Sunday, January 28, 2007


Often I am amazed at how much my world reflects what's currently going on in my life. If I really pay attention and stay present, it feels like my surroundings are just a big mirror.

Sometimes I really can't see the forest for the trees. I am so busy trying to stay on the path that I miss the beauty that is all around, beckoning me to slow down and notice. The world is fresh and green, and each day is truly a new beginning.

Change is inevitable. My schedule has been upended, much like this huge tree after a wild windstorm. I no longer have the leisure of the last six months; I am up - and - at - 'em and going non - stop from 5:30 a.m. to 5:00, when I finally land home again. Soon this too will change as Horsey Girl has won a spot in the school play, which involves three nights a week. At least I'll get a lot done at work. But I am struggling to fit in what has become so vitally important: daily walks, yoga, and meetings with my therapist. Not to mention quality time with the family, homework, housework, and animal care.

And a fresh new path stretches out before me: I have applied to Graduate School. I have taken the first steps towards something I feel very strongly will change my life. There are many more forms to fill out, questions to be answered, decisions to make, and the GRE to take. I worry and wonder how it will all fall into place. The answers are around the bend, beyond the trees.

When I can stay centered, really be behind my eyes, my life is illuminated. Fingers of lucidity pour in...I am touched by light and overwhelmed with gratitude. The world is beautiful, and messages are everywhere, if I only choose to look.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007


I'm back to work, and it feels great. I didn't feel nervous, just excited and happy to meet my new gang of future leaders. Every little one of them is a unique and wonderful individual with different thought processes and styles of learning.
My challenge is to address them all. Of course, some teaching truths are universal: we need to move, swing, run and fly.
We need to play, explore, invent, and share.

We need to draw, write, scribble, communicate. We need to reach out.

To this end, here is my first report card....a sweet gift of creativity, lovingly given, truly cherished.

I think I passed!

Sunday, January 21, 2007


High on the prospect of receiving my first paycheck (after six months) in a couple of weeks, I wandered into this store yesterday and bought myself a little something...OK, three little somethings...Cherry Tree Hill to be exact. Yeah, I see you all loving it, and by gum I'm going to make me some socks. You see, I recently did a big purge on the old closet, and guess what? I threw away most of my socks, leaving only the lovely hand knits. And frankly there just aren't enough. I'm not going to put pressure on myself to make anything fancy, or complete a deadline. I'm just going to enjoy working with this incredible stuff, top to bottom: Brights, African Grey, and Birches. I consider this purchase arming myself for the long soccer weekends to come.

I filled so many Hefty bags with detritus that I lost count...suffice to say it was two carloads to Goodwill, and a sense of relief as I looked around at clean surfaces. Sorry I never took a picture of my Winter Solstice altar, but here is the new pared - down version: a rainbow candle from a dear friend, dragons and buddhas and Quan Yin, some charms I plan on sending to my secret pal, and on the right a collage I made during the summer entitled "staying present". This is my challenge lately, being in the moment, a feeling I like to call "behind my eyes." I like that many of the images I selected have come to fruition.

And the rasta witch yarn? It's a hat now. I indulged myself by sitting down and knitting it beginning to end, no breaks for housework, dinner, or demanding family members. A quick and comfy reminder that taking care of myself helps me take care of everyone.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

the fairy and the bird

A little fairy came to play at my house yesterday. After a few tries she managed to make friends with a shy little bird. She charmed the creature into perching on her finger.

The bird and the fairy became fast friends. They danced together around the house, and the fairy shared all her special secrets with the bird. Soon it became quite tame, and never wanted to fly away again.

Magical things began to happen...the fairy became entranced, the bird began to sing, and sparkles filled the air. Only the cat knew that all good magic must come to an end.

"If she'd only put that thing down for a minute."

Monday, January 15, 2007

i can make yarn

Here is a nice before and after shot: On the left, the Rasta Witch's Hair pin roving, and on the right, all spun and Navajo plied - who knew it was so FUN!?

Of course I skeined up this sweet little thing because I was too damn impatient to finish spinning the whole ball. Before the guild meeting, I was actually going to chuck it. I went so I could ply what I had done, and I had a sore arm from trying to force it.

The nice ladies encouraged me to draft those little rasta dreads before I try to spin them. This is pretty fun too, and I don't mind spending the time on it if it gives my arm a break. (I also need to draft more with my left hand, let my guiding hand only guide the thread)

All told, I am thrilled with my result.

As evidenced by the number of pictures I've taken here. Color has become my healer lately. I'm noticing a lot more saturated colors have found a place in my environment. You see it's a wee little skein!

I think it's art!

I think I'm totally hooked.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

back to the fold

Yesterday I was so nervous. It was my first time back at my guild meeting! These lovely and talented ladies meet the second Saturday of every month to spin, chat, and revel in creativity and fiber together.

Dh snapped this picture at the front of the building. I have carefully wrapped my wheel in a snug blanket...this will do until I snag that carrying case I have my eye on. Hmmmm.....denim, or tapestry?

Enter within and you will see just about every type of wheel you could imagine. There was even a drop spindler in evidence...spinning magenta silk like floss. Flyers hum, lazy kates squeak, and bobbin after bobbin is filled with color and texture unique to the creator.

The guild ladies are the sweetest, most helpful bunch that a beginning spinner could ever hope to meet! We gather in an old grange hall located between acres of farmland, out on Reservation Road near Salinas. For $12 a year I receive access to meetings, make new friends, and get unlimited help and support. No question is too dumb, and believe me I asked a LOT of questions about my new wheel.

The hostess soon took me under her wing. There were four of us using the same Lendrum model...I had her take me through the methods of changing to the plying flyer, where and how to oil, and finally, the most exciting lesson - Navajo plying! I took to it quickly and now love, love love this simple, perfect technique that preserves the colorway of your yarn and creates no waste.

Then, the pot luck, nothing less than delicious, no item left untasted. Ah, this is the life! I was in a pink cloud all day, feeling so welcomed, so inspired, and so pleased with my end result...

Pictures soon!

Saturday, January 13, 2007

morning routine

Next Wednesday, I return to work. I have been teaching Kindergarten at a public school for eleven years. This year, I split the time between myself and a retiring teacher. She will be leaving forever, and I will be taking over the class.

My last four months have been what I originally titled (in my head) a journey of the self. I started going to therapy once a week. I started walking an hour every day, and eating healthful foods (a lot, in thanks to this.)

I also incorporated a peaceful morning routine. Get up around six, put the water on for tea. (I quit coffee - or I guess it quit me - I just started hating the taste of it. Then I became more aware of how it was just a big vehicle for sugar.) Open the woodstove flu and stoke the fire (our only heat). Light my yoga candle (gardenia), roll out my green sticky mat. Fill up my pink Nalgene container with 32 ounces of water - try to drink it all before 9. Do 25 minutes of yoga (sometimes accompanied by one or more dogs and the occasional Princess.) Dh gets said Princess ready for school and I make bentos for the family while listening to public radio. (Do you have your own music in your kitchen? You should.) Everyone loaded up and off to school by 7:45. Drop Princess at her school by 8:30, then head out to Fall Creek for an hour of vigorous exercise.

What could be better?

I'll tell you what. Teaching Kindergarten!

I can't wait to go back to my school, with my school friends, and feel the pulse of all those energetic and imaginative little beings. Sure, I'll need to make bentos the night before, lay out my clothes, plan ahead, and get up an hour earlier. But I feel an adventure coming on, and as we all know, change is good.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

winter in california

Yesterday I ventured out with a dear friend (a sorority sister - imagine! Me in a sorority!) and her darling manchild to a terrific old farm estate in Los Altos. The sun was bright but the air was freezing cold and later the wind picked up...but not before we spotted some refreshing winter sights.

I have a soft spot for gourds. I love the organic shapes here. One year I had a prolific batch - it climbed over the fence and trailed down the driveway, giving me eight HUGE specimens that dried beautifully. They remain to this day in my basement, and they are really fantastic.

Does anybody out there do gourd crafts?!

It's been warm enough to confuse the spring bulbs...narcissus are the first to bloom, but usually not, ahem, quite this early.

They even had seedlings going! Something about this picture makes my heart feel glad. The good earth is so magical, so generous, is it not? This picture does not, however, make me feel inspired to garden.

This inspires me to cook! I had a great time wandering between the rows and imagining all the delicious dishes I could make. Tonight is orichette pasta with broccoli and lemon...mmmmm that kale would be great in a nice Tuscan white bean soup...

I just hope we're not skipping winter altogether....

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

knitted afghan

A patient of dh's gave him this beautiful gift. It's totally handknit. There are two strands making up the stripe, giving it a heathery effect - with better colors (I think). Did I ever mention he's a doctor? He often receives such thoughtful and heartfelt gifts...this was originally for P. #2, of course, but now it's on our bed.

Can anyone tell me if the edges are crocheted on? I can't believe how enormous this thing is (it covers most of the bed), it must have taken her forever. What I mean is, it would have taken me forever. I am soooo slow at knitting.

The whole idea wants me to curl up and take a nap on it.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

fabric mart

You didn't really think I was sitting on the beach the whole vacation, did you? Of course another ritual of Oahu is the sacred pilgrimage to Fabric Mart. It was just as mind blowing as I remembered it. This time I got Horsey Girl to accompany me; she really enjoyed the wide variety of Hello Kitty prints we spotted upstairs. Oh yeah, it's
two floors worth of Hawaiian fabric goodness.

Here's a shot of the second floor! The variety is endless. The salespeople are brisk and businesslike. It's pretty obvious this place doesn't see a lot of tourists, so we stuck out like sore thumbs. But I refused to mask my enthusiasm. This place even has Hawaiian print polar fleece! Next year I am definitely getting some.

This year I showed much greater constraint than last, however. I just bought three remnants (two yards each, none over $4.00) and a great turtle pincushion fashioned inside a coconut. It's done in traditional Hawaiian quilting style, and I love it!

The red print was our tree skirt this year, and the green covers the TV when it's not on. The bottom is a fantastic barkcloth that is mostly gone since I used it to make an apron for my bil (I was his secret Santa this year).

I'm thinking of cutting up the Box of Crayons quilt-that-is-not-a-quilt and making placemats, backed with Hawaiian fabric...after I spin a little more, that is.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

secret pal

My secret pal has high hopes for me, as you can see. Along with an armload of colorful and whimsical ornaments, beads and pincushions was this very serious present: mohair yarn in a soft shade of sage that is also plied with something just a little bit sparkly. See that pattern she chose? Gorgeous! (There's another, more simple pattern on the back, but I'm thinking positive.)

I only hope I can meet her expectations. I'm still chugging along on the little leaf scarf (in between spinning jags and packing up the holiday decorations) so starting on a project so challenging is just a dream right now. Meanwhile I'm really enjoying just squeezing and petting this beautiful yarn.

Thank you so much, Secret Malaysia Pal. I'm getting excited about finding out who you are!
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