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Fortunate Me

Sunday, February 14, 2021

I love fortune cookies. And Magic 8 Balls, wishing wells, tarot cards, horoscopes. DH, the astronomer, highly offended by astrology, says, in his scornful voice, it's a wonder I don't go to Las Vegas and play dice games if I love chance so much. He doesn't understand. Dice games are all about specific good fortune, usually with money as the object and honestly, money has never been high on my quest. It's there, but it was never much of a reason for doing something. I'd never have been a public librarian in a small rural community if that had been the aim. No, the fun of "fortunes" - of random promises from nobody at all is the opportunity to imagine "what if". It's the prompt that opportunities are out there that makes them fun. It's the puzzle with a treat in the middle.

Most years I make Fortune Walnuts at Christmas time. I carefully crack the English Walnuts into 2 boat shaped half shells and empty them out. Then I type dozens of good fortunes on little strips of paper and roll them into tiny scrolls. Stuffed in the shells which are glued shut, they lie, waiting like surprises, for the recipients. Usually I spray paint them shiny silver and gold and roll them in glitter because - hey - glitter - what's Christmas without glitter, right?

I learned that I had to explain, when I give them, that the recipient has to actually crack open the nut - maybe on Christmas day - maybe on New Year's day, after one giftee told me, when I asked her what her fortune was, (they're generic fortunes so it's interesting to see how people interpret them) that she just threw it out after Christmas. Huh??? I mean - if someone handed you a glittery gold walnut and said "This is a Christmas Fortune Nut - it's got a fortune in it" - wouldn't it occur to you to crack it open and see what was inside? Evidently she felt about magical surprises the way DH does. No Such Thing As Magic.

So lordy - what does this have to do with anything - particularly with anything happening in the Land-0-Bess? Not much, I suppose except it explains why I like horoscopes and today's horoscope reminded me that Mercury is still retrograde and that has to be why the sweater I have been knitting the past few weeks, has had to be re-knit in almost every part. Time was when I knit pretty constantly and had 2 dozen sweaters to show for it. I had a basic pattern in my head that could be knit entirely in one piece so I didn't have to sew up the edges. I knew it inside and out and could just pick up 10 balls of yarn and cast on. But after you have 20 sweaters you probably don't knit any more. And then - after boredom and style changes and letting your hair go grey and oh yes, moths - you realize you don't have 20 sweaters any more but by then you have forgotten the pattern - so you make errors in your calculations and you make a sweater that is way too big - so you rip it out and start again. And then you realize that the sleeve cuffs are just too tight so you rip them out and start again. And then, you remember vividly that the instructions said something starts after the first inch of the yoke - but you forget that what started then was not shoulder decreases but any stranded colorwork pattern you were putting in. So you rip that sweater back to the sleeve joins and knit again. And eventually you've recovered all the lost sweater you had to pull out and you're almost done.

And in my case, I really never minded. I just wanted something to do with my hands while DH and I watched young Europe sing Monteverdi madrigals on youtube during cocktail hour. Because oh my goodness - there is so MUCH good music out there on youtube - even for the esoteric among us. Knitting a basic sweater definitely filled the bill.

So here I am - so fortunate - so lucky that I can explore the small world of my kind of music, performed by beautiful youth - aren't 30 year olds so pretty? And those with heavenly voices are an added boon. And here I am with a wealth of yarn - maybe not the best colors for my faded complexion these says, but nothing a little blusher and eyeshadow can't fix. And it's all sitting here on shelves in my studio. Why should I care if I have to knit it over and over again? I like to knit. It's soothing and interesting. I'm not in a hurry and I am not going anywhere to show it off. I'm just so fortunate. Even the gods think it's a good idea to do it again - after all, Mercury is in retrograde. I should know. I read my horoscope. Fortunate me.

In one other area I had specific good fortune yesterday. The ice came - and the power went off - but the first time in the afternoon so there was still daylight to see my way around - even to read a book and knit. And just in time to go into the kitchen with lanterns, to start dinner, it came back on again. With the chicken in the oven (gas oven) we could watch our favorite cocktail youtube videos (and knit) and when I went to the kitchen to dish up supper - it went out again, just in time to enjoy a candlelit meal. And once replete, with a glow from the wood stove and the guttering flickers of those candles, here it came back on again - electricity - how sweet. And fortunate.

May you all have fortunate weeks - because there is good fortune in almost every nut - you just have to crack it open and pluck it out.

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    I laughed conspiratorially at your "rip-outs".
    I crochet like a mad woman. An elderly lady in my family used to watch me just so she could laugh when I ripped out hours of work because I noticed an error.

    One of my favorite fortunes was "You like Chinese food".
    Hanging on my refrigerator for years is my favorite
    "The most important relationship in life is with yourself".
    53 days ago
    I enjoy fortune cookies. A golden walnut sounds magical. emoticon
    56 days ago
    Missed one forecast ice storm but another one is being forecast - I just hate winter with a passion emoticon
    56 days ago
    This is so great on so many levels. What do I comment on first?

    Doing something with your hands. Yes, crocheting used to do that for me, but in recent years it was only afghans. Very forgiving. Nothing had to FIT.

    Ah, youtube music - the soundtrack of my life available with a click, new music suggested by others and of course, the classics.

    Walnut fortunes? What a creative idea from your artistic mind!
    DH reads his horoscope too. I come from a long line of "predict the future" eastern European relatives.
    They used to go to a neighborhood fortune teller and kept asking me to go along.
    I never did though. Her predictions weren't always rosy. I told Mom that if it was bad news I didn't want to know and if good news I would prefer to be pleasantly surprised. LOL

    One time Mom was told that an old woman close to her would soon die. Mom assumed it was Grandma since she was past 90. Grandma lived 4 more years, but the fortune teller died. So in a way she was right.

    Great blog!
    56 days ago
    What a beautiful full circle essay/blog, Bess!
    56 days ago
    I would never discard a glittery Fortune Nut...what a great idea! May Lady Luck continue to smile on you emoticon
    56 days ago
    That was good fortune!! So glad your dinner turned out fabulously! I re-knit things constantly and never mind it if the yarn is nice. It's like getting to play with it even more!
    56 days ago
    Sorry you had to deal with ice - but fortunately... you could stay home with your off and on electricity (what timing!!!???!! woo woo...)

    57 days ago
    There is just NO similarity between Vegas and good fortune as you (and I) understand the concept!! And oh yes, I also think there's a real possibility that you and I make our good fortune? By our (pretty certainly irritating to others) upbeat attitude about most of what happens? Incorrigibly cheerful, that's me almost all of the time . . . and glad also that our new house has a wired in generator since we're also in an area subject to winter storm power outages (gotta learn how to use it though).

    Now please explain what that mysterious horoscope term "in retrograde" means . . . I see it but I've never googled it!!
    57 days ago
    Love it!
    "..... it went out again, just in time to enjoy a candlelit meal."
    Such fortuitous timing indeed!

    57 days ago
    This nut gets cracked open all the time to find the fortune inside, right, like all us nuts?

    Have a wonderful Valentine's Day!
    57 days ago
    Thanks for taking me along with you, from the frustration of the knitting to the romantic dinner (Valentine's weekend, after all). I'm still hoping these blogs will make their way into a book one of these days.
    57 days ago
  • LYNCHD05
    Bess thank you for your wonderful blogs. Nothing fazes you does it as you just carry on.
    Happy Valentine’s Day...
    57 days ago
    Right, I really must get that baby blanket finished, the baby was born yesterday to a friend of my daughter’s. I love those fortune walnuts. I would have thrown one away, I would have kept it - did I mention hoarding is in my blood?!
    57 days ago
    I loooove your writing, Bess.
    I feel fortunate every single day...I just cannot believe what a wonderful life I have, and have had.
    Thnx for reminding me!
    57 days ago
  • ALICIA363
    I love your imagination! Did you invent the fortune walnut?
    Pandemic times has DD learning to crochet and me rediscovering that craft. It is soothing.
    57 days ago
    The possibilities add some excitement to a rather quiet life. Enjoy
    57 days ago
    Knitting and music and candlelight dinner. Sounds like a perfectly romantic day!
    57 days ago
  • DESIREE672
    I would be a tad frustrated! But it’s all about enjoying the moment! I love what you did with the walnuts - creating magic for friends and family. And there’ll soon be a third little one to create magic for!

    Happy Valentine’s! emoticon
    57 days ago
    LOVELY! Never woulda thought of a Fortune Nut but hey . . . makes sense!

    AS for Mercury being in retrograde, ummmmm . . . ready for things to change! OY.

    Happy Valentine's Day to you and your DH. emoticon
    57 days ago
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