives but we were returning with our Bravery Awards and a bag of Brain.

I’ll now attempt to wrap up this rather lengthy blog post.
Since returning to the 41017, we no longer have to practice Bravery-it is now a way of life. I’ve been driving on the highways (although, I still don’t know which one is 75 or 275) instead of navigating circuitous routes that require only right hand turns, I’ve returned all of phone messages from the shop, and I’ve been working on the Knitwits book.

During one of our intermittent island wi-fi connections, I received the following e-mail response from the very nice man: “Absolutely  :)”. No Singles Awareness Day this year!
Yesterday was Valentines Day and my Valentine showed up on time and with a bouquet of white tulips and a card. The very nice man took me to Virgils in Bellevue, a cozy little place that has been featured on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. The menu is fantastic and the food is even better! Who knew that paradise existed in Bellevue?

I think paradise can be found everywhere-sometimes you just need to leave your comfort zone and experience it with good company.

Monday, February 7, 2011


February 14th can be viewed as Valentine's Day or Singles Awareness Day, depending upon your current circumstances.  It's only February 7th...so there's still time for Prince Charming to come looking for me....but he better have GPS 'cause I'll be out of the country and on vacation!

We're heading to the Cayman Islands. They're the islands just under the under belly of Cuba (which Janet has taken to pronouncing as COO-Bah.) It has been a very long time since I took a vacation and I'm very out of practice, which is so odd since I spend most of my time traveling. We hear that the Caymans are the perfect place to do nothing!

When I finished up my Comair gig on Saturday Night, I TXTed Janet. We are very amateur TXT-ers and we've been practicing since this will be our main (aka cheapest) method of communication while away. Our TXT conversation went something like this:

Junko:       VACATION!!!!!
Janet:         Hoooooo! Hoooooo!
Junko:       Watcha packing?
Janet:         2 bathing suits, one Miracle Suit (hope it works), 2 nylon shorts, schoo-bah shoes, etc.
Janet:         and 12 lipsticks
Janet:        and a little sleeping bag thing. its soooooo cute...and flip flops.
Janet:        and I found my old prescription Schoo-bah mask so I can see if we schoo-bah with the sting rays. 
Janet:        will you bring a Chibi? (that's a needle for sewing up loose yarn ends)
Janet:        I'm not bringing a raincoat are U?
Janet:        I forgot to diet :-(

All of that TXTing took a little over an hour because first you have to find the "over-forty" reading glasses, then find a place with decent light, and then your endlessly struggling with the auto-correct spelling feature that replaces "thong" for "thing" and George Clooney for Chibi. More practice needed.

I dump out my suitcase of "work" clothes and try to fill it with "play" clothes but I can't seem to grasp that I don't need to pack Cuddl Duds and Spanx. And more importantly what knitting do I bring?

I can't find my 95% finished Cockcrow. It has been MIA for about a week now. If anyone finds my red Cockcrow, TXT me.
I finished the sleeve for my Crescent Springs Hoodie in Debbie Bliss Gray Donegal Tweed and the shop sold the rest of the yarn while I was away.  Is this a do-over or a re-order more yarn?
I goofed up something on my Girasole and I don't have the mental energy to frog a couple of rows (each row has 240 stitches).
I know what I'll bring...Crochet! I'm going to crochet a baby blanket.

So, there you have it. I'm on my way to the KMans (TXT talk for Caymans), I have 2 bathing suits, a Chibi, schooba shoes, flip flops, sandals, running shoes (I like shoes), 12 lipsticks, 5 skeins of Comfort and a Crochet Hook #H.

Good friends and yarn are always great company!
Should Prince Charming drop by the shop while we're away, tell him to TXT us and "Yes" we will be back in time for Valentine's Day!