Sometimes, pretty much this. Not always, and not always about feminism in particular, but.. yeah.
.. it’s been something like 5 months since I posted..
More new music tonight – prepping for a long drive, which seems to be the way of things lately:
- Johnny Cash – The Man Comes Around
- Dropkick Murphys – The Warrior’s Code
- Tally Hall – Marvin’s Marvelous Mechanical Museum
- Dave Potts – One Night in the South
Also picked up Little Miss Can’t Be Wrong by the Spin Doctors because a good friend quoted it at me a few weeks ago and I can’t get it out of my head. Same good friend forwarded me news about a set of God Street Wine reunion shows in New York in.. June, I think; I’ll be looking for plane tickets soon, since I already have tickets to the shows. *grin*
Next weekend I’m going to see Gaelic Storm, along with I think nearly a dozen friends. I’m pretty stoked to be seeing them again, even if I am a little disappointed that we’re in a real theatre with seats which might mean dancing will be a little annoying. Not that I’ll let it stop me, but it might piss off anyone behind me. Oh well. *shrug*
Yup, this is my life lately. No real fiber artistry to speak of, and even though it’s finally spring I haven’t done any serious planning for the gardens yet. I switched jobs in there somewhere and have a longer commute, but also more stuff rattling in my skull so I haven’t even been listening to many books – it’s all about music these days. So it goes.
I’m in an odd sort of mood. It happens, I know. Random wisps of nostalgia floating around in my head, spawned by a trip home to attend a once-fond childhood tradition, combined with the continuing emotional fall out of the last year and change really couldn’t result in anything else. In the interest of fair warning, I’m likely to wax a little poetic, or even melodramatic, in the following. Eh. My muse is fickle, and I’m loathe to defy her moods lest she abandon me altogether. *smile*
It’s always sort of surprised me how many of my friends from growing up fell in love with and married their high school sweethearts. Not in a bad way, really.. more in .. well, it’s sort of a little awe-inspiring. To know so young, and to love so strong. To openly embrace the growth and change in each other, and encourage it, even as it changes the material foundations of your world. That level of certainty.. of commitment to another soul.. there is magic in our midst.
Family, both biological and chosen, and the connectedness of people, the importance of those ties, even when we don’t renew them.. maybe especially when we don’t.. there’s something.. *there* that I’m not able to articulate. Nostalgia and remembrance.. *shrug*
I was reminded, in my mind’s meanderings as I wended my way south on Highway 52 this afternoon, of Ambrosia. The .. urgency of my quest for freedom, and for identity, has waxed and waned in the 10 or so years since I wrote it. Despite the apparent prophecy in the line “I want to form my life again and again from the raw clay of my soul”, I’ve lost and found myself – not the same myself, to be sure, but still, at the essence, me – more times in the last decade than I expected. More deeply, or completely.
And yet, the weaving continues, telling stories – my stories, our stories – in myriad colors and textures, flowing like water – sometimes placid and smooth and sometimes churned to a great tumult. Like fine silk, the threads of connection seem so terribly fragile, so easily snapped and severed. And yet, in truth, they are so very resilient. Our humanity, the simple coincidence of having known each other once, then, is enough, sometimes, to bring the color and vibrancy of a faded strand to light. I’ve let too much of the tapestry of my life fade, neglected and untended, and while doing so is alternatively so simple as breathing and so terrifying as leaping from a great height, it’s past time to begin the mending.
It is, however, a line from something else I wrote – or rather, something I spat at a friend (then and again) in (admittedly somewhat eloquent) anger and frustration – that still haunts me. I’ve turned it into a challenge of sorts, a hurdle over the black abyss of a moat surrounding my deepest self, a moat that despite my best attempts to bridge seems some days unfathomable. It’s a test, administered in jest, or at least seeming so. I don’t know what will happen when someone answers it in truth. I don’t really even know what that answer is, or will be, or whether there is one. It’s somewhat of a romantic, fairy tale notion, but one rooted in an all too real need. I know it should be unnecessary, that I should be more trusting, more self-reliant; that it’s a shield behind which I hide, a crutch upon which I lean instead of learning to strengthen myself to stand without it. But I also know that, as the soul of my soul once said, healing is a spiral and sometimes we have to move a little backwards before we’re able to move forward again.
I have at least three nascent spiral posts started, and at least one of those actually finished, but keep losing the ability to be coherent about the topics in them before I get them to the point I would be comfortable posting them in what is, ultimately, a public (though hardly widely read) medium. I suspect that a lot of that feeling is getting to a point, inevitably, at some point in all of them when I realize that I’m just one voice, and not an especially expert or authoritative one at that, and that the inner workings of my head, how I navigate the world in which I live, how I rationalize and justify the myriad decisions and inconsistencies and hypocrisies, is ultimately meaningless. Useful to me as introspection, at least to a point, but likely of little interest or benefit to anyone else. My spirals are rarely about activism or consciousness-raising in the way many would define those ideas, so perhaps rather than struggle to expose my own navel-gazing, I should either hush up or go back to posting about the minutiae of life.. the things I create or grow, which are are arguably more interesting to whatever “audience” I may have in this forum. *shrug*
That said, likely because I do, I think, spend a fair amount of time (or have in the last year or so) in self-reflection, it nonetheless surprises me when other people .. don’t. I’m willing to believe that I live within the confines of my head more than I should – it’s comfortable and warm and there’s no one there to ridicule or judge or misunderstand – but it still baffles me to some extent to realize just how many people simply go through their days, their lives without ever turning the focus of their curiosity inward. The unexamined life and all that.. which leads further into the knowledge that the freedom to examine my own life, to wander the halls of my mind more or less at will, is a privilege afforded me by virtue of the fact that I’m fairly secure, socially and financially. The ennui born of living a comfortable, safe life.
None of which was what I thought I would end up writing about when I opened this post this morning. I expected instead to prattle on about recent acquisitions to my music collection (this morning’s being Bon Jovi’s Slippery When Wet and Prince’s The Hits/The B-sides 3.. *shrug*) or fretting about the tomato plant that overbalanced its cage and my neglect in righting it sooner or about the old school sci fi kick I seem to have been on lately (Orson Scott Card and Heinlein have been living in my head – and on my iPod – a lot this month*). Ah well. C’est la vie.
* Because that actually may be of some interest, I listened to Ender’s Game and Ender’s Shadow in rapid succession, and am currently listening to The Speaker for the Dead. I’ve never read anything by Orson Scott Card before and have enjoyed both his writing style and the worlds he creates, though they are very definitely of a style I tend to identify as “classic sci fi” as opposed to some of the newer sci fi I’ve read (or more accurately, listened to). It’s a style I like – a reasonable balance of grit and social commentary that is both easy to relate to and at the same time removed enough not to be in your face should you choose not to give it attention. I queued up Heinlein’s The Moon is a Harsh Mistress (which I apparently originally purchased some three years ago.. fortunately, Audible remembered that so I just had to download it to my current computer instead of purchasing it again) and Starship Troopers after a conversation I had earlier this week brought them up. I’ve read both of them before, but not for some time. Moon is, as should be no real surprise, one of my favorites of his, though in general Heinlein’s endings tend to annoy me – not because they’re necessarily bad stylistically, but because I tend to feel they’re less true endings than they are simply points at which he decided to stop writing. I’m also increasingly thinking I need to re-read or at least purchase and listen to Kim Stanley Robinson’s Mars Trilogy again as it’s come up in conversations with friends at least three times in recent weeks. Not sure I’d want to listen to those, though, and it seems that I’ve had little patience for actually reading lately, which is odd and somewhat troublesome, but not enough for me to angst about overmuch.
From Flowing Data:
“The lesson here isn’t about global warming. It’s that you shouldn’t take data lightly. When you’re dealing with data, you have to look past the numbers.”
I feel like this has been my mantra since I started my current job (November 2004), which it seems surprises more people than it should. From my blog, written in September 2005 (emphasis added):
“As I sit and ponder this confluence of things fibery, specifically knitting, though I imagine the same would hold for weaving as well, and number crunching, there’s a certain .. something that connects the two. I’ll try to explain, at least how it works in my head, but it might get tangled. Essentially, when I look at data, I’m trying to draw out the pattern, or the story, the data tells. Another way of thinking of this is trying to create the picture of what’s happening by finding the strands and threads that weave the whole together. A single data item, like a single strand of fiber, may be beautiful, but is rarely complex. Only by combining it with others and teasing out the patterns does the larger picture, in all its glory, become clear. Sometimes, like when working a delicate lace motif in a fuzzy mohair, the pattern stays diffuse and difficult to perceive until you set it off against some contrasting background. Sometimes, like when working cables in 100% cotton, you have to exert a fair amount of effort and a not-insignificant amount of force to bring the pattern out, but once it’s there, you can’t miss it. And sometimes, like when working with hand-dyed variegated yarn, you start out expecting a certain pattern only to find a completely different one emerging as you go. Of course, there are also the times, like when working with a luscious and soft wool in stockinette, when the pattern comes out exactly as you expected without an undue amount of effort. So, when I think about it that way, it makes a certain sense that data geeks are also commonly fiber geeks. It is, after all, sometimes easier to just follow the pattern than it is to find it.”
It’s nice to have some external validation of this approach, especially lately. My life has been consumed by work this summer.. sorry for the radio silence, but sometimes that’s just how things go. Major data systems conversions will do that to you (but I can now add the development and delivery of a two day training workshop on PeopleSoft Query to my resume). *shrug*
My garden is growing; I ate my first peas yesterday (yes, they’re very late) and have several squash and cukes and tomatoes and even a pepper, and more onions than I’ll know what to do with (not really) happily ripening. I think the watermelon vine has bit the proverbial dust, however, and the birds are eating all the strawberries and not leaving any for me, but for now I can deal with that.
I’m also knitting some, but you’ll have to wait until I replace my camera to get updated pictures, which will have to wait until someone more knowledgeable about cameras can accompany me to a store to check some out. I finished the back of Celtic Icon, though, and the right front. So that just means the right front, the two sides, the two sleeves, and the hood and seaming.. *sigh* Baby steps for now. (Though I’d love to have this one done by fall.)
I’ve also been reading and listening to books (always am really). I’m about an hour and a half from finishing listening to the third book in Karl Schroeder‘s Virga series, which has been amazing, though I have to admit I’d expected him to follow different characters for the second and third books than he did.
This morning seems to be one for getting the word out a bit more on a couple of links to some very seriously nifty artists, one that is new to me and one by whom I own several pieces already but who has just launched a new web home for her work.
The new to me one is Gerard Ferrari (fair warning – some of the pieces may not be entirely safe for work), who is a ceramacist and found-object artist with a bit of an absurdist bent. Several of his pieces also strike me as having a particularly steampunk feel, but that may just be because steampunk seems to be all the rage with the kids these days. *shrug* I have to wonder if he reads Girl Genius – some of his pieces seem as though they’d be right at home with Agatha’s clanks and at least one teapot might be able to double as a death ray in a pinch!
The other is Ursula Vernon, who announced today that Red Wombat Studio is now live! Ursula mentioned that the new website is much easier to update, which makes me very happy as her digressions are always amusing and fun. Also with a distinctly absurdist bent, I’m particularly happy with the ability to take a sneak peak into her Sketchbook as well as the links to all her books for easy ordering. As I mentioned, I own several of her pieces already and fully expect that more will find their way into my collection over time as well.
So, about a month ago, I cut my hair. I’ve been meaning to take pictures of it showing how it looks when I style it, instead of the pictures I have from the night it was cut showing how the stylist styled it (though they’re pretty close) and finally remembered this morning.
All photos are clickable thumbnails. This is the front how it’s arguably supposed to be. I tend to part it much more on the side than the stylist did, but that just means the longer side has some extra layers, which I think looks fine. I like it like this, but if I’m actually trying to work on something, it bugs me over my eye like that. I knew that it would, though, so I was very specific that the front had to be left long enough to tuck behind my ears.
And this is the front how it usually actually looks since I really do tuck it back behind my ears more often than not. (And yes, I fixed the mascara smudge beneath my eye after I took the picture.) It’s hard to tell from the front, but it’s an assymetrical cut – it’s shorter in the back and gets longer toward the front.
I still like it a lot. I think I’d like it a little shorter in the back, with a more extreme angle to the length in the front, but at this point, I may as well wait another two weeks to go in anyway since I think 6-8 weeks is sort of the normal maintenance time for haircuts (right?).
Yes, I donated the pony tail – it was about 12-14 inches from where she cut it off, but she ended up taking several more inches in finishing the styling.
No, I’m not traumatized. I’ve had long hair off and on throughout most of my life and while I love my hair long, I get bored with it that way. The last time I had it this short was in grad school, and before that in college (when the back of my head was actually shaved for a time).
No, it takes me more time to care for now, not less. Before it was cut, I would shower and wash it, brush it out, and let it air dry. Now there’s a blow dryer and something called “root volumizer” involved. It takes about 2 minutes, so I don’t mind, but it doesn’t have the volume I like if I just wash it an go.
Yes, I can still pull it back in a barrette to get it out of my face if I want to.
A couple weekends ago, I used the lure of a Gaelic Storm concert to get Liz to come down for the weekend to play with a variety of fiber-related things. The lure was originally supposed to net Carol and a few other as well, but a combination of various illnesses and nasty weather thwarted their being trapped as well. All the same, Liz and I had quite a full weekend and managed to get our hands into quite a number of things.
Liz brought many fun toys with her to play with, among them a very nifty loom on which she was weaving a Navajo-style rug:
She also brought her spinning wheel. *grin*
Despite talking about it lots, I’d never actually sat down and tried to spin on a wheel, so she very patiently set it up and coached me as I tried my hand for the first time. The drafting is different enough from what I do when handspinning that I’ll need to spend a bit more time getting used to it before I’ll know enough to feel comfortable evaluating potential wheels for my own eventual purpose. All the same, it was really great to have someone so patient to sit with me (and laugh with me) as I tried it for the first time!
We also played around with dyeing – some Kool-Aid dyeing on roving, as well as my first ever attempts at essentially kettle-dyeing, during which we learned that I should not try to dye things in my washing machine. More on all that later, though!
Silence is golden, right? *smile*
I haven’t had an overwhelming urge to knit for several months. So, I haven’t. *shrug* There’s some headspace stuff going on, but not really directly related to knitting (or at least not mostly), so while I’ve not felt the urge, I’ve decided not to push it. I have fits and starts, here and there, and I think for now I’m settling back into a routine that will create space for more creativity, but for now fits and starts is good enough.
One such fit was a desire a couple months ago to have something upon which to put cups and glasses that would protect the lovely wood tables dad made me for the living room. I couldn’t find any coasters that really grabbed me, so I decided to make some. I had some worsted-weight wool in colors that would go well enough with the new color scheme in the living room, and decided to try the ball band dishcloth pattern from Mason Dixon Knitting.
It was a fun little pattern and I think I knit until I ran out of one color of the wool or the other, but I no longer really remember. I’m pretty sure the lighter color is some of the wool I dyed with my friend Carol with cochineal. Once it was all knit up, I threw it in the washer for a few cycles to felt it:
And then (much to my mother’s horror – she was sure it would all come apart) cut it up into coaster-sized pieces:
They are, quite honestly, perfect. The colors match, they’re thick enough to keep water from sweating glasses off the tables, and they’re even enough to keep a glass upright securely. I thought about lining the bottoms with leather or some such to keep them from slipping, but I don’t think it’s really necessary.
So simple and so beautiful. Go read; I’ll wait. *smile*
No, really. Go.
Deceptively powerful in it’s simplicity.
As I watched the first flakes of snow fall around me on my walk from the parking lot this morning, remembering several conversations from the last couple of days that prompted me to smile and remember that peace is best just accepted when it comes, without questioning. The muffled silence of an early January snowfall, blanketing a still sleepy campus seemed a good time to reflect for a moment on that.
When I met a colleague coming in with a typically-Midwestern grumble about “another beautiful day”, I agreed with enthusiasm. It is beautiful. And now, watching the tiny flakes dance in the slight breeze outside my office window, looking down to see a few students bundled against the cold with warm mittens and scarves, it even seems possible, as Cara describes so much more eloquently than I could, to change the world one stitch at a time.