Category Archives: Just A Thought

So Much Good!!!

I get very anxious when I am in large groups of people.  By ‘large’ I mean anything over 6-8 people.  It’s hard to explain if you don’t know what I mean right out of the gate.  Part of what happens is I get overwhelmed processing so much input from multiple voices and visual images.  I also get extremely self conscious about what to say, what I will sound like, what will people think of my opinion, will my question sound stupid, etc. etc.

Anyway last week the quilter’s guild show organizer called and asked me to volunteer at the show this past weekend. Before I could stop myself I said yes to volunteering for 2 hours in the morning and 3 hours in the afternoon on Saturday.

My customary action after such a blunder would be to come up with some excuse to beg off at the last minute or to actually manifest an ailment (allergy attack, cold, bad back or ?) to get out of my commitment.

But this time I soldiered on.  I rationalized that this is a very friendly, innocuous group oif women involved in an endeavor I find very challenging and satisfying.  I love to learn and would find a lot of opportunities to do just that at the show.  And right now I am into pushing the envelope, getting out of my comfort zone, and getting over it!!

So i went.  I volunteered.  And I had a great time!!!  The women were very welcoming.  The show was great.  I got a lot of new inspiration.  I bought some wonderful new applique thread and some new patterns.  And I made some new friends.

I hoped that I would come out of the show feeling like I belonged in the group.  I had only attended one meeting and made excuses for the last 4 months for not attending again.  Anxiety based excuses. I feel like I made a jump start at feeling at home at future meetings.

Stay tuned.  I plan to attend the June meeting and am looking forward to it.  Now if I can just avoid getting a cold or a backache…….

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Out of Step

On this day that celebrates mothers I am out of step.  My mother died many years ago as did my aunt who took over as surrogate after Mom died.  I also am one of those women who decided back in the 80’s that motherhood was not a good idea for me.  I have never regretted that decision.  But it does make for an interesting life in retirement when many people are so busy with extended family – kids and grandkids and great grandkids.  And Mother’s Day particularly.  I am a bystander with memories of my very special Mom and Aunts, but a bystander.

Clearing the Decks

Over the years I collected a lot of yarn and fabric for future projects.  Some of it was materials I liked at the time but no longer speak to me.  Some things I just collected because the price was right or a friend gifted me with hand-me-downs.

I was brought up in a family heavily invested in hand-me-downs.  I love the concept.  But I have decided it is time to clear the decks for future knitting, weaving and quilting projects.  So the yarn I looked at for the last month that was waiting to be put on my loom is gone.  The color is not me and is not inspiring.  The quilt project from my previous post is gone along with the uninspiring fabric I was trying to use up.  I am not a pastels person.

Yesterday, with glee and great satisfaction, I dropped off a bag of yarn at the thrift store.  Gone is the drab tan beige tone cotton yarn.  Gone is the cone of pastel variegated yarn that looked colorful enough on the cone but paled to washed out hues once woven.  Gone is the white that reminded me of the days I had to wear white dresses to church ceremonies too numerous to count, a time I really don’t want to remember.

As I say goodbye to each outgrown skein and piece of fabric I feel a great inner peace and a sense of excitement and expectation.  The clutter is reduced as well as the obligation to “make do”.  I can’t wait to get the yarn color card I ordered so I can experiment with jewel tones and iridescence in my weaving.  It has been too long to have that project on the back burner.  Life is too short.

Me:

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Not Me:

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Challenge of Equilibrium

One of the definitions I found for the word ‘equilibrium’ is “mental or emotional balance”.  This word came to mind for my title because that balance has been my core challenge lately.

On the one hand I continue to immerse myself in my fiber adventures:  knitting a shawl from some beautiful raspberry bamboo narrow ribbon yarn, spinning various kinds of fiber from my stash, sandwiching a pieced table runner with batting and backing ready to baste and quilt.  But on the other hand I have several family members facing serious challenges and this week we got word that one of our beloved dogs has a very aggressive cancer.  We have opted to just keep him comfortable for as long as we still have him with us.

Add to all of this the fact that the weather here on the far northern California coast has been a double whammy of July gloom. There has been a persistent marine layer pulled in  by the heat in the inner valley.  That layer thickened by smoke blowing periodically toward the coast from several wildfires in southern Oregon.

So the gym offers me respite, my yoga gives me peace, my garden is flourishing, spinning gets me in the zone.  If all those things fail there is always an audio book or some escapist music that beckons, and old movie or a rousing round of Plants vs. Zombies.

So I pet my dogs and remain thankful for the riches in my life and continue to strive for equilibrium.

Productive vs. Creative

I have not posted for awhile because I have been in “busy” mode.  Two of my relatives are going through life-changing illnesses right now.  I have been spending quite a bit of time on the phone talking to various relatives since I live far from all of them.  Normally I am not a phone head so that alone has been time consuming and tiring.

This has been a near perfect spring and summer in far northern California.  So that has meant a lot of outdoor time in the garden and working in the yard.  I also got a fire lit under me changing bedding and washing throw rugs and hanging lots of things outdoors to dry.  And sorting things out to go to the thrift store.

In the midst of all of this family time and work I have found some time for spinning.  I even did my first fiber dyeing session with what turned out to be hilarious results after I got over the disappointment.  When I post the pics here soon all can share in the experiment which amounted to learning what not to do when dyeing wool fiber and yarn.

So I guess I have been very productive with tasks and somewhat creative with my space and fiber pursuits.  Now the trick will be how to shift more time to the creative side again and keep everyday life and tasks from intervening as much.  Wish me luck!

Chore Day

This was a chore day.  I have one occasionally and try to do as much as I can so I can have more non-chore days!  So today was about laundry, cooking and committee paperwork.  End result: clean clothes, a big pot of beef stew, a smaller pot of curried vegetables, a PR detailed contact list for a conference I’m helping to organize, a wrap up meeting attended for an event I just finished helping with, paperwork prepped for an upcoming meeting tomorrow and even a bit of spinning!  The best result:  Tomorrow can be devoted to digging through a big library book sale and spinning…or weaving…or quilting……or……………

Reflection

Mother’s Day is bittersweet for me.  My Dad died in 1983.  At the time my mother lived in New England in the family home.  After a year of living in a retirement community there, my mother visited California and decided to move cross country.  Mind you she was 76 years old at the time and had lived in the same neighborhood all of her life.  She had flown on a plane twice.  Needless to say I was aghast at her decision!

To make a long story short she moved to California and lived nearby for the last 5 years of her life.  She often said that she felt like she was living a dream and never thought she would live in such a beautiful place.

My Mom died in 1989.  That is so long ago but so many memories of her seem so fresh.  For me Mother’s Day is a day of remembrance.  And a day of thanks for the loving care she gave me for so many years.

Yesterday I remembered her spirit, her home cooking, her zest for life, her love of helping people.  And as I dressed my loom and knitted and sewed and cooked I once again was thankful for her legacy.  She was my biggest fan and I will miss her always.

Blackbirds and Omens

There are times in my life when I have been visited by angels or omens.  Three days ago I was coming back from my morning walk.  I noticed a red-winged blackbird sitting in a shrub by the side of the road. Image

I stopped and told him how beautiful he was.  He proceeded to fly down form his perch, cross the road, and turn and fly at my eye level to his perch. All this was within 3-4 feet of me.  I thanked him and went on my way.  Later that day I was cleaning out the garage, a task I have avoided for some time.  I came across a book I thought I had given away:  Ram Dass Still Here which deals with aging, change and dying. All this leads up to last evening when I had a phone call to tell me that someone I dearly love has a serious cancer diagnosis.  So I am sad today but again I am struck by the wonder of life.

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