It's the day to pick names for the blog contest. But first, while I have a captive audience (so rare...) a few business items.
The fire update is that we seem to be out of the path of danger at this point. The wind has turned, and the fires are heading back into the hills. This doesn't mean that the work is done for the firefighters who are out there on the front lines, nor that the threat is over for everybody, just that it looks like we've been spared this time. In many ways, this fire has been more frightening for me because we bought a home in a place that is not usually prone to fire danger. We're not in the hills, or in a canyon; we live near the center of our town in an area that is not generally at risk, but the mixture of heat and fuel load and expanded living area of the population has made controlling fires like these harder and riskier and means, it appears, that the danger area has expanded. I'm grateful that we've been lucky this time.
My friends who were staying with us have also been able to finally get back to their (untouched) home today. My other evacuated friends are also getting home. I realize how lucky we all are to have escape unscathed. Thank you all so very much for your kind comments and emails to me; it was nice to know there were people out there pulling for us, especially as things around here seemed more and more surreal. Now we're just dealing with heat and really bad air. I realize that this is so much better than trying to rebuild our lives after losing a home, and I am grateful. We will also be home this weekend (yes, I was brave and cancelled the trip), and have some time to try to move out of this hunkering-down space and back into real life.
On a different topic entirely, I realize that I forgot to tell you all who your (inadvertent) benefactress is, in that the reason why I decided to have a blog contest is because I actually (for the first time EVER) won a blog contest that Adrienne had, and she, being the lovely and generous person that she is, sent me a skein of Tofutsies, which is sitting in my knitting basket right now, waiting to be knitted. Thanks, Adrienne!
A comment on the pattern-memorization comments. They fell into a few general categories. There are apparently a lot of people who have my problem with memorization (or else who wanted free yarn without having to share their memorization secrets; I can respect that). It's good to know I'm not alone. There are also a large number of you who must get some very strange looks when knitting in public, as talking or singing through a pattern is a popular strategy. Seriously, I did not expect that one at all, but singing knitters are apparently a lot more common that I'd ever thought (I really have to find a knitting group down here -- the things I'm missing out on!). Other strategies that were mentioned involved examining the pattern for its internal logic to help remember where it's going. There were a number of lovely note-taking suggestions involving office supplies (mmmm....office supplies....I love office supplies), and one that suggested using the back of my hand for notes. You all are some seriously creative people. Rachel brilliantly suggested knitting a couple of clean repeats and then using the knitting itself as the pattern (so beautiful in its simplicity -- I actually smacked myself on the forehead when I read that and thought "doh!"). What it boils down to is that you all totally came through for me, one way or the other. You're the best!
Thus I was very glad that I hadn't offered the yarn to the best comment -- I would never have been able to make that call. Instead, I promised you a random drawing, and random is what you get. I wrote every name on evenly-sized pieces of paper (office supplies!), plus writing extra names for those who were said to have sent people here from their blogs, and put them all in an old tin box. These were covered and shaken vigorously, and subjected to the groping hand of a blindfolded 6-year-old, who pulled out the name:
Kathy! You won! Email me at jahlers AT csusm DOT edu so I can get your address and send you your yarn.
All right, excitement's over, people. Move along, move along. Kauni pictures tomorrow, I promise.