Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Yarn-bombing, sort of

At work, our Human Resources Department is concerned with many things, including ergonomics.  One of the things we can request for our desks is a wrist support for our keyboards and also our mouse pads.  The latest wrist supports are fabric with beads of some sort inside, so they're like bean bags.  Very comfortable!  Both of my wrist supports are black fabric.  I have a friend at work, LT, and one of hers is black and the other is grey, and she is jealous of my matching wrist supports.  I offered to swap my black one for her grey one, but she said that she didn't want to take my wrist support.  So one day last week, after she left for the day, I swapped mine for hers.  The next day she swapped them back when I was at lunch.  I thought that we could go on  and on this way, but I wanted to out-do her.  I had an inspiration and decided that I would yarn-bomb her wrist supports!  Ok, yarn-bombing is really textile graffitti - you're supposed to wrap your knitting around a light post, or a tree, or a railing, etc. - something public.  Wrapping LT's wrist supports isn't truly yarn-bombing, but at least they match now, as you can see:

And green is her favorite color, so I hope she likes this.  I'll find out tomorrow.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Fathers and daughters

I've been thinking about my Dad a lot lately, as I usually do this time of year, because his birthday was July18th (he passed away in 2000).  My Dad was a very intelligent, creative, well-read man, and his family and home were very important to him.  I always knew that my Dad loved and supported me, because he always let me know that.  I like to think that I've inherited a lot of his good qualities.  I don't like to think that I've inherited some of his not-so-good qualities, but I know I have.  For instance, he had very little patience with stupidity, and neither do I (but more about work another day).  He had a very sarcastic sense of humor, and sometimes what he said intending to be funny wasn't heard that way.  That has happened to me, too.    

For two of my friends, how we are like our fathers has also been coming up in the last few weeks.  Sadly, my friend CH's dad is in hospice.  I have been spending a lot of time with her at the hospital, and she has been telling stories about growing up with her dad.  I've always known that she is a lot like her dad, but hearing more stories about him from her childhood really underscores the ways that she is just like her dad.  I have another friend who's relationship is breaking up, partly because of some issues involving the ways that she is just like her dad.  For my friends, it's a crisis that is bringing up the ways that we are like our fathers.  For all of us, it is so much easier to see our father's issues and see how it caused them problems, than it is to see our own issues.  But we all are working on resolving our issues, with a lot of help from our friends.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Here are my latest completed projects - two baby sweaters that are gifts for my Mom's ballroom dance teacher and his wife who are about to have their first baby! 

Monday, June 20, 2011

Should I or shouldn't I...

I often think that I want to get a tattoo, but then I think about all the reasons that I don't want to get a tattoo:  1) it's painful and I'm a wuss about pain; 2) it's permanent so I'd have to be really, really, really, really sure about what I want to get tattooed on me; and 3) I don't want to look trashy (yes, I know that I shouldn't be judgemental).  I've been thinking about this a little more than usual, because it's almost time for my drumming group to make our annual trip to Wiawaka Holiday House, a women's retreat center on Lake George, to teach a drumming workshop.  Last summer we met Molly, a young woman who was staying there with her Mom and her Aunt.  At lunch, the discussion at our table turned to Molly's tattoos.  She was very knowledgeable about the various artistic styles, and it was very interesting to hear her talk about famous tattoo artists, and why she had chosen the various designs she'd had tattooed.  The most interesting thing that she said was that her relationship to her body completely changed once she painted it.  That was the exact phrase she used, and it really struck me because I've never thought of tattooing as "painting" your body.  I often think of applying makeup as painting my face, and I wear makeup because I think it makes me look prettier.  I had never thought of getting a tattoo to make my body prettier, though.  I'm sorry to admit that I generally think the only way to make my body prettier is to lose the excess weight that I am carrying around.  I think that I would decide to get a tattoo to mark a significant event, not just to decorate my body, but I'm sure that I would chose a design because I thought it was beautiful.  Definitely no skulls or scary-looking things for me!  I still haven't decided whether I will ever get a tattoo, but if I do, my decision will have been informed by a casual discussion with a young woman that I will probably never see again, and who will never know the ways that conversation has made me think about tattoos, art and body image.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

What would you write in your Enchiridion?

A few years ago, while browsing in a book store, I stumbled across an enchiridion.  I had never heard of an enchiridion before, but it is a "handbook or manual of essential information."  (Turns out the Catholic Church has written a lot of enchiridions - go figure!)  I was fascinated by the concept, and so I started my own enchiridion.  When I read or hear something that strikes me as appropriately profound, I write it down in my Enchiridion.  (And no, Dear Reader, I do not have a fixed criteria for what constitutes "appropriately" profound.)

The latest entry in my Enchiridion has to do with the energy that we put into the things that we do.  I DVR'd Oprah Winfrey's final show because I was curious to see how she would end her series, and I finally watched it over this past weekend.  If you didn't see the episode, at one point Oprah was talking about energy and a show she had done with Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor.  Dr. Taylor had a stroke (which she has recovered from), but during the recovery process, she was struck by the differences in the energy and caring that the various doctors, nurses and therapists brought into the process.  Oprah posted a quote from Dr. Taylor's book in her makeup room:

        Please take responsibility for the energy that you bring into this space.

I immediately started thinking about my job and the fact that there is very low morale in my department.  I try not to get completely sucked down into the morass of negativity, but it is very hard to resist.  (I'll write more about that another day, along with more thoughts about the deplorable lack of taking responsibility for one's actions that seems to be running rampant in American society.) 

Then I thought about my creative projects, and how I feel when I am making something for someone I love.

I knit this sweater for LG, who is one of my nephews-by-choice.  His Dad, PapaBadger, painted a jungle scene on the walls of his nursery.  Mama & Papa Badger decorated the bathroom with monkeys playing in the jungle.  When I found this knitting pattern, I thought it would be perfect for LG and the whole time that I was knitting it, I pictured how cute he would look in his monkey sweater!  The project was a labour of love, and therefore, no labour at all.  The challenge for me is to put that kind of energy into everything I do!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Some knitting projects

I knit my niece, Chicklet (that's my nickname for her!), a sweater every year.  Here are some of my favorite ones...the flower detail on the black cardigan is buttons and beads that I sewed onto the sweater.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

You don't always get what you pay for...

...but this time I did!  For the last couple of years I've been using an unscented shampoo and conditioner that I bought at the health food store.  But my hair had gotten dry and dull, and it did not look healthy.  So I looked around and ended up trying Pantene moisturizing shampoo and conditioner.  That was about half as expensive as what I'd been using and my hair was better, but I still thought that I needed something more.  Last month I was out with a friend and she needed to stop at her hair salon/spa.  This place had all kinds of hair products and I was looking for something to add shine to my hair.  The owner of the salon came over to wait on me and he recommended that I try the Pureology line of products, specifically the volumizing shampoo and conditioner.  He told me that Pureology products are more concentrated, so you don't use as much.  After I got over the sticker shock of $25 for each bottle (or about 5 times what the Pantene products cost!), I had to decide whether or not to make this major investment.  I budget for miscellaneous expenses, so I decided to go ahead.  OMG!  Within a week, my hair was much healthier looking and feeling, and I don't have to use conditioner every day.  Of course, I don't know how long this bottle of shampoo will last me, but since I only have to use a little bit (really, only about the size of a large pea), I'm expecting that my investment will definitely pay off!