Friday, June 28, 2019

Everything Changes

Change is the only constant...

A few weeks ago I was certain that BeeGee would be my last cat. This week, in mourning his loss, as I looked ahead to the future, what I saw was a bleak landscape without anybody to love and care for.

BeeGee chimed in and said, "For 20 to 25 years??? Seriously??? No way. You need another cat. I'm all for it. I want another kitty to be privileged enough to be your cat, Mum."

So I will adopt another cat, most likely in the fall.

I recall writing that I didn't want the stress and anxiety of having another animal. But when I thought about it more deeply, I realized that not having another cat, being totally alone in the world without someone to care for, would be even more stressful than having one.

Having something to look forward to now, has definitely raised my spirits and lifted me out of the morass of grief. New life; that's what it's all about.

Monday, June 24, 2019

The End of An Era

The thing that I feared the most for about the last 10 years, has come to pass...

I had to put BeeGee down this morning. Just in the last 3 days he started actively dying. It was a really tough weekend. But the timing was right for him to go today.

As Pema Chodron says, "Things don't really get solved. They come together and they fall apart. Then they come together and fall apart again. It's just like that."

That's exactly what this last three months has been like. And it's been phenomenally stressful for me.

Pema goes on to say, "The healing comes from letting there be room for all of this to happen: room for grief, for relief, for misery, for joy."

I love you my darling BeeGee. I'll see you again when I cross the Rainbow Bridge.

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Broken Widget

Thanks to a couple followers for letting me know the link to my Instagram was broken. The widget provider is SnapWidget, and apparently they changed things slightly, so the link stopped working.

As it is now, it looks like the widget will take you to a SnapWidget page for my IG images, rather than to IG itself. If you click one of the images on my widget, you'll go to that image at SnapWidget, with other images alongside.

Hope it works now. Blog owners really have no control over these things, unfortunately.

xx

Monday, June 3, 2019

The Freedom of Letting Go

So, I mentioned in last week's post that I was in the process of selling my unwanted/unused acrylic supplies+ (paint, media, charcoals, chalk pastels, big brushes, palette knives and big canvasses). How it turned out is that on the preceding Friday late afternoon I had the thought to sell the stuff, and by 48 hours later all of it had been sold. I guess my timing was right.

I kept about 10 percent of the acrylic paint, only in colors I adore, and some of the media. Plus I have all my watercolor paints, w/c media, pencils, etc, etc. I can still do "art" if/when I want to.

But I'm no longer holding onto that sense of guilt...guilt at having spent so much money on stuff I never or hardly used, and guilt at not using it. That right there is worth more than the few hundred dollars I made last weekend.

And now I find myself letting go of other stuff ~ stuff I no longer need, stuff I won't use again despite that little voice in my head telling me to keep it just in case, stuff I'm done with.

And it feels great, to let go of stuff, to lighten my load a bit. There's enormous freedom in letting go of holding onto stuff physically, as well as the psychic holding we all do.

I've also let go of the need to continue to market/sell more of the vintage postal goods I bought and sold last year. The reality is that I've already made 7 or 8 times what I paid for the lot. And I can comfortably say I don't need whatever income is left to earn from it. So I'll be offering the entire inventory of stuff I was going to sell on IG in a week or so, to other sellers there, most of whom also have Etsy shops. I just can't/don't want to deal with all the moving parts of online selling any longer. Too stressful for the return for this old gal.

I love giving stuff away. More, really, than I enjoy acquiring things. Because of that freedom. The more stuff we have, the more we're obligated to it...to use it, to maintain it, to pay to house it, etc. I like having a small footprint.

Enjoy June! xx

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Keeping My Own Counsel

Amazing that this month is virtually gone. With a few sunny days' exception, we've had more precipitation this month than in any May previously in CA. More rain historically means worse wildfires later in the year. So I suspect we're in for it this year.

Anyhoo...
It has taken me until just a year or so ago to learn to keep my own counsel, and I know that's about trusting oneself, and feeling the need for no approval from outside oneself.

What this means for me is that I really have no need to discuss or share anything with anyone these days. I can comfortably keep everything inside and work on it on my own. I don't need anyone's input, approval, sympathy, etc. I am my own person, finally.

I discovered that there's a lot of personal power inherent in abstaining from needlessly speaking about things. I feel strong in myself. I know I can handle anything that comes up.

This has likely rendered me not a very good friend to others anymore, insofar as sharing, kibbitzing, chewing the fat and the like go. So be it. I've had to learn over the years to be self-sufficient in all ways, which has made me have little patience for dithering or stuckness in others. This is who I am.

New topic ~ After a year of not painting with acrylics, I finally decided to get rid of 90 percent of my supplies. And am in the process of selling/giving away stuff right now.
There remains a place in my heart where I wish I could paint like so many artists do. But I just can't; painting isn't my medium.

What I came to last year, and what still applies, is that even the thought of painting causes me great anxiety. Whether that's because I'm afraid I'll never be good enough, or that I'm envious of others' work, or overwhelmed with possibilities, or anything else, really doesn't matter. The truth is that my body, via anxiety, has been steering me away from painting for over a year. And that's all I need to know anymore. I trust my feelings implicitly.

There's a very interesting story attached to the postcard in the last images...

This past week I was going through my collection of vintage postcards, as I'm planning to have a sale on Instagram in a couple weeks.

I photographed a few packs of cards to use as background for my sale announcements. I randomly chose the pack that this card was in to take an image of. I was lying in bed later looking at the images, when I saw the back of this card...sent "from your brother Sidney" to Gloria Schachter in New York in 1927.

This card was sent to my mother, from my Uncle Sidney, on her 5th birthday in 1927!!!

I have no idea where I got the card or how long I've had it. But how in the world did it show up in my collection 92 years later!?!?

I'm about half done with the back of the light-weight summer tee I'm knitting. Enjoying using the smaller gauge yarn. And my personal sock collection keeps growing...one pair right after the last. My new addiction.

Hope you have a lovely June! xx








Sunday, April 28, 2019

Lichen Sweater

Finished my Lichen sweater yesterday. This is one I designed for myself...and I have to say, I like it way better and it's much more comfortable than the Chalk sweater from a couple months ago. The latter was from a pattern I bought at Ravelry.

Glad to know my sweater-designing chops are still in good order. Also, this sweater was knit in the traditional way -- back, front, two sleeves, then sewn together. The Chalk sweater was knit in the round, top down. Which I don't like and probably won't do again. For one, when you knit in the round, there are literally hundreds of stitches in each row/round, so it takes seemingly forever to knit. At least for me, a not-especially fast knitter.

The yarn in Lichen is a Takhi superwash wool. I'm using superwash wool these days because I'm allergic to regular wool. And speaking of that, there's superwash wool that isn't itchy, and superwash wool that is. Chalk sweater is really too itchy for me, unfortunately, so I'll likely sell it in the near future.

I haven't worn Lichen yet, and now that it's spring it might be a while until I do. But the yarn doesn't feel as itchy so this one will most likely work out for me.

Next on my designing schedule, a lighter-weight boxy summer tee.

BeeGee is doing well. The thyroid meds are working, his hormones are back in the normal range after his blood recheck. I also just started him on a new-to-me CBD oil, for arthritis pain, and already it seems to be much more efficacious than the hemp leaf tincture he had been on since fall 2017. Better living through chemistry.

These are three of my fave recent collages.

Our rain is over, for all intents and purposes, and we're having lovely spring days. Interior CA is having higher-than-normal daytime temps, but here on the coast it's still in the mid-60s, which is pretty perfect.

That's pretty much all the news from my corner of the world. And since this is the only spot where I have a modicum of control, I try my best to stay focused here, now, in this place. Although it's frequently hard to not get wrapped up in goings-on out in the world.

Hope you're having a beautiful spring! xx


Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Shepherding Cats

We're all getting older...including my beloved BeeGee. He'll be 16 in May, which is considered geriatric for a cat, although he's still spry, playful, and for all intents and purposes seems like his normal self.

I had him to the vet a couple weeks ago for his annual exam, and he has a couple health issues now. For one, he's hyperthyroid (and currently on medication for that, likely forever), and he's also got the beginning stages of kidney disease (for which he's now on a special new diet).

So it's likely/possible he'll be with me for a couple years yet.

I've never had the experience in this life of caring for an elder relative...so taking care of BeeGee until he's gone will be my experience of shepherding a loved one into the next life.

I had several cats before BeeGee, all of whom I loved and cared for as well as I could. I was also a lot less settled than I've been since Beeg, hence moved often or periodically, sometimes to entirely new locations. And I've always had to live life on a shoestring...so I wasn't able to invest the money in maintaining my cats' lives as well as I'd wished I could have.

But I also have a deeper connection with BeeGee than I did with any of the others. He is my child. I'll do whatever he needs to have a naturally long, high-quality life.

And although I still live on a shoestring, I do have a bit of savings put away for once-in-a-lifetime things. And having BeeGee be happy and as healthy as possible for the rest of his natural life is a once-in-a-lifetime deal. I won't have this opportunity again.


Because as much as I love living with cats, I know that I won't be able to afford to do this for another cat later down the road.

Besides which, BeeGee would be a hard act to follow, given how close we are. So I decided to be satisfied with him/our relationship, satisfied that I will have had the experience of living with a soulmate in another sentient being, live with his memories after he's gone, and not feel the necessity of trying to replace him.

Which is a big step for this die-hard cat lover. But a step that'll be practical and smart and life-simplifying when the time comes.

xx


Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Spring This Week

Hey There...

Not too much new, so here are a few recent collages. The second image is the spread I did for a traveling journal I participated in not long ago.

Spring is here this week! Yesterday was a smashingly beautiful day, I wore shirtsleeves and flip flops for several hours. I worked outside -- SO nice to be out in the sunshine and fresh air -- cutting back/cleaning up my outdoor potted plants, and fertilizing them.

Today it's rainy and cool again...but for the next week or so, it's supposed to be sunny, with increasingly higher temps each day. I am so ready for spring!

I'm working on sweater #2, my "Lichen" sweater, nearly finished with the back. I designed this one myself, and I'm making it the traditional way -- all four pieces knit individually, then sewn together at the end.

I'm also continuing to knit socks, am working on each project (socks or sweater) for a day or two before switching to the other project to do likewise. The garments are being built without my feeling the "grind" I put myself under for a while there with my Chalk sweater.

That grind caused me to have heart palpitations in early February, for a few days in a row, until I grokked that I was pushing myself too hard. I slowed back down again, and the palpitations were no more.

Hope you all have a lovely start to spring. xx



Monday, February 18, 2019

A Decade of Discovery

Today is my 70th birthday. This is mind blowing to me...I still feel 35-40 inside. Well, they say 70 is the new 50, and I think they're right.

The last decade has been one of immense personal growth for me, the one in which I found myself.  I'm in such a different place than I was ten years ago, and I'm profoundly happy about it.

This April will be ten years that I've lived in Rose Cottage/Fortuna. That's longer than I ever lived anyplace else in my life. I've been in Humboldt County for nearly 24 years, a few years longer now than I was in Los Angeles before I left in 1971. So Humboldt is my real home (altho LA will always be my hometown).

I'm close to finished with another pair of socks for myself. And this week I'll start another sweater.

I completed my big stamp-collection project over the weekend, that I've been working on since November. I have a pretty awesome collection now, having pulled all the stamps out of the stock books and small albums I got in the fall, and putting them in the larger albums. Plus a ton of stamps left over to use in collages, etc.

And today is beautiful (albeit cold) on the North Coast, a break between rainstorms.

Hope you're all having a lovely February! xx

Friday, February 8, 2019

What to Name a Sweater

I decided to name my handknit sweaters after the color name of the yarn...so here is my Chalk sweater, completed as of yesterday.

Lot of firsts with this sweater: first one knit top to bottom; first one knit in the round completely; first one knit with my recently-purchased and much-loved ChiaoGoo circular knitting needles.

Chalk fits fine too...altho as with every sweater I use a commercial pattern for, there are things I'd do differently, were I to knit it again.

Instead, I think I'll go back to designing sweaters for myself, which I've done with success in the past. I know knitted garments look and seem complicated, but knitting is really just about basic math. Number of stitches and rows per inch multiplied by the proper measurements and shaping.

I still have three of my handknit sweaters from previous knitting times (all the others sold or given to friends or charity), two of which were self designed. One in particular, which still fits me, remarkably (altho of handspun yarn, therefore very itchy), has features I'll knit again in a future sweater I'm planning for later this year. That is, after I knit a couple of intervening sweaters and a couple more pair of socks.

Last fall I bought a lot of yarn, specifically to use this year. I bought enough of each yarn that I'd have a range of garments I could knit up with each one. So my knitting plans this year are to work with what I now have in my personal stash. Instead of continuing to buy more and more yarn throughout the year. Another way of looking at it is that I invested in a stash of yarns I'd want to use, without always looking to see what's out there yarn-wise. I know what's out there. I'll get to it when I get to it. I think maybe they call this maturity, or self-discipline.

xx

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Falling Together/Coming Apart

I've been easing into the new year. Historically I used to dislike January, because 1) the holidays were over (when there was anything for me to celebrate) and 2) I'd likely put myself on a diet of one sort or another on January 1 to atone for my sins of the previous month.

It's actually been many years since any of that was the case, nevertheless I still find I enter January each year with a bit of trepidation.

The reality, though, is that January is just like any other month to me at this point in my life. The only thing that's any different from one month to the next is the weather.

 
This is the sweater I'm currently working on, my first top-down knitted piece. It's a couple inches longer than shown here. I'm attempting to put at least an inch on every day...because the length from the armhole down will be about 20 inches...and even at that rate it'll take me most of the month just to get to the bottom. But who's counting the time invested...
...certainly not me, as this is the new state of the kimono I knit several months ago! After wearing it a few times, I realized I didn't like the way it fit, there were things I didn't like about the pattern design, and although I love the yarn, garter stitch did not show it off in its best light like stockinette stitch will. I'm looking forward to knitting it again, to my specifications this time. But the effort spent on it was not for naught, because it got me back into knitting again.

As the veils begin to part and more and more is revealed...this should be a very interesting year.

xx