On Friday, I turned 56 years old and this blog turned 12. I’m celebrating, in part, by going on a trip down memory lane. You belong in this story… join me if you will.
I gave myself ColorJoy (the blog… “Art as an everyday attitude”) as a birthday present in 2002, after wanting one for a long time. You know, my family owned small-town newspapers and both my Grandma Ruthie and Uncle OT wrote columns for those papers. My Gramma Illa wrote a column for a several-state-wide farming magazine, too. It just felt natural that I would write one also.
WordPress says that this is my 3,250th post! There would be no point in posting if nobody was out there listening. Since the very beginning, I’ve enjoyed getting to know you. Several folks have been with me since the very beginning.
As a community-focused person, I value you and your input here. Life is much better with you in it.
Patterns for this Community
When I first started knitting again, I made things up on the needles. That’s just how it made sense to me. I was a computer trainer, and an after-hours artist. Right away you started asking me for patterns. And thus this new life started.
On Ravelry.com, I now have 38 patterns available as downloads in my PDF pattern store. I’ve written more which were published by others (Knitty.com, Willow Yarns, the book Joy of Sox and more). Adding those in, I show 59 designs on Ravelry. Whew! And you have been with me every step of the way… test knitting, encouraging me, keeping me grounded.
A Thank You Sale (not on Black Friday)
Though my Blogiversary was on Friday, I could not stand to offer you a thank you sale on that day which is full of other you-don’t-need-this sales at malls and big box stores. Ugh. I waited until the frenzy had slowed down a bit.
So… to thank you for being on this lovely journey to creativity and colorful knitting, I’m offering a sale now.
Until December 7, buy 3 of my single patterns (regularly $6) and get one more for only one dollar! Just choose 4 patterns, put them all in your shopping cart and that last one will only cost $1. When you check out, you will see the discount in your total.
That is only $19 for four of my designs, written by me, in language you know you understand. This is less than dinner with a friend, and it will give you hours of enjoyment.
I test and proofread (with help from this community) before I release patterns. If you have any hiccups while working through the pattern I am here to make sure you succeed.
(You don’t need a Ravelry account or a Paypal account to participate in this offer. I use these companies to deliver your order. No signing up required (though Paypal makes that option a little hard to find).
But which ones might you choose? Here are some hints. Of course, there are more to choose from when you go directly to my Ravelry online store.
Shown here are some of your favorite patterns over the years. The Road-Tested Legwarmers outsell all my other Ravelry patterns by leaps and bounds. Let’s face it, lots of us get chilly and winter coats are often not long enough for comfort. These can be for dance, for fun, for staying warm in a drafty home, or for fashion. They include knit to fit instructions for any legs and any yarn gauge. Here I show them knit in purple solid Brown Sheep Lamb’s Pride Worsted and Noro Kureyon.
Also shown are my Chippy Socks for Kids (thus named because I couldn’t stop at knitting just one pair). These are perennial baby shower gifts.
The Keys and Coins Hat can be made with or without ear flaps. My friend Bonnie has made close to two dozen of these, and has the pattern memorized now. They are pretty quick knits and very impressive as a gift.
Colorama Crescent Shawl comes in 4 sizes and can be knit in zigzag stripes or in one yarn (which shows off beautiful feather-like stitchwork as seen in the final photo… that one is knit in handpainted yarn from my friend Meg at Twisted Fiber Art). It is a very pleasant knit with a nice rhythm to it. There are only 3 places where you need to pay close attention. The rest is knitting that can be done while chatting with friends. And it’s very wearable! Small versions can scrunch up like a scarf and I wear my Goddess size wrapped around me like Stevie Nicks in 1978.
What else? The holiday-gift favorite One-Day Neckwarmer, which made the Patternfish Top-Ten Cowls… distinction. It really does knit up in part of a day. It takes less than 50 grams of light worsted weight yarn in two colors, so two 50 gram balls gets you two gifts. I have one in merino and angora that I wear in our house when I get chilly.
Is it Too Mushy…
…too mushy to say I appreciate you… that I am so deeply grateful that I’m in this place in life that I can write to you here? That we have this community together?
It’s way better than a newspaper column. You can comment back and we can chat.
I hope you enjoy my Blogiversary as much as I do! Hugs from Lansing, Michigan, USA!
I could talk about how I was an insecure young person… and think I’m talking about my unique characteristics. For the record, I have never looked insecure on the outside because I talk a lot, which looks like confidence.
Yet a few years ago I got clear that even people who look like they have always belonged… even those people can feel like they don’t fit in. A friend who lives a house she likes, a neighborhood or two from where she grew up, who in her 50’s does the work she trained to do in her teens, who married her high school sweetheart and is still happily married? She commented to me once about “those of us who are creative” (implying that we don’t fit in the norm).
Jonathan Fields of Good Life Project (his podcast is wonderful… check it out) says that in the midst of people we often feel alone and lonely. It can be so very true!
It’s a sad truth that we humans need to belong and yet we feel like we don’t belong more often than not. And when we feel insecure, the first thing we tend do fuss with is our appearance. We worry about our weight, our skin/zits, our weight, our hair cuts, our clothing, where we live, what we drive… and more.
Where We Least Expect It
Even in an environment of general support we can feel off center at times. Once I complained that a group of women in my dance troupe were all expected to wear the same type of costume for a dance.
My intent was to support those who would feel/look more beautiful in a different silhouette. The look on one dancer’s face told me that what she heard was that I thought she wasn’t beautiful enough in the chosen costume. My opinion that another costume would be better means that I didn’t think they looked good in the required costume. Ouch. (I’m still squirming about that misstep.)
I picked up a copy of O magazine (by Oprah Winfrey’s organization) last spring. There was an article on decluttering which interested me. I love some of her regular columnists including Brené Brown. Yet the front cover of that magazine had an article titled “Diet or Exercise: The real key to weight loss, once and for all.” And inside? Advertising all over selling products to slow down or eliminate aging, or cover flaws. Flaws?
My Obvious Flaw that Some Don’t Notice
I tell you what… Once I made friends with a lovely 5-year old on a day-long train ride to Montreal When we said goodbye she asked… “do you have a pink tooth?” I said yes, that it was an “owie” a long time ago but it doesn’t hurt now.
I have a damaged front tooth because of an ill-fitting orthodontic retainer when I was about 16 years old. It shows up on photographs. I figure that some day I’ll get the veneer that would make it less noticeable in photos. I almost did it ten years ago and decided against it for a number of reasons.
However, I smile a full-tooth smile every day. I laugh every day. And the people I’m close to don’t even notice that tooth until I mention it. They see the real me, which comes through very strongly above how my tooth looks.
That tooth is a reminder that things went permanently wrong when I obeyed blindly even when things didn’t feel right (“don’t take off the retainer no matter what…” and thus even when it hurt unmercifully I didn’t take it off and it killed a nerve). So the flaw, if there is any, is in my teen self being a good girl and following orders even when my gut told me that something was wrong.
My Story: Young Adult Insecurity
When I was younger, my tendency to worry about being accepted came out in an impulse to buy things that would make me feel more acceptable. If I was being interviewed for a job, I bought a whole new fancy suit and raincoat rather than perhaps standing tall in something I already owned or that was less pricey but that was just fine. If I was having company over, I would buy new towels and throw pillows and serving dishes, as well as buying food that was more pricey than really fit into my cash flow.
I spent much of my entertainment hours reading catalogs planning to shop, or meeting friends at a mall for a full day of shopping. The debt wasn’t the core issue. What I bought wasn’t even the issue. The issue was feeling that I wasn’t OK and maybe that one next purchase might make me more acceptable.
I got into unmanageable debt (the numbers mean less than whether I could manage the debt at the time). In 1990 I finally gave up unsecured debt… credit cards, professional services received but not paid immediately, and personal/ signature loans (there were no payday loans back then and I’m grateful).
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about that younger me. I call her Cookie, which was a nickname that never stuck but that I liked. She had many of my current good attributes, including loyalty and valuing loved ones. She wore black most of the time to feel sophisticated(yes, really… there are folks in my life now who can vouch for that). The black was a good background for her (important-looking) artsy jewelry. She bought stuff hoping that it would make her belong.
The Song which Brought Me to Tears
I was driving the other day, changing radio stations as I drove. This practice exposes me to musical styles I would not otherwise hear. I heard this song… which has a repeating line “you don’t have to change a single thing.” And I cried. I cried for that young me. For Cookie who felt unacceptable even though her energy attracted friends who appreciated that energy.
Please listen. It may not be your normal style, but it’s worth listening to as a poem of encouragement set to music. One voice and a lean musical accompaniment.
For the record, while looking for the video I found an angry column in ChicagoNow which focuses on the makeup-wearing message in the song (while I responded to “…max your credit card… buy it all, so they like you…“). And the columnist points out that sometimes women choose to wear makeup within the constraints of a real world which expects them to look a certain way. But then she says:
Am I the world’s greatest beauty? Of course not, but I have commandeered survival of the fittest. Brains over brawn. I figured out the rules of society and used them to my advantage…
…What of this lyric, “you don’t have to try” which is possibly even more problematic? Suuuuuure we don’t have to try. This irritates me becauseit places the blame on women for living inside society’s normsinstead of on the media and current attitudesthat put that norm in place.Just love yourself! …You know what the truth is? The more standard a lady looks and the more forgettable her looks are, the easier her life is. There are exceptions for daunting beauties, but the rest of us are just trying to get by….
…It seems girls will be shamed no matter what. If you rock your natural skin and hair, you get called a lesbian/chubby/weird. If you learn the unspoken rules of society and conform to them to give yourself the best advantage in life, you’re just a superficial, poser fake-face who shouldn’t “try so hard”. Only true natural beauties deserve any attention, okay?…
Strong feelings, there. And she’s seeing totally different parts of the song. And her filter through which she’s viewing the lyrics is very different than mine. I’ll be fascinated to hear how it lands on you.
In an article I read about the video on Today.com, I found a link to a place more in sync with my take on things… RAW Beauty Talks. On their page they say:
Every day we are inundated with thousands of messages telling us we aren’t good enough. We size ourselves up against Photoshopped magazine covers, celebrities we don’t even know and the perpetual stream of filtered, edited photos that pass by on our social media pages. The result equals eating disorders, over-spending, anxiety, depression and above all a cap on our own potential happiness!
We are over it. RAW strives to help women everywhere find confidence in their unique beauty so that we are no longer imprisoned by society’s conventional standards of beauty.
In my view, if anyone male or female wants to wear makeup as personal expression or self-decorating I’m behind it 100%. If someone wears makeup on stage or on camera because the lights obscure their features, that is logical. If they choose to dress/present themselves in a certain way to belong to a specific environment… well, cool.
I just hope that you don’t feel you *need* makeup on your days off or with your friends. Once I watched an Oprah show where there were 3 women on a challenge to live without makeup for a week. One of the women’s husbands had never seen her without makeup. When she was pregnant, she’d put on makeup before bed in case she had to go to the hospital quickly.
Then again, decorative things can feel like luxuries at times. You and some friends might go get a manicure together to feel pampered. One of my best friends can’t wear makeup or dress up at work so she rocks the girly stuff on her days off for fun. That all fits in a self-acceptance place.
You Belong! Yes. You belong.
The song says “…when you’re all alone, do you like you?” I like where she’s going with that. I wonder, though, why it’s so lonely finding our way getting to that point.
Why do we all feel alone next to each other? Why do we feel that freckles are awful on us and cute on someone else? Why does everyone like everyone else’s hair but not their own? Why do we think that a blemish makes our heart less whole? Why is it so universal to feel this way and go through such an insecure time?
I’m empathizing with those who are twisting themselves into something they don’t like in order to fit with people they don’t really want to fit with. If you feel (as young Cookie/Lynn did) you need to buy stuff to be accepted/ avoid criticism… to protect yourself against feeling unacceptable to others? Well, that sad insecurity I lived with is what this song touches in me. Because, as I discovered, even people who look comfortable from the outside looking in, on the inside don’t always feel like they belong.
Nope, not now. I want to be kind, be a good friend, and help my right people feel more confident about whatever it is that I’m teaching.
My daddy died at 40. I was 14. My 20’s were a whirlwind, trying-to-fit-a-whole-life-into-a-short-decade. In my 30’s I went through profound inner change involving more than can fit in this post.
When I hit 40, I figured “the rest of my life is gravy.” Daddy influenced many others in his short life and I was given more time than he.
So I focus on being real, honest, kind (not nice/wimpy like “good girl” often means), truly helpful and authentic.
Community is My Everything
I can’t go out in my city or at a fiber-arts/knitting event or ukulele festival without being recognized. Last night attending a concert, a woman stopped to thank me for an excellent socknitting class years ago.
Last week at Walgreens a young woman stopped me. I taught her to knit in her elementary school years. She’s 21 now and a mother. She thanked me. She still knits regularly. Here she is at right, many years ago, having knit a frog from a kit one of my ColorJoy readers sent. It was really heartwarming to see her again.
What would a huge income do for me? I wish to have a tombstone that says “She was a good friend.” Some people have fame and respect but nobody wants to hug them, or be their friend who can take a call at 4 o’clock. Later for that sort of “big.” I’ll take small and gentle any day.
I’ll keep striving, in part because nobody really expected me to have a good, happy life. (They’d say “you have so much potential.”) I worked my emotional butt off to get here. As long as I can teach and encourage, I am content. It’s OK for people to pay me for the encouragement… But I fortunately prefer serving groups rather than individuals. I can price a group experience so that more people can take advantage of the offering.
It was a deep question. Excuse the long answer. Fewer words would not answer properly.
Beyond My Initial Take, if I Want to be Honest
The truth is, I do want some parts of my life to be BIG. I want a big heart, I want to help others make their lives more content.
No matter what I’ve done professionally, I’ve always been the “explainer” of the office. I was the unofficial trainer and the problem-solver long before I ever had an official teaching position. If I understand it, I can teach it. It’s a joy and a gift to see someone’s face light up in understanding!
If I thought my calling was “teaching” I might end up a full-time schoolteacher like so many people in my family. If I thought my calling was “art” I might try to sit in a studio alone cranking out product to sell at the next art fair. If I thought my calling was “encouragement” I might be a coach or a therapist. All of those things are part of what matters to me, but the intersection of them brings me to life and makes me the best I can offer to the world.
(Side note… I used to work in a finance department. I used to be a legal secretary. I used to be a purchasing officer. I used to teach DOS batch programming and other computer skills. I used to be a data entry operator. I used to be a Y2K consultant. I did all of those well enough to make a living. Some were even fun, and a few were life changing.)
Slow is the Way to Go
The longer I live, the more I find that real progress happens when I do small things consistently over time. If I choose to walk around the block every morning as water boils for tea, I will become “someone who walks daily” and I’m more likely to go on a longer bone-strengthening walk, more often.
If I choose to first eat a piece of fresh fruit (and make sure there is some in the house) when I crave sugary treats, then I may find I don’t want more… or that a smaller portion of the treat will satisfy me later. If I decide that my keys MUST go in my purse and the purse goes near the door, then I will have less chaos every day. Small stuff adds up.
Where Does this Hit You Right Now?
So… what about you? What are the true treasures and gifts in your life? What matters most of all? Do you feel like YOU need to play it big? Are you OK with small steps? I sure would have answered this differently a few decades ago… I’d love to hear your input.
This video has been making the rounds of the internet, and maybe you have already seen it. However, it echos my earlier posts on body acceptance and standing tall. It’s not long, and her attitude is fun and even silly, not preachy.
“People have always said they cannot get my songs out of their heads. I heard that so often, I took responsibility for what I wanted to put in there! The answer is joy. The answer is love. The answer is worthiness and celebration. Thatâ€™s what I want for myself and everyone on this planet.”
–Donna Lou Stevens
“I was a butterfly all along and thought I was a worm. I believe everybody has wings and most everyone has just forgotten like I did. My job as a performer and musician is to remind people of that fact.”
I run a group on Facebook called Toss-It Tuesdays. It’s more of a catchy title than what we really do. It’s more like a support spot for folks working on getting out from under this American dilemma… too much stuff and not enough room to put it in.
A Club of Confusion Of course, this combination creates a secondary problem which is clutter and disarray. If you experience even a small bit of this, you are not alone. If you are there, and you feel shame and/or try to keep people from seeing your living space, you are in excellent company.
There is no need for shame. YOU are lovely. The space is perhaps a problem, but you are not.
A friend on the Toss-It group asked how I got my kitchen counter cleared off. (Astoundingly, it seems to be cleared more than not these days.) That’s a big question and it took years.
The real answer? Keep coming back. You’ll go backward every day. Let’s face it, especially with a kitchen we use the space so often it is guaranteed to need work just about as soon as any work gets done. This is as it should be.
SO… start over. AND and and and… don’t wait to start until it can be perfect. It can NEVER be perfect. Just keep plugging. Don’t give up. YOU can do it.
A Tiny Hint with Big Results Anytime you find something you can get rid of and not miss it? Any time you have an inkling you could let go of it? If you give it away/toss it/recycle it/somehow let it out of your home, then you will NEVER have to decide what to do with it again.
One of the members of the Toss-It group said it this way (paraphrased): “The shame went out in the trash with our junk.” I find this deeply moving, and it has been true in my case as well.
Imperfection: An Unlikely Ally
Do it over and over, Give yourself days where you do the minimum, and even when you put more effort in, practice doing it imperfectly. I was raised to believe that washing dishes was not finished until the whole counter top had been wiped down. However, in order to make progress in my own life, I must say that I can do 4 of the 10 dishes and not wipe the counter, and that’s still worth doing.
Start over again every time, and FORGIVE YOURSELF when it feels like it’s not good enough. It takes a long time to learn new stuff. That doesn’t mean it’s not worth plugging at it.
If you want to join us on Toss-It Tuesdays, it ‘s a public group on Facebook (you do need a Facebook account). Click and I’ll approve you as soon as possible. You can belong !
Photo: my countertop first thing this morning. Imperfect… Not wiped down, but also no stacks of dirty dishes or bottles waiting to be recycled. No extra food items belong stored out here,either. Score!!! (Yes, some days it is much worse… But I’m super excited that it can happen in my current life, any day.)
Â Finally! The project that obsessed about 9 months of my 2013 for a number of reasons. This one was a lot of firsts for me. I’ve had to remain relatively vague about it until it was published. The time is now.
May I present to you my children’s collection of knitting patterns? The Colorful Kidz collection ebook, produced by Willow Yarns!!!
Sweater, legwarmers, hat, mittens and socks… all in a wonderful washable yarn which comes in a LOT of colors (pick your favorite three) and three weights. Each item comes in lots of sizes, too!
The knitting is rather simple… even the sweater front, which is the most challenging part of the series, allows newcomers to intarsia (color block knitting) to experience the most simple version of this technique and for very few rows. The instructions are clear… after all, my first love is explaining.
Thanks to my project team:
I had a multitude of learning curves with this project and I couldn’t have done it without you! Also big hugs to the Creative Haven community who were my moral support on rough days.
Thanks to friend LaVonne Ellis, I found Kirsty Hall, an artist in the UK. She did a piece called “Requiem” where she burned over 3,000 matches (one for each person lost in the 9/11 events). How appropriate that I discovered this wonderful piece today, of all days.
I lost my father when I was 14… and I learned then that any day may be the last day you see a loved one. Remember to always be kind and don’t be afraid to tell someone you love them.
Wow! Mom’s party was such a great experience! She had such fun seeing friends from so many parts of her life and her past. She’s a lovely person, and her friends are excellent company.
I am painfully inexperienced at planning parties/gatherings. This special occasion was the perfect time to just dive in and learn. If creativity is problem solving (I believe it is), I got an excellent lesson in creativity while putting this together.
The Perfect Cake
My dear friend April loves to bake and decorate cakes. It’s her primary visual artform. She volunteered to bake the cake for Mom’s party.
Just look at how beautiful that cake is! The flower decorations and her plate look so perfect together. April thought of Mom the whole time she made it. Even the frosting was custom for her. It was moist and tasty, too. We got nice comments on it all day.
I fond those curlicue candles somewhere, years ago. They were just waiting for this event, don’t you think?
A few times during the party, Mom asked Brian and I to sing. Many of her friends had never heard us sing before! It was a joy and an honor to do that for her. After all, she paid for uncountable voice lessons for me over many years… decades, even.
Thursday I found myself at the food co-op trying to figure out how much to buy. I had a moment of thinking “why did I think I could figure this out?” After all, our family includes me and Brian, Mom and Fred, and brother Eric and his wife Diana. We six people areÂ the entire roster of all of our relatives in the entire state of Michigan.
I realized that although I’ve had parties before, they were always potluck. When guests bring food, you end up with enough to go around. I was puzzled and a little freaked out standing there at the store.
I called one of Brian’s sisters who entertains often and well. When she didn’t answer, I called Diana. She helped me figure out how much I might need. I ended up with a 7-pound bag of carrots, a few bunches of celery, and two gallons of organic apple juice (to be mixed with unsweetened soda water).
In the end, we had more food than necessary. This is a high class problem! We’re still eating carrot sticks 3 days after the party, and that is after we gave some away. I’ll return some of the unopened items as well.
Decorating rooms is not one of my skills. I’m not a big fan of decorations that get thrown away. Candles please me, but they didn’t seem right for this event.
Finally the answers came to me… balloons for the table decorations would be perfect. Facebook friends directed me to a place nearby that would be open in the morning when I needed to pick them up.
The Corsage Dilemma
Mom doesn’t love the disposable nature of flowers, and also often has an allergic reaction to them. I wanted her to have a corsage.
I figured out that maybe a ribbon of some sort might make a good corsage. I have a lot of satin ribbon here at the house, but not in the colors I wanted to use.
Finally it hit me that the curlicue ribbons available for wrapping packages might work well. The balloon store also had ribbons of that sort. I bought two and stuck them together to get colors which suit Mom. Yay! She loved it.
Very Special Guest Book
It occurred to me that Mom would value a guest book for this occasion. First I asked her if she had one of her own. She did not.
After thinking about options, I remembered that I had a beautiful handmade paper/hand-sewn book. It was made by Susan Hensel, an artist friend who used to live in town but now lives in Minneapolis. The book was perfect for the event, with a dark blue cover and pale turquoise and white pages. Yay!
The one thing that went wrong was minor. I used Mom’s ring molds to make 2 ice rings for the punch bowl. I found some organic green grapes which might look nice frozen with juice. I figured the grapes might thaw more slowly than a liquid.
I had purchased one lime, intending to slice it thin and float the slices in the apple juice/soda water punch. At the last minute I had a doubt that the ice ring would look festive enough. (Note that this happened well after midnight, not a great time for changing plans.)
I sliced the lime and added it to the ring, put it in the freezer, and went to bed. The next morning, it was not frozen.
It may be that our 2nd freezer is not as cold as the first. However, the consensus was that citrus takes a lot longer to freeze than water.
Live and learn! I was freaked out for a few minutes. Then I realized that the party’s success was not dependent on ice.
I’m glad I was able to get to that thought rather quickly. There was a time I would have obsessed over the one imperfection instead of enjoying the many successes of the day.
You may know that my favorite color is turquoise. Take a look at these photos, and notice that I came to that preferenceÂ honestly!
A Tough Cookie
Today is my mother’s 80th birthday. Born 1 hour north of Duluth by modern measures, she was prematureâ€¦ only 3-1/2 lb. That year, babies of her status had about a 2% chance of survival.
Many things conspired in her favor, and somehow she made it. She still is tough. It also helped a lot that her mother was a Public Health pioneer who was raised by a midwife. Grandma’s father had also been a preemie, and she grew up with family stories of how they had helped him thrive when he was first born.
A Reading Teacher/ Author/ Illustrator
Mom’s parents were both educators. She followed in their footsteps.
As a child she struggled to read and spell, while her younger sister was County Spelling Bee champion. We now understand her struggles as dyslexia. This challenge, in the end, made her a patient teacher of reading. She taught 30 years, most of them in 1st Grade.
Mom taught hundreds of children to read. While looking for ways to help strugglers, she developed a series of 4 very-beginning reader books. She both wrote and illustrated these charming stories. A few years ago i helped her make those books available to the world via Lulu.com
A Dancer/ Athlete
Mom has always loved dancing. She and Fred dance at least once a week. I remember her ironing to dance music on the turntable in the 60’s. (She won the State of Minnesota Mary Proctor Better Ironing Award as a youth. Yes, that was a thing.)
Mom and her partner Fred win multiple dancing medals each year in the Polk County Senior Games. Mom also started running the 50-yd and 100-yd dashes after she kicked cancer 18 years ago.
This last February, she won the trophy-award for the top athlete in the games, for females in her age group. Look at these awards!!!
Mom’s kids & spouses are throwing her a party this weekend. A bit of cake, fruit, punch and a lot of hugs should make a lovely event.
Please join me in celebrating the birthday of the tough, feisty, amazing Liz Troldahl. As she always says, “Any day above the daisies is a good day!”
Would you consider leaving Mom a birthday greeting in the comments today? I know it would touch her heart to hear from you. Thanks.
I’m not a fan of TV or movies… especially when they are doing storytelling with conflict inside. My gut feels like any conflict outside me is actually inside me as well.
However, since we got a faster internet connection early this year, I’ve enjoyed finding uplifting YouTube videos… short and sweet and day-changing. One favorite source is a “channel” called Soul Pancake.
Here is a goodie. Only 2 minutes and 41 seconds… if you have a decent connection, it is worth the time. I think you are guaranteed a smile.
Look what we did on our lunch hour this Wednesday!
My weekly lunch date, Cynthia, works at Elderly Instruments (a very fine music store, where Brian also works). For years, at the corner of Elderly’s front lawn was a huge, overgrown evergreen bush. It blocked part of the sidewalk and also the view of the front door.
A week or two ago, the bulk of the bush was taken down. In the near future, we hear that a sign will be placed here. Meanwhile, it’s looking a bit unfinished!
Last week as Cynthia and I walked past, I mentioned that its raggedy look would be improved by a yarn bomb. She agreed.
So this week, we spent our lunch date yarn bombing. Some of the scarves were used originally at the MSU Horticulture Yarn bOMb project. They were sun faded, but we turned the brighter side out and got double duty from them!
We have casually talked about yarn bombing the yarn shop Sticks and Strings literally across the street from Elderly. We have said we would do it for a couple of years. I guess it helps to have a deadline!
Now that we know how much we can do in a lunch period, perhaps we need to get ON with it, yes? I must go dig out more recyclable scarves from MSU, perhaps.
Meanwhile, Cynthia has had a lot of good feedback on the project. The point is to give people something to smile about. I think it worked !
This Wednesday, a dance friend shared her abundance of romaine lettuce with me. I went home with the freshly-cut lettuce and no other dinner plans. It was hot. Salad for dinner on the porch sounded perfect to me.
Now, I’m not a big fan of meat but I wanted a filling salad to make into dinner. I raided the refrigerator to see what I might find.
I found: 1 hard-boiled egg, hemp seed hearts (high protein/mineral content and buttery texture), one carrot.
This wasn’t quite enough for two people to fill up at dinner. I know that seeds are particularly high food value, and so I got into the cupboard for pepitas (pumpkin seeds without shells). I also found a can of black olives to add a little healthy oil and flavor.
At that point, it looked really tasty but not yet filling enough. If we had some canned beans such as garbanzo beans/chickpeas or fava beans, I would have put those on it. I had no luck in the bean department so I searched my mind a little. Enter the freezer! I thawed about 2/3 of a cup of green peas to divide between us.
At this point it looked filling and tasty. I’m not a vinegar fan (and it doesn’t work well with my allergies) so I prefer very good olive oil as the basis of my dressing. Since it’s summer, we have a few herbs growing well outside right now, so I picked some fresh dill weed and cut that up with scissors.
The final touches were a sprinkling of Gomasio (crushed sesame seeds and sea salt, available from Eden Foods at most food co-ops and healthy stores… or online at EdenFoods.com
The good news is that for every one person who doesnâ€™t like you or the things you say or the work you do, there are a dozen people who adore you and absolutely want to see you succeed in life.
— Rosetta Thurman
I love quotations. It’s fun to search online quote pages for inspiration, but sometimes the quotes are not worded exactly right, or they are attributed to the wrong famous person. For that reason, I particularly love collecting quotes myself. Sometimes they come from reading an article online, sometimes from readingÂ or listening to an audiobook.
Today, I got a newsletter from Rosetta Thurman, a young woman with lots of vim and vigor and sparkle in her eye. I met her on Twitter a number of years ago and I just loved her spirit and attitude.
Rosetta’s website is called Happy Black Woman. She talks there about the choices she’s made to have the life she desired (rather than the life others thought she might best prefer).
When we met, she was still working a day job and she had chosen to move from an apartment into a room of a house so she could use her money differently. She pared down her things and made choices about what she loved.
Now she travels a lot doing workshops and classes to encourage others who are interested in being deliberate about their lives. She particularly works with people who have dreams about businesses of their own, helping them develop what she calls a “side hustle” while they have a job, so they don’t have to change too quickly and risk too much all at once.
Kindred Life Choices
I have had a different but similar story. In 1990 I gave up unsecured credit (it felt out of control, I didn’t have the sense of choice I feel from Rosetta). Slowly I’ve let go of things, got more things to replace them, got rid of those, repeat until we have less stuff (but not as little as my goal).
I’ve been self employed since 1999. I make a lot of choices to do with less so that the ups and downs of self employment don’t hit me as hard.
My travel is usually basic rather than deluxe (car or train rather than plane, staying in hostels or with friends/relatives rather than hotels). Clothing comes second hand except for shoes and undergarments. None of these choices feel like a compromise, because they are conscious choices. I do get two luxuries: good food and good yarn, because of my health and my work.
Back to Rosetta
Rosetta doesn’t know I’m writing about her. I get absolutely nothing from posting this. However, the quote above really struck me today. I know that we all sometimes worry about the wrong people when we’re feeling unsteady… and we all feel unsteady some days. (Thanks, Rosetta!!!)
Dr. Maya Angelou, Poet Laureate, speaker, world citizen/elder, lover of life and Phenomenal Woman,* died today. I’m crushed.
I saw her twice and both times she rocked my world. I tend to love moments and then forget the specifics, but points she made have stayed with me years afterward.
The second time I heard her, she had a crowd of mostly students (at Michigan State University). She referenced a 19th-century black song with a lyric “…when it looked like the sun wa’nt gonna shine any more, God put a rainbow in the clouds.”
Here is a powerful 4-minute video of Dr. Angelou. It includes a reference to that song and how we can aim to be a rainbow in someone else’s cloud.
Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
Iâ€™m not cute or built to suit a fashion modelâ€™s size
But when I start to tell them,
They think Iâ€™m telling lies.
Itâ€™s in the reach of my arms,
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
Iâ€™m a woman
I walk into a room
Just as cool as you please,
And to a man,
The fellows stand or
Fall down on their knees.
Then they swarm around me,
A hive of honey bees.
Itâ€™s the fire in my eyes,
And the flash of my teeth,
The swing in my waist,
And the joy in my feet.
Iâ€™m a woman
Men themselves have wondered
What they see in me.
They try so much
But they canâ€™t touch
My inner mystery.
When I try to show them,
They say they still canâ€™t see.
Itâ€™s in the arch of my back,
The sun of my smile,
The ride of my breasts,
The grace of my style.
Iâ€™m a woman
Now you understand
Just why my headâ€™s not bowed.
I donâ€™t shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud.
When you see me passing,
It ought to make you proud.
Itâ€™s in the click of my heels,
The bend of my hair,
the palm of my hand,
The need for my care.
â€™Cause Iâ€™m a woman
LynnH is Lynn DT Hershberger of Lansing, Michigan, USA. She considers her artistic medium to be color, whether it
be knitting, printmaking, polymer clay or embellishing with paints. She also creates recipes with allergy-friendly,
gluten-free, and vegan-friendly ingredients.