Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Christmas in September

A humble handknit sock, the first one of my first pair in about 10 years. I feel a bit of a commitment to handknit socks now, though, whereas in the past I was experimenting with various handspun yarns, which weren't really sock yarns to begin with. Anyhoo, I'm having fun again with this endeavor.

I'm also using this first pair to try a few different ways to do the customary things on handknitted socks, like cuff, heel flap, and toe. I want to get myself setup with a template that works for me, and always do that.

Boring to do the same thing, you say? I like routine. There's a lot of freedom in routine, in not having to make decisions all the time because things are changing up, often unnecessarily. Anecdote from life: I make pancakes for myself every weekend, and I use the same basic recipe every time. I love them. I have no interest in experimenting in the kitchen with fancy recipes to make something so basic. That's just me.

In other news...the summer was so wacky here, i.e. there was hardly one at all and most days were overcast, that all my Christmas cacti are blooming now!!

That's it for now...short and sweet. Hope you're enjoying early autumn! xx

Friday, September 7, 2018

Going Postal

First off, here's the kimono I completed knitting yesterday. I love how it turned out. It's made with Malabrigo Rios superwash wool, in their Tormenta colorway. I was really iffy about the striping of the yarn, but it works overall and I like it. (Disregard the spots on the mirror on the right side of each photo!)

I had more luck again at last Sunday's flea market, another three boxes of vintage postal stuff.  That makes seven boxes total, although everything has been organized and sorted to where there's actually five boxes now.

I'm selling these vintage goods, as I mentioned previously. I'll only be listing things on Instagram -- in fact, having my first online live sale next Friday and Saturday at 5pm. However, as before, for those of you who might be interested in purchasing anything but you're not on IG, just email me and we'll take it from there. All sales are through PayPal. If you are on IG, find me @connieandbeegee.

Here's a list of what I'll be selling over time.  Eventually I'll get to most or all of it.
  • old holiday greeting postcards
  • old postal postcards (the kind you buy at the P.O.), going back to the 1890s, with various things on the back
  • old small business envelopes
  • old #10 regular-size business envelopes
  • unused old postal postcards
  • unused old postal envelopes
  • a few collections of old picture postcards, from World's Fairs/Expos, and a few site-specific collections from outside the U.S.
  • a small collection to/from soldiers from WWII
  • and more
The last photo is a bunch of other vintage stuff I got in August from a different vendor. All this stuff I'll use or give to penpals.

Life is good here, really good. It's fall already, but we never really had a summer. I wouldn't be surprised if all the smoke from wildfires in the upper atmosphere has impacted the weather this year.

And the wildfire report...soon as one huge one is contained, another huge one starts. Well over 1M acres has burned in California this year alone. Several other countries are having massive wildfires this year, as well.

The world is burning up, sadly. Who knows what's to come...I'm glad I wasn't born later than I was. I got to experience life on Earth before Earth was overrun with people and controlled by oligarchs and corporations.

Have a good month...and do email me if you're interested in any vintage postal goodies.



Monday, August 27, 2018

My "New" Body

Contrary to everyone else celebrating their "new" bodies from weight loss, I'm celebrating that I have finally fully accepted the body that I came into life with...

This body that I spent 60 years trying to reshape via dieting, fasting, diet pills (years ago), working out, and god only knows what else.  Fortunately for me I never had an eating disorder, although I've had a "fat/thin" perception disorder since I was a teenager. (A fat/thin disorder is when you're thin and you look in the mirror and still see yourself as fat.)

Like many women my age, just shy of 70, I was brainwashed to believe I had to be thin or else... Or else what? I wouldn't find a man, would always be rejected, could never really get on with my life as long as I was heavy.

If I could recapture even 10 percent of the time I wasted in my life being obsessed with my weight, whether I was thin enough, whether I could squeeze into a smaller size, whether or not I was the heaviest girl/woman in any group, feeling not as worthy as my thin friends, feeling outcast and sidelined because of my plumpness, holding myself back from so many things because "heavy girls need not apply," ad nauseum.

And it's taken me this long to reprogram myself to stop thinking there's something defective about me because I could never stay a size 8 or 10, or even a 6 at one point.  Every time I lost weight, eventually I gained it back, and then some ~ like everyone else who's been on this merry-go-round for their lifetimes.

So not long ago, I just stopped with all that bullshit. I am now the size I would have been anyway all those years if I hadn't been trying in vain to be smaller than I naturally was.  And now I'm celebrating the body I do have.  I'm zaftig and I really always have been.  I have my father's body; he was a big man although not fat or obese. I wear an average woman's size now.  I'm not obese and never have been (although I was told that I was when I was just a teenager). Many heavier women would give their eye teeth to have the body I have now.

The only way I was ever really able to control my weight and become thinner, was to practically starve myself.  I actually decalcified my bones back in the day when my modus operandi was to do three- to six-week juice fasts periodically. Today I'm healthy, I have no chronic illnesses, and I'm pretty much eating whatever I want these days, albeit mindfully.  Because after all these years, I trust myself.

Thank god the social climate has changed to some degree from when I was younger.  A lot of younger women these days are wearing their flesh like badges of honor.  There's still a long way to go to create any sense of equity for women in our culture who aren't model-thin.  But it's better now than it used to be.

This just came to mind: I was following a page on Instagram for a while, something about style or wisdom in over-50 women.  But I stopped because every single one of the women in their photos were thin.  What about us less-than-skinny women? We have style too, we have wisdom to share, why are we still being left out of the conversation, in 2018?

A very good old book that I recently reread is The Obsession, On The Tyranny of Slenderness, by Kim Chernin. It's from the 80s but is still highly relevant today.  We women have been brainwashed by years of our culture telling us we needed to be other than how we naturally are.  If you're caught in this trap, as so many women still are, I recommend this book for an overview of what our culture has done/continues doing to women. We don't need to buy into it anymore. We need to reclaim the bodies that we were given, take excellent care of ourselves, and just be who we are.

Monday, August 13, 2018

First Flight

At the monthly flea market last weekend, I got another two boxes of vintage envelopes. And hopefully even more at the September market.

So I started selling them, primarily the First Flight Airmail envelopes I got on my original score in July. I'm selling them through Instagram only at this point, have only listed airmail envelopes there thus far.

Most of what I have left at this point are business reply-type envelopes, from the 1900s through the 1960s, the earlier ones with handwritten addresses.  Someone saved every envelope they got with a payment of some sort in it.  MANY envelopes to several banks, a dairy, a chocolate factory, a manufacturing outfit, an outdoor-type magazine from back then.

I am doing "deals" for pals who want a bunch of envelopes. So if you're one of those folks, email me and let's talk. 

Life is otherwise lovely and I'm happy as a clam. Our weather has been overcast/foggy a lot, with mostly sunny afternoons. More like spring weather than our typical summer.  But it's early days yet, and we could get an Indian Summer.  Although there's a touch of autumn in the air already.

Hope you're enjoying your summer.  xx

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Truth in Advertising

Had another big score at a yard sale in Fortuna last week...the images below of books.  Eleven vintage books for $5.50!  A couple are from the late 1800's, and in remarkable shape for their age.  Most of these I won't be cutting up for collages.

And then I went to a flea market in Fortuna yesterday, and found 15 vintage postcards and four books.  No photo.  I guess I'm on a bit of a roll...and there's the monthly flea next Sunday, which I'll attend.

We've really been blessed with good, as in "normal," weather here on the North Coast.  While the rest of the country suffers with extreme heat, flooding, and wildfires.  As per usual, fires are burning north, east and south of us and we're getting smoke.  But no fires in Humboldt County at the moment.



For at least twenty years I've been threatening to cut my hair VERY short...and I finally had it done, ten days ago.  So, this is what I actually look like now.  In my mind I still look like I did when I was 30 years younger...but this is reality.

I will keep my hair very short for the rest of my life.  Enough with the curly hair -- I've never liked it although I did my best for all those years and did have a few good haircuts along the way.  Everyone with straight hair thinks they want curly hair.  But curly hair has been the bane of my existence from the getgo.

I started a knitting project this week.  I'm actually knitting a garment, a shawl-collared, kimono-style, sweater-jacket, from commercial (superwash) wool.  I hadn't bought any commercial yarn in at least twenty years, seeing as I spun so much yarn for over a decade.  And in the recent past I've been knitting scarves out of the remaining handspun silk yarns I have.  But I recently rediscovered my love of knitting, so I'm making a garment, the pattern to which I've had for probably 15 years, although it's still relevant (not dated) today.

So this is life in Rose Cottage this summer -- knitting, reading, resting, hanging with BeeGee, a flea market or yard sale now and then.  Priceless.

Saturday, July 7, 2018

The Heart is Willing...

...but I'm not a spring chicken anymore.  In other words, despite that I now feel free emotionally, I don't have the physical energy to take on all the things I might've taken on again were I forty or fifty or even sixty.

And that's just fine.  I've let so many things go in the past few years anyway, and there's no going back.

This is about expectations of myself as well.  Newly, I have none.  It's much better to live this way than it ever was, pushing myself, challenging myself, goading myself, even creatively.  Because I've learned that just about everything I do has the potential to create anxiety for me.  And I cannot handle anxiety.

What just came to mind is many of the times in my past where I had absolutely impossible expectations of myself without any idea that I had them, because I had no sense...no sense of what I really needed and wanted, no clue about personal boundaries...and because I was hellbent to prove that I could/would do what I said I would do.  A lot of failures followed, and of course, I blamed myself but for the wrong reasons.

Anyway, I'm just fine now, living my contented simple life while my emotions are in equilibrium.  The truth is, I have days when I don't feel so great, physically.  That's what being nearly 70 will do to you.  I still feel so young in my heart...but I spend a lot of time resting my body these days, often still thinking I should be able to do more.  Another expectation to let go of. 

There are no new mountains to climb now.  (I will move eventually, to a different place in Fortuna, but likely not for 2 or 3 years yet. That'll be a stressor, but I'll handle that when I get there.)  I don't need any mountains anymore.  I just need peace and quiet, lots of time to read, playing in my studio when I feel like it, staring out the window at the clouds or laying in the sun and doing the same.  And that's just what I've got.  So I feel very blessed indeed.

Monday, July 2, 2018

Priceless

One of the fun things I've begun doing again is going to our monthly Flea Market in Eureka. It's a bit of a trek for this "once a month in town" gal...but I really enjoy it. So I'm going again, and whether or not I find anything to buy is beside the point.

Yesterday, though, did not disappoint. I recently got a copy of Nick Bantock's Urgent 2nd Class, read it through, and then found, among other goodies, the two boxes of vintage mail below at the flea market.

At first glance, I thought the first box was all First Day Covers of newly issued stamps.  In fact, nearly everything in the box commemorates the first airmail flight ever, from one place to another in the U.S., and there are few, if any, duplicates.

I'm not really sure yet what I'll do with all this goodness, other than sort and organize at this point. But finding these does make me want to go through all the various vintage things I've got here and there and group everything together somehow.  I've got pamphlets of various sorts, postcards (picture and otherwise), a few of those small vertical religious cards from funerals, etc. (which, despite being Jewish, I adore), some foreign currency, magazines, advertisements, various vintage office supplies, a calendar or two, old books of course. And most of it previously collected a piece at a time from used bookshops, garage, estate and rummage sales, library book sales, and the like.

I bought myself a chaise longue recently, and have spent time nearly every day out on it. I went to the beach yesterday when I was in Eureka, and will again tomorrow, to a different beach, when I go back for my monthly trip. I'll also make a stop at SCRAP Humboldt (creative re-use shop) in Arcata to find whatever goodies I can.

It's finally July, the real start of summer here on the North Coast. I'm planning to enjoy the heck out of it.

California is already burning, though, and it's not "fire season" for a few months.  It's a year-round thing these days.  There's thankfully nothing burning right in this area, but north, east and south, there are massive wildfires that continue growing before they're contained. And the federal government has cut back on wildfire prevention...

Hope you're having a glorious summer.  If I don't post often here again, know this time that all is well and will continue to be. I'll write when I have something to share.

Blessings xx

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Long Dry Season

In looking back over the terrain of depression, I see that I was living a rather depleted existence.

I had this "superiority-inferiority" complex, where in my cuckoo mind I thought I was better than other people because I could get along with so little -- so little stuff, so little juice, and so little (self) love.

I was punishing myself for all those years, adding insult to the previously-perpetrated injuries.

I lived in such a way as to say to life, "I can do without whatever you have to offer...I'll show you!"  Instead of turning lemons into lemonade, I learned to live without lemons at all.

I lived the stripped-down barren life that was dictated to me by my past.  I still expected the past to somehow make things better for my present...like, if I could dredge it up enough, somehow things would turn out differently in the present (the very definition of insanity).

But those days are over, thankfully.  I've begun adding back little flourishes into my life, small things that make life more enjoyable.  I've opened my heart again to the world.  I'm treating myself much more kindly.  I'm counting blessings multiple times every day.  It's only going to get better from here on out.

Thanks for being here.  xx

Monday, June 11, 2018

The Other Me

Speaking now from the other side of depression, at least for the present, possibly forever.  I won't say that I'll never fall into the pit again.  But I will say that I feel I have more inner resources now to guide me through if that happens.

Realizing that the depression has been/was a thing in my life, a major blockage if you will, has enabled me to see it as an entity apart from who I really am inside.  An entity that was created, by me, in response to a lifetime of grief.

I have been aware of for a long time, albeit now far more keenly attuned to, the fact that there are two Connie's in this body of mine.  Were I never aware of this, it's easy for me to see that I probably would have drifted into psychosis, as did my predecessor. Instead, I've had this overly strict superego that judges everything I do or say and always has, that's rendered me neurotic.  Better neurotic than psychotic, I guess.

But maybe not.  You have no idea how often I've said to myself, "Ignorance is Bliss," implying that if I weren't aware of the inner workings of my psyche, life would have been so much easier.  I could have just been clueless in word and deed, and moved on.  Rather than inwardly excoriating myself for everything I say and do.

The me I feel is the real me is the adult inner child, that innate playful, spontaneous, spirited, loving person, who was metaphorically beaten out of me at about age five.  She's still inside, but buried very deeply.  If I have any life goals, one of them is to free her before I die.

The other me, the one I've taken out into the world to do my bidding, is the me who was made by my environment.  This me has gotten through life by reacting to everyone and everything, defending and protecting myself, pulling a lot of interpersonal shenanigans because I never learned how to play well with other people...basically doing whatever I had to do to scrape by.  Clearly, I always did the best I could at the time, given the circumstances and who I was.  But there's a lot back there in the past about who/how I was that saddens me deeply.  Regret would be the right word here.

I've been on somewhat of a mission over the last three or four years, to express that regret to people in my past who were negatively impacted by my words and/or behavior.  I've written letters, made phone calls, seen people, with no motive other than to apologize for being who I was at the time.  I'm still making verbal faux pas occasionally, and apologizing for them.  All the memes say to "never apologize for being yourself."  But the me I feel I need to apologize for is the me I can hardly relate to any more.

The other life goal, if I have them, is to bring the two me's into alignment.  So that who I present to the world is the soft, vulnerable, real, compassionate, loving person that I truly am inside.  Instead of the other person I no longer want to be.