Tuesday, November 30, 2010


The Knitternall family celebrated Thanksgiving in our pajamas, slept soundly for five blessed nights, read great books, enjoyed the latest Harry Potter movie, watched schmaltzy Christmas movies on the Hallmark channel, and tackled a few too-long-delayed chores. We left the biggest job until Sunday, not because of procrastination, but because of rain. Our house was surrounded by an ocean of leaves. Maple, oak, poplar, and chestnut leaves covered the ground, sidewalk, driveway, front steps, bench, and shrub.

We filled 25 lawn bags, hauled huge piles on tarps to the back woods at least a dozen times, and finally managed to take care of the windfall.

At one point, my son asked why we couldn't just burn the leaves, which would result in far less effort and provide many opportunities for fire-poking (his favorite camping activity). Informed there's a law against that, he rolled his eyes. "There are way too many laws." Rather than embark on a parental lecture about fire hazards, pollution, and fire safety, I agreed. Because there are. Too many laws. At his age, it's not as easy to differentiate between the "good" laws and the "oh, puh-lease" laws. (Chickens come to mind.)

Actually, I'd love to burn the leaves. I have many childhood memories of my grandfather burning leaves in whichever part of the yard he planned to till for the next season's garden. He swore that the burned leaves, mixed in with the dirt, made a good garden. And since the bounty from that garden fed the entire family through the Depression and long after grandchildren joined the dinner table, it worked.

I loved the smell of burning leaves, the fun of tossing small sticks into the flames, the conversations of the adults who stood around watching it just in case, and the fun of dodging the smoke as the wind changed direction occasionally. Leaf burning was always on a still, windless day - simple common sense.

Ah, well. At least we still have a wood-burning fireplace, having resisted the installation of gas logs over the years. Thanksgiving was too warm for a good fire, but we're finally trending toward consistently cold weather. So we'll smell that cozy, wood-burning warmth very, very soon.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Gifts for the Earth at Dunwoody Nature Center

Gifts for the Earth
Saturday, December 4
10 am - Noon
A Family Program Sponsored by Adrian and Brian Bonser and the Gendell Family Foundation
Turnabout is fair play: make something special for the earth that gives us so much. Create natural animal feeders and other gifts for the creatures who call Dunwoody home. Make one for Dunwoody Park and take one home to share with people you love.  Walk the trails, explore the wetlands along our boardwalk, and enjoy the fall foliage from our treehouse learning pavilion.
This FREE family program is sponsored by Adrian and Brian Bonser and the Gendell Family Foundation. Marion Gendell and her late husband, Gerald Gendell, established the foundation to make philanthropic contributions supporting Jewish organizations, the arts, education and medical research.  Their daughter, Adrian Bonser, continues the family’s support of education, including the environmental education programs of Dunwoody Nature Center.  Councilwoman Bonser and her husband Brian chose to sponsor Gifts for the Earth because they believe in the mission of the Center and wanted to make a gift to the City of Dunwoody. As a result, there is no charge for participating in this fun family event.
Dunwoody Nature Center is located on the grounds of Dunwoody Park.
5343 Roberts Drive, Dunwoody

Sunday, November 21, 2010

The giving season is here again.

Light Up Dunwoody is tonight (my daughter is marching with the Peachtree Charter Middle School Band), Thanksgiving is this week, and I've filled the pantry and fridge with yummies from Trader Joe's and Publix. The frenzy of activities and preparations will subside and the Knitternall family will have some much-needed quiet time together over the four-day weekend. Since we're spending the holiday here at home, I opted for a combination of somebody-else-made-it and homemade specialties so my time in the kitchen is more fun than chore. 
After many, many hours at the computer working away on my freelance writing assignments, I indulged in a knitting project for a very favorite person. It's finished, and just in time for its newborn recipient. The Upside Down Pansy Hat is definitely an "awwww" - and a very fun project to knit. (I also have a fairly unique assignment: one of the Nature Center volunteers wants an eggplant hat. Yep - eggplant. Seems there's this long tradition of giving a friend all things eggplant through the years. What a hoot.) 
Once Thanksgiving concludes, I'll gear up for the following weekend, which will be a special, first-time event at Dunwoody Nature Center:
Gifts for the Earth                                                    Saturday, December 4, 10 am - Noon at Dunwoody Nature Center
A free family event sponsored by Adrian and Brian Bonser and the Gendell Family Foundation
Turnabout is fair play: make something special for the earth that gives us so much. Make natural feeders and other gifts for the creatures who call Dunwoody home. Share with people you love as gifts from you to them to the earth.


Sunday, November 14, 2010

Vroom, vroom.

This has been a very eventful week for the Knitternall gang ... all good.

  • I took Adam to Mock Trial Law Academy at UGA. As an avowed Wolfpacker, red means NC State. Having to take my kid there was downright painful. The things we do as parents ...
  • As for Law Academy, Adam is having a really good time. Favorite moment: last year, his competition role as Witness lead to an Outstanding Witness award when he devastated the other team's attorney. (Basically, the attorney's job is to impeach the witness; the witness' job is to stay in character, stick to the story, and mess with the cross-examining attorney.) At dinner the first night, he discovered the opposing attorney is at Law Academy, too. "You're that GUY!" As my son said, "kinda surreal, very cool."
  • I recently took on a new freelance writing client, who has me working 15 hours a week on a 3+ month project. So when I'm not anchoring home base at Dunwoody Nature Center or teaching Preschool Phonics, I'm writing. Whew.

  • Anna Grace was accepted to MidFest, the state level honor band at UGA. Yes, another kid going to Bulldog territory for a long weekend. But we didn't know she'd been nominated or placed until this week. Her band teacher decided to surprise us. Boy, did he. Big cost, big conflict. The date for the weekend? During Adam's Eagle Ceremony.
  • Speaking of which, I've been designing the Eagle Ceremony invitations and program and getting things ready for the big day. I need a clone!!!
  • T is still basking in the completion of a three-year certification (some highly specialized area of private banking equivalent to a master's degree). But, since he hopped immediately into multiple business trips, we've barely had time to celebrate.
This abundance of blessings has me somewhat bemused. The good comes like the bad, often unexpected and certainly not deserved. I'm giving myself the same advice I cling to when we weather storms: rely on faith and pay all grace forward.

Since I was neglecting my blog, I welcomed the high comedy of fellow bloggers. Dunwoody Talk has a stealth link inside an anonymous comment that had me ROTFL (kid speak - seriously, I don't text acronyms).  If anyone has been paying attention to the total "fail" of Dunwoody's new branding, visit this link:  http://bit.ly/bSFP51. I discovered that a little "d" with an asterisk is now the go-to logo for the city. I'm keeping an open mind. Some people love the abbreviated "insider" look (kind of like those oval beach decals that look like European city license plates - if you know what they mean, you belong). I just keep wincing.

I also got to hear a neighbor tell me one school board candidate is the best choice because the other candidate is a mommy and just doesn't have the time to invest in all the meetings and preparation and analysis needed to serve. Seriously? As a mommy who juggles three jobs, knits an embarrassing amount of yarn, is pretty involved in my kids' schools, manages one kid's chronic illness and neverending medical needs, and volunteers in several different nonprofits ... I have a feeling a mommy can multi-task and understand things just fine.

We're leaving shortly for UGA for the Law Academy's closing ceremonies. Another trip down Highway 316, the most insane drag strip I've ever had the misfortune to navigate. 65 miles per hour through stop lights and cut-throughs.


Monday, November 8, 2010

The year of custom knits.

I've indulged in knitting for myself this past year as I've explored some new techniques. As a result, I am well supplied for the near future with cardigans, shawls, and sweater coats.
Design and Photo by Michele Sabatier
So now this will be the year of custom knits for others. I'm designing some special things for next year's Little Saints Holiday Market at St. Luke's and knitting favorite patterns for gift-giving and charity auctions.

On my to-create list:

  • Baby blankets in organic cotton
  • Baby sweaters knitted from the softest possible cotton and blended yarns - in rich teals, browns, creams, and roses.
  • Baby hats that look like frogs, flower tops, bunnies, and pandas.
  • A new line of felted totes and bags, embellished with hand-crafted flowers and geometrics.
  • Knit and hand-felted elf shoes for little ones.
  • Shawls - from vintage lacy to edgy geometric forms.
  • Ruanas knit with vivid colors and textures.
Each will be one of a kind, because I like moving from one technical challenge to another. As my inventory builds, I'll post photos on this blog for inspiration and special orders.

It's winter, the season of wool and angora, soft cotton and cozy blends.

Are you a Knitternall Follower? Don't forget to click "Follow" to the right. When we reach 100, I'll give away a hand-knit lace shawl in your choice of colors!

Knit on!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

A yummy reason to support Dunwoody Nature Center

 Join Dunwoody Nature Center Today.
"Grow" a Love of Nature for a Lifetime. 
Fall 2010 Membership Drive
Summer Camp at Dunwoody Nature Center

Join Dunwoody Nature Center by November 15 and receive a gift certificate for one regular size frozen custard at Village Burger!
The first 100 new and renewed members during our two-week on-line membership drive will receive an e-coupon to Village Burger. Simply go to www.dunwoodynature.org  and click on "information on membership and Annual Fund giving" on the right-hand side.
Members Are The Roots of Our Mission
... and Growth.
Your membership benefits include discounts on programs and early camp registration ... as well as the intangible (and priceless) knowledge that you are helping to ensure that this greenspace and these quality programs continue to thrive. 

Field Trips at Dunwoody Nature Center
We receive no government funding, other than the City's payment of certain utilities and maintenance services.  Your support is critical to keeping the lights on, paying our wonderful environmental educators and continuing to provide  excellent community programs.
I'm already a member. How else can I help?
Dunwoody Nature Center
If you are already a member or sponsor, Thank You! Please forward this message to friends and neighbors to help us spread the word about our membership drive.  
There are other ways you can help. Volunteer at Dunwoody Nature Center, helping us with park and trail improvements, special events, and our never-ending "to do" list. You can also contribute to the Annual Fund with an online payment. Any amount is much appreciated and well invested.  
We cannot accomplish this alone.  Members make it possible ... and fun ... to fulfill our mission: "to preserve and manage the natural environment and related facilities of Dunwoody Park and to foster the enjoyment and appreciation of nature through environmental education and outreach programs."
Thanks for your support!

Village Burger of Dunwoody

Thanks to Village Burger of Dunwoody for their generous support of our Fall 2010 membership drive.

Dunwoody Nature Center is located on the grounds of Dunwoody Park, 5343 Roberts Drive; Dunwoody, GA 30338. Our mailing address is P. O. Box 88070; Dunwoody, GA 30356. For more information, please contact Claire Waggenspack Hayes, Executive Director, at 770-394-3322 or claire@dunwoodynature.org.
Dunwoody Nature Center is a  501(c)3 nonprofit organization.