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The Giant Squirrel Knows…

We stopped for one of those vending machine pecan pies last Saturday night, at the giant squirrel on Hwy 71.

I’ve driven past it so many times in the night over the years, resisting the beckoning sign of digital red that calls out to late night travelers,


So last Saturday night around 2:30am, I thought what the heck….

I’ve never seen a vending machine with pie.

To my surprise, the machine vends FULL SIZE pecan pies, not slices.

So… I got one. And had a piece with my coffee the next day.

I don’t usually care for pecan pie, as it’s usually a glob of corn syrup with a few poor choice pecans floating on top. Too sweet for me and not enough of the good stuff. But my husband and kids like it. Hence the purchase.

I have to say I’m impressed. This pie is mostly pecans!! And good ones! Just look at it!

I still have never been inside this store. Usually not open when I drive by. But the vending machine in the middle of the night is a hoot!

Next time, I’m trying the pecan brittle.



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Aberrant Crochet’s Gratitude Challenge – Day 4…

It’s day 4 of my Gratitude Challenge.  And as I went about my day, both at work and at rest, some very specific things jumped out at me that I am really grateful for.

You see, it was just a year ago on July 27th, 2013 that I fell down my brother’s staircase and broke my right leg (just above the ankle).  It happened at the tail end of an incredible 4-week cross-country road trip with my teens.

Unlike most people who break their ankle/leg, I didn’t just twist it to break it.  My foot ended up caught on the stair case behind me.  As I fell backward on top of it, I slid down the stairs with my foot trapped behind me.  Which of course, did a bang-up job.  It wasn’t just a spiral fracture and a couple of bone chips.  My ankle had separated and required serious surgery to put back together.


1. Today as I showered and scrubbed my feet, looking over my scar, I felt deeply grateful for my surgeon Dr. Parker who put my ankle back together. 

Because I can maneuver a wet surface without slipping today. 

Have you ever watched the TV show “Royal Pains?”  Dr. Parker is totally like Dr. Jeremiah Sacani. My surgeon is really a surgical puzzle genius, but he’s not the most conversational doctor in the world.  He has assistants to handle that.  Mostly, he’s interested in putting you back together.

It took a long while for me to recover, as I suffered some complications.  First, my body tried to reject some of the stitches. There was a subsequent infection.  Then I developed an allergy to the antibiotics plus a DVT in my leg from the surgery, and had to be on a blood thinner called Xarelto for 4+ months.  (Expensive stuff.)  Which really slowed down my recovery.  (Not to mention the drug made me feel weak and senile.)

As a result, my incision didn’t fully heal until January of this year when I finally got off the blood thinner.  Five months is a long time to deal with a large incision like that.

However, getting past it all, my ankle is strong and I almost don’t notice it anymore.  It’s not quite as flexible as it was, and it doesn’t feel quite the same as it did, but it works and works well.  I can even dance now, though my pivoting is not quite where I’d like it.  And I know I got through the whole thing better thanks to the skillful Dr. Parker.

2. I never thought I’d say this, but I’m grateful that my husband was laid off shortly after my surgery. 

It was not ideal from a financial point of view, by any means.  But he was able to be there for me and take care of me and the kids.  I don’t remember much of August or September last year, and thankfully I didn’t need to.  And when his dad was hospitalized, hubby was able to be there for that too.  I honestly am not sure how we would have been able to deal with things if hubby hadn’t have been home.  Not to mention, he’s a great cook and no one starved!

3. In spite of the physical and financial set back, I got to go to Spain with my daughter on her high school trip last spring. 

It wasn’t some last minute decision, in case you’re wondering.  We’d signed contracts and started fund-raising 2 years prior.  So it was the culmination of a lot of time and work. 

We finished raising the money, some amazing people donated and my leg held up with all the walking.  I was a little slow, but I was there.  It was my first time to ever see another country besides the U.S..  And the experience was amazing.  I didn’t see all the crochet I’d hoped to, but I did get to see things I couldn’t have imagined and I did meet a fellow Raveler in Barcelona. 

And the architecture – let me just say there’s nothing like being somewhere in person.

And that’s it for tonight.  Sleep well friends…

Aberrant Crochet - Cathedral-Mosque of Córdoba - Spain

Cathedral-Mosque of Córdoba, Spain. Click image to see a larger view.

If you enjoyed this article, you might also like:

Aberrant Crochet’s Gratitude Challenge – Day 3… more or less…

Aberrant Crochet’s Gratitude Challenge – Day 2

Aberrant Crochet’s Gratitude Challenge


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Aberrant Crochet’s Gratitude Challenge – Day 2…

In keeping with my 5 day Gratitude Challenge, I’m to pick 3 things that I’m grateful for every day.  At the end of my 5 day challenge, I then pick 3 other people to take the challenge and keep the gratitude flowing.

I could keep this simple.  Just bullet point it, leave it at that and bam – I’m outta here.

But I’m not likely to.

It’s hard for me to see the worth in the time.  Because to be grateful, you’re supposed to spend a little time on that feeling, right?  Marinate a bit, let it sink in, and maybe let it transform your attitude a little.  And also because I’m starved for writing for the love of it.  (Someone please just hire me to write interest pieces like this all day long.)

Well, so here goes….

Today – after 19 hours of errands and work yesterday – I have some very specific things in mind to be thankful for.

1. Sleep Number Bed – I love you. 

Aberrant Crochet - I have a date tonight with my bed - Gratitude for Sleep

Truly.  Hook, line and sinker.  I wish there was a perk for me to write about this, because I’d absolutely take a new pillow top.  Hell yes.  But there’s not and the fact remains, I can sleep thanks to you and I’m grateful.

Back in 2005 I was in a terrible highway collision.  One of those events you aren’t supposed to walk away from and yet somehow you do.  I was on a road trip to see my grandparents.  Thank God I decided at the last minute to leave the kids home with my husband, because the entire backside of my car was destroyed.   Within two hours of being hit by a construction/demolition truck, with a demolition hitch on the front (which looks like the front of a snow plow), I was completely numb on my left side.  You never realize what a gift being able to have sensation in your hand is, until you don’t have it.  The truck was so big and so high up, it missed my bumper altogether.  It center punched and ran over the back-end of my car, slamming me into the guy ahead of me.  My air bag never deployed and my shoulder and neck sustained major injury.  And without a normal grate on the front of his truck, none of the energy was defrayed like it should have been.  It all channeled right through the center of my car to my body, which tried to fly out of my shoulder belt.

Two surgeons wanted me to have spinal surgery, but I’m allergic to a lot of the stuff used in the surgery, including most antibiotics.  One of my surgeons believed it was worth exploring other options.  So I spent over a year in physical therapy, chiropractic care and massage therapy just working to regain feeling and strength in my left arm and hand again.  I couldn’t crochet for months.  It hurt for my kids to lean on me, much less sit in my lap.  It sucked, in so very many ways.  Not to mention, my husband deployed for overseas duty right after it happened.  And I still have problems with my left shoulder and arm from it today.

But Sleep Number – you were there for me.  Towards the end of my therapy, I was blessed with a prescription for one of your beds.  I finally began to sleep, not just pass out.  And it still cradles me to sleep today.

2. Melatonin and the people who discovered you
– I salute you!

It’s probably because I’m exhausted, but I have to be grateful for the knowledge and availability of melatonin as an important factor in quality sleep.  Did you know that melatonin governs the quality of your sleep and has a relationship with serotonin?  That it may boost your immune system and help prevent/treat some cancers?  And that light destroys melatonin in your body, especially the blue spectrum of light?  Yeah.  All that late night computer work is not helpful.  So melatonin supplementation can be a very useful thing for someone like me.

You really need to be able to sleep at least 6 hours if you’re going to take melatonin though, because it helps you get into deep levels of sleep that you need time to wake from.  It’s not about making you sleep longer; it’s about regulating your cycle and getting to a deeper level of sleep, which is more effective than light sleep.  It also increases dreaming, especially if you haven’t dreamed (or recalled one) in awhile.

Melatonin supplementation is a modern convenience I am very grateful for.  And those people who study that stuff – you rock!

3. F.Lux – You are amazing!

F.lux™ is a computer app that helps your computer screen simulate sunlight according to the time of day, removing the blue spectrum for a warmer glow at night.  It gradually fades the light into a more relaxing warm tone and it definitely makes it easier for me to disconnect from my work and sleep better when I use the app.  It also has an option to delay its launch, say when you have graphic work to do, etc.. But it’s a great little tool, a free one at that and I’m grateful for it.  Again, I’m not gaining anything by telling you about this little invention, but I appreciate that someone thought it up!  Thank you! 🙂 

Oh, and F.Luxalso has a nice little page full of research articles about light and sleep here.  You should totally check it out.  I only just noticed it when I was grabbing links for this article, so I’m just looking through it too.  Sweet!

Sensing a theme here? 

Yeah, 4.5 hours of sleep last night is kind of on my mind.  (But hey, not only is the project done, but I rocked it.) And while in a perfect world I’d be sleeping 9 hours every day, these guys above help me along when I can’t.  What would I do without you?

So thanks Mr. Sleep Number Melatonin F.lux™ guy. I salute you!

If you enjoyed this article, you might also like:

Regulating Your Sleep Cycle

Aberrant Crochet’s Gratitude Challenge


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About My Crochet Work…

I decided to post this piece from my website to my blog:

“That’s that new-fangled yarn!” “You can’t see your stitches!” These are the phrases both my grandmothers have used to describe the micro-fibers and unusual yarns, from around the world, that I specialize in. I grinned of course, and replied right back, “But Grandma, if you really know how to crochet, you don’t need to see your stitches!” Lol! Well they had no argument there. But no matter – as far as they were concerned, too much time, to difficult to use and too different. Fine for me to use it, but even as seasoned crochet masters they would NOT.

It’s true. When I teach crochet, I never recommend what my grandmothers call “that new-fangled yarn!” It’s NOT very forgiving at all. And if you’re new to hooking (or knitting), it just is not the yarn to learn on. Mis-stitch and you’ll likely scrap the lot, if you’re not well skilled at handling a multitude of yarns and textures.

However, “That 70’s Yarn” as I call it, is the perfect learning yarn. As grandmother pointed out, you can easily see your stitches in “That 70’s Yarn.” It’s perfect for learning tension, stitch consistency and gauge. Practice makes perfect and “That 70’s Type Yarn” is the best to practice with. But for all practicality and end product use, I don’t like it for much else. Great for making spider webs and anything requiring a lot of structure and even durability in the rain!  But not great for the skin.

Super el-cheap-o “one pounder” yarn is far from what I ever use in my products for men or women. (Except, as I said, for spider webs.) And I refuse to use anything scratchy against the skin, even if it is “natural.” If it’s going to be against your skin, as a purse, blanket or article of clothing, it should be SOFT! No compromises! No passing scratchy stuff off as acceptable just because “it’s natural.” This is such an issue to me that when it comes to hats, I look at it this way: It should be soft enough against the skin to be comfortable to anyone going through chemotherapy. Think about it – when you’ve had hair and then suddenly don’t, your skin can be extremely sensitive to what you wear!

Crochet got a negative rep from 60’s and 70’s negative memories of crocheted vases and painful clothing some of us were forced to wear, along with a variety of marketing techniques targeted at various audiences. There are still people who hear the word “crochet” and the only thing they can visualize is unfortunately a very limited slice of the whole art! Not anymore! It’s my goal to help “make the case” for crochet and it’s potential to make a high quality and lovelier piece of work.  As well as promoting crochet as ART itself. Much of that funky yarn that traditionalists hate I love. If it’s not soft against the skin, I don’t use it against the skin. Which also means my tastes tend to be higher quality and more expensive.  I am admittedly, a yarn/(don’t forget chocolate)/crochet/hook SNOB.  All in good humor!

So, before you look and wonder, the proof of the difference is in the touch.
I dare you!

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