Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Lots of Lessons

Nothing is as easy as it looks – isn’t that one of Murphy’s Laws? I found that out yesterday when I finally got to hang my Topse Turvy tomato planter. First of all, the roof on our balcony is about nine feet high, so we had to get the super of our building to come up and screw in the big ol’ hook to hang the planter from. Second, hanging it from that hook would leave it too high to fill, water and tend, so I bought a pulley and some heavy nylon line. Third, I forgot how heavy a cylinder sixteen inches high and nine inches in diameter would be once full of wet dirt. While I let it down in order to put the tomato plant in upside down and fill it with dirt and water it, it was then too heavy for me to hoist it – the nylon cut cruelly into my hands when I tried. So I had to get Ellen to lift it while I shortened the line and tied it off. Soon it was hanging above the railing, dribbling dirty water and expensive tomato fertilizer out the bottom. This thing had better grow more tomatoes than I have ever gotten from a single plant or I am going to be very disappointed.

When doing counted cross stitch it is considered good form to have all your Xs crossed the same way. That is, if your first X has the first stitch going left to right and the cross stitch right to left, then every X on the cloth must follow suit. I have learned that way to be sure you follow this rule is to do a row of half crosses (/ / / / /), then come back the other way, finishing the Xs. The reason behind this is that the piece looks nicer done like this, every X catches the light the same way.

Most stitchers I know hate backstitching. (For non-stitchers, this is an outline stitch done to surround a cluster of cross stitches; for example, the cute puppy’s eyes or his ears.) I don’t mind it – much – but maybe that’s because I do it before I do the Xs, and I do it as a double running stitch. I learned about the double running stitch when I took a class on Blackwork. It’s very easy to do, just stitch around the area, then come back going down where you went up to make a solid line. Regular stitching looks like this: --------. The double running stitch, after you come back the other way looks like this: ______. If you do your backstitching first, then you just fill in the center as if you’re a kid coloring between the lines. This is not considered good form, but then I was told when learning to stitch that if the pointed end goes through the fabric first, you’re doing it right.

Thinking about this makes me almost brave enough to work on that complex piece of loons reflected in a lake.

In my golf lesson yesterday evening we, at last, got to swing hard at the ball. I found out I’ve been doing it pretty much wrong, and following the instructor’s method hit the ball far more reliably. I’m still not much on distance and I need to spend more time at the driving range to set the new method into my nerves and muscles, but I feel much less of a duffer. Golf isn’t the game I thought it was. Those pros on television make it look so easy and natural but there’s method and discipline to every movement. The search is for consistency, not artistry. "Let the club do the work," says my instructor. Swing the same way every time, but choose a different club for a different situation, depending on how far you need to go or how much "loft" you want on the ball. Interesting.


Julie said...

As your downswing begins, lead with your left hip (if right-handed) and keep that left arm straight. One of the most helpful things I was ever told was to pull the club through the shot with that left arm, not push it with the right. And keep your head down (which I didn't do so well). Until my shoulder finally gave out (not as a result of golf) I got good results with the pulling thing. Good luck, and enjoy all that pretty scenery and wildlife on the golf course. Here in Indy, you can see deer, raccoons, rabbits, woodchucks, herons and countless squirrels, etc. Even if you play badly, it's a beautiful afternoon in the outdoors.

Betty Hechtman said...

My son got me to play golf with him. I told him I'd do it, but I was just going to have fun.

We played on a course in Yosemite that was soggy as a sponge and had holes that went around corners. Oh, and there were deer wandering around, too.

I have no idea what my score was, but I sure had a good time.