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The Myth of Arden Kindle eBook is free this week only

The weather is getting chilly, which makes it a perfect time to snuggle up with a good book. Get some cheese from the cellar and enjoy a nice glass of Megan’s pineapple wine as you delve into Arden for free! Be sure to tell your friends because this sale will not last long.

From Tuesday, October 8 to Saturday, October 12 2019 check out Amazon for this limited time deal! https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07PB47F8V

September 11, lest we forget

Russet blooms in slumber steeped
Shrugging off their veiled defeat
Arise the memories from their rest
Lest anyone of us forgets

Susan Strom

I was 19 years old on September 11, 2001. I was in my second year of college at Ulster County Community College. I fancied myself a “pre-med major” at the time, though the college didn’t have a specific set of courses for that.

For that reason, I was in the Chemistry Lab that morning at 8 AM. It was the molecular modeling lab, so my classmates and I were huddled around our lab bench working through our lab notebooks. I was flustered by the exercise of trying to construct the models with my kit.

About twenty minutes into the class, our Organic Chemistry professor came running into the room. He was very distraught and said something about an airplane hitting one of the trade towers. “How could that be?”, we wondered to one another. New York City was just a few hours drive from Stone Ridge. I imagining a small plane that had lost its way must have accidentally hit the building. What other explanation could there be?

I had three more classes that day. On my way to one of them I passed by the cafeteria. This was a time before I owned a cell phone. I was surprised to see an unusual number of students huddled around the television screens. Since the screens were not pointed towards the hallway, I assumed it had something to do with what my chemistry professor had mentioned. Being extremely timid and late for class, I hurried along.

My last class for the day was Psychology. My professor was an older gentelman with an abundance of energy. He used all of his knowledge of the subject to keep the class interesting. As soon as I saw my professor’s face, I had a feeling something was off. The gist of what he said was, “I am assuming if you are here today that you are okay to continue with the class. So, I am just going to do what we would have done. Otherwise, they will have gotten what they want.” That was it. The class went on as usual, but I wondered what I was missing.

Being the last class of the day, I next headed out to my car to take the long drive down Rt. 209 to Napanoch. As usual, I turned on the radio to WRRV. They played mostly alternative rock, a genre I felt a bit naughty listening to. I’d often change the station when I got home so no one would know I had been listening to it. I know, I was a rebel!

I figured it would take a while to hear anything, but to my surprise, the topic was all they were talking about. It hadn’t been a small plane- it had been a large commercial airliner. It hadn’t been an accident. Both towers had been hit, and they were both gone. It was inconceivable. Nothing like this had ever happened before. My naivety slipped away as the horror of it set in. How many people had been killed? Would it happen again? When? Why? Who would do something like this?

It was not until I turned onto the street where I lived that I realized my family might not know yet. I hurried down the road to find my father was home watching the footage on the television. I guess hearing about it on the radio first had somewhat softened the blow, but it was then I realized it was international news. I began to wonder if anyone we knew had been there. We had family all over the state and the city. I recall my father (a former volunteer firefighter) being ready to drive down to NYC to help when the news asked people to stay away. They were concerned about the quality of the air.

“Life is pain, highness. Anyone who says differently is selling something.”

William Goldman, The Princess Bride

In a twist of irony, four years later, in the early hours of September 11, 2005, I would find out that same man who was so eager to help had passed away in the night. It was the fall of another pillar of my life. I spent the entire day bawling my eyes out. Few people asked me what was wrong because they all assumed it was the date- September 11. That was how long the pain lingered. People drove around with flags on their cars and with their headlights on in remembrance.

Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.”

Jesus, Matthew 5:4

Now it has been 18 years- almost as much time has passed from then as years old I was when it happened. I swore at the time I would never forget, yet time has a way of softening the memory. I can only recall a few of my classmates’ names. I can’t remember what other classes I took that day. What we often do not talk about is the mood of the next day, September 12th. Unlike any other, there was this unspoken camaraderie. Back then there wasn’t this terrible tension I feel now. We were all just Americans. We were going to fight as one. Nothing else mattered.

You hear all the time, “Never Forget”, but what are we supposed to remember? Is it the tragedy? Well, yes of course but it is more than that- it’s the camaraderie too. For one day, we all grieved together. For one day, we are all grossly human. This tragedy touched everyone because the act itself was so senseless.

Being American is an ideal just as much as it is a geographical location. America was founded on “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”  We are a giant family, and we cannot let anything break us apart. That seems to be what is happening more and more. People seek to divide us up, but we can’t allow that to happen. Seek the common ground. Understand that everyone suffers in this life.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

Thomas Jefferson, The Declaration of Independence

Julia’s Cowl Free Crochet Pattern

This extra plush cowl is a free crochet pattern!

Hopefully no spoilers ahead, but you might want to read the book first just to be safe!

The Myth of Arden isn’t really about fashion, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t some items you would love to get your hands on.There is no way to know exactly what Julia’s cowl looked like, but below is apattern inspired by the description!

The cowl is basically a chunky infinity scarf: perfect for those cold Arden nights!
This pattern would work with different yarn weights but you might have to adjust the number of rows.

This is my first pattern, so if you find any mistakes feel free to leave a comment below to let me know!

Supplies:

  • Yarn: ~600 yards Medium Weight Yarn (I used Bernat Super Value 100% Acrylic in color Oatmeal)
  • Needle: Size H/8 or whatever you need for gauge
  • Size #16 yarn needles (to weave in ends)

Gauge:

Not terribly important but about 10 stitches/5 inches. Final piece measures about 65 inches around by 12 inches long. Since it is an infinity scarf, to test the gauge put the initial loop of chains around your neck and make sure you can loop it around about twice comfortably.

Notes:

  • Bottom half is worked in the round where at the top is worked in rows.
  • Turning chains count as stitches.
  • Have fun!

Stitches used:

  • Ch: Chain (Insert hook, Yarn over and pull loop through one loop on hook)
  • Dc: Double crochet (Yarn over, insert hook, yarn over and pull loop through first loop, then yarn over again and pull loop through two loops on hook)
  • Hdc: Half double crochet (Yarn over, insert hook, yarn over and pull loop through three loops on hook)
  • Sc: Single crochet (Insert hook, yarn over and pull loop through, yarn over and pull loop through both loops on hook)
  • Sk: Skip (skip over stitch below)
  • Shell A (5 Dc into same chain space)
  • Shell B (1 Dc, 2 Ch, 1 Dc all in same chain space)

Directions:

Row 1: Chain 312 (or any combination of 10n + 2 to achieve gauge).

Row 2: Starting in third loop from hook, (Hdc, Ch 1, Sk 1). Repeat between () across row. Being careful not to twist the chain, Sl into two Ch turning chain at start of row. Weave loose end into the bottom of the cowl to complete the row. (310)

Row 3-24: Ch 2, (Hdc into chain space below, Ch 1). Repeat between () until cowl measures about 6.5 inches, approximately 21 rows.

Start of Row 3: The two skipped loops in Row 2 count as the first Hdc and Ch of that row. Then, in Row 3 alternate between Hdc and Ch to make the base. Count the Ch 2 at the start of row 3 as a stitch and crochet around until the height you want is achieved. Attach the loose end (seen on the bottom) to the bottom of the starting chain for a smooth finish.
End of Row 24: The next St will be a Sl into the Ch 2 space the crochet hook is pointing to.

Row 25: Sl into next ch space. (Sk ch space, Shell A into next ch space, Sk ch space, Sc into next ch space). Repeat between () around, 38 times. For the last shell, Sk chain space, Shell A, skip chain space and slip stitch into slip stitch of previous row. (39 shells)

Row 25: If the shells cause the fabric to pucker you might need to adjust the gauge of your hook or switch to a different sized stitch (like 5 Hdc or 5 Treble instead of the 5 Dc)
End of Row 25: Sl into the Sl below.

Row 26: Ch 5 (counts as 1 dc and 2 ch), dc into sl stitch space. Ch 2, (Sc into third dc of Shell A stitch below, Ch 2, Shell B, Ch 2). Repeat between () around, Sl into 5 ch turning chain.

Start of Row 26: Alternate Shell B with Sc along the tops of the Shell A row to make a straight base.
End of Row 26: Sl into the Ch 5 turning chain to complete the first Shell B.

Row 27: Ch 5 (counts as 1 dc and 2 ch), Dc into same space below. (Shell B into Sc (the one on top of a Shell A), Sk chain next to Sc and Shell B into Ch 2 space of Shell B below). Repeat between () around 37 times. Shell B into Sc, then Sl into initial Ch 5 turning chain.

Start of Row 27: The first Shell B will be a little wonky
End of Row 27: Sl into the turning chain again completes the row.

Row 28-37: Ch 5, Dc into same space below. (Shell B into Ch2 space of Shell B below). Repeat between () for all Shell B of previous row,then Sl into initial Ch 5 turning chain. Total of seven rows should measureabout 4.5 inches, or about 1/3 of the total height of the Cowl.

Row 38: Sk 5 Ch space, (Shell A into Ch 2 space of Shall B below, Sc into Ch 2 space of next Shell B). Repeat between () around 38 times. Shell A into Ch 2 space of final Shell B below, Sl into Sl of previous row. Finish off.

You did it!

Hope you enjoy this free pattern! What other items from the book should I make next? Leave your suggestions and your own creations in the comments below!

Worst cosplay ever!

The Myth of Ourself

My Book, The Myth of Arden, features Ramoth: a powerful king given a prophesy he must choose to either accept or destroy.

This concept started a long time ago with my childhood musings. I spent a lot of time alone (as I am reasonably good company), but also because I wasn’t allowed to wander the streets. To this day I’m still convinced that stepping foot off my property will result in a white van pulling up to abduct me. I’m pretty sure at this point they’d immediately send me back, but you never know.

My imagination, therefore, became my best friend. I created a new back story for my life: one in which I wasn’t so dull, boring, or utterly unimportant. In this version of events, I was secretly a princess, hidden away for her safety.

In this way, I could feel cherished and valuable far beyond what I usually felt or perhaps deserved. I wasn’t nearly mature enough to see the value in the mundane or to appreciate that I was not the center of the universe.

Isn’t this something we all do though? Some of us tell stories about ourselves to pump ourselves up while others, sadly, use stories to push ourselves down. We retell the tale again and again until it has a life of its own.

What is your Myth? What is the secret that you could not bear to admit to yourself is not true?

What idea about yourself are you willing to protect at all costs from being challenged?

What would happen if you confronted it? Is it helping you, or holding you back? Is it something you plan on embracing or throwing away?

Is it even possible to trick fate?

You’ll have to read The Myth of Arden to discover what Ramoth chooses, but in your own life, you have a choice as well. For me, becoming a Christian meant beginning to understand who I was in God’s eyes. In the end, that is more important than anything I believe about myself, and hopefully, it frees me to identify the flaws within and try to correct them rather than running away from them.

After all, where truth ends and a Myth begins is often hard to discern, but if we are not willing to face the truth as it is, as ugly as it may be, then we will never grow beyond what we are right now.