Tuesday, September 30, 2008

bloomin' cactus! (plus a story about yarn)

we have the most hideous cactus growing on the side of our house. luckily, you can't see it from the street until you have almost gotten completely passed us. it's this ashy gray (ever since i tried to beat it to death, literally, with a rake--the rake just kept bouncing off the side).

we had some remodeling done on the bathroom, and the guys who worked in there actually chopped off one of the limbs, because it had grown up to the windowsill (which is pretty high up, maybe 7 feet?). well, now it's actually growing BESIDE itself. like a lizard i guess. 

after we moved here and started coexisting with this cactus, i recalled how a former coworker told me about a cactus in her yard--she chopped it down, threw it in her neighbor's yard (against the fence), and it grew back within a few months--she thought just to taunt her. now i realize this must be the same cactus.

however... (isn't there usually a "however"?)

once a year, this cactus, called a night-blooming cactus, produces flowers--big, beautiful, off-white flowers. the catch is this: each blossom opens for one night only and then turns black and falls off--and did i mention it blooms only at night? as in, pitch-dark...not as the sun's going down, not as the faintest light still brushes the sky. i mean the MIDDLE of the night.

so last year, i remember hauling my husband's parents (they are 84 and 79) off the porch and around the side of the house in all the darkness, with one lone flashlight, praying that none of us would fall in the process. we got to see the huge blooms, and it was a sort of holy moment, because i don't think i took pictures (i'm too lazy to check right now)--so there we three stood, in the complete darkness, alone with the cactus, petals stretched out to air themselves where no one can see.

this year, i have tried several times to "catch" one of these blossoms fully open. i dragged the kids out one morning early before the sun was up, but apparently that time it had opened the night before because it was clamped shut and completely black on the outside. but this morning, thanks to our overcast weather, one of the flowers was tricked into thinking it was still nighttime. (gillian wanted to know, "how does it know it's dark outside? it doesn't have a brain, does it?" alas, these answers elude me...)

so i ran and got my camera and snapped this shot: it's mostly closed, but you can tell (i think) how beautiful it must be in all its glory.

and about the yarn, well, i'm starting a project with some friends. we even have a facebook group ("knitting with laci and kristi" or something like that) if you want to join in. i'm excited about having a finished lacy scarf (that's the pattern), but i'm not looking forward to how frustrated i'll probably be by the time i've worked on it for, oh, say FIVE minutes!!

need i confess that i'm a very green knitter? as in, i'm afraid to go beyond the knit stitch. i can purl (i think), but i find comfort in doing something i feel like i can do well instead of branching out. of course, this translates into most other areas of my life as well. doesn't it always? ok, maybe that's just me. 

anyway, here's a picture of my new yarn:

i think the ladies who helped me at the knitting store were women of little faith (in me), especially as i stared and stared at my pattern (printed crappily on 3 sheets of printer paper and barely readable--AND crumpled because rhys kept trying to eat it) and kept saying, "i really don't know what i'm doing. i will probably be back. you're going to see me again soon."

they will probably change their knitting clinic hours without telling me now. :)

wish me luck!


Mrs. H. said...

Hey Krisit - I am the same way knitting!!! I am just so comfortable with the knit stich! Why mess up a good thing?! ;-) I need to get my yarn soon. One of my sister-in-laws is an INCREDIBLE knitter - I mean you wouldn't believe the things she knits! Anyway, she is the only reason I am going to attempt this knit around the world thinging! :-) By the way, when I first saw your FB knit thing, I thought it was going to be a virtual scarf - hahahahaha! Then I realized, oh, I have to really knit... ;-0

Kristin said...

I just got in touch with a girl from Highschool through fb and she knits. I know knitting is rather chic these days, I just can't get into it. Brenna (age 11) is rather good and enjoys it. Anyway, this girl from High school had pictures on her fb of a thong and a teddy. I think, made out of silk thread!! No, she wasn't wearing it, it was laying across her washer. Talk about advanced knitting! It was a very pretty pale pink. Don't you think that should be your next project? :) Maybe you could get her to join "knitting with laci and kristi"?