Archive | April 2012

What does this say about me…?

Maya Angelou said, “You can tell a lot about a person by the way (s)he handles these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights.” That may be true. I believe you can also tell a lot about a person by their browser bookmarks (or “favorites,” depending on the program.)

Like most people, I have some boring sites bookmarked. I need them, but I don’t necessarily enjoy them. Like my bank’s website. I may want to check my account balance, but it won’t make me laugh. Most often it doesn’t even make me smile. I also work on my computer, so I have to visit my office website. I don’t hate doing it, but it isn’t fun.

For fun, I have a bunch of spots on my toolbar so I can get to them quickly and easily. In no particular order, here are some sites from my bookmarks:

http://Facebook.com – If you aren’t on Facebook, it’s probably because you made a conscious decision not to join it. If you don’t know what Facebook is, I can’t help you. And by the way, how did you find MY blog?

Ravelry.com – a knitting website. Like Facebook for knitters. There are patterns, people, places to keep track of your projects and places to brag about the things you’ve made. It’s also home to some of the nicest people I’ve never met.

Pottermore.com – for people who want more Harry Potter. It’s only recently opened to the public. It’s supposed to be for kids, but everyone I know who signed up for it is an adult.

Pinterest.com – “Pin” a picture. That’s all. Look at other people’s pictures. Get ideas. Don’t think to hard. I love it.

Places I haven’t bookmarked, but visit semi-regularly, when I want to waste time and get a smile:

ANY of the icanhascheezburger.com-related sites. My favorite being the lolcats.

There’s failbook.failblog.org – which is the best, that is to say the worst, of facebook entries. Of course, if you are actively avoiding facebook or don’t know what facebook is (Really, is there anyone on a computer who doesn’t know what facebook is? Really?) you won’t find these funny. (Foul language warning.)

If you have ever texted with an iPhone and had the auto correct change your text to something unintentional or downright embarrassing, you’ll love damnyouautocorrect.com. (More foul language here, as the title may suggest.)

Along the same “texting with an iPhone” theme, I recently discovered textsfromdog.tumblr.com. These are supposedly texts between a dog and his owner. Lots of foul language – but if you’ve ever had a dog, you understand that.

Thinkgeek.com – wonderful place to find geeky gifts. Where else can you find things like a lightsaber umbrella or a Star Trek inflatable Captain’s Chair.

If you’re feeling melancholy or want to reminisce about the good old days, visit dearphotograph.com. Pictures taken from the past are held up against the present landscape.

If, after all of this, you can’t find a website to fit your mood, try out coolsiteoftheday.com. Something for everyone. 🙂

If you have a favorite website, please leave it for me in the comments!

The Real Hunger Games

The Real Hunger Games

Is there anyone who really doesn’t like to learn? I remember not liking “school.” And there were certain classes that I didn’t care for.  (Some classes where the teacher would’ve taken me to task for that previous sentence, which shouldn’t begin with the word “and,” and shouldn’t end with a preposition.)  But mostly the math classes. I just can’t wrap my head around those. Numbers don’t change, so by now I should have a pretty good grasp on them but, frankly, they get more mysterious to me every year.

I don’t believe I’ve ever met anyone, though, who wanted to stop learning. We naturally have a Hunger for Knowledge.

Over the past few years, I’ve been learning a lot about knitting, crocheting, spinning yarn, and other fiber-related things. (Some of my friends and family have also, albeit without as much enthusiasm, learned alongside me.) But I still want to learn more! I want to read about it, take classes to improve technique. More! More!! I have a sewing machine in the attic. I want to learn how to use it. I’ve tried at least twice in my life to learn to sew. Failed miserably both times. Still, hope springs eternal. “This,” I think, “will be the time I put Martha Stewart to shame!” All I need is an instructor (looking around hopefully…)

My mom has started going to exercise classes. She plays Mahjong (which I had to look up online to get the proper spelling). She’s doing new things to keep her mind and body active and I applaud her! My dad got back into painting recently. Each painting shows he’s trying something new, even if only one small aspect of the craft. He’s darned good at it, too. (I mean “good” like, “Your DAD did that?!” I can’t draw more than a stick figure. ::shrug:: He can’t knit.)

A friend of mine shared with me her recent experience with bio-feedback. She’s in college working on her second (third? fourth?) degree, all while balancing some difficult medical issues.  It blows my mind.  Another friend had her first written work published recently.  Isn’t that awesome?  My husband is considering going back to college after…well, after many years.  He’s thinking about changing careers.  I couldn’t be prouder!

And we are all over 40!   We talk about our medical procedures with each other.  That’s what OLD people do!  But we’re still young enough to learn.  No – to WANT to learn.  We’re still Hungry.

Every now and then I get depressed about the future. Today was one of those days. The economy is awful. Politicians make me sick. The gap between The Rich and The Poor is huge and I’m much closer to the latter than I would like to be.

Then I remembered all the opportunities that still await. Tons of stuff I don’t know yet. So much left to try! So much left to learn! It’s probably a good thing that our brains don’t “growl” when they’re hungry the way our stomachs do. I’m not sure they ever get full.   The noise would be deafening.

iKnit

I may not write, but I sure can knit.

I knit constantly.  Wes likes to drive, so I knit in the car.  I knit while we watch tv.  I knit when visiting friends.  For 10 months my mother-in-law was in a nursing home and we visited nearly every night…I got lots of knitting done during those visits.

I also crochet, and I spin my own yarn – with an honest-to-goodness antique spinning wheel.  I’m presently learning to dye my own yarn and I’d love to learn to weave.   Most people show a bit of interest in all of this, but I can see on their faces that they truly don’t understand why I love it so much.  I wish I had an answer.

It’s kind of like an addiction.   Instead of cocaine, it’s cashmere.   Instead of alcohol; alpaca.  Yarn is yummy.

But when someone sees me making socks I can see the question on their faces: “Why?”  Especially if they inquire… How long does a pair of socks take to make?  About 20 hours, depending on the pattern.  And the sock yarn isn’t cheap.  Its’ about $14-24 for good sock yarn, depending on the fibre.  (But a wool/cashmere/silk blend sock is a luxury most people will never experience!)  “That expensive?” they ask.  They look at me in confusion.  Sometimes their heads turn a bit like puppies do when they hear words that don’t make sense.   My shoulders slump.  Yes, I know I can buy socks for $3 at WalMart.  That’s not the point!

 

Everyone spends money on their hobbies.  People who like sports spend money on tickets to watch their teams.  They buy sports-related clothes at inflated prices.  Other people play those sports and spend money on equipment or lessons.  It’s the same thing.  I don’t knit because I need socks.  Or a scarf.  Or a blanket.   That’s just a wonderful benefit of the hobby.  I knit because it’s fun.  I love it!

A skein of yarn is like a toy.  A transformer.  At first it’s squishy and smooshy.  (Yes, smooshy is a very technical knitting term.)  You can play with it.  It’s full of potential.   All the patterns battle in your brain to be the winner of that yarn!  And YOU are the judge!  You choose which path the yarn will follow.  Sometimes the yarn rebels.  It doesn’t want to be a scarf!!  Not THAT scarf, anyway.  And you may eventually agree with it and rip it out and start over.  Letting it fill with potential again until the right pattern makes itself known.

 

 

At this point, my non-knitting friends believe I have taken a few steps away from the Sanity Center.  My knitting friends are just nodding.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day One (December 2011)

DAY ONE

I am not a writer.

Of course, the list of things I am not would easily fill this page. In small print. The list of what I do consider myself, that is, the list of skills in which I believe myself to be “accomplished” is quite short. That doesn’t mean I’m not proud of that short list. I just wish it wasn’t so short.

One of my skills is fluency in American Sign Language. (Pausing here for the “oohs” and “aahs” that I assume must follow.) Is it less impressive when I explain that Interpreting is my career? I hope not. Because although I’m not a writer, if I were one, I would hope that finding out I was JK Rowling would not make my skill less impressive. (Ummm…. I’m not saying I’m as good an interpreter as JK is a writer, but… oh, never mind. Just read on.)

And, yes, I really wish I were JK Rowling. Both because I’d love to write with her skill and because I’d love to have her bank account. But a small voice inside me won’t let me stop there. Truly, if I envy her (and I do!) it’s because she came out of nowhere and left a mark – and SUCH a mark! – on the world. The whole world!!

When people see me signing with someone, the reaction I get most often is, “I wish I knew Sign Language.” When I was younger, I’d encourage these people. “It’s never too late!” “I know where you can take classes!” But their faces would cloud over. They didn’t really want to make an investment of any time into this; it was something they just wanted to add to their short list of accomplishments. Over the years I’ve come to hear their declarations with a jaded ear. Sometimes I’ll show someone a few signs but, if they can’t even drop their embarrassment long enough to lift their hands in a gesture of farewell, how can I believe they really wish they could sign?

This all came back to haunt me last night. You see, I had Sangria last night. Three plastic cups worth of it. At a Christmas Party. The party was unremarkable and the Sangria was nothing special. There couldn’t have been much alcohol in it, either, for me to down three whole cups and still manage to walk out the door under my own power. I even remember the drive home. (No, I wasn’t driving.) But when the effects wore off, at 3:13 am, I was wide awake. I started rummaging around on the internet and found myself reading random facts about Harry Potter. I really love those books. I love the movies, as well – I’m not a book-snob. Well, at least with those movies. Philip K. Dick was treated much worse when his book Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep and his short story Minority Report were turned into movies. But I digress.

I wanted to know all the stupid facts about Harry Potter. Some of them were gleaned from interviews with JK that included information about Harry’s world after the last book had ended. For example, “After Fred’s death, George was never again able to produce a patronus.” That made me cry. Literally, crumble into a sobbing heap at my computer. Because I get it; George never again could come up with a truly happy memory that did not include Fred in it, which would make him too sad to produce a patronus.

Do you see what is happening here?

JK Rowling has taken a world that doesn’t exist and I know so much about it that I don’t even have to know the details of the fact to understand it. I don’t understand my own family as well. And I’m not the only reader to have that reaction. I’m sure of it. So are you. Even if you never read one of her books or saw a single movie (I can’t imagine who you are who can lay claim to that but, if you’re reading this and haven’t read that, you are doing yourself a grave disservice.)

I never really wanted to be a writer. I don’t even like to write. Writing makes me think about English classes. I always enjoyed reading, but not writing. I was an English literature major in college. Mostly because I thought, with literature, I could get away with doing lots of reading and that would get me a degree. Unfortunately, the professors wanted me to write about what I’d read. That seemed completely unfair. I read something that was written. Writing more about it must, therefore, be less than the original. And they’re going to grade me on it!

On the other hand, I do love a good narration. I sometimes narrate my own life. (I really hope I’m not the only one who does this, but I’ve never been brave enough to ask anyone.) For example, some of what I’ve written on these pages started as a narration in my head this morning at 3:something o’clock. When I woke up, my first thought was, “I’m no better than those uncommitted people who comment to me on a regular basis that they wish they knew Sign Language.”

So, today, I begin to write.