Random musings
Saturday June 21st 2008, 10:05 am
Filed under: Friends,Knit,Non-Knitting

1. A bird’s-foot view:

Lene posted a photo she took of bird tracks that were probably made by pigeons, and it instantly hit me that if you turned them towards you and drew a circle around them, you had the Peace symbol. The Dove of Peace–I wondered, whoever drew the original, was that their inspiration? So I googled, found this, and have to think they did not make that connection. But it’s fascinating how well the two symbols converge.

2. Catapulted:

I was reading reviews of the Shake Awake, a silent alarm clock to put under one’s pillow, and had to laugh at one person’s descriptions of why it was such an improvement for her sound-sleeper hearing-impaired son: she said that before that, they’d had to throw the cat at him every morning to get him to finally stir.

3. Toucans help too:

I had a cardiology appointment this week, and if ever a doctor is likely to be suddenly interrupted and delayed, it’s a heart specialist. (It was just a follow-up to verify that yes, I’m fine there, my cardiac cough went away when that lupus flare did this past winter.) Definitely a bring-your-knitting appointment. As I waited, a very well-dressed elderly woman was wheeled into the waiting room by her attendant, who caught my eye, nodded at my stitches, and silently smiled at me.

The old one in her string of pearls and silk sat there in her wheelchair looking terribly bored and unhappy; it took me awhile to glance down from my knitting and notice that her lower legs were scabbed over in signs of old sores, many of them. Her shoes were perfect but her skin gave her away. She avoided eye contact. I noticed her attendant had pearl earrings on too, and I thought, you’re both generous souls, then; good for you.

one like this oneI thought about it, then searched in my purse, looking for a particularly bright and cheerful one. And intricate. I wanted intricate. Something particularly nicely made. I found one, a toucan-looking bird, and just as the nurse opened the door and called my name, I reached across the small aisle between the seats and offered the old woman the finger puppet. A child’s toy? But an adult’s delight as well in the skill and pride that someone, somewhere in Peru had put into creating the piece.

The old woman’s face totally lit up in surprise and delight, and behind her, her attendant’s did too. So did the nurse’s. I didn’t want to delay the office by stopping to describe where I get those from, that no, I didn’t knit it, so as the door closed behind us going down the hallway, I mentioned to the nurse. I figured, if the patient wanted to talk to her about it, she could tell her herself. If they had time. The nurse’s call, not mine; the important part had already happened.

It’s hard to be old and lonely. Saying to somebody that they are noticed, even just in a small moment, can make a world of difference to them, and the rest of us too. It was so easy to do.

4. Now she sees it:

My daughter had an eye doctor appointment and I don’t even remember why I came with and waited for her, but I brought my knitting and did. A woman, I’m guessing Chinese, was walking past, saw the work in my hands, and stopped on the spot and came over and sat down next to me. It is amazing what you can convey with pantomime: she had never seen circular needles before. I demonstrated how you use them just like straights, and that no, the circular shawl I was knitting wasn’t a closed circle, it was back and forth; I pulled out my book and showed her how it would look finished. Oh! Then she wanted to know how to do lace. I taught her on the spot. Ssk, slants this way, k2tog, slants that, purl into a yarnover this way. By the time I left, she had it and she was thrilled. I couldn’t ask her how long she’d been knitting, I couldn’t ask her anything not communicated with waving hands and needles. But there is a universal joy in sharing knowledge and in learning how to do something new. I can just picture her running to me, wherever she is now, with her needles in hand to show me what she’s making now.

5. It’s all your fault:

And if you bought ME a Shake Awake, this being California, I’d probably need that cardiologist, thinking the San Andreas was going off bigtime.

15 Comments so far
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Your thoughtfulness and generosity of spirit never fail to inspire and humble me. Thank you for all your stories.

Comment by Susan 06.21.08 @ 10:59 am

Who knew that doves could step out semaphore? The link was informative but I like your original observation on Lene’s post better!

How nice you brightened that patient’s day w/the tiny bird and also showed that lady (or as my daughter might also say “random stranger”) how to knit in the style of Alison! On a recent train journey, I kept an OAP amused by knitting an afghan with what must have looked like chop sticks (bamboo double pointed needles.) Hey, both our journeys went quicker!

Comment by Lynn 06.21.08 @ 11:14 am

Very punny post. Love the content, love the puns! Anne in Wy

Comment by slimsdotter 06.21.08 @ 7:32 pm

Silly me–I hear long ago that a peace sign was a dove’s foot, and I believed it. I guess I was historically wrong and effectively correct.

Someday, Alison, you will die with a pun on your lips, and then angels will carry you off to your eternal “pun”ishment. (Say hello to my relatives when you get there.)

Comment by Laura 06.21.08 @ 8:07 pm

And totally impunitent when the day does come.

Comment by AlisonH 06.21.08 @ 9:33 pm


I LOVE my Shake Awake. I’ve had it for about 7 years now, and only had to change the batteries once. Hubby doesn’t like it. hehe, but it saved me since I cannot hear normal alarm clock. I had many a roommate in college and would have loved it if I’d had one of these then.

Comment by Tiny Tyrant 06.21.08 @ 11:08 pm

oh and I forgot to mention, it doesn’t really shake the whole bed, you stuff it under you pillow in your pillow case. If you really want to have fun, you stuff it in your husband’s. Bwahahahaha!

Comment by Tiny Tyrant 06.21.08 @ 11:11 pm

What a lovely gesture, giving the lady the finger puppet. And what a great thing, having such things in your bag, just in case! I had a similar experience this week, old, sad looking lady in a wheelchair next to me in a doctor’s surgery, watching me knitting. Like you, I felt sad. Unlike you, I did nothing about it. Next time, maybe…

Comment by PrincessPea 06.22.08 @ 1:20 am

“And if you bought ME a Shake Awake, this being California, I’d probably need that cardiologist, thinking the San Andreas was going off bigtime.”

I wouldnt need a cardiologist but the’yd have one heck of a time getting me out of the storm shelter when it went off since I would probably think/gream that there was an EF5 Tornado bearing down on us 🙂

Comment by Danielle from SW MO 06.22.08 @ 5:06 am

I have a vibrating alarm clock too. Not sure what brand. It’s a travel model that also has an audio alarm. My sister has borrowed it when we were on vacation together and she wanted to do someehting especially early that I bowed out out of. Great device!

And the pantomime knitting story is lovely.

Comment by Carol 06.22.08 @ 9:16 am

You floored me with the peace sign and the pigeon’s feet – they completely look alike. It’s a nice thought, I might just hold on to it instead of the facts.

My sister is deaf in one ear and have always had trouble with hearing teh alarm clock. I bought her a vibrating one to put under her pillow many years ago and it worked like a charm. Thanks for telling me about Shake Awake – she’s been looking for a new one.

Comment by Lene 06.22.08 @ 7:19 pm

Umm, when DD lived near Los Angeles her cats did indeed seem to know when an earthquake was coming. Nope, they didn’t share that knowledge with the family. They just went and stood in a sturdy doorway, themselves. VBG!

Comment by Barbara-Kay 06.23.08 @ 11:16 am

That lady will probably never forget your kindness. *hugs* If only everyone could be on the receiving end of a spontaneous finger puppet gift, the world would be a lot cheerier, I think. Hee.

Comment by Ren 06.23.08 @ 12:42 pm

Also, this is Ren by the way, but I’ll be signing my comments as ‘Sarah’ from now on, since that is my real name. 🙂

Comment by Sarah 06.23.08 @ 12:44 pm

Hey Alison! I’ve been here before, met you in Petaluma and bought your *beautiful* book! You signed a bookplate for my daughter and I while we were waiting to see Stephanie because your book hadn’t quite come out yet. Love your stuff, and thanks for visiting my blog.

Comment by OhLookADuck 06.23.08 @ 4:16 pm

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