Thursday, September 27, 2012

The end of an era . . .
Well, this is it. Tomorrow is my last day at work. I am retiring. Yes, you heard me, retiring. I've been working since I was 11; full time since I was 15. I put myself through college with babysitting and a part-time job. I worked summers to buy my first car. I've been working for 40 years with only a 2-week break between jobs (when I was 22). "What will I be doing?", you ask.'s more of a question of "what won't I be doing." I won't be getting up, in the morning, before I am ready. I won't be wondering when I'll have time to weave, knit, spin, garden, visit museums, etc. Also, I won't be putting off things as much as I am prone to doing now. In the last month, things have been tumultuous. We've been house-hunting, starting to pack to move, making changes and making plans. I don't expect any of it to stop any time soon. We are moving in late October. We are going to a new place with a slower pace. For now, suffice it to say that I will be doing what I want to do - to further our dreams and I won't be getting up to go to work 'for the man' every morning. That's enough for me right now.

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Crash Into Me . . .

Alright, yes, I stole the line from a Dave Mathews Band song - one which I love, by the way. The only reason that I reference it is because of the name of my new project - Crashing Waves I know, I know. . . I said that I wasn't going to start anything else until I finished some UFOs. I admit it, I said it (hangs head and shuffles right foot). I tried, I really did. I spent some time looking through the UFO bin. I examined the patterns and looked at the colors. Nothing appealed to me. Really. Nothing! There - I said it, the projects looked boring. Of course, they didn't when I started them but they do now. I still haven't decided whether to frog or to continue with them - but, I also didn't take action on them. Mea culpa. So, while I was doing that, diving into the UFO bin, I had a niggling thought in the back of my head. It took a few days for that thought to take shape. What? What's that color? The thought had a beautiful deep coral tone to it. What? It is lightweight; it's laceweight. Hmmm.... I went to stash and found them. The skeins that had been percolating up through my subconscious. I have two skeins of Manos del Uruguay Lace in Banshee. Banshee is a deep coral of Alpaca, Silk and Cashmere origination. After I grabbed it, I skulked around looking for a pattern. I kept the lights low so that I wouldn't be spotted starting something new. My breathing was shallow as I held the yarn looking through the stored patterns - and there it was! It is a lovely shawletter by Grace Akhrem. Crashing Waves is a simple pattern trimmed in a lovely, wide lace panel. I could hear the angels sing when I saw the pattern. That was it! I decided then and there that I would knit for myself. After all that, I set aside my guilt at not working on UFOs and I could feel the waves of calm come crashing (alright, it isn't the best analogy but go with me on this) around me. I felt a sense of peace that I could work on something lovely for myself. No polyester like the last socks. No difficult fibers like the mohair and rayon in my last spinning. Just lovely, soft and lustrous yarn. So, there it is. No UFOs, just new knitting. What peace! Carry on.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

To compete or not to compete, that is the question!

I really want to be knitting and spinning right now. “Why are you not doing what you want to do right now?” you might ask. Well, I’ve got to work and they don’t like it when I knit or spin during work hours. Don’t get me wrong, I like my work; I just would rather be creating something other than Microsoft Word documents that create more work. I want color and fiber in my hands – not the mouse and the keyboard. So . . . instead of actually feeling the yarn or creating it, I am at work. I am thinking of knitting and spinning but I am not doing it. This desire to be doing more spinning and knitting isn’t just because it is heading towards autumn (and the time to create warmth). It isn’t because I submitted my retirement papers and don’t have much longer to work (although that is a part of it). It is, though, as if I’ve got the sports bug and cannot get enough. I am not a sports person. I can take or leave sporting events; I usually watch people and not the game. But this is different; more compelling somehow. First, it was the Tour de Fleece (TDF) and now it is the Ravellenic games (this is Ravelry’s ( answer to Olympic fiber crafting). Those folks can do the diving, the gymnastics and the archery; I am doing the spinning, the knitting and the sewing. The Tour de Fleece is a spinning event that occurs at the same time as the Tour de France. The concept is that spinners process fiber during every day of the Tour de France. During the Tour de Fleece, my goal was to spin every day. I didn’t have a productivity goal in mind; it was more of a process goal. I’ve learned to spin several times and it never ‘took’. I recently tried again and I wanted spinning to be easier, to be less frightening, and to be productive. The Tour de France riders were in it for the long haul and so was I. While I didn’t spin every day, I did for ¾ of the TDF and it was good. I felt as if I was climbing the hills with the cyclists. They were straining against the steep mountain angles; I was straining against my body’s balking at new muscle use. Okay, okay . . . they were climbing the Pyrenees and the Alps and I was just climbing on to my spinning chair but you get the point. The riders were staying hydrated as they rode in the crowded pelotons while I was staying hydrated and sitting in the crowded living room where I had to move furniture to find room to spin while watching the TDF. It seems that, finally, I am a spinner. I can create yarn from the luscious wools, silks and other unspun fibers that are available.
Next, Sweetpea and I have been watching the Olympics. Years ago, someone suggested a Ravelympics event during which fiber artists set goals and participated in crafting events associated with the sports Olympics. The event name has been changed to “Ravellenics” but the concept remains the same. I am not aligned with a team, hopefully, I will be next time. Instead, I am an independent who just wants to compete. Another note is that I am not competing in an formal or specific events. Instead, whenever I can, I’ve been knitting or spinning. My goal again isn’t lofty; it is to finish some unfinished projects (UFOs) so that I can move on, guilt-free, to start new and fresh projects. To be clear, finishing might include knitting and assembling and item. It may also include ripping the project back and abandoning all ideas of that project. Training can be heartless, after all; and it takes dedication. Yesterday, I was working on a pair of socks for our niece. It was a race to finish the second sock before second sock syndrome kicked in. I thought I would beat it. I was whipping through it and then, then I fumbled. I looked back. I was distracted. I was stopped. I compared sock #2 to sock #1 and they weren’t the same. All of this training, all of the work has honed my skills, it affected my tension. Sock #2 is smaller and tighter – just as an athlete’s muscles become with regular training. Sigh. This was unexpected. This is disillusioning. I set the project down thinking that I was out of the competition. That was yesterday. Today, I am in a different place. I’ve decided that a roadblock in 1 event doesn’t prevent me from continuing in others. So, today, I am at work considering what project to pick up next. Which one will I be able to finish (or frog) as I move toward the goal line? I don’t have an answer yet but I am inspired by those athletes in London and their dedication. I will continue to work on UFOs and continue to strive for my goals. (Cue the “Chariots of Fire” music) Carry on . . .

Monday, March 12, 2012

The Year of Finishing Dangerously . . .

So, we are nearly 1/4 into the year and it is still going. If you believe some, we are headed to mass destruction in December. Personally, I don't believe it is happening that way. Instead, life as we know it will end, rather . . . is ending.
With time, we'll become more in tune with our own energy and that of others. We are beginning to understand how we are all connected and that our actions affect those of others. But wait, that conversation is much too deep for today - a Monday.

I laugh at all this talk of the end of the world (hence the image above). I am not truly laughing - I am just not taking it all that seriously. Instead of waiting for the world to finish, I am finishing a load of UFOs (unfinished objects) and I do have a load of them. This is the year to clean out the UFO bin. Finishing might mean that I actually complete the work but it might not. It may mean that I frog (undo) the item and reuse the materials. It might also mean that I just dump the whole thing by giving it away or tossing it in the bin.

I don't know why I don't finish items. Sure, I get bored. Yes, I see something I like better (ooohhhh, shiny) and move on to that project. Okay, I get grandiose ideas as to my mad skills; and trust me when I say I am more mad than my skills are mad.

Ah, but you ask "why dangerously?" and that is a great question. Well, undoing all of these projects requires scissors and other sharp tools. Tossing them requires going to the garbage bin, lifting the lid and risking life and limb (or, at least, finger and nose (smell)) to get rid of them. Finding the projects in the first place can be dangerous as they are hidden throughout the house. This was done to take them from my sight - out of sight, out of mind, so to speak. Also, I've got to find them and make the painful decision (sometimes) as to their fate. On a more esoteric level, some of the projects have emotional ties that I've got to face in order to deal with the project (and there is another deep non-Monday discussion) See, this path that I am walking can be dangerous.

So, raise your glass and toast the year. Better yet, raise your face and laugh as we move through it. Enjoy it and finish those projects along with me.
Carry on. . .

Monday, January 09, 2012


Well, I actually did it! I made it an entire year (and then some) without a single blog post. That would be quite an accomplishment if that had been my goal.

It isn't that I wasn't well-intentioned. I have a stack of notes, a few emails to self and even a couple of calendar reminders made to spur me in to posted. I just didn't seem to be able to sit down to write a few lines. Oh well.

It isn't that 2011 wasn't eventful. It was. Maybe, though, it was too eventful - I was too busy in it to comment upon it. Having said that - know that I do not mean that folks who blog are not busy or aren't 'in their moments' or anything. It seems that I was just more consumed than usual.

Anywho . . . I am clearing more clutter in 2012. This is for a couple of reasons . . . if it is truly the end of the world, I don't want a mess around me when it happens. If it isn't the end, I want a neater space. It is, really, the end of the world as we know it (as each day is anyway) and I want clarity and clean-flowing energy. I won't get that with pockets of clutter and piles of things around me. The energy will eddy and pool and, in some cases grow stagnant. No good!!

For a moment, during the paragraph above, I caught a whiff of perfume of violets or lily of the valley (I am not sure which). It was lovely. I shall write of decluttering more often if the aroma is associated with my thought patterns. :-)

Carry on . . .


Well, I actually did it! I made it an entire year (and then some) without a single blog post. That would be quite an accomplishment if that had been my goal.

Friday, October 01, 2010

The one in which there are clouds . . .

Today is the kind of day where you don't know if you'd rather be at home or out and about. It is a beautiful day . . . it started sunny with few clouds. Now, though, the clouds look like an illustration from "The Simpsons" cartoon show. The colors are brilliant - almost unreal. The whites are perfect. I am smiling at the image of the coulds as them drift across the sky. I can, unfortunately, hear "The Simspons" theme song in my head . . . Yikes, what an ear worm!

There are a myriad of manners in which to describe sky and clouds. I've got two specific references. The first is like the clouds described above. These are lofty and bright and seem, somehow, unreal. Sometimes, though, there is a depth of field and a richness of hues and texture that is much like the Dutch skies that I associate with the paintings of Rembrandt van Rijn and artists of his era. These pieces have such richness that it seems a if I could reach out and touch the clouds.

I often wonder at the possibility of recreating these images in fiber. To be able to weave, knit or quilt them would be amazing. Of course, the fiber medium and my talent are so lacking that any attempt would only pale in comparison. Somehow, though, I don't mind that. I like looking up and marvelling at the beauty and the possibilities (will it rain?, is it cold?, are the winds coming?)

Instead, I think I want to be able to evoke the emotions that arise when I gaze upon the skies and the clouds. I am humbled by the vastness, amazed at the flexibility and constant change, and amused by the ever-forming shapes. Sure, sometimes I see cartoon skies and other times, I see the work of artistic masters. It makes me wonder of the artists who work in paint, those who we revere; did they doubt their talent in trying to recreate those visions.

Hmmm... now I ponder.

Carry On.

Monday, September 20, 2010

The one in which I find myself . . .

This last week has been extremely busy. I spent the week doing mundane stuff and getting ready for a magickal weekend. The mundane stuff included a regular monthly Royal Oak Animal Shelter Committee meeting. That is good work.

Sweetpea and I went to our first knitting guild meeting. It was the Black Sheep Knitting Guild in Berkely, Michigan. It was fun and a bit intimidating. There was so much wonderful talented energy. It was a room full of what seemed like 75 knitters all chatting and knitting and enjoying each others company. I got a load of knitting finished and I'll be excited to go back.

Mostly, I spent the week getting ready for the weekend. House Shadow Veil held a rite of passage called the Warrior Ritual or the Hunt. It was about finding and 'killing' those things about yourself that you want to eliminate. It can also be about finding and regaining a part of oneself but for me, it was identifying and eliminating.

There was a load of preparation work for the 'hunters' and for the Hunt Mistress and the Community. Sweetpea and Bunny were involved in it so the week, at our house, was a little frantic. My time was spent trying to complete my preliminary tasks and figure out what I needed to focus upon during the hunt. The latter was the most difficult. I know I have issues - we all have issues. I am not so arrogant as to think I don't need the work; I just wasn't sure where to start.

It took until the actual event to understand where I needed to go and what I needed to do. So much of life and my path is about patterns. My watch words are to live by balance, context and priorities. Within these concepts are patterns that change over time. Balance amongst the various elements of life changes as well. How I fit into life and into what I must do this time around and what is important also changes. Trying to be aware of the changes, to let go of the old stuff and to acknowledge and accept the new route can be hard. That's what the weekend was about.

I returned home dead tired and amazingly renewed. I have a much better idea of how to implement my mission here. I am so grateful to those who organized the event, those who hunted with me and to those who made it possible. I am, too, grateful that I was willing to swallow my pride and understand that I needed to do this work. I am not finished, I've just started this path. This weekend was turn on the path.
Thank you.

Carry on.