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Bed Booties II: Bootie day of jubilee

Bernie Sautel glared at me, ready to stab me with her stubby size 9 knitting needle. I might have told her that knitting bed booties was easy. I didn’t blame her for being frustrated. When I asked Liz Schnell, who is the professor of our knitting kitchen classroom, if the booties were hard to knit, she assured me that this project was simple. Liz grew up in Switzerland, where knitting was taught in grade school and everyone could knit their own socks by third grade. She can knit anything without a pattern. And, the booties weren’t going to be easy for us late learners. I ride the short bus of knitting and now I know Bernie rides with me. Poor Liz. It was like the television show “Welcome Back Kotter” and we were the sweathogs. Cheryl Moore came to learn as did Norma Jean Foust. Cheryl was the star pupil who knew how to wield her needles and wasn’t afraid to do it.

Earlier in the week, I called Liz to get the background scoop on this project because on Friday I wanted to give all of my attention to the craft of bootie knitting. She began knitting the bed booties after her dear friend Marianne Anderson, a long time Pagosa Springs resident, died of cancer. Marianne gave her a pair and Liz figured out the pattern. She has been donating 80-100 pairs to the Walsenburg Veterans Nursing Home, the Monte Vista Veterans Nursing Home and our Senior Center every year since.

She knits them with yarn that is given to her, much of which comes from my people at the Senior Center. Liz also revealed that her daughter’s mother-in-law has a friend who is a hoarder of yarn and on occasion is strong armed to give some up. “I don’t buy any yarn — people give it to me. As long as they bring it, I will knit it.” Liz affirms. Her booties are wildly colorful and each pair takes her about 3 1/2 hours to complete.

Her beloved daughter, Elizabeth (who also knits them), and her family call them “soecklis” (Suisse word) which sounds like “circlies” in English. Liz named them “bed booties” to remind people to wear them for warmth and not for walking around in because of the slip and fall potential.

Liz also makes dresses for Diane Kleinman’s sock dolls which are also made of donated, recycled and scrounged materials. The beautiful dolls are sent to children in villages around the world where there are children with no toys. That is a story for another column.

I asked Liz if she wanted to say something about her charitable work and the world’s best booties and she replied, “No, that would be bragging. I can’t wear them out so I have to give them away. Really, I just love to do it.”

Knitting is not for the weak and I refuse to be a sweathog. After multiple phone calls to a very patient Liz and many reconstructions, I am almost finished with my first bed bootie. I now have the pattern, the knowledge and the power here in my office for anyone else who wants to help save the world one pair of booties at a time.

Dolls for Haiti

Diane Klineman has more than 400 dolls ready to go to Haiti for children who have nothing (including parents). Shipping costs are about $2 per doll and she is hoping for $1,000 in donations to cover the cost of someone traveling to Haiti to take them. For more information call me, Jodi, at 264-2167.

Readers Digesting

Tessa Michaelson joins us every month with some fabulous insight or another from our very own Ruby Sisson Library. On Monday, Jan. 24 at 12:45 p.m., Tessa will regale us with riveting information on one of her favorite topics, “Organizing.” Don’t miss this special presentation.

Cooking with Richard and Kathy

On Wednesday, Jan. 26, Chef Richard Lindblad and Kathy Keyes of the Pagosa Baking Company will host a cooking class during our lunch from 11:30 to 1:15 p.m. in our dining room on preparing gourmet chicken soup. There will be enough soup and bread for everyone.

Weekly activities

Friday, Jan. 21 — Geezers 9 a.m.; Stitchin’ in the Kitchen 10 a.m.; Gym Walk 12:30 p.m.

Monday, Jan. 24 — Gym Walk 12:30 p.m.; Tessa Michaelson “Readers Digesting: Organizing!” 12:45 p.m.; Canasta 1 p.m.

Tuesday, Jan. 25 — Gym Walk 12:30 p.m.; Piano Music by Michael Monk 12:45 p.m.; Meditation for Healing 1 p.m., Poker 1 p.m.

Wednesday, Jan. 26 — Blood Pressure 11 a.m.; Cooking with Richard Lindblad and Kathy Keyes 11:30 a.m.-1:15 p.m.

Thursday, Jan. 27 — Closed

Friday, Jan. 28 — Geezers 9 a.m.; Stitchin’ in the Kitchen 10 a.m.; Book Club 10:30 a.m.; Gym Walk 12:30 p.m.

The Archuleta County Senior Center Newsletter is now available on Archuleta County’s website: http://www.archuletacounty.org/Seniors/seniors.asp. Look it up.

ASI memberships

Is it time for you to renew or buy your 2011 ASI membership? You may purchase memberships at The Silver Foxes Den on Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Folks 55 and over will benefit with discounts from many local businesses, including the local hot springs. This is one of the best deals in Pagosa Springs.

This week’s menu

Suggested donation for older adults age 60-plus is $3, kids 12 and under and guests $6. Our meal program is partially funded through the Older Americans Act, United Way, and Archuleta County, Town of Pagosa Springs and other contributions and grants. These funds help support the cost of the meal which is approximately $9.75. Please note our menu is subject to change. The salad bar begins at 11:30 a.m. with lunch served from noon to 12:30 p.m.

Friday, Jan. 21— Spinach lasagna, green beans, salad, tangerine, breadstick.

Monday, Jan. 24 — Macaroni and cheese with ham, stewed tomatoes, marinated vegetable salad, baked apple, roll.

Tuesday, Jan. 25 — Chicken enchilada, lettuce and tomato garnish, yellow squash and zucchini, black beans with cilantro, mixed fruit.

Wednesday, Jan. 26 — Baked coconut fish, brown rice, steamed broccoli, grapes, sesame seed roll.

Thursday, Jan. 27 — Closed

Friday, Jan. 28 — Corned beef and Swiss grilled rueben sandwich, green beans, coleslaw, peaches.