A Declaration

I’m trying to write this blog without…..writing this blog? I guess I’m trying to say something without actually saying it. Let’s see how that goes.

So over the course of the last two weeks or so, I’d been having some personal issues with someone in my life. I’m really not a fan of having people around me who are negative. And I just don’t mean that they have bad attitudes towards the world in general,  I mean constantly telling me that what I’m doing isn’t valuable, that I COULD have done something more with my life, that I could have been anything that I wanted.

And frankly, I couldn’t take anymore. I only smile when I hear the phrase, “I could have been anything I wanted.” And I laugh. Don’t they understand? I AM everything I’ve ever wanted. A good person, an artist, a craftsman. Ok, so I’m not wealthy by any means and getting by every month is a struggle. But I acquired a certain tenacity that I did not inherit from my family. I also, thankfully, did not inherit the notion that things make you happy, and personal wealth is all that you spend your life striving towards. Not that those ideas make you a BAD person, but if you do not subscribe to them, then you shouldn’t be criticized either. I tell ya, some of us truly aren’t miserable with out a smart phone and a flat screen TV. If you want one, go right ahead! Knock yourself and have fun. But, don’t look at me as though I’m some sort of personal failure because I don’t have them, or even worse, not WANT them. (“What kind of person doesn’t want a television?”)

So a few days ago, with tension with this person already on fragile ground, everything came to a head and I snapped. I finally let everything go. And I was often not as eloquent as I wished to be. I made the clear decision that I could no longer have this person around anymore. They were making me feel bad about myself. What they thought was critical observation, I called being mean and I decided it was not necessary to hear about my being a failure, nor about me being strange because I don’t own a car and once had the aspirations to be a monk.

I decided to cut out anyone from my life that made me feel inadequate in any way whatsoever. I want supportive people around me. And I am unyielding in this. That’s it in a nutshell. It just so happened that this whole incident occurred right around Independence Day. I found it metaphoric, that I was declaring my own right not to feel bad about myself because I did not become the professional with a mortgage that you wanted me to be. And who knows what this future holds for me? Maybe one day instead of renting a 10 by 20 room, that I could get something bigger :) Who knows? I do have aspirations for greater accomplishments and moments. Maybe millions of knitters all around the world with buy my patterns and BAM! Maybe I’ll write a best seller and WOAH LOOK OUT. Maybe……who knows?

But, that is the beautiful thing about being in this country. You truly CAN be anything you want to be.  And you are generally not made to feel bad about yourself for becoming what ever it is you wanted. No, this country encourages and supports the initiative to go in any direction you wish. Yes, America allows your dreams to come true, despite whatever nightmares you experienced.

I feel so much better about myself.

 

If you’d like to buy my patterns, click here.

If you would like to support my blog, please donate.

 

Through The Mud With a Smile

So, last night I crawled into bed. I did my usual routine. Ate some late dinner ( I can’t eat at normal times of day. When I eat, I go straight to sleep. Not sure where that comes from), fired up some of the Golden Girls on my laptop (the sound of them soothes me into sleep), Mario crawled up beside my pillow and rolled into a ball, and then I began to doze off……THEN WHAM! Hours later, somewhere around 3 or 4 in the morning, I bolted straight up, wide eyed with panic. My mind was racing, my breath was panted, and my body was solidly stuck in a state of tense. And what brought this on???? In my heard I kept hearing, “I’m 42 years old! I’m 42 years old!!!!!”

Would sound kinda of vain if that were the ONLY thing in that statement, but it bled with so many other underlying fears that crept up on me. It’s tough scraping by every month. But, I do it. But the closer I get to the end of the month, the pressure of scraping by becomes a reality, and that reality becomes more and more of a nightmare the older you get. I mean, if I were in my 20’s this sort of life would seem like the beginning of great possibilities. It would seem Bohemian and thrilling. But, now that I’m in my 40’s its becoming this terrifying notion that I’ll be 50, still hoping to get by each month knitting teddy bears. No savings, still, wondering if arthritis will set in and ruin me. And then I’ll be 60. And hopefully 70…..and I’ll be living with Mario in a badly run State home for the indigent, both of us eating cat food out of the same can. What?????

That was the panic that sat in last night. Fear of the future. I”m getting too old to barely get by every month. Something big needs to happen. Something that takes me to the next level…..but, then again you have to ask, what IS the next level? I guess one option is to design a logo, slap it on my front door, file some papers and call myself a legitimate design house/business, charge HUGE amounts of money for my bears, and become a man that would rival the Steiff Bear. (Really, aside from Steiff, who else is there???). Another option would be to find a small yarn company, or just an individual yarn maker and work with them. You know, attach my bear pattern to their yarn, and use ONLY  their yarn when I work up one of my bears. Cross promote each other.  I had always hoped that my book would sell MILLIONS of copies and that would solve quite a few problems…..alas, not yet.

I guess I’m intellectually stifled right now. I’m in brainstorming mode. I do know this much, though. I’m not interested in spending another year just drudging through financial mud with an optimistic smile on my face. I don’t want to do that anymore. I need ideas. New, fresh ways of thinking. What is the next level?  How do I get there? I want to start moving in that direction PRONTO……so, that’s where I want to hear from you. Let’s ALL get into brainstorming mode. All ideas are welcome (except for going on “Dancing with the Stars.” I’m not doing that). So, leave comments, tell me what you think the next level should be?

IMG_0577And of course, I still have a few Rainbow Bears to adopt out in order to get the rent gathered up. My friend Butch said they weren’t doing as well because they were ugly. Bah! I think it’s ironic that  a man named Butch wouldn’t like a Rainbow Bear! Just sayin’!

Click here to adopt a Rainbow Bear and prove Butch wrong! All are ready to ship with a signed card from me :)

Gone Croquetin’

IMG_0013Everyone knows I love to play croquet. If you haven’t read my posts about it by now, then be warned, I LOVE to play croquet. Not only is it exceedingly fun, but an awesome way to spoil a day with friends. We’ll stop by Publix where you can snag a whole fried chicken, a side of cole slaw and baked beans, dinner rolls and a gallon of iced tea for $10. SWEET. Then we’ll rendezvous at either George’s house or the park and have something of a picnic/croquet game. You get outside, have some friendly competition, get some exercise and have a little fun. Nothing wrong with that, eh?

IMG_0590Now, the woman who lives across the street is a knitter and she has come over to sit and knit with me on occasion. But, that poor woman has not only a husband and a three year old, but she also runs her own restaurant. Needless to say, she is committed, so I don’t see her very often. She’s very good company, though. Quite a fun person to talk with. On her last visit she gave me a little present. She said, “You’re always talking about how much you love to play croquet and how you can’t wait to get some downtime to play, so I thought in the meantime I’d give you this! It’s been sitting on a shelf for years and I thought I’d let you have it.” She handed me this adorable little dollhouse croquet set made out of matchsticks. I love it! I sit it near my yarn and needles and while I’m working on a teddy bear, I do have a tendency to peek over at it and wistfully think of a time when I can play again.

…..why not today? Seriously, what am I waiting for? If I keep thinking that, I’ll never play again! I’ll spend all of my time thinking, tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow. NO! TODAY! I’ve gotten a lot of work done this weekend, so why not take this precious Sunday and have fun playing croquet!??!!

So, I decided that was  my plan for today. If I could adopt out the last of the Rainbow Bears, I’d be able to sit back, sigh with a great sense of accomplishment, snag my croquet set and head for the park. Yep, I decided if the Rainbow Bears get adopted out, then I’m taking the day off and I’m going croquetin’.

IMG_0583If you’d like to adopt the Rainbow Bear, click here. Ready to ship with a signed card by me.

Friday Night For Knitters

IMG_0579IMG_0492IMG_0586So we had a little knitting marathon last night. It was only Kara, Mario and myself, but we got quite a bit done. I worked on heads, arms and legs, and assembly while Kara worked on bodies, while Mario hung out in a box promising not to torture the yarn as it rolled all over the place.

It was actually a lot of fun. We were working up more Rainbow bears to get the IMG_0585ball rolling on rent, and by 10 or 11, such a feeling of accomplishment had been achieved, that I was able to go to bed with a nice smile. I slept a FULL six hours last night. Wasn’t that great???? I mean, I haven’t had more than 4 hours in a loooooong while.

We have just enough yarn left to make up 6 more Rainbow Bears then that’s it for that little guy. No IMG_0468more of those. We’ll move onto  something else.

In addition to the Rainbow Bears, I’m finishing up 5 more orders off my backlog. So, Monday the post man is gonna LOVE me. :) Oh, well….It’s a nice feeling being productive and closer to being back on top, rather than feeling the pressure of being under the weight of disappointment.

Thanks to all of you so much! If you’d like to adopt the Rainbow Bear, click here.

Ready to ship with a signed card.

Rainbow Bear III

IMG_0364Whew! Now, in full disclosure, Kara is actually making the bodies for these little guys, I’m making up the rest. So! Again, made of wool and acrylic blend, 12 inches, ready to ship with a signed card. Dang its been a long day. Between knitting and a rather “spirited” debated about spirituality and religion, it’s a good thing I was able to get that coffee buy one get one free. Click here to adopt.

I’m Spiritual, Not Religious

So, I’ve heard that statement before. Actually, you hear it quite often. They say you aren’t supposed to discuss politics or religion in a social setting. I don’t believe in that. See, those two concepts have shaped not only nearly every moment in history, but the moments to come, and even more importantly, the moments of right now.

So, I was meeting someone for the first time, and as I usually do, I ask questions. I love to ask questions. Where are you from? Do you enjoy what you’re doing with your life and if not, what would rather be doing? Anywhere in the world you haven’t been you’d like to visit? Those sorts of things. But, then I do usually ask, “Do you have any political leanings?” and “Do you have any religious inclinations?”

And this time, I simply couldn’t resist. When I heard, “I’m spiritual, not religious,” I couldn’t help but sit back, sigh, and then say what was on my mind. It’s often the kind of thing you hear juveniles say when they think they’re being profound….edgy….

I hear people make that statement a lot and I honestly think they’ve seen it on a bumper sticker, or heard someone else say it and decided to adopt it as a philosophy. But, I don’t think they REALLY understand what it is they’re saying. I love hearing anyone, everyone, say they’re spiritual. That’s a good thing, that’s a brilliant thing. Being spiritual means you’ve decided to connect your soul to whatever Divine your spirit has moved towards (now, we can discuss at length the difference, but I can’t think of any. No, seriously. Some call it God, the One, the Light, Allah….tree, compost….doesn’t matter, we’re all talking about the same thing, but giving It different names). So, spiritually you have made through the physical, connected with what’s higher, communed, loved, felt the brilliance, glory and grace.

However, religion is when you put that spirituality into practice. Yes, religion is just the aspects of a physical follow through of what your spirit learned when it was connected with the divine. Religion is bringing what is above down here to the below in practice. Religion is the physical exercise of what your spirit learned. And every religion has their own particulars of how you PRACTICE what your SPIRIT has learned. Some have the notion that once your meditations, contemplations and prayers have finally brought you in contact with God, then THESE ARE THE PRACTICES you should follow in order to bring “on Earth as it is in Heaven.” The macrocosm brought forth in the microcosm.  Goodness, kindness, compassion….followed through in great aspects of practice. Religion.

So, when you have the desire to say “I’m spiritual, not religious,” I want you to be mindful that what you’ve said is that “I feel I have a connection to the divine, but I do not put what I have learned into practice.”

“That’s not what that means, it means I believe in something, but I don’t believe in organized religion,” he said.

Your spirit, if it has seen the grand and glorious moments of a connection to the divine, will dictate your actions from hence forth. That is religion. That is religion: how your spirit practices love, compassion, and good will toward man. You can call that religion whatever you want. But, I’m pretty sure some of those practices are already under the umbrella of some religions that already exist. The point is, you must PRACTICE, put into action what your spirit calls you to do. So, when you say you are spiritual, leave it there. Say nothing more. Say nothing else.

“I am VERY spiritual.”

We’ll all understand, we’ll all feel what you mean. When you say, “but I’m not religious,” you have looked me dead in the eye and have decided that no part of your spirit and soul wishes to be a part of the rest of this microcosm.

Its funny. I never hear a buddhist say he’s spiritual, not religious. But I do hear a pagans,  wicans, and naturalist say it often….and I kinda look at them and say, “but you have your rituals, right? Well….dude, I hate to tell you this, but that’s religion. You said you honor your spirit by playing naked in the woods with a smudge stick and a green candle while facing east and saying  a poem……dude, that’s religion. That’s a method of putting into physical action your practice of honoring the divine. Dude, that’s RELIGION.”

I think the phrase said so often in this blog, “I’m spiritual, not religious,” is actually a very cute way of saying, “I believe in God. I believe in compassion. I believe in mercy. I just don’t believe in bestowing those concepts on you.”

Be careful of using bumper stickers as a means of identifying yourself.  That’s all I’m saying. Just because you heard someone say it, and it sounded profound, doesn’t mean it should become a way of life. There is no life in dismissing what your spirit and soul have learned. There is no life in not putting into practice the greatness of love.

 

 

 

 

 

Rainbow Bear

IMG_0577Ok, here’s another Rainbow Bear. I’m going to be doing probably 8 of these since I have so many skeins of it. He’s made of a wool/acrylic, measures 12″ from toe to head, and ready to ship with a signed card. Click here if you’d like to adopt him.

IMG_0571Oh! And Mario was photobombing while I was trying to take pics of the bear, so I had to share.

 

 

Tigers and Bears

unnamed3IMG_0558IMG_0364So, the closer we get to the end of the month, the more I start pushing my merchandise. Of course, I do! I have rent to pay! So, I just wanted to remind anyone, if ya’ll hadn’t seen, that my mom’s blanket is still available (Click here for more info), and my new pattern for the tiger went up yesterday. Click here for the pattern.

I still have 8 skeins of that very interesting multicolored yarn I worked up The Rainbow bear with, so I’ll be doing a few more of him by the end of the month.

I’ll be sure to post them as they’re finished up so you can adopt them. I’ve been reading your comments about advice and I do like (I REALLY like the “calling all knitters” plan. I’ll work out the details this weekend.

Ok. I gotta run. Hitching a ride with Kara to Publix. Coffee is buy one, get one free this week. That’s a lot of busy knitting :)

 

 

 

 

Tigers Are For Cuddling

IMG_0558So, here’s my first tiger! I made him with Paton’s classic wool in pumpkin, black and aran. I really think he came out rather well. And yes, I initially wanted to do a version of Calvin’s stuffed version of Hobbes. But, there were far too many out there.

 

xI wanted to a stuffed version of Hobbes as we see him, animated and engaging, like the version Calvin sees in his imagination. If you’d like to adopt my very first tiger, click here. He’s ready to ship with a signed card.

And HERE is the pattern!

RARRR!!!

How to Get Rid Of Stress

We all have our own individual escapism. We all have our own way of dealing with stress. We all find ways to block away the toils of the day, finding our own ways to relax, release, and find enjoyment. Mine? Simple pleasures. Kara hit Clemen’s produce yesterday and snagged me some more green peanuts for boiling. You have no idea what that simple little gesture does fIMG_0548or a day of worry. It’s gone, I tell you. GONE. So, people have asked, how do you cook them? What’s the recipe? Now, you can get all fancy and frilly and do lovely things, I’m sure, with a recipe, but it’s quite easy. Throw your peanuts (about a pound) in a big ol’ pot filled with water. Now, just fill the pot with water. The peanuts will float, so you can’t cover them. Add about a quarter of a cup of salt. Actually, reduce that a little. Just a touch less than that. Set the burner on high and put a lid on the pot, titled, so some steam is allowed to escape as they cook. Once it begins to boil, think one hour. One hour of boiling should be all you need, but check on them every 15 minutes to see if there’s enough water in the pot. Once your hour is done, pull a peanut out, blow on it, cool it, snap it open and see if the peanuts are tender enough. If so? Then proceed to step two: turn off the heat and let the peanuts sit there for another hour. The brine will flavor the peanuts. Done. Delicious. Devilishly nutritious.

thNow while the peanuts were soaking in the hot brine I took to my tub, for which I’m too tall for, but who cares! It still does its job. Now, when I soak in the tub I tend to read Calvin and Hobbes. I don’t know where that came from…..

That’s a lie. I know EXACTLY why. I often felt like Calvin when I was a kid. A crazy little shit with a wild imagination, too smart for his own good, and whose stuff tiger became his best friend. I didn’t have a stuffed tiger. I had an E.T. doll I carried everywhere. I identify with Calvin. I think a lot of people reminisce about their childhood through Calvin and Hobbes. So I was compelled to work up a tiger. I’m fond of felines anyway. But, something about that connection between Hobbes and all of us former little shits seemed to call upon something in my spirit. “DO it,” my spirit said. “Be a boy again.”

IMG_0549So, the tiger isn’t quite done, but will be ready tomorrow, but I thought I’d show a quick sneak peek into how he’s working up.

IMG_0554And finally? How to unwind and get rid of stress? Have your best bud, Mario, sit on your lap and read and critique what you write. Its funny that she really does seem to perch herself right here on this lap of mine just when I start to blog.

So that’s how you unwind and get rid of stress. Soak in the tub, read some Calvin and Hobbes, boil some peanuts and have your best bud at your side. It’s little things, simple pleasures. No spas nor vacations to exotic locations. It’s all about the pleasure of little treasures.

And from that? I dare you not to smile.

Talk to you tomorrow. (“ROAR!!!!!” said tiger…..then he yawned and went back to sleep beside me).