Thursday, January 14, 2010

Housewives of MN

I realized today that I'm living a dream. I watched those silly women on the Real Housewives of Orange County and - even though they wouldn't agree - my life is SO much FULLER than theirs seem to be. They don't have any pretty snow, for one thing...

With all the physical pain of the past few months, the unwanted drama (actually, it's been pretty drama free...) and other life events that have 'enriched' my life in the past few years, I am SO damned lucky.

But yesterday was a hard day physically.

I had planned to take my driving test. Then I thought I couldn't. Then I wanted to. Then I didn't want to. You see, I've failed it twice since we moved here from NJ. I allowed myself to psyche myself out. I kept seeing THIS

And Here was my horoscope for yesterday (Mr. Levine, are you watching me...?):
You can't decide whether or not to go ahead with your plans because the pros and cons seem pretty evenly balanced. But even if you finally choose against pushing forward today, you might surprise yourself and suddenly take the next step anyhow. Be careful; if you make a false start, you may just have to begin anew next week.
And damned if I didn't drive to Eagan, take the test, and score 100%!

But damn if I also didn't forget my 2 forms if ID... So back home I drove, picked up my passport, then returned and waited in line AGAIN.

The drive(s) to Eagan, the waiting in line(s), the test itself, it all just exhausted me.

When I got in the car to drive home I realized how tired I was. Across the street was a movie theater, so I figured I'd see ANYTHING just to sit down for an hour or two.

Happily, I saw most of The Young Victoria - it was lovely. I'm afraid I didn't like the bonnets as much as I'd hoped, but the dresses and men's clothing were brilliant. Sandy Powell continues to be my heroine. I am proud to have worked with her once upon a time (I knitted a sweater for Dennis Quaid for Far From Heaven back in 2002, she was the designer.)

Then I drove home and rolled into a little, tiny ball and wept in pain until I slept. A rich and full day. And that's the price we pay for 100% scores on driving tests in Minnesota.

I started the day with a wonderful session with my acupuncturist at Crocus Hill Acupuncture.

The woman is a genius. She cupped me - which my father-in-law would call toten bahnks - and oddly enough much of the continuing pain in my shoulders and neck was beautifully reduced. Huzzah!

Before I left, she put little 'beads' on points in my ears, stuck with clear plastic, so I can self-pressure -point myself to help with my breathing (she said one client kept them on for a month!) AND my breathing is so much better today.

Then home to work a bit - polishing up videos for my next online class, The Mitered Handbag - and then continuing my day of leisure for a massage in the afternoon.

Several years ago I got a pretty 'severe' haircut at a local salon. To apologize, the manager gave me a gift certificate for a massage, but their massage guy left soon after. The gift certificate sat unused for 3 years.

When I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia this past Christmas I dug up the certificate, saw that it had NO expiration date, and was gratified to learn that they now have TWO massage therapists on staff!

Let me tell you, aside from a massage I got from a friend in Colorado a few years ago (my first - thanks Ruth!) this was the BEST I'd ever had.

This, joined with the acupuncture, created the PERFECT day for a woman with Fibro!

I miss travel. I don't miss the pain, the exhaustion, and I don't miss missing my family (what a dream it is to be able to hug them, kiss them, whenever I want...)

But I miss being on the road, and I miss seeing friends. So guess what Mr. Levine had to say to me TODAY?
You may be frustrated by the lack of fun in your life now. Even if you have attempted to make time for some pleasure, it's been hard to make much progress these last couple of weeks. Don't lose faith; things are going to loosen up very soon. In the meantime, try to get your ducks in a row so you are ready to fly when given clearance for takeoff.
My local knitting group is going away for the weekend, women who are good enough friends that I can just sit on the sofa and rest - they'll let me be a piece of broccoli and stare out the window. But it will be insanely good to be with friends all weekend. I miss seeing friends.

I'm going up tomorrow, back on Sunday, and I'm taking my gluten free snacks with me.

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Friday, November 13, 2009

Winners, Patience & Spritual Sections

To listen to this blog post read by Annie, click here: /111309.mp3
Winning Section
The winner of the Lily Chin book is Jill. I threw a dart at the computer and it landed on her. Now I have to get a new screen. I've emailed her, and I'll send off Lily Chin's Knitting Tips & Tricks as soon as I get Jill's address.

THANK YOU to everyone who left a comment or tip. What a great idea, a TIP exchange! I loved reading them, and feel like I learned SO much.

You readers are a font of information, thank you.

Patience Section
I'm FINALLY coming in on the end of Anne Boleyn. I swear, I feel as if I've been working on this thing longer than she was queen. But I'm doing the bottom edge now, and I'll have some nice photographs in my next blog post.

I'll also have a new contest for a totally non-knitting related audio book. The book is John Irving's Last Night In Twisted River. I like Irving, but at the same time I also don't like some of his stuff. Which is probably as it should be.

I've long felt that we don't have favorite authors, artists or designers, or fall in love with folks because the recipient of our affection is the BEST writer / person / musician / designer we know.

We fall in love because the author / musician / designer suits us, makes sense to us, in a way that no one else does.

As much as I love Gerry - and I adore him - I love him not because he's inherently good, but because we suit each other so well. Likewise with Irving. I like him as an author because his work resonates with me, but I don't necessarily love everything he writes.

So I'm excited to listen to this book and think up a compelling (?) question to pose that will get everyone involved and won't limit the contest to only Irving fans. It will be a few days, but patience is a virtue.

Horoscope Section
Speaking of patience, I read my Virgo Twitta-scope again. Once again, it seems eerily on track for me. Here's today (Friday's) message:
Clarity is beginning to return, but it still may be too soon for you to make any big decisions. Your emotions continue to cloud your normally cool analytical style, even if you can tell where the current situation is leading.

Attempts to make changes today won't likely be very effective, for they could get lost in the larger shifts that are coming your way. Avoid impulsive action that is motivated by frustration; patience is now your best friend.
Okay, that makes sense to me and really fits with what I'm struggling through right now in design terms. Keep plugging along. And I will.

But it was my scope for tomorrow (Saturday) that really got to me:
It's all about communication today, but sticking with detached analytical facts will likely leave you feeling unsatisfied. You must dig a bit deeper now in order to get past your logical filter that can keep you from fully engaging with your experiences.

You may not understand the reason for everything that's happening, but you'll have time to put your amazing day into perspective later if you just let it unfold without resistance.
Spiritual Section
You see, tomorrow the kids and I (and Gerry for part of the day) will be attending a weekend retreat held by our temple for families of B'nai mitzvah candidates. Max's Bar Mitzvah is scheduled for next January (2011) and Hannah's Bat Mitzvah is ... in a holding pattern.

But I'm thinking this weekend may be a very good chance to introduce both of them to the part of Judaism that I've been missing for quite a while. The community part.

For whatever reasons - various and non-specific - we've had a hard time connecting with the temple here. We attend services every now and then, the kids go to Hebrew School, but we're not engaged in the way we'd like to be. The last time Gerry and I both felt fully engaged in a congregation was back in Brooklyn when we were members of the budding Kolot Chayeinu.

I'm not Jewish, Gerry and the kids are (we're Reform, please hold back the comments that the kids aren't REALLY Jewish, we're proponents of patrilineal descent, or perhaps bilineal descent..?) and we have a casually Jewish home.

I'd like us all to take the holidays a bit more seriously, but Gerry's initial and painful exposure to a 1960's Hebrew School experience (sadly, not unusual) soured him a bit on the whole raising-the-kids-as-Jews thing.

I think the fact they have this descent is a gift, and should be treated as such. I don't care what path they follow as they grow older, I just want them to learn all they can at this point so their future spiritual decisions are made from an intelligent and well informed place.

I'm hoping this weekend will awaken some questions from the kids, light a bit of a fire, and maybe even bring Hannah to a point where the idea of her Bat Mitzvah isn't so totally foreign. We'll see. Obviously, the most important thing is that Hannah is a good person, and I don't think ANY religion (or philosophy) has cornered the market on that.

One doesn't need religion to be "good", one just has to be considerate and respectful of the needs of others. I think religion can help us put that in perspective, but we've also all seen examples of religion binding folks' eye's from the obvious truth that you should treat those around you with the same love and respect you'd like to be shown.

So I'll hold the horoscope to this tantalizing promise,
You may not understand the reason for everything that's happening, but you'll have time to put your amazing day into perspective later if you just let it unfold without resistance.
and we'll see what this weekend brings.

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Thursday, October 29, 2009


To listen to this blog post read by the author click here: /102909.mp3

Could the funk be fleeing?

I feel like I've been going back two steps for every step forward, it's been a hard couple of years - Gerry's health notwithstanding - and some days it's been hard to find the joy in what I'm doing.

I don't mean to sound like I'm complaining - please understand that I KNOW how lucky, fortunate, and wonderful my life is! But the past years have called for more work than any previous few years have.

Mostly, I think, it's been keeping up the "look for the joy" thing for the kids, and for Gerry, which is wearying (But ultimately the most satisfying thing a mom can do - teaching the kids to find the joy wherever you can!)

But I've found over and over in the past two years that when I do something it's just not right, and I end up starting over, rewriting, ripping out, or apologizing.
I clicked on the horoscope above on a whim, and it made me feel light years better. A good friend back in NJ who does horoscopes wrote me the same thing a few weeks ago.

Now, I know it will make me seem all oooky-spooky to say I believe this stuff (hey, it's Halloween!) but somewhere deep down I do. So there.

I've noticed definite samenessess (a word?) between myself and other Virgos, and the folks I tend to gravitate to are other Virgos and Aquarians (but I'll love anyone, I'm easy...)

Not that this is absolute proof, but I'll grab a lifeline when I see one, and I loved the horoscope above.

Case in point - Anne Boleyn. I'm working on a sweater based on the anonymous portrait of AB, and when I look back over my previous blog posts it's notable that I haven't posted many photos of it.

Why? I haven't been happy with it.

I love the yarn. I would marry it if I could. It's Tilli Tomas Milan and Beaded Milan, and it's just about the yummiest stuff I've worked with.

And the sweater has garnered oohs and aaahs from everyone I show it to. And it didn't look bad.

But it didn't look good. It looked silly and costumy, exactly what I did NOT want to achieve with this book.

Last night after trying Anne Boleyn on Hannah, I sent the sweater a Bill of Attainder.

I ripped the whole danged thing out. I didn't even bring over a French executioner.... It took 2 hours (beaded yarn is hard to rip) and I felt like a new woman when I finished.

I think the best route for this project is not to make it quite as literal as I was trying to do. I'm going to fashion it as a chanel type jacket, and it's going to be Crochet.

Yes, you heard me. That's what the yarn wants, and that's what the yarn gets. Making the yarn happy makes ME happy, too! Find the joy, baby!

I forgot to post about this, but I bought a wonderful Rhinebeck mug from Jennie the Potter (is it odd that we both drove cross country from MN so I could buy a mug from her?) and I adore it.

I have had many cups of tea from it already, and I think we have a bright and wonderful future together!

More Horoscope Stuff
I revisited the site after one of the comments suggested I check out my ruling planet. This is what it says - it seems pretty much on the mark (flattering - but aren't they always...?)

MERCURY was in Virgo on September 3, 1961

You may be well-studied and analytical, but youÕre no bookworm. Knowledge is useless if it canÕt be put to use, and you always make the most of your resources. And when others take stuff for granted, youÕll help yourself to the things they fail to appreciate. But youÕre not self-serving; others often make a profit because of you. The combination of your drive to survive, your thrifty nature and your nerve makes you a success. However, you realize that being clever doesnÕt make you wise. That comes with experience, and you really do get smarter (and richer) with age. YouÕre blessed in September, stressed in March.

To listen to this blog post read by the author click here: /102909.mp3

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Alison's Scarf
Link to pdf file of cable/trellis lace scarf

Hannah's Poncho
Link to pdf file of multi-sized poncho


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