Thursday, March 28, 2013

New Chapters and Rejections

 It's always hard to take bad news with a smile on your face. It's hard to stay positive and think, "Don't worry. Everything will be okay." Today is no exception. I got the last rejection letter from the last school I was waiting to hear from. I had hoped and wished that this wasn't the case and that I would hear good news but my future was delivered to me by a three sentence email. It's hard to think of my contingency plans when my future is sitting in my inbox staring at me.

I try to think positive about the future and things. Think about what will happen and only the good things. Think about all the possibilities I still have before me. It's hard to do that when your dream and goal get flushed down the toilet like last night's supper. 

Instead I'm trying new things. Contingency plans and all. I'm being creative with what I have, what I can do and what I love to do. It might not become my career or a source of income but it could be and that's all I got right now. Could be's and maybe's and hopefully's. 

So here's to trying new things and hoping for the best, what ever that may be. 

Monday, March 18, 2013

Of Cowls and Hours Spent

I've been commissioned by a coworker to make some cowls for his wife. He calls them loopy things. I like this name better because "cowl" has that awful sound that you can't really enunciate and it just sounds like you have marbles in your mouth no matter how hard you try. It's like the word Iowa. A high school teacher of mine spent a more than a few minutes in class one day describing how Iowa isn't really said, it just falls out of your mouth. "Cowl" I feel is similar although as it's falling out of your mouth, it grabs on to your lip and hangs there making you look like a slack-jawed yokel who wouldn't know a cowl if it strangled them in their sleep.

My coworker today asked how my progress was coming on the loopy things and I told him that I had started the second of three and that I had tried to fix a mistake and ended up needing to restart the whole thing. He asked me how much time I had put into it at that point and I told him about four hours and then he looked at me as if I had started floating above the ground. Four hours and I was just willing to start all over? Just like that? And put at least another four hours into this project?

Well, yeah.

One thing I've learned from knitting is that to make things correctly and perfectly takes time and sometimes you need to start all over. Yeah it takes a while to fully grasp this idea and even if I do need to start over, it doesn't mean that I jump up and start ripping out my knitting. I kick my feet and stomp and refuse to until I absolutely have to. I have abandoned many a projects because of needing to start over and not wanting to put all that time back into it. It's not easy to take something you've spent five, ten, thirty hours on just to rip it all out and have nothing to show for it except a pile of yarn. But sometimes you just have to. I'd rather have a pretty project than a pile of poo. If that means spending an extra four hours on it, so be it. I'll be happier with the finished product.

Knitting takes patience. You can't knit a sweater in an hour.

Friday, March 15, 2013

This Post is Brought to You by Cliches

Doing things we don't want to do is a part of life. I regularly don't want to shower but because of social/cultural standards and because I don't want to smell, I have to. I don't want to go to work but because I enjoy having a place to live and food to eat, I have to.

Last night I finally buckled down and attached the sleeves to the body of my Aidez sweater.

It wasn't easy. While I have knit a lot and a lot of things, there are some things, like sweaters, that still are tricky for me some times. But I gritted my teeth and did it. I attached the sleeves, on the wrong side and in pattern. I felt like I was going to black out and I definitely started to smell colors from the stress but I did it. And I feel great about it. 

That's the thing, even when we don't want to do something, a lot of times we feel good about doing it. Ripping off that band-aid, pulling that trigger, being determined to finish something makes me feel better about myself. I am so terrible at finishing things. I enjoy starting them but I hate finishing them and I don't know why because I love that feeling of having my homework done or having a clean bedroom or a brand new sweater. Perhaps it's the finality of it. I'm not quite sure I understand it either because there are always dishes that need to be cleaned or tubs to be scrubbed but some things do end. The last day of my undergrad, I loitered around campus because I didn't want that chapter to end yet. I wasn't ready to finish what I had started. In a few months, I'll be moving to one of many different locations yet to be determined and while the opportunity is exciting, I'm not ready for this chapter of my life to end yet. I'm uncertain of what the next month will decide and anxious about it. But sometimes things just need to end so that we can start something else new and exciting. 

Maybe I'll knit a sock next.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

A Change of Pace

I like to expand my skill set every once in a while. Try a new technique, try a new craft, try cooking a new food. 

(I've failed at the last few new things I've tried to cook. I tried to make gluten free pancakes that turned out all sorts of terrible and most recently my falafel fell apart. I'm a great cook but something is off. 
Something is off.)

If I had to pick a time in my life when I am most likely to try something new, it is when I am sick and have a cold. I am hopped up on cold medicine so of course the best thing to do is to try something that requires more concentration than a normal project. I get this from my mom. A few days after surgery and recovering while heavily medicated on pain pills that specifically said, "Do not operate heavy machinery," and "WILL cause drowsiness," my mother decided to build a new computer desk out of a piece of leftover countertop and some 2x4s. She had to cut the countertop down to size and to do this she used a jigsaw and while a jigsaw isn't heavy machinery, it's not something you should be using while taking Vicodin. It wasn't pretty but she did make a useable desk that we used for the family computer for quite a few years. It's now sitting on the porch and is used mainly for holding platters of hamburgers when we grill out. 

So I come by it honestly.

I haven't made a desk or even used power tools but I think it's mainly because I don't own any. I made a book one time. I hadn't ever made a book before but I sat down and made a notebook out of old papers and some thread I had laying around. I even made the glue for the binding out of things in my kitchen. When I finally got out of my cold medicine haze, I had a useable book that I used as a food diary for quite a while. 

This past time wasn't as exciting as a notebook and definitely not as exciting as making a desk with power tools, but I did start a blanket. Not just any blanket, but a complicated one. One that required lots of counting and recounting and counting a third time. I still didn't count right. In addition to the counting, I also had to learn new crochet techniques. I don't know crochet. Sure, I can do a few things with a hook but most of the time I'm lost. Add some Sudafed to the mix and it isn't pretty. But I did it. I came out of my medicine induced stupor and I had a good portion of a blanket done. And it looks correct or at least to me, the relatively untrained crocheter, it looks right. I've continued to work on it and it is much easier now that counting to four isn't a challenge. 

But why do I wait until I am so stoned (because of cold meds) that staring at a blank TV is entertaining to me? Both the notebook and the blanket are things that I had wanted to do for a while, a long time. Maybe being fully aware of the time involved or the fact that I'd have to learn new things stops me from doing things I want. Maybe I don't start a new craft because I know that I won't have time for it eventually so what's the point of learning at all? Maybe I'm afraid of failing. (I am.) The cold medicine and slight fever are enough for me to get over that fear and just do it. To try something new and something that is scary and something that is intimidating. 

I should never buy power tools.