Sunday, December 15, 2019

Happy Holidays

I've been yarn shopping this morning online, so thought I'd leave a post here while I was at it.

Nothing to report. All is well.

I've been doing this particular genre of collage for 3 years now...which is amazing, considering how I usually/used to jump around so much between things. And I'll be continuing on for the foreseeable future.

One thing I can comment on is that this time of year, as the days continue to shorten toward the Winter Solstice, in previous years I would not be excited about the return of the light, and lengthening days. But this year, for the first time, I am. It's like a shift in overall attitude away from the dark and toward the light.

I went to our local Fortuna Community Dinner for Thanksgiving this year, for the first time, and it was a lovely, relaxed event. I'll go again for Christmas, and will continue this new-to-me tradition in following years.

Hope you all have blessed holidays, whatever you celebrate. See you next year. xx

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

A Year Later...

This is what I was hoping for when I knit that kimono a year ago...the one that I subsequently ripped out so it could become this: Tormenta Kimono.

Tormenta is the colorway name of this Malabrigo superwash worsted yarn. Although their yarns are considered commercial, they are all hand dyed. So there's tremendous variation between skeins of the same colorway.

Anyhow, I am wearing it right now and I'm loving it. My design, perfectly executed. I actually have another colorway of the same yarn that I'll likely make another kimono with, later next year.

For now, I'm taking a break from BIG knitting projects although still loving making socks, and I plan to knit a couple of accessories during this season.

I'll be getting back to a few genre I worked in in the past, paper/book oriented. I need/want to go through all my early collage work, handmade books and journals etc., and see what ignites my imagination.

I meant to not wait this long to post (Friday will be a month), but I wanted to finish Tormenta before I did. I finished knitting all the pieces late last week, and have been working on completion since.

Nothing else is new here. The days come and go, and the weeks, and the months. And the years.

Wishing everyone a lovely Thanksgiving. I've turned Thanksgiving Day into our Anniversary (mine and BeeGee's), and next week will be 15 years. (I rescued him late November, 2004.) He's been gone nearly five months...but he's right here with me all the time.

Be well and happy.

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Indian Summer

We've got a spell of heat coming, beginning today, throughout most of California. I've also read that this is supposed to be a warm and dry winter in northern CA.

Pacific Gas & Electric preemptively cut the power to 800k CA residents a couple weeks ago, in an effort to prevent wildfires. We had no power here for 24 hours, but thankfully water and gas were not affected.

Since then, I've prepared for the next time -- and there will be a next time, as PGE has declared there'll likely be power outages for the next decade in CA. Yikes!

The inside scoop is that PGE is in bankruptcy (reorganization) as they are liable for billions in damages for causing CA's worst-ever wildfire, the Camp Fire, late last year, as well as many others in the recent past. In addition, being a now-typical corporation, they haven't maintained their equipment well at all over the years, yet they've given huge bonuses to the top brass. So most of CA, and pretty much all of non-metro CA, has to suffer.

Anyhoo, I've gotten myself everything I need to deal with future outages (propane heater, butane stove, solar/ACDC lantern, backup battery for electronics, and a car phone charger for when the backup battery runs out).

I've also been using this time as an opportunity to get together a kit of stuff I'd need if I had to vacate the premises for a while, like in the event of an earthquake or other disaster. So all I'll have to do if that happens is grab a few well-stocked bags/boxes.

This reminds me of Y2K...although I totally bought into that non-event and went overboard buying stuff to hold me for a year or more. That ain't gonna happen this time! But I will be as prepared as possible with as minimal an outlay as I can manage.

I just have the back to do on my kimono, and I'm doing it in two pieces to better distribute the variegated yarn colors. Then sew it together and knit on the collar. But I am taking my time on this one.

Hope you're all having a great fall.

Happy Halloween! xx

Thursday, October 3, 2019

Autumn News

"News" is actually a misnomer, as there isn't any to speak of.

But hello, and Happy Autumn!

Thought I'd just post a few of my recent collages.

I'm well on my way into my knitted kimono -- both fronts are finished. In a day or two I'll start on the sleeves. I'm doing the back last this time.

I've been missing my guy, of course; otherwise all is well. I decided to wait on that 3rd tattoo; thought I'd put the money away instead, since I've been in one of my frugal moods for the last month or so.

More of the same for me for the duration: knitting, reading, collaging, enjoying living.

Hope y'all have a great autumn. xx

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Outside the Lines

Been making changes. Small things; not such small things.

Had my second tat three weeks ago and in September will get my third. This one is on my inner left forearm.

I had virtually all my hair cut off last week, photo below. I'll likely always keep it close to this length from here on out. No more curl...that's the thing.

It's a testament to how good I'm feeling about myself -- how comfortable I am in my own skin now -- that I could willy nilly decide to make such a big change in my appearance without freaking out.

I decided definitely not to get another kitty. Which was my original decision when BeeGee first got sick several months ago.

His physical body is gone, but our connection and our love continues on. He's with me every day, and always will be. I don't need someone else to love. I have him, and I have myself.

Also, on the practical side, I honestly can't afford to have another cat for its lifetime. My savings are small, it's already difficult to make ends meet on my social security, and god knows what unforeseeable thing(s) might come up between now and the end.

And not being under constant stress and anxiety is worth its weight in gold. It's in my DNA to get stressed about everything, and I won't do that to myself anymore, given the choice.
I've really been enjoying this summer, and looking forward to autumn. At first I thought that BeeGee's dying was going to ruin the season for me. But it's actually been a wondrous experience, the grieving, the sadness, the healing, the growing. And I'm in way better shape than I was going into it.

Here's to living and growing. xx

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Rocky Road

The color for this yarn had a number but not a name. So I'm calling this my Rocky Road sweater. I enjoyed knitting it and will use it as a template for future sweaters, with several tweaks.

Summer continues, with mostly beautiful weather here. I feel so grateful to live where I do, as weather extremes here are v. v. seldom, if at all. And nowhere near what so many folks in the US and globally are dealing with now.

I feel grateful for a lot of other things as well...actually, I feel grateful for everything. Life is good.

Below are a few recent fave collages. Enjoy. xx

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

A Simpler Life

Today is one month since BeeGee went home. It's been a hard month; it's been a good month.

I'm well. I've digested and assimilated this big change in my life, and am moving forward.

Life is a lot simpler now. It's largely how it was previously, sans BeeGee. Altho I'm now walking every day, spending more time outside reading (and/or eating) on the patio, making more collages than I was earlier, and knitting about the same or more.

And I'm taking excellent care of myself, which I've only really learned how to do in the past year or two.

After many months of having no heart palpitations, they began again around end of March, when we got BeeGee's diagnosis of old-kitty medical issues. And now, a month after his passing, they're slowly starting to go away again. It takes a while for stress and anxiety to exit the body, where they're stored during trying times, after the source of the stress ends.

I'd recognized over the last few years my pattern(s) of dealing with just about anything in my life -- relationships, friendships, work situations, et al. And it was really brought home to me with BeeGee's passing...

Everything has been a huge source of stress/anxiety in my life. I never learned how to do anything with grace, aplomb, ease, etc., rather as a survival mechanism, I only learned how to "fight," and the necessity of always having to prove myself. So everything has been difficult, throughout my life.

I know where this comes from, I know why it's so, but I'm not going there. What I don't know, though, is whether I am capable of taking something on without unwittingly harming myself. It's not actually the committing that's the problem for me. It's how I inevitably think and behave when I'm under pressure of any sort, which has been always, because I don't know any other way.

Right now is the first time in my life that I have no commitments to anyone but myself. No one to take care of, except me. And I am committed to listening to my intuition, letting my body guide me, and to not feeling compelled to make any major changes, especially if I'm getting mixed signals from my gut.

We only have the present moment. How we deal with that determines how future present moments go. The rest is unknown.

I had BeeGee tattooed on my left foreleg last week. Now, in addition to always being in my heart, he'll be where I can look at him for the rest of my life. xx

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.

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 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.

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 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 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 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.


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