Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The Sky Is Falling

Yesterday was my 7th wedding anniversary. My husband surprised me with this sock yarn. I am not sure what means more to me, the fact that he knew I would be beside myself with joy over the wool, or the fact that he actually went into a LYS by himself and picked it out. This feat of bravery speaks volumes to me about the wonderful man I married. Thank you honey, I love you. Perfect timing for Socktoberfest!

In other news, the markets were acting a little funny yesterday weren't they? I used to live in St. Louis and every morning the traffic reporters would warn of the back-ups in the Depressed section. This area happened to be near the downtown slums and for the longest time, I thought it was bold and unusual for the reporters to label the area Depressed as if it had been clinically evaluated, but I also found the unseemly truth in the moniker refreshing. Much later I mentioned this to my father in law who explained they call it the depressed section because of the topography, not the socioeconomic status. Oh.

I was wildly mistaken on that one, but can I blame myself or the fact our media has become the Chicken Little? I mean, I certainly feel like the news has become so sensationalized that if I were to be actively burning, and I read a headline stating, "Heather, A Woman on Fire", I would think, yeah right. So the markets plummet and according to the headlines and the pictures of the poor traders with their heads hung low this is Very Bad, but I keep waiting for the next headline to read, "Analysts Agree: Doom, Gloom Not So Bad Really."

I also read this real headline today on my homepage and found it incredibly funny: "Somali Pirates: We Are In It For The Money." Do we have to have this explained to us?

Friday, September 26, 2008

Public Service Announcement

* note to my husband: this is long, honey, and might end up in middle-earth; be forewarned.*

I recently watched Pan's Labyrinth (El Labertino del Fuano) . The movie came out in 2006, and I have had the title scrawled on the crumpled post-it that resides at the bottom of my purse to remind me what to borrow from our library. The catalog listed it as in, but after months of searching the P section and not finding it, the movie found me. First let me say, if you haven't seen this, do. If you can't stand some violent scenes, fast forward through them like me, but really, see this movie. I wish I could crawl into the writer/director Guillermo Del Toro's mind and root around a bit. The way this movie found me is particularly fitting considering this is a story of a young girl's encounters with a fairy tale world in the midst of a real revolution. I am sure there is some debate over religious symbolism and such, but as with all fairy tales, this story is about good and evil, and the slippery gray stepping stones between them.

While at the library earlier this week, I slipped into the conference room, where I rarely go unless it is to extract a wayward child, seating myself facing the tall reference shelves. I set to writing, but after an hour or so, I lost my momentum and I leaned back in the seat to stretch my neck, staring into space. When I looked up to the highest shelf, I noticed a dvd case out of place. It was flat, half of it hanging over the edge. Being a mom, I couldn't resist the urge to put it back neatly with its upright companions. I had to stretch up on my tippy toes; I even considered climbing on a chair if the librarian had not been in view. The movie fell off the shelf and hit me in the head. Humiliations galore that were all worth it once I realized I had found one small thing I had been searching for.

A few days later my husband made a comment about children being over scheduled. I pondered this, rolling it around in my head mixing with Del Toro's images for a few days, until (as all important revelations do) it came to me in a dream. I was talking to a young girl, one morphed out of bits of several I know, and she was reciting a laundry list of her daily activities. Every minute of every day was scheduled so she only stopped moving when she fell exhausted into bed at night. I asked her if she ever had time to get bored. Bored? She didn't even know what I was talking about.

I explained: when you have nothing to do you get really bored and stare at walls. When you think you are going to shrivel up and blow away from all of the nothingness you are doing, a door appears on the wall. The door looks different to every one, but you'll know your door when you see it. Open the door and there, on a table, you see a black iron key. The end of which has been hammered and forged in flames until your initials curl in the looping bow. Take it. The key unlocks the chest that is collecting dust in the groove between your brain hemispheres. The chest is your imagination. Unlock it and you own the universe.

If you have children, want to have children, or ever happened to have been a child, please let them get bored. In our efforts to keep ourselves busy, we have stunted our capacity to discover who we are, what we are capable of doing, and how to cope with good and evil, and the slippery gray stepping stones in between.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The Lovers, The Dreamers, and Me

Happy Birthday Jim Henson, wherever you are. I have knitting in the works, some socks and a wee woolen gift, but I couldn't pass up the chance to share the magic. I always need a tissue when I listen to this song. Especially when Kermie sings it.

I also want to send you to check out today's post titled: At Prada, Milano by The Sartorialist. His photography is always impressive, considering he is usually snapping people on busy urban streets, but this particular shot resonates with me. The interest is the limited values, in the hair, clothing, background, creating a color photo that seems black and white. The strong features of the man are highlighted by the softness of his posture and the offset lighting. The subject is clearly a man who wears his clothes, not the other way around. I find the whole impression feminine and masculine. Soft and strong. Grazioso e scomodo. Perfetto!

Monday, September 22, 2008

It's not Autumn-atic

Ah, here were are, the first day of Autumn. Have you seen the pretty colors Google chose for their header today? So very fall. I found myself with the rare free couple of hours thanks to my in laws and I took advantage. I wrote at the library for a couple of hours. (The resounding chorus of "just shut and write" from all of you was motivating in a slightly scary way.)

I got into my car to leave and sat for a moment trying to remember what I had forgotten. My child! Oh no, that's right, he is being watched. Then I saw something through the windshield and laughed at myself. Here I was sitting in my car with the windows up and the doors locked when outside the sun was shining, the breeze across the lake was cool, and some of the sugar elms were beginning to change from green to russet and gold. I was locked in the car as if the only atmosphere I could survive was freon. So, I had a break with the geese. I hope your first day of Autumn doesn't pass by without you, enjoy her, she visits so infrequently.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


Anyone who has taken an art class will tell you the key to painting is not being able to draw a perfect figure and color it in. The trick is to layer the paint, fat over lean, building up the colors, filling in the negative space, until the subject appears in the light as if by magic. The same technique applies to writing. Words are the medium, layered and given rhythm, creating an atmosphere, a negative space which defines the subject. As in life, what is implied is as important to understanding the whole as what is obvious.

I have been busy convincing myself to write. Actually, I write all of the time, but I mean to give a story a go. The process of taking myself seriously has never been easy for me. I am mistress of the second guess. Like water, I carve my way, eventually shaping my world to my preferences, but I always take the path of least resistance. I barely resemble the person I know I could be. I am not talking about adding up accomplishments or tallying victories with a triumphant chalk mark. I am wondering why I have limitless faith in other people yet so very little in myself.

During a walk last night, as the sun set behind the mountain, and the first cool breezes of Autumn whistled in the elms, a doe sprang from the woods. She landed less than twenty feet from me, paused to size me up, then walked across the road, down the hill, to the river. At first I didn't see the doe, but the space the gray street, green grass, and golden lamp light formed around her. While my eyes saw the negative, my mind interpreted the form, then my whole being knew the doe was there. I wonder if it was the same for her.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Eye Candy

First, thank you ,thank you, thank you to everyone who left such nice comments about my previous post. I took the photo with the help of my camera's self timer, a shipping box as a tripod, and the occasional mutant ninja turtle action figure as hair/makeup talent. I love photography and your comments remind me to pursue it in earnest. This is the first photo of myself I actually approve of. Ever. This combined with the ego boosting comments has led me to change my avatar. You can all look at my mug now.

The photo above is antiqued to conceal the color since this is part of a pair of socks I am knitting for Irene of Mushroom Villagers. She knows about the socks, but I wanted to retain some element of surprise when she opens the package. I am almost to the heel on the second sock, btw.

So, where is the titular eye candy then? Thanks to my friend Nicole's movie suggestions, I have spent the past few evenings developing a ridiculous obsession for this guy. The tall, dark, smoldering good looks, the Scottish accent. Yeah, all bets are off.
What (or who) has caught your eye this week?

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

La La Love You Cowl

Pattern:La La Love You Cowl by Sandra Park
Needles: US 8 circular
Mods: cast on 87 for a smaller circumference

I love how this turned out. I want to take it to dinner, not just coffee. On the subject of love, who hasn't felt like this when falling for someone? If you haven't yet experienced this love induced insomnia, just wait, it will come and you will gladly suffer along with the rest of us fools.

As night follows night,
I shift and turn my pillow,
my eyes open wide.
Long ago I dreamed of you.
How was I sleeping that night?

(anonymous Japanese 10th century)

Thursday, September 4, 2008

I'll Take Predictable for $200, Alex.

* Warning: Superfluous Usage of Italics Ahead*

When I read the intro to Sandra's awesome new La-La-Love-You Cowl (go here for the goodness) I was dismayed. She made hers in green so as to not be predictable in red or pink. I had a momentary crisis of self. I thought, Oh no! I have this kettle dyed bordeaux hued yarn that would look fabulous against my gray wool coat. But Oh! I don't want to be predictable. I don't want to seem uncool. I don't want Others to scoff at the scratchy inexpensive wool in the pinkish purple shade I've chosen when They will all be knitting with uber nice Malabrigo in hip tones. I had an absolute breakdown in my knitterly self confidence. I felt like screaming, Oh! am I to feel an outsider even to my beloved hobby? Am I always to be relegated to the fringe?

Then I remembered that if you choose to do what you think you should do in order to please Everyone Else, you really have chosen the predictable action, the result of which will leave you unhappy. I've operated under the assumption that my place in the world is always a bit on the fringe, uncool or not, and I can confidently say I am proud of my accomplishments because they are uniquely mine. So, if I choose the predictable palette with maverick intention, does this then qualify as an unpredictable act or possibly even ironic? Whatever. I'm knitting the cowl in fuchsia and I may not be hip, but I will be happy.