Tuesday, August 27, 2013

A wee lending library found on my walk for coffee this morning. I love my neighborhood

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Diffusion of doubt and the effervescent action of hope: random thoughts from my morning walk

I find that organized  movement and processes provide examples.. metaphors for deeper truths. Perhaps that is one reason that when I am developing a new craft of skill, I get so energized by it that I am compelled to expound.   I have written about walking, knitting, spinning,weightlifting yoga, and now weaving.  I have discussed with anyone who would listen how each of these activities has illuminated to me the nature of change, life and God grace.  And it continues.
________________________________________________________________________________

Today I went for a walk.  I didn't want to, but I had told myself I would start before I could talk myself out of it and I did.  I hurt; I didn't get enough sleep, my pants were too tight. I felt old. But within a half mile a transition happened, as it always does. I know that happens, it was a discovery made the last time I started the habit of walking often and long.  In fact I rely upon it. I have found that while engaged in deep and abiding effort, when the sweat first starts to appear, doubt is diffused and hope arrives amid effervescence. 

 Diffusion is a" transport mechanism", if I remember my college class on thermodynamics correctly, diffusion flux is often described as action that is proportional to the negative gradient of concentrations. It goes from regions of higher concentration to regions of lower concentration, as Wiki describes. (had to confirm my memory) It was also described as a "random walk of the diffusing particles"...propelled by heat energy. 


 I experience diffusion as a wafting away into the miasma of dark filled bubbles,  with the ever expanding space between them slowly being filled with hope.  Or one could just say nature abhors a vacuum and as my mind empties I start to feel great. I like the word diffusion

I will pause while I think about  how I will return to my intended topic of weaving
as a metaphor.....

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Poetry Posts and me - 2nd week

I live in a very literate neighborhood.  At least it appears so since within every block there is a poetry post
standing in the parking strip of at least one, often two houses.  Decorative and resembling a post where a bird feeder or house would sit, they have a frame with a protective glass and awning.  Each week, there is a new poem appearing in each of these posts.   I love the poems, but I especially love the fact that they exist.  It is lovely to know that my neighbors want to share and invite me into their yard to pause and read what they have offered.  Its a generous gift.

 This morning was an offering displayed from Langston Hughes and another by John Updike.  I liked the John Updike poem on Baseball.
BASEBALL
It looks easy from a distance,
easy and lazy, even,
until you stand up to the plate
and see the fastball sailing inside,
an inch from your chin,
or circle in the outfield
straining to get a bead
on a small black dot
a city block or more high,
a dark star that could fall
on your head like a leaden meteor.

The grass, the dirt, the deadly hops
between your feet and overeager glove:
football can be learned,
and basketball finessed, but
there is no hiding from baseball
the fact that some are chosen
and some are not—those whose mitts
feel too left-handed,
who are scared at third base
of the pulled line drive,
and at first base are scared
of the shortstop's wild throw
that stretches you out like a gutted deer.

There is nowhere to hide when the ball's
spotlight swivels your way,
and the chatter around you falls still,
and the mothers on the sidelines,
your own among them, hold their breaths,
and you whiff on a terrible pitch
or in the infield achieve
something with the ball so
ridiculous you blush for years.
It's easy to do. Baseball was
invented in America, where beneath
the good cheer and sly jazz the chance
of failure is everybody's right,
beginning with baseball. 
"Baseball" by John Updike, from Endpoint and Other Poems. © Alfred A. Knopf, 2009.
I like the fact that I live in a neighborhood with poetry posts, especially one that also reveals a dependable weekly habit of changing them so that regular walkers can stop for a breath with a meaningful pause. and each week read a new offering.  Its also especially definitive of this place that attached to a few of them is a dispenser with small disposable biodegradable baggies.  We are also a dog loving place.


NOTE: If you are interested in a poetry post, here is the link that will tell you ALL about it http://poetrypostspdx.com/

A comment on my habit forming dilemma of the week:  Chores first or walk, write, and craft first?  

Thursday, August 8, 2013

August 7, 2013
Poster from my party...sorry about the glare. 

A week ago I retired. From this new vantage point as a recent retiree, I have a glimpse of a new emerging perspective; one that will diverge from that of a harried, stressed and often preoccupied middle manager in public service. I am going to try and give some voice to this transition in the next few weeks.  I do not yet know if it will be of any use or interest to anyone other than myself, but I will try to be honest and true and not take myself or the situation too terribly seriously.

I wonder why I retired --- not certain yet why.  Perhaps I thought if I stayed in the job any longer I would be discovered as not really knowing how to do it. Part of me has suspected myself as being a fraud. Of course since I worked that job for close to 30 years, my inadequacy should have already been discovered.
 I suppose the why doesn't really matter. I only know I wanted to be rid of  all the excuses for not being who I want to be.

I want to be successful in retirement.  By that I mean I want to be content, healthy, interesting, productive well adjusted, committed, charitable, energetic, laughing, a good housekeeper, a creative writer...o yes...and thin. Perhaps that is too ambitious hopeful.  At least I want to never say the words," I'm bored."

After my first week, my first lessons

1.       I always thought what I needed to accomplish all I want to accomplish and to be what I know my inner self is, was to have more time.  Now I know the truth.  It’s not merely about having more time…its more about finding the energy and willingness to use the time I have efficiently.. Inertia is the enemy.  It’s too easy to stay in the place I am at any given moment and not do the next thing I had decided to do when I first planned the day. 

 2 After the first week, I am still building my routine; it may take a bit longer to master this.


3.  This is a lesson I learned long ago but it’s doubly affirmed …I must get up, put my lace up shoes on immediately and start with the first thing on the list…before I have a chance to start rationalizing about why I don’t need to do that next thing.

4. Be open to spontaneity.  Have a routine, hold it loose but be true to it.

5. Doing something during the day hard enough that I really sweat, feels good and helps me feel good about my day.

6.  Naps are wonderful



Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Renewal and Random Rambling

Color with a threat of storm






KNITTING -- A SAFER SUBJECT


Knitting is consistently a dependable expectation. I am confident in my discipline to accomplish knitting each day, just as I know I will be disciplined enough to breathe, and eat.

I have several projects on the needles but only two active. I am about half way through a cabled vest, Gamine Vest by Tori Gurbisz. I am using Blue Moon Fiberarts in Winter Solstice Colorway. Its a satisfying interesting knit using WOOBU sport weight yarn. This has to be among my fav yarns to work. The other is a pair of bright red socks in Madeline Tosh sock, Byzantine colorway.

 There is a new great grand child due soon and all the unfinished projects (aka UFOs) are beckoning for me to finish them before the imminent baby shower and birth. Its best to also remember that its not too early to begin Christmas Knitting. Lots of projects, many in progress.


My stash seems to be getting bigger not smaller in spite of my daily busy fingers.  Its a mystery.


My SELF Project

I once arrogantly assumed that by my current age, 61, I would have it figured out--- IT -- how to live life as one wants to; to know what  to Do with my life, to know what I want and how to walk through life consistent with my goals, and consistent with my intent.

Sigh.

'Fraid my efforts are largely punctuated with somewhat extended periods when I seem determined to behave and live opposite of how I intend.

I'm doing better right now,in these past few months. I am practicing moderation even in my efforts to be consistently sane. I am therefore, feeling better,smiling more, noticing the neighborhood, and feeling grateful for each day, hour and minute I draw a healthy breath.

I am walking.


Hope Renewed with new spots of color

wake up most mornings with a hope and steeled intent.  An intent that remembers past successes and knows what is possible. Somewhere between that commitment and my first cup of coffee, my actions bely all the decisions, promise, and palns for a good, serene and wise day

 But then... maybe today



Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Wearing My Grown-up Pants





With a sigh this morning, I decided it was a day for the grown-up pants.


Maybe I should explain what I mean by that. First a little context.

Sometimes I feel daunted by the many choices I am faced with each day. What disturbs my serenity the most is that to the extent I grapple with emergent questions and their associated, options disguised as solutions; I am less able to be mature in the selection of appropriate solutions for the daily and mundane. I increasingly deteriorate until I am justifying myself as a child would, thinking “But I wanna!” Its, after all, those pesky little daily decision which will or could be the most important ones effecting quality of life in my dottering years. Right? I mean after all buttery buttermilk biscuits with marmalade may sound yummy and comforting right now, but if I pursue that each day…. I do need to be able to get out of the chair. Right? I enjoy hiking and breathing deeply and chasing the dog around the dog park and well you get the idea.


I don’t want to inject too much drama into what is really the everyday stuff of any person’s life. After all, deciding on melted cheese with a sticky bun or a candy bar instead of a bowl of homemade vegetable soup for a midday meal isn’t a big deal. One shouldn’t put too much importance in such things. Deciding to put my lace up shoes on with my grown-up pants on a Saturday instead of lounging around with my social media friends and fuzzy slippers is just such a mundane decision. But I find as my workweek life with its bigger topics predominates, I increasingly take the easy, comfortable slouchy way of sitting through the day. As I dwell on the rational grown-up dilemmas and serious stuff, I am more apt to gratify myself at the expense of nutrient rich decisions.



Tomorrow I can grow up, today I want to feel comfortable.



When things got tough for me as a little girl, my grandma would caution me to wear my grown-up pants. This was an expression reminding me that a reasoned, adult approach would be necessary to face whatever was destined for me that day. She was so right. She was… wasn’t she?

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Another Beach stroll April 2011

Benchmarking well-being  

My annual beach trek has provided me with a benchmark of sorts.  I’ve visited here annually for over 30 years.  I have been young and old, thick and thin, motivated and not, manic  and depressed,  sick & well;  and fit & trim.  I have been here as a drunk, and these past 10 years as a recovering twelve stepper. I have knitted incessantly and I have explored mercilessly.
My children and grandchildren have accompanied my husband and I on many of these visits. I remember them with me when they were small children and also as young adults.  I savor the images from those visits ...they are vividly stored in my mind’s gallery.  These are my lasting beach trip mementos, more so than the basket of broken shells and bits of agate & rock serving as a doorstop at home.  A small girl dancing in the silvery sunshine as it twinkles in the slanted light of dusk. Was that my daughter or my granddaughter?  Not certain anymore. I see the dogs clearing the beachfront of all birdlife, chasing gulls into the waves. One dog died of old age, one of cancer, and now one runs the beach in midlife vibrancy.  She prances and climbs the cliffs with my all grown-up grandson. I couldn’t manage the climb this time.
 This visit is not unlike those of past years
At some point in the midst of each these visits, I have sat and pondered in a personal check-in of sorts.  How am I doing? Am I living life as I choose?  Have I remembered to fill up my heart with the full measure of gratitude my days deserve?    This time, I look out the window,  basking in the beach’s rhythms and light. I feel the thrumming of its waves in my body.
 I ask the question.  I dread the answer. 
I am spiritually ailing…..
Full of redemptive hope, though.

Friday, December 10, 2010

A Balm for my current Malady

Braided Cable Fingerless Gloves.  A respite from a busy day.



Sometimes all I want to do is sit and knit. My hands start to itch at work when there is too much to do and too many voices and I am starting to feel a bit grumpy. At these times, I can best be treated with a small dose of knitting.



Yes, knitting is my prescription for grumpiness. Variations in strength and specific directions are needed for different emotional conditions. Now,  if I am feeling blue, its best if I knit in the round and do a straight stockinette. When agitated, I am better with a simple lace, not too much of a challenge but enough to be a little diverting, just enough to take the edge off. But there are other times, when I am desprate for a respite and some balm of comfort is desperately sought.  Its at these times I want a substantive, detailed piece of work to feed my spirit and calm my nerves. A good cabled piece is good for this. Perhaps a sweater project. using a very soft yarn, like a merino silk blend or a Katmandu tweed (Cashmere blend)

With boredom, comes the need for a more challenging course of treatment. Normally a definitive prescription when a sense of accomplishment is the objective. . That’s when I bring out the Lace chart, stitch markers, and lifelines. I prepare myself for a challenge in making the puzzle come together with a pattern becoming ingrained in my brains synapses. A rhythm starts to be first indentified, then made normal, then become so secondary that my fingers know its course, even if my brain decides to go elsewhere for the duration.

Its for these reason, I argue, there are normally 4-6 projects on the needles waiting for whatever state I am. I can face the stash cabinet, looking for just the right ministration to soothe and calm and steady myself. My stash closet acts as a medicine chest, a treasured one with tried and true tonics within either colorful or neutral, rough or strong, or soft or crisp.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

A Traveling Sweater ... but the end of the road is illusive.

Traveling Down a Long Grey Highway - a knitted Woobu one

The Designer, Karen Alfke, said it (the pattern) is called Traveling Sweater because, like the pants of "Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants", this sweater looks good on all who wear it.  However, I think its because by the time you complete the horizontal 2ft wide, 8 ft long strip which makes up the bulk of the item, it feels like one has travelled a very long road before finding its completion.  Since the color of my version resembles the gray asphalt of the street this metaphor is visually reinforced.

A great piece of cloth has resulted from this very marvelous yarn (Woobu) and pattern from Blue Moon FiberArts.  A tad of knitting was also involved in the transformation from skein, to gray strip to what I hope will become a sweater I will wear and appreciate on cool nights. The raw material is wrapped around me in the photo above.  I was most pleased.

But I have to resort to copying the picture of the completed sample created for the RAVELRY website because although I loved knitting the project, I have not yet spent time to actually complete seaming the pieces together so that it can be worn and I can't proudly model the sweater myself.

And this fact brings me to the dilemma of the kind of knitter I am and what it may or may not reveal about me as a person.

I love to knit and I knit often.  I like the feel of the knitting in my hands.  I love going to yarn stores, and enjoy talking about it and sometimes I write about it. I feel it settles me, keeps me centered and calm. But only about a third of my knitting results in products. And to a disturbing extent, given how much effort and resources are spent in this activity, I am ok with the lack of results.  I am reaching for the lesson this fact is supposed to teach me.

I would like a few more completed, knitted items.
This lesson will be continued.....

Friday, November 5, 2010

Walking through it

I walk home from work some or all the way most days during the milder months. I live about 7 miles from work in downtown Portland so when I walk the whole distance its a pretty good stretch of the legs.  There have been years when I could only manage a few blocks and would bus the rest of the way, and there were several years when I walked almost every weekday the entire seven miles. While this year I haven't walked as far nor as often as I would like, I still have walked a portion of the distance most days.  Whether I go a few blocks, a mile, or the whole distance I enjoy the changing of the seasons, and the changes I discover in me as I discover the moments of autumn or spring at dusk and early evening to be worth the walk.


My Brother visited me a couple of weeks ago in the hopes of seeing the Fall colors.  But in October the colors were just starting to form.  Now, at their peak, I keep getting distracted and want to caputure the colors to show him.  Alas, in two dimensions most of the awesome detail is missing.  Too bad one  can't hear the special sound of the breese through these trees or see the squirrels bustling around hurriedly hiding and burying as much as possible before the weather turns cold and wintry.
The longer the walk, the more I am able to mellow the edges of the day's jaggedness. As my pulse quickens and my breath deepens my view of the world expands beyond the limited scope of the days ups and downs.   Sometimes I start by willing myself to just place one foot in front of the other. Past experience has taught me that no matter how much I may be hurting when I start to walk, by the time I complete it the pain in my body will be back in its proper perspective. So I feel the ground under one foot and then another, with a quickening pace as my muscles start to lengthen and my thoughts start to sharpen.  I smell various meals being prepared by neighbors, and the perspective of my day widens. With a surety I allow comfort to wash over me provided with courtesy by gratitude.  Gratitude for whatever force or Higher Power that has made this moment, this frozen moment in time, possible.  I walk in the door of home, the warmth of the room touches me and I know that at least right now, in this place, at this time, everything is just fine. All it took was a little walk.  


Sunday, October 3, 2010

Blog Interrupted

There are times when I look up after a spell of doing not much and with a start,  I realize I have been going through the motions.  Most of the time I work at making the most of life, but this past six months has NOT been part of my best work.  Odd , since I aspire to the tombstone that reads :SHE ALWAYS SHOWED UP to discover that its showing up that I am failing at right now.

There are intervals when I fail to appear, when I  fail to arrive fully into the potential God has provided.
So here, now with this blog which will wander through the cyberspace attaching itself to kindred braincells,  I offer this post as a way to commemorate  putting a foot in front of the other as I walk back into my life's lliving room.

Its not that I havent tried. Here are the titles of unfinished blogs from the past several months; amazing what they reveal
1.     Its All About learning to Let Go Really, Really Well
2     What advise would you give yourself at age 15?
3     My peculiar version of healthy living OR DETOXing my way
4      UNTITLED Masterpiece
5     A 30 year Survival award - Consolation Prize

Did not finish them.
_________________________________________________________________________

Its beginning to look like fall again, I glance around and realize its pretty good stuff, this life.  Maybe I'll jump in for a bit, walk along the road and kick a few leaves.

(Knitting wise, I have produced 4 almost finished sweaters. I knit vociferously.
 Just call me Madame Lana Lafarge (adapted from "A Tale of Two Cities")

Lana
10/3/2010

Friday, July 30, 2010

Its the Little Things

I had a clue today would be a good day when a few things fell in place just right this morning. There were enough to make a list:


1) My shoes AND bra were right where I first looked for them. This may not be the situation in your home but (I should be ashamed to admit) in mine it isn’t commonplace.


2) The dog didn’t bark loudly at the teasing squirrels at 5:00 am causing neighbors to shun me when going outside

3) The bird cooperated when I went to put her back in her cage. No screaming (the birds)and no blood (mine).

4) The garbage truck was late, giving me time to be decently dressed before making a dash out with the garbage and recycling containers. Not to mention an angry neighbor was not present (about the barking)

5) Driving into work I hit all the green lights and missed the construction crews.


6) Once in my building, the elevator went STRAIGHT up to my 11th floor. The security guard and metal detector…not a problem.


7) Instead of the meeting with an angry architect I thought was my first appointment, there was a birthday event for a staff person with delightful fresh fruit and homebaked poppy seed muffins.


8) The sun just came out and my to do list looks do-able.

9) ITS FRIDAY


I am expecting a VERY good day