Saturday, February 12, 2011

Sue me.

I am one of those people who firmly believe in the power of the Muses. Or am at least willing to use them as a good excuse for doing what I want to do. If I need to sing, I sing (one of my few talents), even if I'm in the middle of a store and get funny looks. If I don't feel like knitting, I don't force myself. If I don't have an urge to write, ditto. That's just how I roll.

The trouble is, not having written anything for awhile, I then feel the need to explain myself, as if some one of my gentle readers out there was holding his/her breath until I wrote again. Well, ya know? Probably not. So...I've been reading, knitting baby things for my upcoming grandson and working. Not the stuff of exciting blog posts.

But today, a friend pointed me toward some words I'd not read before, and they struck me as so profound I knew I wanted to have them up where I could draw strength from them whenever I wanted. I used them to create an image, placing them on a background of my own creation. Then I thought I would share it here. Enjoy.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

One-Eyed Jack

We woke this morning to find that Jack had crossed the Rainbow Bridge. After the last bug they all had, it was like he just decided to go. We realized he wasn't eating as much, but Jack had never been the foodie that Benny is. It wasn't until he was groomed that we realized just how much weight he'd lost, because he always had one of the thickest coats I'd ever seen on a Scottie.

He kept scaling back on what and how much he'd eat, and when he refused his favorite treat of an apple, I knew he was going. I wanted him to be able to do it on his own terms, at home, if at all possible, and that's what he did.

Jack loved snow, as Scotties do, and was so content to burrow in it, eat it, and come in caked in ice balls. This photograph of him was taken February of this year, after the second of our three blizzards. As long as the DH dug out a space for the necessities, the dogs were all happy, but none more so than Jack.

Jack had a lot of nicknames, because he had so much personality. Doodlebug, for the flying Scottie way he loved to lay down. Apple Jack, after as a puppy he tried, without invitation, to help Tara eat her apple. Jack of Hearts for the way he'd burrow into my lap on cold days. Jack was the grand old man type of Scottie, and as our groomer said today, she became a Scottie lover because of his personality.

Jack will never be cold again, but our world is much colder without him.

Friday, October 22, 2010

It Gets Better

I'm not a woman who makes friends easily. My concept of friendship is not exchanging statuses on Facebook, much as I enjoy it. I think real friendship is deep and rare, so while I have a lot of friendly relationships, I have a handful of real, true friends. A few of them I've never met in person, or may only have met a few times, or may not have seen for years, but the kind of friendship I mean survives all of that. We're involved with one another.

Thing is, I never know when one of these friends is going to appear in my life - or sadly, disappear. Some of the best friendships I've had in my life have been utterly unexpected, and completely by chance. My senior year in high school, my choral group was doing back to back performances, first at a mall, then at a garden club. One of the other members of the group wasn't feeling well, and since my little Toyota had reclining seats, I invited her to ride with me so she could lay back. During that twenty minute ride and conversation, we founded a friendship that lasts to this day. I'd known her a couple of years, thought her nice, envied her talent, but happenstance made us friends, and made my senior year much richer.

I got pregnant with my first daughter about two months after we landed in England. I knew almost no one, I was 19, and my husband was a fighter pilot who would be gone for days and weeks at a time. An enlisted man's wife befriended me, loaned me baby clothes, taught me to crochet, shared my love of reading, and helped shepherd my mom to tourist sites when she came over for the birth. We haven't seen each other in about 27 years...and when we talk or email, it's like it was yesterday.

And then there was Witt, whose larger-than-life presence showing up with Gary to surprise me at my studio made my life so much richer that just thinking of him evokes tears of gratitude as I type. He'd recently moved, left a lot of his comfort zone over an hour's drive away, and we needed and loved one another. We met because he happened to mention on a knitting forum that he'd moved fairly close to where I live, and I said so...and we started to email. He realized immediately that I not only didn't mind that he was gay, but that I was very accepting of him and Gary. So accepting that when they decided to do a commitment ceremony, they asked me to do the service, and DH, who loved them both too, to be their photographer. They only had about a year and a half together after that, but I think they were more content for having made the public commitment.

My point here is, I never knew any of these people were around the corner for me. Brilliant Goddess tho' I may be, I have no crystal ball, no foresight, to know the deep happiness they would bring. They made my life better, but I didn't know they were out there.

I've been in abusive relationships, first with my father who was both mentally and physically abusive, and then with my first husband, who tore me to shreds verbally (and often publicly) and withheld affection. There were many tear-filled nights and days, some of which I spent wondering why I went on.

But it got better. I grew stronger, in spite of and because of what I went through. I grew stronger because of people I really admired who thought I was special enough to want to befriend me. I grew stronger when I found the man I thought was the best person I ever met actually loved me. And if those things can happen to me, they can happen to you. But you have to be here! Borrow a little of my faith in you if you have none of your own, and believe it will get better. Believe there are those of us willing to help, willing to stand up, willing to love you for exactly who you were born to be.

Believe. It gets better.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

What Opinions Are Like

You know the quote, I'm sure. I got reamed for an opinion I expressed on a list I own, MMarioKKnits. A dear friend of several years' standing asked if I were attending a fiber show this coming weekend, after we crossed wires with me thinking that she was coming to one I went to on Sunday.

The show to which she's referring is about a three hour trek - admittedly through beautiful countryside - from my home. We first met face-to-face at this show two or three years ago. Anyway, I told her that DH and I would not attend that show, because we found it very disappointing. Leaving aside that there were not many vendors, there was no where to sit and eat, or just sit, porta-potties are the only amenities, and there is ZERO shade. For your fair-skinned delicate Goddess, this was hell, boys and girls. That year everything was liberally covered in dust, but rainy weather would be difficult too, because everything is in a field and tents, with no walkways.

So in response to my friend, I said no, we wouldn't be there, it was too far FOR US to travel for a show with no seating, no shade, etc...finishing with the fact that it was small. I felt this made it clear that it was the distance for small return that was the issue, and that it was a personal choice based on those factors.

Then I got hauled over the coals. Rather than paraphrase, I'll just give you the actual response I sent to her, quoting her email. Her name is redacted just so I won't get reamed for that too. The only part to which I responded that I did not quote was where she informed me that comparing two Fiber Festivals was comparing apples and oranges. No idea why, but that's what was said...

Wow, XXX. If you're going to spank me, at least buy me dinner first!
But in the interest of fairness, I will respond politely and point by point.

> SVFF is, as you mentioned, relatively new. It was fortunate to land in
> the Clarke County fairgrounds. That means: permanent buildings, a food
> preparation area, and a seating area for folks who have purchased food.

You call it fortunate, I call it good planning. I should add that I
have no affiliation with any of the fiber shows. But I can't see how
comparing two regional fiber shows is comparing apples to oranges. They
are the same thing!

> It is also quite spread out for its size, and the bathrooms are quite a
> way from the main gate (exception being the two porta-potties I found) - You should have looked at the map back on your program. There
are restrooms (aside from portapotties, which require desperation on my
part - rank, cramped and hot!) at five locations at SVFF, one set of
which is just off to the left after you enter, next to the sheep barn.

> Saturday was quite warm, especially
> inside the permanent buildings. We kept trying to find places where the
> air was moving (and not the stinkbugs).

Since weather is beyond the control of any festival, as are insects, I
can't see much point in this for comparison. Fortunately yesterday was
perfect weather.

> Fall Fiber Festival (Montpelier) is a bit smaller in number of vendors,
> but it is also not spread out all over the place. Once you get to the
> tents, it is easy to walk from one to the next.

Once you do get to the tents...quite a hike from where I had to park.
There were far fewer vendors, what they had was very limited, and I
reiterate, there was no where at all to sit down, not even so much as a
few hay bales. There is NO shade anywhere, and as a very fair-skinned
person, I was quickly miserable to the point of illness.

> Some vendors have been
> coming for years and obviously think it is worth it, and we look forward
> to seeing them every year.

Good for them. I'm glad they and you enjoy it. What I said was it was
not worth the trip to my husband or I, traveling the three hours there
to spend effectively maybe an hour looking at what little was there.
Then turning around and driving three hours back...however much we
enjoyed getting to meet (my friend).

> As for dust - we've been having plenty of
> rain this week and Friday promises to be dry and sunny, so the weekend
> should be quite nice.

Trouble is, there are no walkways there. If it's rained, you'll get
muddy. It it's dry, you'll get dusty. It's just not a great venue in
my opinion.

> The portapotties are quite accessible.
See above. Ick.

> There are
> honest -to-gawd sheepdog trials all weekend (not just demonstrations).

Nice, but not why I attend fiber festivals.

> I look forward to FFF every year and I hardly find it "miserable".
Good for you.

> This was my second year at SVFF (and you should have at least mentioned
> the deluges we experienced last year, btw).
I didn't go last year. The person I had planned to attend it with died,
and I hadn't the heart. At least much of the venue is undercover,
though. If it 'deluged' at FFF, I'd be afraid cars (and shoes!) would
get stuck.

> To me a fiber show with good vendors is a spiritual experience
> and I go to as many as I can.
I think spiritual experience is stretching it for me, but I do enjoy
them. I certainly have moments when I cry "O, God" yesterday
when I first felt the black alpaca yarn I bought.

> But I appreciate each one for what it is
> and I don't dump on another festival that obviously offers what people
> are looking for.
XXX, I spoke for myself (and my DH) about why we wouldn't be there.
After traveling so far to go, I was dreadfully disappointed. They
didn't offer what _I_ was looking for, either in product or amenities,
and I hardly purchased anything. If you feel that an honest opinion -
and facts where it wasn't opinion - is dumping, I have to disagree. I
hope you have a great time there.

So, I was polite, yes? Oh, goodie. And yes, I'm just anal-reten...I mean, desirous enough of being accurate to count vendors for both shows this year. The one I attended is has 86. The other has 55, so my perception is not off. I should add that many of those vendors are duplicates from the two shows I have already attended this year, so pretty much, I've seen their wares.

Yet again, I don't understand why people have to get all huffy over a matter of opinion. She's happy with the show? Wonderful. But that's no reason why I should think her experience trumps mine. She has not, to this point, responded to me. I'd just as soon she didn't. I have a new set of idiots to deal with at work today, but more on that later.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

I Know It When I See It

Art that is, not porn. Okay, that too, but that's beside the point which you don't know because you have no idea what the point is.

Maybe I should start over, but I'm too lazy after I typed all that, so onward.

For the last several years, a good client of ours has brought her young daughter's artwork to me, and asked me to create cards for various seasons for her. The first was a construction paper Christmas tree with Fruit Loop ornaments. A miniature of that became the logo for the back of all their folding holiday cards. For things like Halloween, I do 4x6 prints, she slaps on a postcard back, and sends them out.

This year, they want to use a shot from the blizzard last February for the Christmas card, but their daughter's art work was the basis for two cards, Halloween and Thanksgiving. I think you'll be able to tell what is her art, and what is my enhancements.

Her mother professes herself thrilled, and since she paid me, I guess she meant it. By the way, I'm pretty sure her spider is tap dancing. Even more impressive when you realize he has to coordinate eight legs, right?

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Long Time We No Get Drunk Together

A quote from one of my uncle Harry's favorite movies, McClintock. Yes, I've been quiet. Sue me. A lot of stuff has been going down.

Eldest daughter is still struggling. We don't need to go there, except to say that the jerk who used to be her husband has paid about a tenth of the child support he owes. Thank God for her family.

However, good news from younger daughter and her wonderful second grandchild is due to be born in April. Current name selections are Lilith or Xander. Middle names are quite esoteric, and have changed multiple times. :-) I couldn't be more thrilled, and yes, there will be baby knitting in the near future. Another happy thought - this baby will be sleeping in the cradle that my grandfather handmade for me when I was expecting my eldest. So far, both my children, my two nieces, my nephew and my grandson have started life sleeping in that cradle. I know my grandfather would be thrilled.

I've been knitting the Mythos sweater. Not in the yarn called-for, the cost of which is astronomical for a sweater to fit me. I wish designers would remember that just because the yarn to make their itsy bitsy teeny weeny size only takes a skein with enough left over to make a tea cozy, enough yarn for a woman of abundance means her wallet darn well better be abundant too. Given my second paragraph above...let's just say that instead, I got a seriously good deal on some Sockotta. Not the stripey kind, but one that gives a Jacquard kind of pattern. I'm loving it. Until I have to join the two halves by grafting the back, then we'll talk again.

And speaking of knitting, I've decided to get certified through the Craft Yarn Council as a knitting instructor. If I like the program, I may continue on and get certified as a pro. We'll see how it goes. There is also a strong possibility that my DH and I may be jointly teaching a class at a local university in Lightroom and Photoshop. We'll see on that too.

One friend of mine recently asked if I were having a mid-life crisis. The wench is only a few months younger than I! Why did she ask, you wonder? As well you might, given my general youthful demeanor and jejune outlook. (Look it up.) Well, she asked because of this.

Yes, it's a tattoo. After years of saying I would never get one, I suddenly decided I wanted to, and I will tell you why, because I can see you're panting to know. Which is seriously steaming up your monitor, so stop that.

The DH's nickname is Tigger. In return, he calls me Pooh, but is very careful not to point out that I too am stuffed with fluff. For years we've had a standing joke about him (who hates needles) getting a Pooh on his butt, that is if we could find it. The man is practically concave.

Anyway, I recently commented that I should get the Tigger on my left shoulder, where DH falls asleep most nights. And I caught a look on his face - he LOVED the idea! I was stunned, but there was no denying that he got all misty at the thought. That settled had to be done, and as my 16th wedding anniversary gift to him.

The trick was finding the right Tigger. After a lot of search, I found the one above, with the same mush-mush look on his face that the DH gets. He signed off as liking it too. But being your crafty little Goddess, I added a surprise. Ladybugs are very special to us, and I added one, making sure she had nine dots on her back to represent our getting engaged and married in subsequent Septembers. Okay, everyone say, "Ahhhhh." The tattoo artists all did.

It hurt far less than I thought, even on my sensitive lily-white (or as DD2 says, "Pasty" - she went with me) skin. This photo was about two hours after the procedure. Now, nine days later, it's a bit itchy but mostly done healing, and I'm pleased. More importantly, the DH loves it.

Totally out of character for me to have done this. Maybe I am having a mid-life crisis. But as a quote I read in college said, at the end of my life I'd rather regret things I have done, than things I wish I had done.

I like that.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Some pictures

I promised some pictures of my Maia, and here she is. The color is actually a lovely emerald green, and the sheets under are olive. This is what I get for using my point & shoot instead of having the DH do studio shots. Oh well.

Detail of the neckline. Romi did some creative patterning here.

And a detail of the bottom. This is not a large shawl, nor as small as a scarf, though you could wear it as one. It's perfect size for tossing around your shoulders when the A/C is too high in the office, or your muscles feel like they need warmed up a bit.

Right out in front of our photography studio, a pair of cardinals has a nest that has hatched out four babies. They are starting to wander outside the nest now, and I was able to get a few pictures. I call this one, "Are you steppin' to ME?"

The parents aren't happy when I'm out there shooting, because they want to feed the babies. They'll go so far as to come into the bush, cheeping up a storm, but they won't 'lead' me to their babies by going close enough to feed them. This baby felt it was definitely time to eat.

And in one that cracks me up every time I look at it, I think this one would make a perfect ad for Metamucil. I think he needs more fiber, in spite of the pine berries I watched Daddy Cardinal ripping off the tree to feed them.