Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Gems from the music room, part six.

Remember my little guy who kissed my arm after saying good morning? This one's from him.

My 4th/5th grade chorus just staged our annual musical theatre production, a staggering work of the American theatrical cannon called, "It's A Jungle Out There!" I won't trouble you with the plot. Just imagine several types of incongruous animals, only a couple of which actually (perhaps we should make that "possibly") live in a jungle. One of these groups is the elephants, and the main part of their costume is a grey velour beanie-type headpiece that has a trunk and ears attached to it.

We perform the show for the school as our dress rehearsal, and little guy was there with his class. According to his classroom teacher, he was enthralled with the elephants. Pretty impressed with the monkeys, too, but the elephants really charged his battery. He sat (!) fascinated for the entire twenty-minute performance. Little guy usually has something in his hands, too, something to fidget with. Yesterday it was a piece of tinfoil, probably from lunch.

After the show, our little guy took his tinfoil, flattened it out and put it on top of his the elephants. He wouldn't take it off.

This morning, I stopped in to say hello, and the teacher related the story to me. I offered to share one of the hats, and she thought it was a great idea too. A little later, one of the teaching assistants brought him to my room, and I presented him with the hat, reminding him that he needed to be a good listener and a hard worker to be able to keep it. He immediately put it on (and wore it all day).

Before they left, the TA reminded him, "What do you say?" to encourage a thank-you. Instead, he said "wuv oo."

If you really need a translation, let me know.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Do me a favor?

But first: I've received some very thoughtful comments that have set me to thinking too (big surprise!), and once I can get the opening number of my 4th/5th grade chorus' musical out of my head, I plan to muse on them here some more.

And the favor: if you ever read a post here that makes a piss-poor attempt at clever, ironical humor by taking jabs at other groups of people and then sashaying away in the smug aura of my own brilliant sense of humor, I ask you to do the following (and I'm not kidding, people):

1. Bombard me with comments reminding me to get my head out of my ass.
2. Many of you are on Facebook with me. Smack me down over there, too.
3. If you live nearby, drive over and dope-slap me a couple of times.

I've come across a couple of blogs recently (and I'm sure there's more, but I don't get out much) that I *think* are trying for self-deprecating humor, but are actually insulting the group to which they compare themselves. Case in point: someone wasn't happy with something, then mentioned that it was the sort of thing you didn't need a high school diploma to produce. Wha-a-a-at? Are you trying to say it was a simple task and you can't believe how bad you screwed it up? THEN SAY SO. Or at least have the sense to turn it around and insult YOURSELF: make it the sort of thing that you didn't need an advanced degree in nuclear physics to produce.

Then there's the others that feel it's OK to point and laugh at someone via the blog-o-sphere, because the object of the pointing probably won't be reading it anyway. And besides, if it gets you hits, so much the better!!! I think that's worse than what I described above. It's malicious, sneaky, and cowardly. It's the internet version of whispering and giggling behind your hand, and I had enough of that in junior high, thank you very much. Time to grow up.

Which, I think, is at the heart of both of these matters: growing up. Maturity. A sense of self that's strong enough to look at the situation for what it is, and not need to drag comparison into it. Not needing anyone else's shoulders to stand upon in order to feel tall. Understanding that the cheap laugh is exactly that. Know that compassion is always the better choice over cleverness.

I know I've been in the place that indulges in such behavior before, and I probably will again. I'm just asking that if I'm so bold (or thoughtless or downright stupid) as to do it in front of you, call me on it. I don't want it to spread.

Saturday, March 27, 2010


So I'm starting to think about my little side businesses again...wouldn't it be fun, and certainly different, to just try and get a little Etsy shop going this summer? To get a permit for our little Thursday farmers' market and set up a little booth of naturally dyed stuff, and from the stuff a friend dyes? I want to dip my toes into something that isn't teaching. I want to do some writing (other than my splendid blog and highly unreadable journals). I want something published. And I admit it...I want to be a small part of that ineffable "club" within the fiber world. The one where normal, regular, everyday people have come to have a name within our community by the power of their own hands.

I don't begrudge the folks who have "made it" for a moment. These things don't happen by accident. A good musician knows that while a certain amount of inherent talent sure helps, the willingness to sit one's ass in the chair with instrument in hand, and PLAY IT (and not just the flashy solos) is what makes or breaks a performer, in the end. I believe that's applicable to any situation. I'm ready to work, if I can just figure out where to start. And I will.

Here's the unreasonable part begins, and as I write this post, I think I know what it's all about. (More on that in a minute.) Before the whole Knitting Revolution took place, let's see...way back in the mid- to late '90s, I'd say...there were Names in knitting. And they showed up in all of the very few publications available, which isn't surprising, seeing as there were very few outlets. I'm talking the pre-internet Dark Ages. Then, kerplooey! Knitting got BIG. Self-pubishing! Downloadable PDFs! Shopping cart software! Blogs! Those few publications became many more, and while the original Names haven't faded away, soon there were many more ways to get your face and your product out there than to be published in IK or Knitters or Vogue. I think this is a wonderful thing.

So the list of Names grew. The newer Names have been heralded as shaking up the industry and rightly so. Fresh faces, fresh ideas, working outside the traditional system. Good stuff. But...and I really hesitate to say this, because it sounds so whiny...and it is...but...stay with me...

I feel like we're back where we started, only with different Names. Maybe I just need to get out more often, but I feel like where I used to see an original bunch of Names everywhere, now I see what used to be the newhipandwow indie Names...well, everywhere. What used to be the vanguard has become the old guard, and here we go again. The more things change, the more things stay the same. "They" (who? I don't know) have found a new group of cool kids to chase, and as we all learned in junior high, the cool kids get everything.

Now: I think what's really happening is that in my pointy little head, the voice of fear is saying, "Don't bother. There's no room for you. It's all been done before and no one really cares what you have to say. You lost your chance; actually, you never had one. Stick with what you know. It's good enough." Listening to that voice makes it easy not to take the risk. It certainly is the safer path.

But it's in direct conflict with what I stated I want. I can't be published if I don't ever send Spin-Off or knitty an article. I won't sell any handspun on Etsy if I never put it UP on Etsy. The fiber world can't knock on my door if they don't have my address. It would appear I want the end results, and even though I'm not afraid to do the work it would take...I want it to be done already. I guess. My rational side knows that nothing the new Names did happened by magic. It's a result of sitting one's ass in the metaphorical chair and doing what needs to be done. My unreasonable side sits in the corner and pouts and wonders why some people have all the luck.

My final question (for this post, at least) is, why do I insist on istening so keenly to the unreasonable voice?

Saturday, March 20, 2010

And those pictures I mentioned-

These aren't in order compared to the last post because I'm too lazy to bother with cutting and pasting all that code, but I've thoughtfully added captions 'cause I'm nice like that.

The new dining room walls...

Six bobbins of merino wool singles, plus birthday tulips...

Snowshoes on my own personal feet (before you ask: yes, my feet are that small)...

It's really a snowdrift, but it was still a righteous amount of snow to move by hand...

What two pounds of fleece looks like, pre-spinning...

The bronze medal-winning lace...

Finished socks (the Broadripple pattern from Knitty; see above, "small feet")...

Monday, March 15, 2010

Just a minute-

The rundown:

1. I turned 40.

2. There was a snowstorm shortly thereafter.

3. I got to use my showshoes for the first time, after buying them for myself for last year's birthday.

4. The snow has melted, meaning I used my snowshoes once this year. That's still a 100% increase over last year.

5. As I was turning 40, there were some games going on in Vancouver, BC.

6. I and several thousand other fibery people over at Ravelry participated in the Ravelympics. I earned one gold and one bronze in WIPS Dancing, and a gold in Flying Camel Spinning.

7. That spinning? A two-pound ball of Ashland Bay merino top that was the first spinning fiber I bought three years ago. I spun it into six bobbins of fine singles, to be 3-plied when I can stand to look at it again. For reference, a two-pound ball of top is bigger than your head.

8. The WIPS (which means Works In Progress, and specifically, ones that were languishing) were a pair of socks and a lace wrap. The socks earned the gold, the wrap took the bronze.

9. I painted my dining room.

10. Daylight Savings Time will take some getting used to.

Save this post somewhere...the next post will be pictures to go with.

P.S. It's public TV pledge-drive time. That usually means some existential crisis in my life will occur. I have been spared this time. Not so for a dear friend, who is in the midst of a frightening septic abdominal infection. Medically-induced-coma frightening. *shakes tiny fist at pledge drive* She appears to be on the mend but isn't out of the woods. Please keep her and her family...including her newborn your thoughts, if you would be so kind.