The Knitting Journeyman

Gathering Up One Thread At A Time As I Weave This Web Of Mine.....

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Birthday Flowers

These came from the kids...N was adamant about the red roses...E wanted to get me white or pink, but I kinda talked her into the yellow-green ones...

The Glass Fairy Came

or rather...she had it delivered...but hey...
My favorite enabler and Muse...Creatrix of the most amazing dichroic fused glass pieces..and my friend...

This is what I received in the mail yesterday (Thank you for mailing it too, Leni!)

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Yarny Chatterings

I am still so jazzed after yesterday! A spinning wheel. Oh my! The whole experience of being in the yarn shop –not just the barn yesterday—but the visit before yesterday—it made a very big impression on me.
I had already been kicking the idea around, as you know, of not just getting rid of more of the clothing/etc in my house (and R’s house too at this point) –but also of cutting down on when and WHY I buy, and how much I buy, clothing-wise.
As I walked through that yarn shop, inhaling that radiant smell, touching the most delicious fibers, stroking and enjoying, and being blown away by some of the textures—flax and softened hemp—silk—llama—angora—so many wools—entirely too many combinations of yarns…my poor little knitter’s heart rat-a-tatting a million miles per second…that desire to be a part of that existence again touching the edges of my heart, flooding into my brain, suffocating my will to finish other things first….
The spinning wheel and spindle demonstration simply pushed me over that remaining precipice and I dove in head first.
After that initial journey into the Weaving Department’s yarn shop, I made a decision to not buy anything else, clothing-wise, except essentials and what not—as I planned, right then and there, to knit up whatever I might want or need.
So long have I been a firm believer in why should I buy yarn, knit, and fight my way through a sweater, any sweater (for myself), when a thrift stores sells these beautiful sweaters for $1 or so in the most exquisite fibers that I probably would not be able to afford anyway…and as I stood staring at a cotton/llama/wool blend yarn the other day, it all became much too clear to me. All the other little pieces that have been falling upon me, struggling to connect to other pieces that float around in my brain…one more inhale in that store and I had too many pieces tumble together and finally make sense to and for me.
It’s not about QUANTITY. It’s about creating something you love, making it w love, and wearing it with pride. Even after it pills up after years of use and loving wear.
I have been thinking I need more shells and tank-top-esque tops for this coming season…and they should not be horrible to knit, since I am planning to use at least a US7 to knit them, rather than the US4 or 5 I normally see some of these patterns requiring. I’m sorry—I may not need instant gratification, but spending months knitting one garment won’t do. Especially given all the shawls I have currently upon my plate.
The Avenue Q shawl is not even halfway done, but it is all stockinette stitch, so it’s not a hardship to knit it or anything.

The planned wedding shawl has gone from Faroese style—to long rectangle. Not too wide, but wide, and probably longer than most would think it should be. Normal shawl length is what? Roughly the length of the arms? Which for me would put it at about six feet. I would prefer something more in line with 8 to 9 feet long, so that there is plenty of draping. I also want an alpaca/silk blend yarn, roughly DK or sport weight, something in that range. Something w a little bit of fluff, but something that definitely shows off stitch definition, because this will be more of a lace piece than a substance piece.

The dove grey dress shawl, which I guess I shall have to begin to call the Symphony shawl now, is also going to be a rectangle. But more on the thin side, rather than the wide side. I am thinking more soft and fuzzy, much fuzzier than the wedding shawl…not quite angora, but not the brushed mohair of the Avenue Q shawl either. And while the wedding shawl shifts from soft blues , since the dress is ice blue, to warm creams—sometimes I even think, maybe, a white…but probably not…I can’t really see white for a wedding. ‘Traditional’ for one person does not mean traditional for me—white is the color of death—and I am not wearing that to my wedding…I am not even sorry there. While the wedding shawl color shifts—the symphony shawl does not—I want a nice pale pale soft grey color for that.

Yes, for these shawls, I will be designing the patterns myself. Or more to the point, I will be test knitting the patterns I wrote out in what 2007? 2008? That have been sitting here waiting for me to get around to me.

That brings me to my other…goal…project. That knitting book. I wrote an entire knitting book, mostly of shawls and smaller square type projects (no hats, no socks, yada yada)—I based the premise of the book on something I am not real keen on any more…I have a great deal more knowledge, and not just of knitting either, at my disposal. I have evolved. I have turned things around. I have moved and have moved on. All the essays, though still pertinent to other people, are no longer pertinent to me. I need to find another outlet for those essays, and then re-write and re-structure that book. I was actually thinking of breaking things down in such a way that rather than have this entire book…I sell it out, pattern by pattern, as I test knit and perfect the patterns. Plus, now that I have more knitting and more crocheting under my belt, I have a much better understanding of how to get my point across to other people…rather than my normal ramblely digressions…

So—there is my current fiber update.
Of course, if there is anyone locally who can give me information on buying wool fiber/roving locally from the actual producer (as in, can I go to the farm and pet the sheep please? ) oh please let me know…not that I am against buying my fiber from the weaving dept…but field trips to farms…we’re back in Heaven again here….lol


Having Fun With 8Things

For some reason, last week was so busy I totally forgot the days of the week—in fact, when T showed up Friday w N, I was a bit flummoxed…I thought it was Wednesday…so since I missed last week’s 8Things then, I am going to do them not. 
            I am not attempting to catch up w myself…I am simply giving myself permission to play.

            People I Want to Play With

Well, first, does it count if it’s people I already play with?
1.       R.  First of all, he is so much fun to mess w—and I love to wrestle w him.  He always manages to get hurt, somehow, but he is always careful not to hurt me—or any of the small people who attack him in my defense.  The dogs, however, are useless.  They don’t protect anymore, now that they are fairly sure we’re always just playing.  They come to protect the kids…I started screaming and no one cares.  **Snort**

2.      My kids—should this count as #2 or #s 2 and 3?  E loves to play board games and card games.  N loves to play chase me and tickle me games.  Except for the head butts to the face w N, I love playing w both of these snot heads.

3.      Which brings us to Ken and Princess.  Shadow is just too gimpy—but we do try to include the old man.  (These are all dogs, in case you’re wondering.)   Ken you throw things at—like balls, like paper cups, like whatever…she also wrestles—but she is as good w her feet as N is w his head butts.  Princess you can chase—and that means chasing Ken as well.  Then the best game is petting anyone but Ken, because El Needy Dog there goes bonkers—even if I am petting a stuffed animal!

4.      Now, outside my immediate realm of influence…I want to play w Nancy #2 from the Weaving Dept’s clearance barn (see my last post for a better explanation)—there is wool, spinning wheels, spindles, yarn and more yarn, needles, hooks and so much good conversation just waiting to be touched….

5.      Cirque Du Soleil—I always wanted to be an acrobat…and I love the unexpected…so much to learn, so much to explore…never a dull moment…

6.      Bellydancers—another thing I want to learn and something I love to watch.

7.      Gordon Ramsay—oh, come on—I love his style…I love his attitude…I love his approach to food.  He may come across gruff, to put it nicely, but the man CARES…and that is an amazing thing… 

8.      Cliché me, but sheep and flax farmers in Ireland, Scotland, that area…simply to be there in that environment and to live that life, to learn it and to be a part of it.  It is magical to me…

Living the Wish ... Wishing For Life

Yesterday was a pretty busy day for me in the morning, so I didn’t get a good look at the Wishmaster Jamie’s question until early afternoon, as I was in the process of heading out the door to run some errands…and when I saw the question, I simply laughed—I was in the process of giving myself permission to follow some wishes right that moment. It was one of those days when I just KNEW I had to go out.

Now, my original plan had been to go to Kirkwood Knittery (10724 Manchester Rd, Kirkwood, MO)…but when we got into the truck and I programmed out the gps—the feeling just hit me, that no, I should not go there today—if I mean to stay “local” in my yarn whoredom, I need to stay much more local that the 20+ minutes (depending on traffic, more like 30+) to drive the truck out that far…I wanted to stay close to home for some reason. It ended up being a very good thing.

First, value Village, one of our favorite thrift stores, was having a half off everything sale—so I let E have some fun…I will admit, I bought myself this gorgeous formal gown that I had seen there for weeks and weeks…and if I can manage to get a gown that expensive for $4 it was a good deal—except I got it for $2 and now feel more like a queen than ever…and R was mightily impressed…and I threw the whole now you have to take me somewhere where I can wear the dress at him…so we are going to go to the symphony, which we both love. Mwahahaha…the only issue w the dress? Well, the dress itself has one small spot at the hem I knew I could get out by hand…but…I don’t own such a soft grey pair of shoes…and when I buy the shoes, they need to have heels, because this dress is more than long enough for me (all 5’11+” of me) to wear…and it even has a train…and since it has no sleeves or shoulders or anything…that means a shawl…and the Avenue Q shawl I am in the process of making at this moment will not be adequate…more on the whole shawls thing in a bit…

Then, right next door to Value Village, is the little book store called Annie’s. We have seen them there; we have wanted to go in; usually they are closed when we are there. So we’ve never been able to go in. Yesterday, they were open. On February 23, they had started to put up signs: store closing, everything must go. I am planning to take R back simply to look at the bookshelves, real wood, not sagging, even under the staggering amount of books. We spent $22 at Value Village, between E and N, and the game mousetrap…we spent $26 at Annie’s. E found brand-new Dr Seuss books—I found the Beauty trilogy by Anne Rice. I found books by Stephen King I never heard of…and I am currently sucking down ‘from A Buick 8’, which came out in 2002 and I have never heard of. I started it last night and am already on page123—and my faith in Stephen King and his ability to scare the pants off me in the most subtle ways imaginable…has been restored…and so far…he has used the word ‘knit’ or a derivative thereof no less than 3 times…funny, the things I notice. I am not ready to curl up under his arm and listen to his scary tales just yet…but I am much more open to the possibility now…after being so disappointed for too many years…although his son who writes, Joe Hill, he is the master now… Yesterday, I did discover that Tabitha King has continued to write…after reading her first two books eons ago, I had to pass, even at $1 a book for soft covers. I bought a brand new hardback of Alice Hoffman’s new book –or what I am taking as her new book. I love Alice Hoffman…she wrote ‘Practical Magic’ and, as much as I love the movie, I cannot urge you strongly enough to read the book—it’s a horse of another color entirely.

After the bookstore, and a quick trip to dollar tree since the not-blonde girl needed a new hairbrush to keep at R’s house so she has no excuses for not brushing all the rats out of her head in the mornings, we went to the Weaving Dept
The quilting shop, if I remember correctly is, Helen’s Little Hen House (I *think*)—I tried so hard to remember, but by the end of the trip, I totally lost my mind! First there is the yarn part…
See, I had given myself permission 1 to allow E to pick out yarn for my birthday (I am not ashamed to take her out and let her pick something out for me—and she got the clerk involved in picking stuff out and they did an excellent job) and 2 to buy yarn for my wedding shawl…as my prototype is turning out magnificently—but I want that shawl made in beautiful yarn, not in caron simply soft…which is my test yarn to make sure I have the pattern right…I did manage to decide I want an alpaca/silk blend, roughly dk weight—although I didn’t buy it—because while talking to another yarn whore—I mean, another dedicated yarn enthusiast, and she told me about the barn. The barn has wonky hours, which is why I’d never been there before.
Barn hours are Mon, Tues, Wed, and Sat, from 11a to 3p.
I had 10 mins to get there and get some clearance yarn….except, I spent more like 45 minutes there and walked out w free fiber and no yarn, but a book on teaching myself to spin.
Now, let me explain. There is the main building, w the quilt shop on the first floor and the yarn shop on the second floor. The barn is a few steps away, on the other side of the parking lot.
I dragged my starving child down the stairs and across that parking lot as fast as I could. Now, you walk in the front door and directly to the right is the Clearance barn section of the Weaving Dept. I heard, vaguely, the noises of a restaurant on the left side—but, honestly, naked women could have been belly dancing atop beautifully decorated elephants while juggling baby tiger cubs and I would never have even noticed…I saw yarn…everything else ceased to exist.
Nancy #2 (there are 3 Nancy’s who work there) is an absolute DELIGHT. Not only did she give us tremendously great conversation—but—she gave us a demonstration on a lady bug spinning wheel—which is now officially the spinning wheel E wants me to get, e her love of lady bugs and all. She also gave us a demonstration on using a hand spindle—which I have owned two now for what, three years. I was given a pouf of alpaca fiber, partially spun, on the one spindle—and I have never had a clue what to do w it. Nancy says learning to spin w alpaca is not the easiest thing in the world. Then she pulls out the wool roving—and I swear my heart stopped…she gave me a quick lesson, a handful of the roving to play w on my own…and suggested a book for me to buy—which I promptly did…we did discuss the best model spinning wheel for a beginner—and Nancy gave me a recommendation that I love, a traditional Ashford, which is good for beginner’s, but it will also grow w you…I didn’t buy a wheel right then and there—although I have been planning to buy a spinning wheel for years now…but I now have plans to do so very soon…

Heaven. I am in Heaven. I tell you. I now have this local yarn shop, this beautiful wonderful place, full of yarn and good people, and I am planning to take some classes, any classes, there, just to be a part of things again. You have no clue how very huge the surge in my creative juices hit while I was there.

So. After all that muddle there…let me get to my wishing. A day late, but none the less, just as powerful!

I wish to give myself permission to:

1. Buy that spinning wheel—and whatever fiber I need to buy in order to practice, actually use the wheel, and get good at it.
2. Knit those shawls, w the fibers I want to knit them w, and enjoy them to no end.
3. To walk away from work early and to take the classes I want to take, to enjoy the things that I enjoy, without guilt or anything else.
4. To write and to write some more…because there are so many things I have to say these days that won’t sit still and wait for me to get around to things.
5. To pick up the pencils, the pens, the paints, and create create create.
6. To play w the clay…and if need be, set up the burn barrel in the back yard (w the right permits of course) and raku the heck out of things…

Mwahahaha—so much research to do…so many things to get into and get in trouble over…all the fiber….all that YARN! Hahaha

Monday, February 22, 2010

Local Yarn Drool

I learned to knit in, I think, 2006. Maybe it was late 2005. I forget now. One local yarn shop here that I have always wanted to go to, but never quite made it to, was The Weaving Department at Myers House at 180 W Dunn Rd in Florissant. When we moved here to Florissant, R did try to take us, as he knew I’d wanted to go for so long. They close at 4:30p though—which is rough, since he gets off between 4 and 4:30. When E and I had the minivan when we were moving, I had intended to go there during one of the errand runs in the middle of the day—but we never made it. Then, the other day, I had to run out to get something for R, when it hit me: it was early enough…we had time…and, well, it’s an “event” for me to go…so I could buy yarn, for a particular project, if I had to…well…you know…there…in this huge store….so..we went…and oh boy, talk about falling in love…

I forget the exact name of the gorgeous quilt store on the first floor, little hen house quilting, something along those lines. Talk about fabric heaven though. That was an unexpected find—and a wonderful one as well. The yarn shop is upstairs. You can smell it. Even though they have real felted wool downstairs, bolts of woven wool felt for sale…even needle felting supplies, which is what I saw when first I walked in the door, the smell of sheep, of yarn, wafts down from the upstairs, where the fiber enthusiast in me simply wept. It is beautiful. Displays of all sorts of yarns, from Noro to Dale of Norway to brown sheep to cascade to …oh my…so many pretty pretty yarns, in every conceivable color and texture and fiber. They have a plethora of books. They have incredibly helpful people there. My 8yo was fascinated by the lady giving another lady instruction as to how to use the weaving loom in the middle of the one room. They have buttons and knitting needles…and we very nearly bought the wooden crochet hook with the carved owl on the top. They have bags and baskets and all sorts of gadgets. Heavenly. Heavenly. I bought three skeins of yarn and two books.

Noro kureyon sock yarn—which I have wanted to try for awhile—even though I do not plan to make socks with it. One skein of ‘earth’. Boy, was it difficult to narrow down my purchase that day. I had not realized that Dale of Norway was so …affordable…oh man, the plans I have now…
I bought two skeins of Ironstone Yarns bouquet of colors brushed mohair in wisteria. This gorgeous stuff was hand-dyed in Scotland—which I figured would be a major selling point when I brought it home—especially since my boyfriend is well acquainted w my yarn stash and concurs w the no buying of yarn policy I currently have in place—even though he shakes his head when I proclaim ‘it’s for a specific project!’ This time, the mohair is for a shawl that I am planning to wear to the production of Avenue Q when we go…at least, that’s the theory I put forth to R when I showed him the yarn. I am making a very simple stockinette stitch shawl on large needles. The yarn is too pretty to mess w complicated stitch patterns. This is a prime case of letting the yarn do all the work.

I also had to buy two books while I was there. Ok, so I only *had* to buy one book…but figured why not on the second one.

The second one is ‘Knitting Tips and Trade Secrets’ by The Taunton Press. ‘Clever solutions for better hand knitting, machine knitting and crocheting’. So, how could that be a bad thing?

The first, and the most magnificent book, and one I absolutely had to have, even though I had asked about Scottish knitting books (hey, I do know how to suck up to my man here) –and remain unimpressed by the books I saw, the patterns within them—not any slur on the books or the people selling me said books—it just was not my cup of tea…is ‘Maggie’s Ireland’ by Maggie Jackson.
It is more than a pattern book—it is a coffee table book, with incredible pictures of Ireland. It has amazingly interesting patterns, simple patterns and simple yarns, used in interesting ways. Now, these patterns are not for everyone. In fact, there were only two that *really* revved my engines…and the others I really like, but when I make them, I plan to alter many facets of them. There are even recipes in the back, from appetizer to dessert. I honestly don’t know what to ooh and ahh about first. The patterns are not for everyone, I will admit, but the photographs…they blow me away. Although the patterns do seem to be both well-though out and simple enough for anyone to make. I like that.

When I bought ‘Wedding Knits’ by Suss Cousins, whom I adore, I saw that wedding dress—and I completely CRINGED at a US 5 needle to do the knitting. I have not gone pattern by pattern in ‘Maggie’s Ireland’—but I looked at enough of the patterns, ranging from a US 7 to a US 9 on the dresses and skirts I like—and I am not at all intimidated. Yes, I saw an outfit in this book that I thought—yes, wedding. Yes, MY wedding. Oh yeah. Despite the fact that I already have the dress—and that R actually loves the dress. That doesn’t mean I can’t knit things for the rest of the …day…party…week-end. After watching ‘The Hangover’ together—we still think Vegas would be terrific for a wedding! Although I still have that urge to invite all our ex’s to the wedding, just to show that there really no hard feelings on any of our parts.

Well… the wedding may not be this year…but probably will be the year after, by which time maybe even R’s ex will have, I don’t know, grown a brain and gotten over herself, maybe then inviting all the ex’s will be possible.
But I still like the Vegas idea—even if my daughter doesn’t. She already has the wedding planned—and she wants us to have a HUGE wedding. She is not amused when I say we’re going to Vegas to have Elvis marry us…she does not think I am very funny…but I sure do!

Curtains and Such

R bought a shark steam cleaner this week-end. He steamed—everything he could find. He steamed the curtains in the bedroom. In so doing, he decided to take down things he didn’t like—like the black scarf over the one window in his bedroom. He hated that thing—it was a dust collector and nothing more—not that I had any appreciation for it. In a bedroom like his, black is completely inappropriate. Plus, the entire thing was just—wrong…inelegant…and butt ugly. It was the only black accent there—the only black accent—not just in the room—but in the entire house—it was tacky. The lack of finesse and grace, and the utter insipidity of the piece always bothered me. But, since it’s not my house, I didn’t say a word. However…now I have permission to redo and change out all the curtains in the house... I get to have fun and change things up in a much better way.

I do not like the curtains in R’s bedroom—they are about to go, as soon as I find ones I like. I like the sheerness of the fabric, because light comes in…but the color is heinous, especially for a man who dislikes red as much as R does. It is the dark shade of red too, a dried blood maroon, that makes me, who loves red, cringe at how bad it looks. Funny how he doesn’t like them though, and they are in his bedroom. Three guesses on how they got there. He does not complain when any woman does anything to/in his house. Not since I’ve known him. Which on one hand is good for me—and on the other is pretty good for him, since he and I have the same ideas about most things.

I don’t like his current color scheme though. He would have a cow if I told him it’s because he and the ex have the same color scheme—and I always disliked it—forest green and maroon. Maybe I liked it at one time, but not anymore. Which for me is strange. I am very into greens. And I love red. But, much like the burnt dried blackened maroon of the curtains in his bedroom (that go w nothing that I can see in the whole house and are not his ‘normal’ shade of maroon), it’s just wrong. It simply does not fit—and it’s just not appealing on any level. It’s just so wrong. Now I get to change it all, one step at a time. Although azure blue and pristine white—never going to happen w these dogs—or these kids.

My own personal color scheme is more blues and yellows and whites. That alone says a great deal. R and I do have so much in common. I have already started to swing the bedroom in a different color direction already, with the new bed spread, thankfully, so instead of my own desire for reds in the bedroom, I can manage a nice blue, which works for me. Unless I hit the chocolate range again…which will work in that room. I am also trying to think ahead…because the carpet will be going away within the next couple months (woo hoo). I don’t want dark curtains—I don’t want dark colors there, in the bedroom…but the medial blue like he has in the living room…I don’t want that either. I like the blue curtains…I just don’t think they are the right color for the bedroom.

He gave me permission to re-do all the curtains…which may or may not bode well for him. But I sure am going to have fun. I like lots of light coming in—without the neighbors being able to look in. I can’t wait.
Seems rather tacky to say—this may be the best birthday present I’ve gotten yet this year.

R and I have also been talking. It is time to sit down and go over the numbers. We are really not accomplishing much w my house being used for storage, more than anything else. We do need things to settle down just a bit more, but I do believe in the next few months, we will be looking for that new, bigger house for all of us as a family to settle into…it seems like this is something we knew was coming…and we did…we just didn’t expect it to happen so quickly. And it is a morbid thing to sit and think, if not for an ailing dog, we might have made different choices…bought a different house, already have combined both households…at least he no longer feels guilty that things move so quickly between us. We have both long known now that we are supposed to be together and that we work well together. Neither of us is willing to give up the other. No matter what kind of garbage other people may give us about how quickly it seems things move w us.

What It Feels Like For A Girl

As weird as it sounds, my brain is all over the place today. I was having a conversation w a friend, listening to various discussions, seeing various things go on and how we all as people, not just as women, handle things
My friend goes out every week. She gets her hair done. She gets her nails done, fingers and toes. She gets her hair color touched up every three weeks, trimmed every six weeks. She gets her eyebrows waxed every two weeks. She gets waxed…in other places…at least once a month. And that’s not even what she does on her own, from a full-scale application of make-up every single morning, to curling irons and blow dryer and gels and mousses and hair spray, to touching up her nail polish when it chips. It is stunning, the amount of effort this woman puts into things. I asked her why she does all this. Her response evoked some rather powerful issues w me. She said, she does all of this so that her husband will continue to find her attractive.

I won’t go into anything else there. There is far too much going on. There is enough here to get me started.

I, personally, don’t DO anything for anyone, except myself.

I watch women, friends, every single day, and I am baffled. I have always done this, wondered why women put so much time and effort into things. And none of it is really for them, when they stop and think about it. They are not doing all of these things for themselves. They are doing it because other people expect it, or prefer it, or like it, or demand it, or whatever.

What do you do, every morning? Do you get up, put your face on, put your clothes on, go to work?

What about those of us who stay home, either working from home, or staying home w children—not that staying home w children is any less work than anything else.

What do you do and WHY?

I rarely wear make-up. I have never really worn make-up, not since high school. I wear some, now and then. Usually when I wear make-up, we are going out, say to the symphony, or I need a mood pick-me-up. Sometimes I simply like to play w make-up and so put some on, just because I can.

What do you do to feel like a girl? And why do you do it?

I think that is the more important thing that I am wondering. Why?

I can see wearing make-up in a professional environment. People take women more seriously in an office environment when they ‘fit in’ by wearing make-up. I can see wearing make-up when going out on the town, clubbing, or to the theatre. It’s part of getting dressed up and going out. But every day? At home? Nah. I don’t care enough about keeping up with things to wear make-up every single day.

Nail polish? I wear nail polish. And toe polish. I have to keep my toe nails painted in order to feel human. If my toes are not done, I feel…less than myself. I need to take care of my feet anyway, so painting my toe nails helps me focus on remembering to take care of my feet more. Plus, when I am doing Yoga, the color on my toes gives me a place to focus. Then, in warmer months, there is just something about wearing open toed shoes and having just a peep of color show through.

Clothes? This one I find sort of funny. I recently bought my boyfriend silk boxers, because he has said that he’s been wanting to get a pair of real silk boxers. He also said that he thought I would really appreciate seeing him in them. Ok, I have all sorts of ideas about lingerie for me, for women. I have all sorts of opinions about gag undies for men, say, men who wear kilts and like to flash the …neighborhood, as do my boyfriend and a friend of his every Mardi Gras. Here’s another ‘hmm’ moment for me: do the boxers really do anything for me? I am very laid back. I know this man tries to do whatever he can to add spice and variety to our life together. But, for me, personally, I am not really interested in what he wears. He looks good in his jeans…and even better out of them. So, boxers, for me, don’t really do much. He has a pair with smiley faces that glow in the dark. Those are my favorite pair…and they have been since he modeled them for me while I was pregnant w my son. The whole silk thing? If it makes him feel sexy, if makes him feel good, I am all for it. But wearing them just for me is a waste of time.

That’s why I wear lingerie. Because it makes me feel good. Because I like it. I don’t care if he likes it. As I tell him, since he does love lingerie, the fact that he likes it too is just gravy for me.

His favorite outfit on a woman is tight jeans and a tank top. In warmer weather, that is all I wear. I’ve dressed that way for years. I do not do it just for him. As a matter of fact, when we did start dating and he told me that that was what he likes, I stopped wearing the tank tops for awhile, almost as if I wanted to make sure he was liking me for me. I didn’t want him to think I was dressing to impress him or to appease him.
I always wear tight jeans…even the ones that are too big and slide off/down my hips, I wear tight. Spandex is a wonderful thing…or whatever they put in jeans these days that makes them stretch. I grew up in the 80s—tight jeans work for me.

My big thing is I don’t do anything for anyone else that I would not do for myself. If I were not dating, would I have my legs? Would I wear make-up? Would I dye my hair? Would I wear the bustier under something else? Would I paint my nails? Would I wax or pluck my eyebrows? If ever I answer no to any of those questions, then I don’t do it when I am w someone.

I am not saying I don’t love my boyfriend. I am not saying I don’t want to look good for him. I am saying that I learned my lesson from past experiences and have no real desire to repeat them.

I had an ex that asked me to stop shaving so much. I could shave my legs, but my normal Brazilian had to go, according to him. I actually complied for awhile, but I felt so gross, so old, and so unclean, I couldn’t continue. When I stopped and realized that I was doing things like that simply because my own self-esteem was so low that I thought it was the only way to make the guy like me, I stopped.

That was a big lesson for me. I felt so horrible about myself at the time that I needed someone else to tell me how to define myself. That’s the conversation my friend and I were running into the other day.

She’s upset, because she is over-weight, in a space where she is not feeling happy w herself, and she is over-compensating in the only ways she knows how. She isn’t working on herself for her; she’s working on herself so he’ll like her. That is not the same thing.

If you stop and look at yourself, does it bring you pause, the reason you do or do not do things?

I started to wax and to pluck my eyebrows while I was w the ex-husband.. I had the unruly Brooke Shields of old eyebrows. I don’t know why I decided that plucking my eyebrows would make me more attractive to him, but I latched on to that and went with it. It was not always a good thing. When I was nervous and depressed, I tended to over-pluck, in the name of making things even. Since I started plucking, I’ve never really stopped; I am simply not so diligent. And I have let them grow back in more over the past few years as well. Now they get routine maintenance and nothing more, if that.

I do things now, for myself, that make me happy. Not for any other reaon. I like having my nails painted. I am more careful with my hands when my nails are painted, which causes my fingernails to grow longer, or to at least stay longer and not break so much. I wear odd colors, well, because I am an artistic person and I like that. Dark greens and dark blues are my favorite colors. Although dark purples work too.

I dress the way I dress because I like it, I am comfortable and I enjoy what I wear. I do have the added benefit of working from home and not needing to conform to any given dress code, but even when I worked in an office, I had plenty of leeway to dress in a way that made me happy.

It’s like my tattoos and my piercings. I don’t do these things for other people, or to impress other people. I love my tattoos. I am very proud of many of them. The one I am not proud of…are being removed, as we speak. Now, I do try to keep the tattoos under cover at times, out of respect for others, like my father, but overall, I am me and I am proud to flaunt that. Same goes with my piercings. My ears are pierced and so is my nose. I don’t worry about that. It’s just me. If I worked a more corporate job, things might be different. Nothing, however, would convince me to remove my nose ring. I am who I am. I would not take a job that required I remove my jewelry.

If I don’t do it for me, whether I am in a relationship, or hoping to be a relationship, or whatever, then I don’t do it when I am in a relationship. If I don’t do it to me, period, I do not do it. If I am not true to who I am, why should I bother trying to be true to what someone else thinks I should be true to for them?

Monday Check-In

This is my Monday check-in w myself

I learned quite a bit this week-end. Everything is going so well; it’s down-right scary at times. I love it. It is a very different thing, trying to find space to operate when things are going well, rather than things not going well and still trying to find a way to function.

Ok. Things I do need to research—since this is also where I am going to set my intentions and my goals, not necessarily for the week, but for some time. I do have a Today goal list already made……

I am still reading ‘A Writer’s Space’ by Eric Maisel. I am horrible about reading some here and reading some there, and not really finishing things when I ought to be finishing them. Last night, however, I grabbed a massive *BINGO* moment from this book: when you set up your to-do list—write out statements. Start them with ‘today I will…’ whatever. Today I will paint my finger nails. Today I will write that new article. Today I will spend twenty minutes marketing my new book. Today I will spend no more than fifteen minutes on facebook. Today I will email my mother. Today—that adds in the responsibility and the accountability of TODAY, rather than, say, as with my list that I am about to throw out here, the amorphous ‘whenever I get to it’…if my projects were more pressing, I would be writing today I need to do this…today I need to research the best plants to have as a container garden for my purposes in my backyard—because my dog is an idiot and will trample, roll, chew and dig anything and everything—even if it is in a container as well! She’s a very good dog—do not get me wrong—she just—lacks common sense! Yes, she’s blonde—reddish blonde—but still!

So, at some point, researching container plants for the garden is essential. I am iffy on starting from seed this year. Although, there are some things I want to plant that I have to start myself as no one sells them as plants locally—or anywhere else that I have found. Not to mention, this year, we are planting those giant pumpkin seeds…
I do have one goal—I want to buy locally for plants this year. Not just for the garden and the landscaping, but for my house plants as well. The last house, the cold there killed way too many of my lovely plants. The ones that did survive and did really flourish—I am planning to get more of those types. I have been pleasantly surprised by several of my plants. Especially the ones I was sure were going to die.
And, of course, I will have to replace my mimosas and my olive tree, as the dogs thought they were sticks to be chewed and played w…right out of the planters…despite the threats to their ever loving lives if they touched them.

I guess now is a good time to flesh out some goals for the landscaping. I have raising herbs and salad veg this year. Period. But, we are also planting flowers. At least in a few places. I may move the current rose bushes—if they survived being treated as toy sticks by dumb dogs. DOGS—not just dog! E is very into the pampas grass thing, all on her own. She has been really liking the grasses that we have seen in our walks and when we are out driving. I am planning to plant something so that I am not looking out my back door and into the neighbor’s behind us, their back porch…I know we will be putting the pampas grass in the backyard..but, on the front side of the house, I am not so sure that’s what I want. I have to find something that grows fast, in low light, that doesn’t require a great deal of maintenance, that also bushes out nicely and fills the space. My normal landscaping ‘stuff’, only this time I am not doing it for me…so, no lilac bushes, nothing like that. Not until later anyway. Though, in the back yard, I might do some other stuff. We’ll have to see. I have dogs and kids to plan for and worry about as well.

I need to start doing research on buying, opening and running a bed and breakfast. We were in an actual bookstore – I think books a million—the other day and I had one of those HUGE ***AHA*** moments. I was wandering up and down aisles, trailing both children and arguing half-heartedly about webkinz…when I saw this book and the AHA hit me like a ton of bricks…dummies guide to bed and breakfast—I know that is not the full title…but it was enough. I knew I didn’t need to buy it right that minute, but I knew that soon enough I would need to start finding, studying and applying information towards opening our own bed and breakfast. Who knew all those seasons of the ‘Gilmore Girls’ would actually give me some information and heads up on a way of life now heading our way? And, surprisingly enough, even though he is in a rough mood due to work, R gave me some positive feedback on the whole b&b thing this morning. Who says no one listens when I talk? Lol Even when I babble!

This week I am starting –well, not starting, since this has been in process for awhile—I am making more of an effort towards shifting to doing more actual writing, and not just working on my novel, and not just working w my writing groups. That is my main goal. I re-did my own schedule planner. I know—I have known for all too long—that having an electronic scheduler does not work for me. Everyone I have ever used has failed on me in one way or another. I need a written schedule, a written planner. I had to go all over the place looking for what I wanted—and in the end I had to make what I wanted. If I had done this, say, in December, or maybe even in the beginning of January, I might have been able to find what I was looking for—however, after trying to find stuff online before taking the truck out, I figured out quickly, I was on my own.
Office supply stores around here have nothing, more than the very basic of basics, at this time of year. None of the little ad-ons that I like, not even the ‘normal’ ones. If I don’t want a business card holder for my planner, there’s not much else out there, except lined note pads. Which is not what I need.
I ended up going to Target, of all places. It’s closer than walmart—and I still have issues driving—and I hate to be out for very long anyway, especially when I know I am on a fool’s errand. I ended up buying E her very own planner—and I think I actually ended up spending less doing it my way than if I had found what I was looking for and bought each element separately. A new planner w a whole year of pages and everything else was only $22. E got a leather bound (or pleather maybe, I don’t know—she’s happy) Franklin Covey planner. I scalped out what I needed—left her more than she thinks, plus an address book, and lots of blank notebook pages. I took blank adhesive tabs and created my own tabs for what I need. And voila—re-organized my current set-up—got rid of stuff that was just bulking up my planner for no real reason (and gave it to E for hers—she is a very happy, very proud little girl)…and now, maybe I can keep up w my daily goals, as well as more weekly, more otherwise goals.

Feeling better there. I have my I do this weekly schedule—and I can keep up w my seminars and everything else that comes up that I have been scheduling lately.

I gave R all the specs for the computer he is going to build for me. Found out he will be building two computers for me. One for the right now – and one for later when I start running my own server. Yep. You heard me. It’s something that has been roaming my brain for awhile. I do tend to think very long-term sometimes. R is what keeps me balanced.

So, that does cover the most pressing of the not right now goals. I have goals for my writing. Spaced out for each day—and then some as well. So many articles. So many words towards the novels (either one of them at the moment). So much time spent editing. Blah blah blah. I need to start putting in more time knitting and crocheting.

I do have a Mardi Gras scarf started. I am crocheting it. It’s dark purple and froggy green (lime green). Two rows or purple followed by two rows of green. It was something to keep me busy. But it’s cute.

I finished making T a hat for his birthday yesterday—which was his birthday. I could not find my US 11 needles, so I used 10 ½ US needles—not really realizing there was such a BIG difference between the two. The hat fits, but it’s a tight fit. I will need to make him another one. We are calling that hat the Blues Hat, since T loved the St Louis Blues hockey team…and I used so many blues in the making of the hat. I used the Monk Hat pattern.
I love this pattern. The hats are so cute. And so fast and easy to make as well. I knew I should have given him the Tibetan healing colored one I made for him eons ago—but I happen to like that hat—and I made it eons ago, so it’s not really kosher to give it to him now.

I have other knitting news, but will post it separate so it doesn’t get lost here.

Otherwise, the week-end was good. T took E and N to his birthday get together at his parents house on Sunday. So R and I finally got to watch ‘The Hangover’ together. It was an incredible movie. It has everything—except lots of T & A. It does have some. It does have some full frontal nudity for just a second or two. Most of the nudity comes at the end of the flick. We were expecting a really sophomoric stupid we got drunk and banged lots of naked chicks flick—what we got was a very real, very exciting, extremely stunningly FUNNY movie—it wasn’t the stupid Will Ferrell-esque b/s we were expecting. I am not a fan of Will Ferrell movies. I am still upset they didn’t kill him in ‘Stranger Than Fiction’… ‘The Hangover’ is not a brain dead comedy. Worse. It is something that can happen to you—or to me—or to anyone…it’s very well done.

Another thing we learned—we are starting to see bare flesh under the tattoo I am in the process of removing using Wrecking Balm.
Not like huge patches or anything, but there is naked un-inked flesh starting to show through. Wah hoo.

Ok. I think that is going to be it for right now. I have more things I need to get moving asap—including laundry.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

To Swear or Not To Swear

Really, now, how the heck cares? Lol

Honestly, I have friends who pick on me, in real life and otherwise, because I am not always the most appropriate person, at any given time. I will talk about sex, argue politics, discuss mutilations and disease, swear around old grandma’s –most of whom can hold their own, btw--not swear and play the Pollyanna around big tough hard-drinking men…and not bat an eyelash at all when someone calls me out about things. That’s me. I am not just a Pisces, the fish who swims in two directions at once; I am Gemini-Rising as well, which means twins going in opposite directions…I am the proverbial crossroads…always heading out in four directions, and usually doing it all at once.

I read this post this morning…well…fine…I read it last night…then someone said something to me about my blog post from yesterday…so I read her post again this morning and thought I would throw my two cents in, for no real reason other than I can.

Where do you stand on your own, in ‘real’ life and online, on your blog, in comments you make to others in whatever forum…do you censor yourself? Do you try to behave yourself? Does it not matter to you one way or the other because you don’t swear anyway?

Usually I try not to swear. It’s a self-respect thing. Or it used to be. How lo- brow and uncouth, with all the words stuffed in my head, must I be to fall to using such offensive language… And then, I did my normal thing. I not only read books and blogs and so on by people who don’t live in this country…I talked to them, to people not from this country. And, ya know what, they swear. Not every single person in the whole wide world, but as in most things, Americans, for some reason, want to be Puritan above all else. I say, be my guest. You are definitely allowed.

Funny. A few months ago, I stopped writing with one writing group, not just because of everything that was happening in my life at that time, and not only because of some of the censoring that was going on w the work of others in that group, but because, in my own writing, I normally swear…not every other word if the F word or anything, but I write from ‘normal’ life…and most of the people I know swear, even if they do try to tune it down around children. I originally chose to censor myself in that group, to keep the language clean, to keep sex to a minimum, because of the group with which I was associating myself…anyone could read those group blogs, from children to adults. I made my writing fit the proper criteria there. That self-censoring fell over into nearly all of my writing, except what I was doing for a particular friend…and that I wrote simply to titillate and arouse…and no one but he read that work.

See, this whole thing is clicking in around the edges w me today. Me, towing these lines that everyone else has drawn. I was careful when writing in public, either via blogs, either via comments, either via forums, and so on, to be very careful and correct with my language. Those who read my main blog here know when I do swear on my blog…I don’t write the entire word out. Sh*t is about all you will see. Why?

Well, ‘why’ has more than one part. First of all, I do understand that many many people read this blog, for many different reasons. When I first started to write online, I wanted to be as much to every person as I possibly could be…it finagles back into my work, all angles of my work—from my art work to my healing work and everywhere in between…I wanted everyone to like me, to like my stuff. I wanted everyone to come back. I wanted to impress people. I never wanted to offend anyone. I wanted to be all things to all people, as much as I could be. I had fallen into that great marketing trap, the one from which I am currently extricating myself anyway…which is why this question apparently got under my skin so much. Yes, I have purposely pointed out in articles that I am not all things to all people, nor can I ever be so. Nor do I want to be so. Sometimes I say things I mean, but it takes time for the rest of my life to catch up.
Example here.

Yes, I do want to have a broad appeal. As Shelli points out here in her post about the same topic, as a writer/artist, I do want to have broad appeal across a full range of audiences. I do understand that. As a writer, as someone seeking to earn a living by writing, even though I am not quite doing that as yet, but that does not make me any less a writer, you do want ‘the masses’ to throng ‘round to read your work, to buy your work. You want that mass appeal. Or do you?

I do not aspire to be embraced by the masses. Can we look at other people, say Britney, and see how well everyone holds up under pressure? We don’t have to look at celebrities; we can look at politicians too. Once the public eye is upon you, nothing hides, not even those bits of mice poop in the closet. I have never wanted to be center stage. I have always wanted my own little niche, not in the spotlight, just a little horn tooting now and then, just enough interest to keep me afloat.

All my heroes, the writers of old, why did they write? They wrote because they had to write. They had something to say, so they said it. Why do I write? Because if I don’t write, I will go mad. Do I really care enough to alter who and what I am so that every single granny in the world will want to read what I write? Do I want the Pope to find my writing so appealing that he does nothing but bless me and my work? Is there more to be had w positive appeal … or do I write what I bloody well write and am pleased w myself, knowing I have given in to no man other than my own dear sweet tragically bizarre self?

I pick me. Time and time again. Hands down.

This is why I created the second Alyce blog, the Uncensored blog. It is no defunct, as I have taken all my various writing blogs and combined them. You can find all the works from all the blogs here.

You will probably find more than one copy of different stories here. I am not a complete …meanie… though. The tags will tell you how graphic things are, sexually, verbiage-ly…all of that. I do not spring profanity upon you unwarned. I am not completely disrespectful. I do believe you have the right to read other things, to go other places, if what I write is not to your taste. I do not hold a grudge if I am not your cup of tea. I heartily say to you, go find what makes you happy, what appeals to you. And I am happy for you when you do.

Honey. Beauty’s Release by Anne Rice writing as A.N. Roquelaure, all the Beauty books, they opened these amazing doors for me. I read them when I was a teen-ager. I read soft core and hard core porn, as a teenager, a young teenager. This stuff, it’s woven into the fabric of my world. And I have learned a great many lessons because of this, not only the porn, but because of the way I look at the world because of this background.

No matter where you go, you have to be you. If you say, I will not do this thing, you know there is someone else who will do it despite you. If you say, fine, then I’ll do this thing, but you have to pay me this much to do it…there is always someone else who is willing to do it at a much lower price. No matter what ‘this’ is. I say, find your own boundaries and stick w them. They really are all you have.

This is the pool in which I have been swimming for at least a year now. I have been looking at other people to validate things for me, to show me the way to do things, to give me acceptable barriers. I have been taking ‘lessons’ from the people around me.

I have not been true to myself. And as I was reading the original post that started this w me, I came upon this one as well, by Melissa, that does a great job of summing things up in some ways:
People, moms, everyone, need to have a place where they can be themselves and say the things they want to say the way they want and/or need to say them.

I have grown tired of selling myself, and of selling myself short, in order to do everything and be everything, the way society has been telling me I need to be. I have grown tired of living up to everyone else’s standards, to everyone else’s expectations. I don’t do that anymore. Or if I do, I am in the process of cutting that out of my life.

My story goes even deeper. I need to be ME. I need to stop living by everyone else’s standards. I have cut back on work hours. I have increased my time w my family. I have given myself more time to work on my writing and my artwork. I have given myself more time to study. If I swear, then fine, I swear. If I write about sex, or menstruation, or miscarriage, or anything in between, it’s me. It’s my stuff. Take it or leave it.

HOWEVER, when I am writing, for public consumption, I do my best to remain at least semi-respectful. I will self-edit, sh*t is my form of self-editing on this blog. You know what I am saying, but I am not shoving it right there in your face. On my writing blog, I use the tags to tell you—hey, there is sex here. There is language here. Even though I have not posted any of my truly raunchy work or my truly f**k word filled work either…there is a time and place for all things. You do not walk into things on any of my blogs without some warning. I am even known to warn people on this blog—TMI coming…vegetarians beware (I have a post half-written that I haven’t published yet that starts out w if you don’t eat meat, do not read this post). So, I do try to remain respectful—but I also do my best to remain who and what I am without compromising.

Now. As a mother? My own mother can swear sailors under the table. Piss that woman off. I dare you. She will tear you up one side and down the other…and that’s not even using her hands. “Mother” has many meanings to many people.

I get enough garbage, just being who I am anyway. I have tattoos, lots of them. I have earrings darn near all the way up both ears. My nose is pierced. I wear provocative clothing, but not in the winter usually because it’s too darned cold. I dye my 8yo’s hair because she likes it. I wear green nail polish. Well, fine, right now it’s dark brown, but still…I do not do what everyone else does. My lover’s middle name/clan name is tattooed on my wrist, because I am not afraid to let everyone know just how much I love him. I do not hide who and what I am. I am not your average every day soccer mom. Nor do I have any desire to be so. When R and I started dating, I warned him—I am the artistic airy fairy type. I will never hold a ‘real’ job—my kids will not attend public school—I will always be the farmer/gypsy type—who knits and paints and writes and who never fits in w conventional society. And he was/is fine w that. Luckily, he has known me for 10 years. He knows why I will never work a conventional job again. As he has so gently and teasingly put it in the past, he knows I’m not right in the head, and yet, he loves me anyway.

Now, add it all together. Tattoos. Piercings. Unconventional. Mother. Based solely on normal every day profiling, would you think I swear? In real life? On my blog?

Well, if you actually saw me in the flesh—and well, ok—not on a summer day when I am wearing a sleeveless top that shows off a good 10 tattoos all at once—you might not immediately see all the other stuff. Some people are shocked when I swear. Heck, some people are shocked when I open my mouth w the opinions I have. It’s a time and place thing. Although, to be honest, I have been known to swear in inappropriate places simply to cause a reaction. If I think you’re not worth my time, I don’t bother to try to be nice. And oh yeah, that situation is coming up again for me real soon, thanks to R. (more on this later)

I can be nice. I can play the game. If I do it on my terms, I’m happy. If I try to do it on someone else’s terms, I will purposely f**k it up. But that, that’s just me.

Thanks for letting me get that out of my system.
Now, where do you stand?

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Writers Books, Really

Did I really say I was not going to buy any other writing or writers books this year? Really? Surely I was under the influence of something when I said that, right?
Oh, I know. I was completely in my right mind when I said it. I said no more books, unless absolutely necessary. It’s February. February. On my own, not gifted to me, nor given by me as gifts, I have purchased: knitting books, books on autism and aspergers, fiction, biographies, auto-biographies, writer’s books, computer books (which may be the only real books I ‘should’ have been buying anyway), books to aid my art, homesteading books, diy books, cook books, French girl books…and it is only February. Me saying I won’t be buying any books is tantamount to the sky falling in and squishing us all into little bugs.

I so should have known better. It gets worse. I can justify books bought for different groups…but when I reach, I have to have something to qualify for the $25 free shipping gimmick…and a great many of my books are bought…pre-loved…cutting down on clutter I can do, but books…books are life…they are education…they thrive in my environment…and I thrive in theirs…

Today I found out I really do need to learn to get along w Outlook better. I am starting to attend more webinars and other things…I am starting to have a schedule that extends farther than just the next couple days ahead. I am starting to need to actually plan things out better. My poor boyfriend…he is actually going to have to start scheduling things w me around my schedule. After not really having much of a schedule for so many years, this is sort of fun, on many levels. I just have to get myself a bit more organized. Not as difficult as it sounds. I may always feel as if I am behind, but when it comes down to getting something done, I do manage to get things done by deadline.

And now, back to work. So many things to do, other than lament my love of books.

Wishcasting Wednesday Today!

            Funny.  How much trouble I had w this question when first I read it this morning.  I was just sitting down to email an old friend…I had already emailed another older friend.  I was thinking about the impression I have made on people when I was younger, how much of a difference I have made in certain people’s lives.  If I hadn’t been so very weird, some people I know would never have had the strength to be just a little weird too…funny…I actually have had people THANK me for that…who knew at the time though…I just didn’t want to be like everybody else…maybe that’s why I tried so hard while I was w the ex hub to fit in and to be whatever it was he wanted me to be…even though I was what he wanted—he told me I was—he simply didn’t want it when he had it…sad.  Especially for him.

            Where do I wish to make a difference?  In the lives of my children.  Of course.  In the lives of my critters.  Weird to say that, huh?  But I am very pro-animal rights…abused children and abused animals are my …thing.  The whole, if I can touch just one life, is no longer really adequate here w me though.  Am I a good friend?  Am I a good mother?  Am I a good priest, mother confessor, healer?  Am I helping someone?  Am I there for someone when they need me to be there?  Am I inspiring?  Do I give hope?

            Uhm.  Ok.  This is just me.  Bullsh*t.  Bullsh*t.  I am not all things to all people. Nor do I have any desire whatsoever to be such.  The one person I need to make a difference w is me, myself and I.  If I am all those others things to everyone else, then thank the heavens and earth.  I’ve done something good.  But, the only way to genuinely reach out and make a difference w anyone else is to start by making a difference w myself.

            It’s more than the whole walk your talk thing.  It’s more than just being who you are.  It’s more than taking personal responsibility and being personally accountable.  It’s about living your life in the way that is best for you (I am so not advocating hurting anyone or anything in pursuit of your own happiness either).  It’s about starting w yourself and doing what you need to do to fulfill all your own sides, fill your own crevices, before you start to walk around working on other people, or working for other people.

            I wish to make a difference w myself and for myself every single day.

            Yeah.  I’m in a strange mood this morning, huh?  Believe it or not, I am actually in a very good mood.  I am honestly in a very good space.  Things are blossoming so well in my life these days.  My post today is not one of bitterness, but of love and possibilities.  Hehehe… if I touch someone and make a difference for them or w them, then, good.  I’m glad.  If not, there’s no skin off my nose either.  I’m still happy.


Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Mostly About A Magpie

R is back in town and life is good. He came back Saturday. He had a Mardi Gras party to go to…I had both kids, so we chose to stay home while he went to the party…we had N all week-end and yesterday too as he didn’t have school due to President’s Day.

I had so many things to sit down and write about yesterday—the week-end was so busy. Yesterday didn’t exactly slow down either. And today I have a conference call that I can’t miss, that has to do w my writing career.

I signed up for a free month of the Flock from Magpie Girl . My free month actually began on Valentine’s Day, but R was home and we were busy. I did sign in for the first time yesterday—which caused me to place yet another order for books (as if I am complaining—my boyfriend might be---but as addictions go, this one is fairly tame…)

Neither he nor I celebrate Valentine’s Day, except for the kids’ sake. Here’s one of those places where we absolutely agree, but I never realized it. He and I both agree that if you need one day out of the year to show your emotions, or if this is the only day out of the year you show you care, there is something very very wrong. You should show you care every single day, regardless. That’s how we are. We both purposely go out of our way to let each other know how much we love and appreciate the other, every single day. I do that w my kids. When I was married and I worked as an operator for SBC and he worked as a splicer, I had a ‘love day’ set up at least once a month, just so we could connect and be together. Ok, so w him, it wasn’t the best idea, but if he had been what he purported himself to be (a loving devoted husband) it would have been great. My big thing has always been—what if you die on the way to work…or if I die waiting in line at the grocery store…what will the last words you hear from me be? What will you be left wondering? Will you sit there and wonder if I really did love you, if I really did care? No. Because I have told you every single day, several times every day, how much I care and how much I love you.

Back to the Flock. You have to go check it out for yourself. Last week’s 8Things was a much needed push, or maybe kick in the pants is a better explanation, for me. Not that I haven’t spent years at this point paring down and paring down…but there is still so much more to let go of…and the more I let go of, the better I feel. There are few things in my lifetime that I ever regretted getting rid of…I regret losing several things—but they are not things that I purposely threw away. After high school, several notebooks full of my writing were stolen, never to be seen again. Those I regret losing. But other than a few small things over the years, when I was a teen-ager, I haven’t regretted getting rid of anything.
I did order the book on letting go of things, The Power of Less: The Fine Art of Limiting Yourself to the Essential by Leo Babatua. This I ordered Friday. I also ordered the Flock’s read-along book, Style Statement: Live by Your Own Design by Carrie McCarthy and Danielle LaPorte. This I ordered yesterday. R will be snarking at me this evening when he comes in—when I bought The Power of Less on Friday, I ordered him a book as well, so that I could get the $25 free shipping…and his book got here today…mine, as yet, has not. I didn’t tell him I ordered him a book. I did tell him I ordered him something else, silk boxers, because he’s been saying he wants a pair…and it’s not about Valentine’s Day—it’s just what I do…if he tells me he likes something or mentions he wants something, I have a tendency to get it. I would do it more w E too—except she’s not really putting forth as much effort as we’d like w the school work. Although, after this week-end, that does seem to be turning. We’ll see if it lasts. Anyway, I am actually quite looking forward to reading and to exploring these books.

I love the idea of the Flock. I think it’s amazing. I love the family and the connection. And as terrific as I think it is, it’s not exactly what I am looking for in my life right now. I’ve noticed a distinct shift of late—that whole turn from what is it that I want—to doing things to get what I want…not that I haven’t tried to do that all along—but it is an attitude shift. I am no longer focusing on the future…or how I want things to be later on…or where I am going…the shift turned me to more of the here I am, what am I doing now arena. On top of that, there’s a great deal less wanting on my part and much more doing…I am pretty proud of that. My foundations are firmer. I feel safer. I feel stronger. This is a very good place to be. The Flock would have been amazing for me last year at this time. I was still in that space where I was restless and unsure and still searching for the unknown and unreachable…I am not really searching for what is beyond me now; I am milling and mining that which is within me. I am so not talking badly about the Flock. If I had thought it would not be useful to me in some way, I would never have signed up. I cannot recommend it highly enough to others. It is simply not what I need in my life at the moment, but it is a truly incredible resource. I highly urge you to investigate it for yourself.

Not to mention, because of the Flock, I just ordered a book that I think may give me that extra added little push that I need to finally get all these plans in my head about re-designing myself and my life—not redesigning per se, but more of an undesigning—that I have been batting around for ages.

Magpie Girl and her websites are very inspirational for me, very uplifting, and even if I forget to visit as often as I would like, I still feel as if I am coming home whenever I go to her blog and read what is going on w her…be it 8Things or any other project, or even just about her life w her family…

And, with that, I have to run away for awhile. The web conference I attended this afternoon was incredible—and gave me a great deal of information to research. Last night, R and I were talking about him building me a desk top computer again. He had thought since I bought my laptop I had let the desktop idea go. Then, I got to play on my desktop recently and it irked me to no end. T actually brought me Lady Gaga (whom E absolutely adores to no end) –and the computer refused to recognize the disk…which is fairly par for the course w this computer. New, it is not. And after this afternoon, I have more ideas for what I need in a machine. My laptop is supposed to be a basic portable word processor … but … with all the projects that are coming to fruition in my brain lately…the desktop I have right now is completely insufficient…it’s so bad I am pondering resurrecting the mac mini….

I have to take a shower and not start my day…but start the rest of my day…expect more posts soon!


Friday, February 12, 2010

8Things, Late, But Still...Timely...

All right. I admit it. I completely forgot yesterday was Thursday. Even though I received a call from R saying it was his last day of skiing and today would be about packing and driving. In fact, as sad as it seems, my last thought before crashing into bed (at 3a in the morning—darn history channel and its fascinating fare…) was oh no—I missed 8Things today…I have to remember to check out the Magpie first thing in the morning. Which, actually, is exactly what I did—and then…I became distracted by other things…yes…I’m having a week here…spike tv plays CSI – darn near all day…how can I, who have missed too many seasons, resist the lure…Ok, fine. So I also managed to finish up some transcription—which the writing of my sources today is the real reason I sat up last night for so long after the bit about the escape and suicide of John Wilkes Booth (yes, the dude who shot President Lincoln…) At least I am not completely ashamed on my self-induced paralysis today.

I read Rachelle’s list today and ….pieces of it made me cringe, recoil. Sell my books? My books? We have fourteen 72 inch tall bookcases, three smaller bookcases of various sizes, and piles of books in darn near every room…especially every bedroom. Not to mention, the books I have at R’s house as well…It’s February…did I not say something earlier this year about not ordering books for the rest of this year, unless absolutely necessary? Always have to have that caveat in there. Well, yeah…like that lasted. Heck, in the last two days alone I have ordered no less than ten books…mostly on autistic subjects…but not all of them. What is worse is – I’ve gone through my books…gone through the kids books…I have probably gotten rid of more books in the past two years than I had in the decade before that. I have even just…gasp…given books away to friends…without the small niggle of hope that if push comes to shove I could possibly borrow said book….

But this list isn’t supposed to be about the things I am afraid to let go of…even as I am more than willing to say that I HAVE downsized our libraries…even as I continue to build them…hey….garden ridge had a 50 cent book sale—and I forced myself to walk away before I really loaded up on the biographies and everything else I saw there…I only spent $10 on books for the kids and me…where do you think I found ‘Fierce Food’? That for me is really good.

“…a list of stuff of which we could have less.”

Funny, this I have had in my head for a couple weeks now. I have merely refused to go home and do it—I’ve had too many things to put together and arrange.

1. First on the list: clothing. Four years ago, I swear to you, my wardrobe was twice as large as it is now. I know why I hoard clothes. I understand that part. And ‘I’m a girl’ isn’t going to cover it. This is one of the things that truly struck me while I was reading ‘Entre Nous’ is the desire for quality over quantity. You have one dish that you can cook really well. You have one little black dress in which you can go through a variety of engagements. Closet space is a premium. Now, I have gotten rid of so much…so many things…but I have plenty of room to get rid of more. And I plan on it as well.

2. Uhm…uhm…uhm…struggling already…not because I don’t have a list…but more because I have been in the process of implementing my list...I have cut down on emails, newsletters, advertisements…during the move, I cut my online interactions down to nil so I wouldn’t feel so overwhelmed. I am still working to get back to visiting only the blogs/sites I truly enjoy on a regular basis…I am not missing any of the things I have done away w yet…

3. I am planning to cut back on freaking facebook time though. It’s getting morbid. I hadn’t realized I missed so many people. I read through the list of people that I went to high school with, just the people in the class I should have graduated w, and read who died…and one name in particular, a guy I never really liked, never really disliked, his name, his face, keeps coming back to me. It makes no sense to me. I love being able to find people. I love being able to connect to people. But, jesum crow, man, I hate wading through so many things in order to find what I am looking for…and if I start looking at one thing, it’s sort of spirals as I read this, or go there and check out that photo, or take this quiz…or try to figure out why I care so darned much whether my crops have grown or not…

4. Facebook is not my only time suck. Look at the beginning of this email. Right now, I am sitting in front of the tv as I type this, because I am listening to the darned history channel and their tale of Lincoln’s body. I have an addiction to biography and auto-biography…I love history…I love learning…but…at least I am able to work while the tv is running…because I can listen to the tale while I am working…this is how I study…something in the background that I can tune in and out of…while applying myself to other ends…but the tv on as soon as I wake up and then staying on til bedtime (there’s lots of time in between when it is not on…but more or less, if I am not moving, the tv is one…because there is no stereo here…at my house, the tv is off and the radio is on most of the time…but at least w the history channel, we do get to learn things as we go along…). The tv has to stay off more often…not that I have a real problem w that myself…and I know when R returns the need for that noise in the background will fall farther away from me as well…
I had no clue that February is Lincoln month on history channel. It’s almost better than shark week on discovery channel. I love this stuff.

5. Ok, so this is getting harder. When I moved, I went through dvds, dishes, kids’ toys, paperwork, the random piles of my life…every little thing was gone through, sorted, persecuted, eliminated, discarded, and set free. I cannot claim that there isn’t still plenty to go through. I still have junk boxes sitting there. The boxes of miscellaneous things that …well…don’t really fit in anywhere else.

6. Does it count if I say I want to minimize the dog fur everywhere? Oh, when I stop laughing at that, I might just cry. A chow mix, the old man gimp along. The German shepherd, who simply sheds all year long. And…the frakkin’ border collie mix. I did recently, ahem, trim her rump fur—and remove 85% of the fringe that she calls a tail. I will spare you the reason behind it and whatever she had rolled in or sat in that was embedded in her fur…border collies and their two billion layers of fur. I gave the butthead a bath, to remove whatever it was in her fur—and still ended up having to cut it out of her fur—and found the fur underneath—that I had had a jet of warm water hitting and saturating for more than 15 minutes and that I had been rubbing dish soap into for five minutes—the fur underneath where I trimmed was bone frakkin’ dry—and that fur is a good 2-3 inches from her actual skin. I did not want a fur ball dog. I had a German shepherd before this—I had cats before this—long haired cats. I want something like…a boxer, a Doberman, a greyhound. It can shed as much as it wants…but it’s short and fine and when I wash the dog I can actually get the water down to the skin without fighting….sigh.

7. I’ve minimized my work hours, tightened up my schedule to include more family time…and writing time and art time and whatever time I want…minimized my commitments and obligations…I’ve long ago brought my running around errands down to a more manageable banter and centralized my shopping down to certain areas. Which, in an effort to stop spending so much on art supplies, ordering my hobby lobby stuff online—and believe me, that is way cheaper for me.

8. Oh, I nearly forgot. There is no way I am giving up yarn—although, yes, I do tend to donate and give yarn away whenever asked—it’s not as if I don’t have enough….but I have randomly collected knitting needles every since I started knitting…from bamboo to metal to plastic to whatever I can find…I have to sort through all these needles—and find out who needs some. I always manage to hold some back for the kids…and now for R as well…the only ones I don’t use that I won’t let go of are the antelope horn circulars. I love the needles, but the cable is a string of leather—and it sucks.

My ‘big plan’, if I have one, is simply to keep paring down and keep paring down and to start making use of what I have…since I know I have more than enough.

Wait…I do have my one extra. Do you have any clue how many canvas bags I have, not just cloth grocery bags, not just the knitted or crocheted ones, not just the ones I have collected over the years, not just the backpacks….but all these other things I have…currently on the floor of the hallway in the basement as I have yet to find another place to stick them yet…not much of a thing…but I swear I have over a hundred bags—and they are not all grocery bags or knitting project bags or school bags…and in fact, when we moved, there were all too many of them that I kept in case we might need them. Dude, we didn’t use them when we moved—they were in the attic the whole time we lived there—we weren’t going to use them then—we aren’t going to use them now.

And, yes, maybe I should put minimizing my verbiage on my list as well, huh?

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


I keep getting hit with the same message, from every angle…stop trying to do so many things. Stop trying to please all of the people. Stop trying to be Supermom. Stop trying to try. Stop … stop … settle down and find your foundation and move upwards, inwards, ever spiraling, from there until you find your equilibrium, your happy medium. So many sources are coming at me with the same message. It behooves me to pay attention.

So, I am.

I was just starting to find things regularly on facebook when they up and changed their format…and now I am losing things again…the other day, I caught a snippet from Jamie that said something along the lines of what would happen if you started your day with ten minutes of drawing…so…I did…and I have pretty much done it every day since then—even if my ten minutes is not first thing in the morning…but I am taking that time again to draw. As I reach for my sharpie and my sketch book, I find myself wanting to scribble even more…the more I do it, the more I want to do it, the more ideas I have, the more I do it…even if I procrastinate a bit…I do it. I decided tonight I need a smaller format. At the moment. Or I will spend days applying bark to a tree that I wasn’t all that happy w when the pen hit the paper, but I started out playing and now have to finish it…I have a sketchbook of newsprint paper right now, while I get back into the swing of things, and it is 9x12…

Hey—look—segue—I went to Michaels – well, awhile ago now. Two weeks? Maybe more. I spent roughly $35 and bought over $200 worth of sketch pads, good solid ones, and lots of newsprint ones, a set of prismacolor pencils, even a spool of metal wire, a bit more heavy than ‘regular’ beading wire…I mean, I walked out of that store w three bags full of mostly notebooks of all sizes. Some were bumped. Some had a wire twisted. One the body of the pad was no longer fully connected to the front cover. We are talking I bought $20 sketch pads for under a dollar. I saw the clearance rack at the end of the row and I always have to walk past it. I honestly stood there for a second, baffled. I paid $5 for the 24 pack of prismacolor verithin pencils…that was the most expensive thing I bought. E now has a ton of her own sketchpads, so she can sit and draw w me—even though she is still not allowed to touch the ‘good’ pencils…lol…she is happy using her own and sitting beside me—so that works.

Basically, I have notebooks at my house and at R’s house. Although, I found out this week when I picked my pad up at Jamie’s suggestion, that the bag of pens in my purse…is no longer there…so I am stuck w my sharpie ultra fine point until I remember to grab my better pens next trip home…

And before you ask, yes, we live in two houses. Our nights are spent at R’s—and so are our mornings until I can manage to get E up earlier—she has a head cold now, so I don’t want to drag her out in the morning cold if I don’t have to…our days are spent at home. Seems every time I want to spend more time at my own house, something comes up. It won’t always be like that—I am reaching the point where things are settling down enough and I am calm enough…but…R isn’t back from skiing…w four dogs here…it’s just easier to stay here and run both households…I did learn to stop buying a full gallon of milk for my house unless I am on a milk kick or expecting N to stay at our house for any length of time…milk never goes bad around us…we drink a great deal of it. I had to dump roughly half a gallon last week because it had started to go bad…

Since R and I started dating, T sort of decided he wasn’t taking the kids shopping for me anymore, not for any holiday. He decided that that is R’s responsibility now and he doesn’t have to even try…not for the kids sake or any other. That’s fine. After living w the other T and having to buy my own birthday and Christmas and any other present I wanted for so many years, it doesn’t really bother me.

R made a deal w me. If I would do the research on which one is the best one for me, he would buy me a digital pen. Yes, I whine ever so much about wanting more time for myself on the computer so I can type—I even buy a netbook, and then a laptop to satisfy every facet of every experience…and now, I crave a pen in hand. Well, honestly. I have been hand-writing everything since I was ten. Give me a break. My problem is…I hate transcribing…call me lazy…call me whatever. I will sit for an hour and write out an entire scenario…and then set it in a folder to type up later…and for too much of my stuff…it’s not later yet…I found the pen that seems like the best one for me…the rest is up to him.

But, since I started the tradition of buying myself a gift, basically because I suck to buy for usually, and I want to make sure I get something I want…I ordered myself, after so much contemplation, the zentangle kit. I swear, Hybrid J gets me into more things—and they are always the coolest things. Eric Maisel kicks my butt every day—even when I am not directly reading any of his books…ever since Hybrid introduced me to zentangle via her blog, I’ve been playing w the free designs from the website and the newsletter…but I decided I really do want to go further…as I think it will bring a different light to my drawings…especially since one of my main focuses of drawing is trees…I am actually looking forward to receiving the kit….

And bedtime has come and gone…w R gone, time doesn’t make as much sense to me as usual…I was watching a program about werewolves and all of a sudden I look up. The show is now about giant pythons…it’s 11p and E is merrily working away on some project at the dining room table…so …off I go.

More to come.